FNV In Today's Issue: July 18 2000
*Straight Outta Hunters Point Documentary To Shed Light On Infamous 'Rap Wars'
*Chicago Hip Hoppers Are On The Move and Doing Big Thangs!
*Lets Take It Back To The Old School. by Dj Kane of Bombproductions
*Upski Response To NY Times Article
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The FNV Newsletter
written by Davey D
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+++Straight Outta Hunters Point Documentary ++++
Several weeks ago there were troubling headlines that got disseminated around the world that spoke of a 'Rap War' going on in the Bayview Hunters Point section of San Francisco. Two rival record labels West Mobb and Big Block supposedly had an exchange of words which resulted in 20 people getting shot and 4 people killed in a two week period of time. News reports framed the conflict as local rappers who lived within blocks of each other dissing each other on records and having those vinyl battles escalate to deadly violence on the streets. The conflicts brought an onslaught of media attention but sadly never captured the 'real' and underlying stories leading up to the conflict. The violence while involving two labels was the result of drama between two groups of people and had very little to do with people dissing each other on record. More then a few outlets tried to make comparisons to the feud between 2Pac and Biggie. But according to folks within the Bayview Hunters Point community there were very few similarities in that regard.
Over the past weeks a lot of folks had stepped up and helped bring about a truce. In particular, a long time rapper named Big Herm and brothers from the Nation of Islam played crucial roles. There are currently on going efforts by numerous activist, community groups and churches to help keep the peace that was established. Last week there was a Stop The Violence march led by Brothers Against Guns and activist AG Jelani. This upcoming weekend there will be a 'Youth Speak Out/Townhall meeting. Also out the rumble is a documentary that has been made called 'Straight Outta Hunters Point'. It was a project that was already in the works by a rapper/producer named Y2K who is with West Mobb records when the deadly conflicts erupted. Y2K managed to chronicle the events as well as the peace restoring efforts. He interviewed all the key players in the Bayview's Hip Hop community including Big Herm Lewis, Young Boo of 'rival' Big Block records and rap star Guice of Get Paid records. He also spent considerable time speaking with young people in the area about the types of things they are going through and experiencing. Accompanying the documentary will be a soundtrack that features a lot of the aspiring rappers in the area. Big props to Y2K and his hard work and efforts. For more information peep drop an email to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Also look out for their website which they are currently puttin together.. Who said folks in the hood don't use the Internet.
One of the the biggest complaints that was echoed over and over again was the fact that many of the people who reside in that area were growing frustrated with the lack of access they had to getting material exposed to local venues and radio. This has occurred in spite of some artist selling in access more then 100 thousand units. That problem is something Bayview Hunters Point is figuring out how to address..In the meantime the Internet is and will take on new meaning for these aspiring folks..
++++++++++Chicago Hip Hoppers Are On The Move and Doing Big Thangs!++++++++++++
Just wanted to update folks about what's been happening in Chicago and their Hip Hop community. As you may recall we had been reporting that large numbers within Chi Town's Hip Hop community had gathered together and launched a boycott against the House of Blues. There were major concerns that the popular venue which plays host to numerous out of town rap stars were 'off limits' to the Chicago locals. In addition, there were allegations that HOB wasn't the friendliest place to people of color. A couple of months ago more then a hundred people descended upon the venue to voice their displeasure. After some initial conversation and unsuccessful results the group which is collectively known as chicagohiphop.com led two other marches targeting club owner actor Dan Ackroyd. The group will be bringing a class action lawsuit against HOB. We'll keep you posted on the outcome of that..
While they still have major issues with HOB, it had always been just a small part of the ongoing efforts behind Chicagohiphop.com in terms of uniting Chi-Town's Hip Hop community. Over the past couple of months there has been a lot of community outreach and organizing which are now starting to bear fruit. For example, tomorrow [July 19] there will be 'In Da Hood Music Seminar' that will feature artist like Bushwik Bill of the Ghetto Boys. It was organized by Hip Hop activist Rappin' Tate who I had the pleasure of serving on a panel with last year while visiting Chicago. Tate is one of those cats who is definitely true to the game in terms of using Hip Hop as a viable tool to help make a difference in the lives of young people and bring about social change. He along with the fellow members of chicagohiphop.com will be holding a one day music seminar where they will charge only 5 dollars as opposed to 75 bucks which is often the case with traditional seminars..
