FNV NEWSLETTER July 14 2002 In this week's issue *GAYS AND HIP HOP by Davey D for SJ Mercury News *RISE UP HIP HOP NATION-WISE UP pt 2 by Kristina Wright *RISE UP HIP HOP NATION-WISE UP pt1 by Kristina Wright The FNV Newsletter c2002 Send comments to mrdaveyd@aol peep the websites www.daveyd.com www.rapstation.com ================================= What up folks.. I'm just getting back from Barcelona, Spain where the World AID conference took place. To say the least it was overwhelming.. I got a chance to hear everyone from Bill Clinton to Nelson Mandela and I'm still taking it all in.. As I said in my last newsletter, what I experienced was sobering and in the upcoming weeks I will have a longer piece outlining what I learned... In the meantime please check out these two incredible essays that were written by Ms Kristine Wright who is down in Southern Cali.. They first appeared on Blackelectorate.com and leave us with lots to think about.. Read pt 2 first.. It'll make more sense.. Until next time enjoy Davey D =========================== GAYS AND HIP HOP by Davey D for SJ Mercury News Who is the Gay Rapper? That's a question that obsessed people after the Connecticut publication One Nut set off a firestorm of speculation a few years ago by publishing a series of interviews with an anonymous well-known rapper who claimed to be gay. Hip-hop fans and industry insiders went on a witch hunt, analyzing lyrics and theorizing about various artists' offstage behavior. Stars ranging from LL Cool J to Dr. Dre to Jay-Z to Method Man found their sexual orientation being called into question. Sadly, the fascination was fueled by prevalent gay stereotypes. Far too many people seem to think that being gay would somehow prevent a rapper from busting a mind-altering dance move or kicking a dope freestyle. But such notions are ridiculous. After all, there are gay policemen, accountants and doctors who are as good at their jobs or better than their straight colleagues. So why couldn't the Gay Rapper be a superstar? A listen to the tracks ``Straight Trippin' '' or ``Fam Biz Edit,'' put out by Bay Area rappers Tim'm T West and Juba Kalamka with their crew, D/DC (Deep Dick Collective), lays to rest any idea that gay rappers lack the necessary skills.Over the past couple of years, D/DC has built a strong reputation at its frequent shows for both gay and straight crowds. The D/DC group is best known for its innovations -- fusing spoken-word, as well as straight-up rap, with the music. Their current CD has a title that's hard to confuse with any other, ``Bourgiebohopostpomoafro Homo,'' and they're working on a new disc, ``The Famous Outlaw League of Proto-Negroes,'' due out in the fall on the Sugartruck/Agitprop/Cellular label. Check out the Web site gayhiphop.com to sample D/DC's music. Another Bay Area artist who is openly gay and has forged an awesome reputation as an innovative rhymer is Hanifah Walidah. She first hit the scene in 1994 using the name Sha-Key, having released the impressive album ``A Headnodda's Journey.'' Her single ``Soulsville'' was ahead of its time because it fused rap with spoken-word years before that would become common. Walidah is featured on the new compilation album ``Shame the Devil'' (Freedom Fighter Records) which deals with the prison industrial complex. She's currently at work on a hip-hop opera. Hanifah and D/DC are just a few of the gay artists taking their rightful places in the world of hip-hop, and these artists are building upon the trailblazing spirit of earlier gay hip-hoppers.The Bay Area owes a debt of gratitude to people such as Page Hodell, one of the first women to do a live mix show on commercial radio, working the turntables on KSOL in the mid-'80s. She rivaled, and often surpassed, her male counterparts. Hodell also deejayed and produced one of the country's longest-running hip-hop clubs. The Box, as it was called, ran for more then 10 years in San Francisco, attracted thousands of clubgoers, mostly gay, and became a Bay Area institution. Props are also due for Dave Moss, who was on KSOL's up-and-coming rival station, KMEL, at the same time as Hodell. KMEL was then known primarily as a dance station, but on Saturday nights Moss would put together incredible East Coast-style break beat/hip-hop mixes that are still talked about today. DJ Neon Leon, well-known in London and among house music fans everywhere, started in the mid-'80s as a hip-hop DJ on KALX, the University of California-Berkeley station. He later earned his stripes as a Hip Hop club DJ at the now-defunct I-Beam. We could go on and on naming gay artists who have made an impact on hip-hop. Gays have always been down with hip-hop. Many have embraced the culture from day one....The question is: Do we accept our gay brothers and sistas? So who is the Gay Rapper? He or she might be the victor of a fierce rhyme battle or the artist whose record you dance to every time it's played on the radio or at a club. So what difference does it make? written by Davey D for San Jose Mercury News.. please send emails to email@example.com ============================= RISE UP HIP HOP NATION-WISE UP pt 2 by Kristine Wright First, I'd like to big up and offer respect to all souljahs in the struggle - the struggle for freedom, justice and equality continues and must continue. These souljahs fight on many fronts, from full-time revolutionaries, to full-time parents, taking care of their families and raising up stronger individuals for the future. From those doing what they should do, to those doing what they can do to just get by, we all are in the same struggle. We must start working a little harder to disrupt the status quo(please see Rise Up, Part 1: http://www.blackelectorate.com/articles.asp?ID=617), but to do this will take UNITY. Hip hop once again faces a moment in its history that may prove defining. Over five years ago the world watched the first implosion...East Coast vs. West Coast rivalries leading to the premature deaths of two hip hop truthsayers, Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. It