================================ FNV NEWSLETTER #121 ================================= March 13 2003 *Hip Hop News Shorts *Hip Hoppers Step Up and Represent from Coast to Coast *Props to Michael Franti For Anti-War efforts *Chuck D & Fine Arts Militia Step Up to the Plate *Saul Williams Jacks Nas' Beat and Flips Anti-War Freestyle *Bay Area Artists Drop WarTimes Compilation w/ Mumia *Ja Rule Racially Dissed in New Zealand *Congress Is Trying To Ban Rap Shows *Hip Hop's Open Letter to George Bush The FNV Newsletter c 2002 Send comments to email@example.com =========================================== HIP HOPPERS STEP UP AND REPRESENT FROM COAST TO COAST There's a lot to be proud of as many in the Hip Hop arena have been stepping up and fully representing themselves and their community to the fullest... First props to Kevin Powell, Hip Hop Speaks, Black Men In Support and film maker Aishah Shahidah Simmons. Last Friday they showed the upcoming documentary 'No' which dealt with the issue of rape and sexual assault of Black women. Despite the fact that numerous foundations refused to support or help aid in getting this project off the ground [the reason often given was her subject matter was 'too limited' or as one major cable TV network executive told her "Let's face it, very unfortunately, most people don't care about the rape of Black women and girls." ], more than 200 people were turned away from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The audience was primarily folks from the Hip Hop generation who came out in the freezing cold to not only to support and discuss this important issue but to also help raise and donate funds so the documentary can be completed.... For more info on the film 'No' drop an email to mailto:AfroLez@aol.com ------------------------------- PROPS TO MICHAEL FRANTI FOR ANTI-WAR EFFORTS Props are in order to Michael Franti and Spearhead as he continues to remain active in raising consciousness and providing a healing space for those who are opposed to George Bush's War efforts.. As you know back in September he gave a free concert in San Francisco's Golden Park called 'Power to the Peaceful' where close to 25 thousand people showed up and got down.. Included on that bill was KRS-One and Oakland's Grammy nominated rapper/singer Mystic. It was a beautiful day for Hip Hop. Now Franti is gearing up gain to do two all ages concerts called 'Spring Cleansing' at Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco.. [1268 Sutter st. @ Van Ness] on Friday and Saturday 3/14-3/15. Included on that bill will be Oakland's Zion I who just released their new album 'Deep Water Slang'. What is sure to be a highlight of the night is Franti's new song 'U Can't Bomb the World to Peace'. It's an incredible anti-war song that was initially done as an acoustic piece. The lyrics are powerful and speaks to all sorts of issues ranging from why 9-11 happened to our current efforts to go to war with Iraq. So powerful are the words that several months ago when Franti performed the song on the Craig Kilborne show, they actually edited out the segment. Such won't be the case at this weekend's concerts. Franti teamed up with producers Sly and Robbie and added a searing head nodding Hip Hop/reggae flavored beat and tapped Bay Area beat box phenom RadioActive and soul singer Ledisi [who has an incredible voice] to join him on the remix. The result is an infectious track you simply cannot deny.. Here's a sample of that song... http://www.daveyd.com/antiwarfrantibombtheworld.mp3 Also visit his website for more updates at http://www.spearheadvibrations.com/ ================================ CHUCK D AND THE FINE ARTS MILITIA STEP UP TO THE PLATE Chuck D continues to blow up the spot.. Last weekend him and myself hung out in Seattle, Washington where we spoke at the FCC Hearings regarding radio consolidation and the politics behind airplay. That went really well.. The commissioners on hand were given updates, artist testimonies and copies of the reports and data collected by the Hip Hop community in both San Francisco [Bay Area Media Campaign] and New York [Turn off the Radio Campaign] . Seattle natives are in the process of putting together their own report as are several other cities who all seem to be echoing the same concern.. lack of access for local artists, payola and unbalanced airplay... Later that evening Chuck D performed at the EMP Museum with his new band Fine Arts Militia. They are just about to release their debut album called 'We Are Gathered Here...'. Here Chuck D recaptures many of his lectures over funky James Brown, Sly Stone, Rocking type beats.. They definitely got down.. On the CD there's a dope anti-war song called 'A Twisted Sense of God pt1'. The lyrics give you an idea of how deep the song gets.. -------------------------- 'A Twisted Sense of God pt1' by Chuck D and the Fine Arts Militia "I was talking to my assistant a couple of months back, and while we were talking about the obvious differences in men and women, I had to give up and say that men couldn't handle the period cycles that women go through. She countered and told me that men do have periods . . . They're called WARS. There's little words that can describe what happened here in the United States on Tuesday September 11 2001. I was in New York when it was goin down. My heart goes out to those in the aircrafts, the buildings, the rescuers killed on the ground. As a person who has traveled across 40 countries in the world, I can attest to the fact that the common peoples on the earth have long suffered, and swallowed the bullet of the greed of governmental rule and arrogance. Power is a funny thing, when poured on the few individuals that are selected to govern people, no matter where they're at on the earth... it makes manipulation a close cousin. Mad questions abound. Whoever the so called hijackers or planners answered to, my question is how come their superiors didn't put THEIR lives on the line? I don't buy religious martyrdom if the leader heads themselves can't get in the same box. It's problematic when one is trained and taught to die for religious elevation while the heads of that structure are rich as hell and don't share the wealth with their followers. On the other side, the United States is talking war but who is actually gonna fight those battles, and with whom? War is not a football game, y'all......" ------------------------ Check for that song here.. http://www.daveyd.com/antiwarPEFAMgodpt1.mp3 Also check the Fine Arts Militia Website for more updates.. http://www.fineartsmilitia.com ================================ SAUL WILLIAMS JACKS NAS AND FLIPS ANTI-WAR FREESTYLE Also making noise is Saul Williams.. He had already blew up the spot with his excellent poem called 'The Pledge to Resist'. All sorts of deejays including myself have taken that poem and rolled it behind some funky beats.. For me I always play Saul's poem behind Nas' track 'Made U Look. Well a few weeks back Saul upped the ante and did a wicked 3 minute freestyle over the Nas beats about war in the streets and the impending war with Iraq... It was a breath of fresh air, plus it made your head bop.. Check out the Saul Williams anti-war freestyle here... http://www.daveyd.com/antiwarsaulwilliamsfreestyle.mp3 ============================== BAY AREA ARTIST RELEASE WARTIMES CD Props go out to the Bay Area's Freedom Fighter Records.. This community of Hip Hop artist got together and just released an 11 song compilation album called 'War Times Reports From the Opposition'. It includes all types of songs from Bay Area artists especially women. For example on the CD is a dope track called 'Soldierman' by Oakland's Hanifah Walidah. For folks who don't know this sista used to flow under the name Shakey back in the mid 90s..You can peep that song here.. http://www.daveyd.com/soldierman.mp3 There's a haunting song from Oakland's songstress Goapele called 'Red, White & Blue'. Samantha Liapes another singer/rapper also steps up with a nice offering called 'Masters of War'. For those who don't know, Samantha was one of the several Hip Hoppers who made the trek to Palestine and Israel to give a first hand report and account of what was going on over there. We ran some of those in back issues of the FNV.. The WarTimes Compilation album also features cuts from Company of Prophets, Red Guard and Meilodik. Its hosted by political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and features excerpts of Hard Knock Radio interviews from anti-war activists... With the release of the WarTimes compilation we now have more than 20 recorded songs from Bay Area artists that have addressed the issue of War and the events of 9-11. We should also go on record and note that many of the folks who are featured on the WarTimes compilation were among the first to hold rallies and start dealing with issues that rose after 9-11. They were the first to put together a rally to protest the rampant discrimination and violence that was being directed at Arab Americans.. They haven't stopped organizing and keeping people informed. The latest group to step to the plate and make noise on the anti-war front is the Beastie Boys with their new song called 'In A World Gone Mad'. It's free to download at http://www.beastieboys.com/ "We felt it was important to comment on where the US appears to be heading now. A war in Iraq will not resolve our problems. It can only result in the deaths of many innocent civilians and US troops. If we are truly striving for safety, we need to build friendships, not try to bully the rest of the world." is what Adam Yauch wrote on the group's website.. Taking advantage of the way