was a wake up call, and a lot of us woke up, at least for a minute. But truth be told, we still get caught up in wrong battles fighting wrong enemies. The latest frontiers: Mainstream vs. Underground, or New School vs. Old School. Again, we've taken our eyez off the prize. For the past year, I've been carefully watching where hip hop was going and if it could reach its inner potential, and as we say in hip hop, move the crowd. I've seen some good things happen. Community activism in inner cities across the country is taking on a hip hop sensibility and offering real alternatives for youth at community levels. This activism has recently experienced national level successes, particularly thanks to Russell Simmons' Hip Hop Action Network. It has been responsible for organizing hip hop summits bringing artists, activists, spiritual leaders, and politicians to the same table for change. Most recently, the Hip Hop Action Network joined forces with New York educators and students to protest budget cuts in education, and due in part to these efforts, achieved retribution. Chuck D, KRS-1 and others have never stopped speaking truth to power and living their activism. Minister Farrakhan has also reached out to the hip hop community and offered his guidance to help us reach our revolutionary potential. Good things are happening. At the same time, however, I've also noticed a growing tension and division within the community, a community so close to organizing and reaching its powerful potential, but knocked off track time and time again. Is it a coincidence? I don't think so. The growing battles within hip hop around mainstream vs. underground, new school vs. old school, or "real" hip hop vs. commercial, are dangerous to real progress. A community divided is a community conquered indeed. Two most recent distractions center on the KRS-1 vs. Nelly beef and Nas vs. Hot 97. Both need careful consideration and real critical analyses. On her new CD, Lauryn Hill asserts, "Fantasy is what people want, but reality is what they need." Well, here's the reality when it comes to these feuds and others like it: 1. Although battling is a pillar of hip hop culture, the KRS-1/Nelly beef highlights a real generational divide. New school artists are always accused of selling out for the money, disrespecting the roots of hip hop and its founders, and perpetuating negative, stereotypical images in lyrics and videos. In retaliation, new school and mainstream artists call out old school and underground artists for being haters, jealous and has beens, out of touch with the community. Growing up in the KRS-1, Public Enemy era of hip hop, I owe my understanding of the struggle to them. My students consider me old school, and that's fine by me. But in this beef, I see both sides. Yes, the new generation needs to show more respect for those that paved the way. But old school folks must also show respect to young brothas and sistas still trying to maintain in the only way they know how in this world where few opportunities exist for the have nots. In many ways, the majority of youth we want to represent in the struggle relate much more to Nelly (if you live in Midwest), or Snoop (if you live in LA), or Ludacris (if you live in the South), than they do our more "conscious" hip hop keepers like KRS-1 or dead prez. That's real. We need to stop living in "what should be" and start dealing with "what is". So for KRS-1 to call for a boycott of Nelly, it solidifies the division. Only those that are of like mind were even listening, inevitably preaching to the choir, never reaching the congregation; never uniting or progressing. And what about all our young brothas and sistas in hoods around this country that like Nelly? Are we dissing them too? We need to think more carefully about possible repercussions. 2. If us old school folks tell the truth, bling-bling in hip-hop is hardly new. Old school hip hop had its share of references to the material. Who can forget the gold rope chains? Black folks have always liked nice things because we've rarely had them. This dates back well before hip hop. The zoot suits and fancy cars of the Harlem Renaissance come to mind. Mainstream "bling-bling" artists are really no different then the countless brothas in hoods all across the country that drive nice cars but live at home with mama. Let's stop blaming the new generation and mainstream artists for values we instilled long ago. In the same way, I remember as a high school girl singing along with my girlfriends to our favorite rapper/pimp, Big Daddy Kane: "Anything goes when it comes to hoes because pimpin' ain't easy". I know better now; then I didn't. We have to accept people where they are and for who they are, instead of telling them who they "should" or "should not" be. People do and can change, but criticism rarely motivates. Support and guidance may prove better motivators. 3. Although I applaud Nas for his courage to speak truth to power and highlight the corruption inherent in radio and corporate co-option of the culture he loves so passionately, I'm afraid his energies are misplaced and will not reap the results he would like. By calling out individuals from Flex to N.O.R.E. to Nelly, the focus of his warranted criticisms become personal and attention gets shifted from where it needs to be: on the oppressive system in which they are ALL pawns. The result: more division, no solution. And is Nas blameless, or am I the only one who remembers "Oochie Wally"? We can't be selective when we're keepin' it real. 4. I recently attended what I thought would be a "real" hip hop show featuring talented and often conscious artists including Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Blackalicious, The Roots, and Outkast. Unfortunately I left disappointed (and very early). I felt like I was more at an under-aged rave than a hip hop show that highlights "real" hip hop culture. I left wondering, what is so "positive" about this? Moreover, what is so "hip hop" about this? Because