things can get around via the Internet Mide D wrote this.. "Being together, writing and recording, we felt it would be irresponsible not to address what's going on in the world while the events are still current. It didn't make sense to us to wait until the entire record was finished to release this song." Adam Horovitz rebuffed the commonly used criticism against anti-war folks by writing: "This song is not an anti-American or pro-Saddam Hussein statement. This is a statement against an unjustified war." Rounding out all the anti-war songs is a stinging letter to President Bush from Russell Simmons which you can read later on in this issue of the FNV ====================================== JA RULE RACIALLY DISSED IN NEW ZEALAND by Mark Eastbase 3/10/03 Love him or hate him, Ja Rule is one of the Rap's chart topping kings at the moment, but it's been a long and bumpy ride for the high-school drop out. Starting out in the rap group 'Cash Money Clik' with DMX, and other now mega-famous artists, battling on the streets Yes, '8 Mile' style against the likes of Jay Z before he was anyone, and coming out victorious. To getting his first solo record deal with Def Jam Records, and releasing arguably his best album to date 'Venni, Vinni Vecci'. Thru all of his ups and downs, and proverbial 'silver linings' the last thing Ja Rule needed was to come to little ol' New Zealand and get called perhaps the most insulting and ignorant word in the English language. From the minute Ja Rule and his entourage - that included Cadillac Tah and Black Child of The Murderers - arrived at the press conference at the Queens St, Soundz Megastore, that fateful Friday, he was accosted with perhaps the most uninformed and ridiculous questions one could imagine. For the most part I sat silent, listening to questions ranging from 'Is it true such and such from TV3 had your love child?' and 'How is the show going to differ without Ashanti?' Come on, simply, THE SHOW WILL NOT HAVE ASHANTI AT IT, that's how it's going to differ. I was quite honestly, repulsed by the majority of the questions during the conference, and in hindsight I applaud Ja Rule for having the time and the patience to deal with the onslaught of ignorance. However, that's not to discredit everyone in attendance, certain persons in the media at the event had the decency to ask appropriate questions to gain insight into Ja's mentality and his outlook on life. Charlotte Dawson from TV1 wanted to know if Ja had heard any NZ Hiphop (His response: 'I'm not really familiar with New Zealand rap, it's my first time out here....I've been other places overseas, you know, Germany, London...I was a little more familiar with those rappers over there, but I haven't heard anything from here. I'm looking forward to it though.'), and wanted to know how he felt about people coming out in the hundreds if not thousands to see him, which when Ja gave his answers was very insightful 'It's a great feeling' he said explaining his inspirations back home '[back home] I write my records to touch the world, not just my block or the guys that I hang with.....I make my records so that the whole world can feel my passion and my pain. And what I'm seeing even all the way out in New Zealand is that they understand passion and pain.' Ja went on to catch questions about what he would say to kids to promote education, and he answered honestly as he did all the questions he was asked that he didn't finish High School, so it would be hypocritical for him to go out and promote it, when he's made it to where he's at now regardless. The poison icing on the cake, however, was one particular reporter from Channel Z, who had the extreme ignorance and idiocy to ask the following question: 'Yo....Homie, how many niggers in your posse, yo?' Now, for those of you dark skinned or not - who feel that using this word holds no direct meaning or emotional attachment are in for a surprise. The word has a deep rooted history of pain and scaring that someone who has struggled against it's stereotypes and it's definition like Ja should not have to endure in his own home city or country, let alone in a foreign country from someone who clearly A: didn't care about Hiphop culture, B: didn't have any respect for Ja Rule as a person or as an artist, or C: have and respect for the New Zealand public. Unfortunately, what makes this incident even more shameful is that the majority of the media in the room LAUGHED at this comment, thinking the person asking it was being funny. Ja Rule and his entourage, and any other self respecting person in the room did not however. And big respect to the lady from TV3 and the lady from Mai FM who distanced themselves from the racist reporter from the radio station Channel Z after that comment. The Racist reporter was asked to leave, both by the MC to the event which