many of the underground "diss" mainstream so tuff and claim a "moral" high ground, it was strange to see this scene that didn't seem all that "positive" to me, where most in its young crowd were much more interested in getting stoned and ecstacied out than they were in the music or message. I think there's been more romanticism in revolution than real dedication to it in the underground and we need to talk more on this. Although I've noticed more hip hop activism, I'm fearful that the growing division in hip hop will undermine our progress. It's like the activists are underground but those that need it are the mainstream masses. No progress can come from this equation; so systemically, little has changed. We are (our youth especially) still victims of oppressive educational and judicial systems that lock us up and out of self-determination, the only real solution. And this solution must come from a united people. We are all different, coming from different places, but hopefully we can become out of many, one people (borrowing from the Jamaican national motto). Without the masses, there can be no movement (please see insightful piece by Adamma Ince, No Masses, No Movement: Black Boomers Shout Reparations in the Court - But Go Silent in the 'Hood', http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0221/ince.php). The Civil Rights Movement had the church as its catalyst. We have hip hop, and hip hop media outlets (radio, BET, magazines, web sites) must play a role in any movement to reach the masses. Even Nas must admit that, dissing one station while on another corporate owned radio station. If he didn't have access to this medium, only cats on his block would have heard him. Iyanla Vanzant once said, "Be against nothing, just be clear what you are for." If you are clear what you stand for, you need not be anti- anything or anyone, and the power of clarity circumvents any power gained from division. Although I understand that battles and beefs have been a part of hip hop culture since its beginnings, I hope they won't become another pawn for the oppressors' use to keep a revolutionary community and culture from realizing its potential for a greater good. Let's now work together and unite for progress and become truly, out of many, ONE PEOPLE.... ONE LOVE. Unity must have to start now, because I mean how long will we have to suffer to just learn these things...that we must be united - Bob Marley, Chant Down Babylon Kristine Wright teaches a course in Hip-Hop at the University of Califorina - Irvine and can be contacted via e-mail at Wrightk@uci.edu ==================== RISE UP HIP HOP NATION-WISE UP pt 1 by Kristine Wright We must start working a little harder to disrupt the status quo!I teach a class that analyzes hip hop culture as a lens to view society and social inequality. We DECONSTRUCT the institutional structures that keep people of color in this country (and around the world) down; and the structures we see in society in general are magnified in the entertainment industry. The game is the same game it's been since the dawn of colonialism. Exploit people of color, their labor, and their culture while benefiting financially and gaining more power over them. In many ways, hip hop may try to keep it real, but that voice is often silenced because oppressors control hip hop's IMAGE. Those in power get to reap the larger benefits of artists' labor, while simultaneously controlling their image and teaching the youth values that reinforce the same old shit. They get to make money, villianize the black man, and prostitute the black woman all at the same time. For them, it's a win-win situation. For the hip hop community, it becomes a trap we fall into because we believe money gets us power. Right now what money gets us is bought. Don't get me wrong, I'm not mad at young brothas and sistas for getting into the industry and making money in one of the only legal ways they can. The schools are definitely not offering any better solutions, and our youth are victims of an inequitable educational system that doesn't even teach them how to spell the word money, much less any skills to make some. Unfortunately, when it comes to the type of money one needs to have real power, individually, none of us have it. If the powers that be wanted to end blooming rap careers tomorrow, they could because THEY have the power to do it. THEY control the market. Here today, gone tomorrow, out with the rest of the trash. And all the platinum and the ice in your world won't change that. So what's the solution? Although it is important to continue to shed light on these issues by deconstructing the institutional power structure that keeps us down, it is now time to move beyond deconstructing and start building. I've come up with a few concrete solutions that I hope will help anyone who wants to make a difference but is not sure how: JOURNALISTS: 1. Continue to diffuse important information about positive events and people making changes. Continue to offer much needed public space for people speaking truth to power that are purposely ignored by mainstream outlets. 2. Journalists often have social networks that extend from activists to artists. Bring these people together. ACADEMICS: 1. Continue to SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER. In your classrooms, continue to highlight the reality of oppression around the world. Many students (especially those privileged enough to be in a college classroom) are really unaware of many issues and need the knowledge and our guidance. If we teach anything, teach students how to think critically and question the status quo. 2. Use university resources for youth outreach programs. Universities have big money for outreach to underrepresented youth of color, but we need to access it more often to build real relations with community youth. For example, my university sponsored a hip hop day of performances, films, and panelists, and we sponsored field trips for local high school students from lower income neighborhoods to come take part in the day's events. The high school students were introduced to college in a way they related to - namely hip hop. COLLEGE STUDENTS: 1. Continue to rally and demonstrate on campuses. Dissent is an important part of balancing power, and we're not hearing enough of it. 2. MENTOR or TUTOR a least one younger child. If money is a problem, universities have funding that you should be able to tap into. Many schools have funding for "student initiated" outreach programs. We should all be able to spare a couple hours a week to ensure our future humanity. PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS: 1. Although I know many already give back to your communities in significant ways (and I respect you for that), I think we need a more united effort. One suggestion: It is no secret that youth in hoods look up to rap stars. I think the hip hop community should reach out to urban school districts and maybe offer free shows featuring the kids' favorite hip hop artists for the school that has shown the most academic improvement, or has had the best attendance, etc. I think that would be a great motivation for our young people that look up and idolize you. With some unity and organizing, I think this offers a great opportunity for artists to mentor students while promoting achievement at the same time. 2. Consider carefully what you leave as your artistic legacy. Believe me, I fully understand the politics of the industry and consumerism, and I do not blame artists for the content of successful entertainment. However, when it comes down to it, you alone are responsible for the life you live. Live it honestly. One day, it may be your daughter that gets pissed on from a young cat that's heard "Fuck a Bitch" in one too many songs. Remember with everything, you reap what you sow. LOCAL ARTISTS and ACTIVISTS: 1. One concern I often highlight, and one I've heard from underground more "conscious" local artists is that the only one hearing their music are college students. I know you want to reach a community that needs your music and messages more. Keep in mind that these communities do not have the same access to your material as college students might, because of lack of resources to go beyond the gatekeepers of free television and radio. Go to local schools and colleges and tap into the same money that academics can tap into to sponsor after school classes or performances. I've also heard of local middle schools and high schools that are teaming up with local artists to offer more performance art opportunities for local kids. School districts have money for these type of things but it takes resolve to deal with the politics of schools and funding. Have schools approach radio on your behalf for sponsorship or to broadcast from community events. Radio is much more willing to bow to the political pressure of city government and community activism than they are to underground artists requesting airtime. HEADS: 1. Continue to preserve the elements of hip hop but stop the divisiveness over what's "real" hip hop. We often only see appropriation by corporate america, but I find that heads sometimes need to check how they've appropriated hip hop. To say that mainstream music, especially from brothas and sistas that made their way from no way, is not "real" hip hop is a lie and elitist, and it misrepresents hip hop, which you often indict mainstream media outlets for doing. At its essence, hip hop is making a way from no way. And in the case of mainstream hip hop, it's been a legal hustle for many cats from ghettos that would not have had many other opportunities. Underground "conscious" hip hop isn't any more real if only privileged folks hear it. Please keep in mind that having access to underground web sites and copping' every CD that drops implies some level of middle class. If you're on a college campus, you're already better off than 90% of the world's population. It's time to stop sitting in judgement and recognize that consciousness is often a luxury everyone can't afford, especially poor people with few options. Let's stop romanticizing revolution and start "keepin' it real". Revolutions may start in lyrics but they must end in action, and if the only action you are taking is to hate mainstream music, or to think only about "skillz" and preserving elements, then you are not a part of any real solution. And that s not hip hop. Don't forget: It's bigger than hip hop, and it should be. TO ALL: We all need to respect life and live that respect. EACH ONE must TEACH ONE: Live the example you want to teach and understand the power of example. I do believe that as a community we must look for solutions on personal and community levels instead of holding on to the idea that the powerful will one day wake up and realize the evil of their ways. While the system hurts the disadvantaged, the segment that gains advantage from it is not likely to sacrifice all the benefits that come with the status quo without a fight. For this reason, I believe real progress must come through SELF-DETERMINATION. It's time to start taking care of our own and taking ownership of our lives. The revolution can never be televised, until WE own the channel. ONE LOVE. Kristine Wright teaches a course in Hip-Hop at the University of Califorina - Irvine and can be contacted via e-mail at Wrightk@uci.edu ==================== ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To subscribe, send a blank message to FNV_Newsletterfirstname.lastname@example.org To unsubscribe, send a blank message to FNV_Newsletteremail@example.com To change your email address, send a message to FNV_Newsletterfirstname.lastname@example.org with your old address in the Subject: line To contact the list owner, send your message to FNV_Newsletteremail@example.com
this site is produced by Davey D in association with eLine Productions Please note.. This site looks and operates best in
i.e. You will not see scrolling text and other features in Netscape!
Please note.. This site looks and operates best in