actually took him a while to decide to evict the reporter, unfortunately Ja's personal assistants and myself as well as the events security. At every junction the racist reporter refused to leave, opting to ignore us all. Eventually after many harmful hand gestures from Ja's pissed off entourage and the physical approach from several members of the security at the event, he was escorted out of the event where he was dealt with accordingly. At this point, again, I must commend Ja Rule for having the patience and stiff chin to continue on with the conference, and I must commend the restraint of many people who were feeling the way I felt hearing this racist make those comments. I felt, and still feel embarrassed to be a New Zealander, and a member of the media in this country where it seems racism is far from Oover' and in fact in the eyes of Channel Z is actually congratulated, and supported. And as a member of the Hiphop community, in New Zealand and globally as a whole, I'm insulted by the actions of Channel Z and their racist staff. My only hope is that people out there are smart enough to know that as long as that radio station is around, these types of things will constantly continue to effect the tours that come to these shores, and the credibility of Hiphop culture in New Zealand. Perhaps this reporter's actions are a direct reflection of his superiors' attitudes toward the Hiphop public and non-white people as a whole. -------- On a side note: This incident with Ja Rule is ironic considering he vigorously defended J-Lo using that word in the song 'I'm Real'. If you recall he went so far as to make it a point to proudly use that word when referring to himself at the end of their performance.. at the MTV Video Awards.-davey d- ============================= CONGRESS TRYING TO BAN HIP HOP SHOWS.. Prosecutors May Be Raving About Jailing Hip Hoppers Very Soon By: Opio Lumumba Sokoni, J.D. Would you believe that there are laws being proposed in Congress that would shut down venues and jail owners and promoters of Hip Hop concerts? If something is not done now, the government will have the legal right to jail and fine innocent venue owners and promoters for some other person's drug use. One of these laws, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, is called the "RAVE Act of 2003" (H.R. 718) - sponsored by North Carolina Republican Howard Coble and co-sponsored by Texas Republican Lamar Smith. Let me not fail to mention that Congressman Coble (who is the chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security) said on a radio show last month that the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was appropriate. It's no wonder that he is sponsoring this law. There is no hip way to break this bad bill down. But to make it simple, the "RAVE Act" expands the scope of the previously passed bill often referred to as the "crack house statute." This bill would make it easier for the federal government to prosecute owners and managers of businesses and real estate if customers, employees, tenants, or other persons on their property commit a drug-related offense. Persons convicted under this new law could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison, fined $500,000 and have their business or property confiscated under current forfeiture laws. Formerly introduced in 2002, the RAVE Act came close to passing the Senate last year and might have become law if it wasn't for a national campaign led by Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). Tens of thousands of voters urged Senators to reject it. Business interests collected nearly 20,000 signatures on a petition that warned that the RAVE Act "is a serious threat to civil liberties, freedom of speech and the right to dance." Protests were held in cities around the country, including a protest in the form of a "rave" (a dance party with electronic music) held on the lawn of Congress. Ultimately, two of the original Senate co-sponsors withdrew their support. Supporters of the bill are determined to pass it this year. The second bill being proposed is the CLEAN-UP Act - sponsored by California Republican Doug Ose. This is a seemingly harmless bill that provides more money and training for the clean up of illegal methamphetamine laboratories. But look deeper into the bill and you will find provisions that would make it a federal crime - punishable by up to nine years in prison - to promote "any rave, dance, music or other entertainment event" that might attract some attendees that would use drugs. Some may say, "So what - they should get popped if they let people use drugs at their spots." That's not the point. The real issue is that businessmen and women could be prosecuted even if they were not involved in drugs - and even if they took steps to stop drug use on their property. To take it further, if these bills become law, property owners may be too afraid to rent or lease their property to groups holding dance parties, and other musical events - effectively stifling entrepreneurs who are doing the right thing. If that doesn't scare you, let's try this. These laws would also make it where anyone who threw an event at their own home (such as a party or barbecue) in which one or more of their guests used drugs, they could potentially face a $500,000 fine and 20 years in federal prison. All it takes is a snitch and a racist prosecutor - and we all know that there is no shortage of either. I am a lobbyist for DPA (www.drugpolicy.org), which is the leading organization fighting this law. This organization also fights against America's drug war which has lacked reason, compassion and justice. My work has been more on "treatment instead of incarceration" (www.dcmeasure62.com) for non-violent, low level drug offenders. I work on solutions to prevent the massive incarceration of blacks (in particular) who need drug treatment, counseling, job training and jobs versus jail. My interest in the RAVE Act was peaked when one of my best friends, a DJ and promoter, talked extensively about how the RAVE Act would affect him. But, my research also lead me to understand how, if these laws were passed, hip hop would be further harassed by the government. So, I took a couple steps over to Bill Piper's office (he successfully fought to kill the RAVE act last year) and began asking questions about these bills. Mr. Piper, who is the Associate Director of National Affairs for DPA, said that these proposed laws make it easier to punish people for the actions of others and could bankrupt nightclubs, arenas and stadiums and put their owners in jail. He also added that it is clear that dancing, singing, and playing music may soon become the next casualty in the War on Drugs. To take action on this matter just click on http://actioncenter.drugpolicy.org/action/ and participate in the fax campaign to kill this bill. [Opio Lumumba Sokoni is a Howard University trained lawyer working as the Implementation Coordinator for DC's "Treatment Instead of Jail" initiative. He has previously worked for TransAfrica, Amnesty International and the Interfaith Action Communities. His writings have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Black Commentator and the Washington Times. He has been quoted in a number of publications including the Washington Post. Opio Sokoni is the author of an award winning children's book entitled, "I Want to Be a Lawyer When I Grow Up." He is also a Hip Hop enthusiast.] ===================================== HIP-HOP SUMMIT ACTION NETWORK 512 Seventh Avenue, 43rd Fl, New York, New York 10018 OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH March 10, 2003 Dear Mr. President: As you approach your final decision on a war to disarm Iraq, we are writing urgently to recommend that you use your good office and stature as a world leader to win disarmament of Iraq without going to war. Thus far, without a full-scale war, you have been successful in marshalling the United Nations and the world community to affirm the importance of disarming Saddam Hussein of all weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations' inspectors are making progress. The worldwide demand that Iraq complies completely with UN Resolution 1441 has produced results and important information that will enhance the effectiveness of the ongoing UN inspection process. Rather than establishing a deadline for war, you could strengthen the lifeline for peace and disarmament in Iraq: continued UN inspections. Peace is not the absence of war, but it is the presence of justice. There is no justification for the massive killing of innocent people in an avoidable war on Iraq. The wrongness of this war will prevent a lasting peace in the Middle East and circumvent the progress that the UN is finally making in getting Saddam Hussein to comply. Domestically, Mr. President, rampant poverty is on the rise and the hopes and aspirations of millions of youth are being triaged on the altar of national neglect. We in the hip-hop community know and feel the pain, misery and wretchedness of the social condition of our communities. Now with the prospect of a multi-trillion dollar federal budget deficit, an unnecessary war on Iraq is only going to increase the cold damp hands of social dereliction that have a deadly choke hold on too many Americans across the nation. Give peace a greater chance. War on Iraq now is not the solution. We can win peace and disarmament without war. Sincerely, Russell Simmons Chairman Benjamin F. Chavis President ========================= The FNV Newsletter c 2002 Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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