This Sunday [July 23] Chicagohiphop.com will be hosting a showcase which will feature all Chicago acts and music. It will be hosted by artists like the Pacifics and Qualo and La Junta. Thus far there's been a big buzz about this which will hopefully inspire other venues to follow suit. Hopefully venues like Rapture [730 N Green] where this outing will be held will become just as popular as the HOB because they are responding to community needs and concerns. I wonder if the Pacifics are gonna do their Blood Hound Gang Revenge song? I had the pleasure of meeting these guys when they came to the Bay Area and having them on my Sunday night Street Knowledge show. They are part of the ongoing Yellowfist Campaign which has been not only been responding to the anti-Asian racist song 'Yellow Fever' put out by the rock group the Blood Hound Gang, but they've also been bringing much needed attention to anti-Asian sentiments and racial attacks.. these kids got a nice flow and did very well during their performance here in the Bay Area.
Finally chicagohiphop.com is in the process of working with NARAS and ASCAP to host an industry mixer which is going down on August 10th. It's expected to draw politicians as well as a who's who in the music industry. All sorts of folks are flying in for the event. The group is also in the process of addressing out of town artist in particular those who come out the Big Apple about them not supporting the Chicago Boycott. The lack of concern by out of town groups hasn't been sitting well with many within Chi-Town's Hip Hop community.
All in all chicagohiphop.com is doing exactly what many critics of Hip Hop have complained that rappers don't do. They're organizing. They currently have more then 500 people involved in their group. They're reaching out and giving back to the community as evidence by their 'Seminar In Da Hood' and they are becoming extremely politicized as evidenced by the marches and subsequent actions against the HOB.If that's not enough they have members ranging from Operation Push on down young leaders involved in the Puerto Rican independence movement involved in chicagohiphop.com. And like everyone else they have discovered and are making themselves heard and known via the Internet. They are in the process of redesigning their website.. For more info hit them up at http://www.chicagohiphop.com or drop them a line at mailto:email@example.com
+++++Lets Take It back To The Old School+++++++++++
Over the past few FNV issues, I have been revisiting events in Hip Hop history. I have been asking folks to submit their old school memories so we can get an idea of how things were back in the days from your respective neighborhoods.. Props to DJ Kane out of Santa Cruz for spotlighting a Bay Area/Northern Cali Hip Hop radio pioneer..Hit me off with the memories at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Hearing the name Derek B made me remember the old days
of Yo! MTV Raps when it first aired on sundays for 30
minutes...THAT'S IT. Derek B was the first DJ I ever
saw use 3 turntables.... but that's not as old school
as I'd like to go back. I am 27 now and started
listinening to hip hop WAAAAAAAAAAAY back in the days.
Here on the Central Coast (Salinas, Santa Cruz,
Watsonville, etc.) I remember listening to 90.9 KHDC
(a station that has always supported hip hop and which
BOMB PRODUCTIONS did a weekly hip hop show for 3
years) after midnight when Bubba G. Scotch would play
some of the first hip hop jams ever made. His show
came on so late and I was so young that I had to
record it and listen in the morning. My goal was to
get the whole Roxanne Saga. I just think we should
all give respect to the pioneers of hip hop, not only
on a national level but on a local level. If it were
not for people like Bubba G. Scotch and THE VERBALTEK
people outside of the hip hop hotbeds... LA AND NY, we
may have never got a chance to take part in and become
a member of one of the greatest things in the world...
The Hip Hop Culture!
*Bomb Productions can be seen on ALL CITY MUSIC VIDEOS
every Tuesday and Thursday in Watsonville,CA on CH 19
at 9pm. IN Santa Cruz at 9pm on CH 71 and in SAN JOSE
on CH 15A at 4:30... any local or national artists are
more than welcome to contact us regarding interviews..
++++++++++Upski Response To NY Times Article++++++++++++
Last issue we published an editorial written by Yvonne Bynoe of politicallyblack.com entitled 'The White Boy Shuffle'. http://www.rapstation.com/today_in_hiphop/#The%20White%20Boy%20Shuffle... It in response to an article that appeared in the NY Times entitled 'Guarding The Hip Hop Borders' http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/race/070600kleinfield-hiphop.html. The article focused on a couple of people, among them William 'Upski' Wimsatt who is a well known Hip Hop activist and author of two well received books 'Bomb The Suburbs' and No More Prisons'. Yvonne's article took Upski to task for the disparaging remarks attributed to him in the NY Times piece.. It also raised the larger question of how Black people are perceived and how folks interact with us.. Are we seen as stereotypical ghetto images or as fellow human beings? Within that question Yvonne raises the issue of how people interact with us based upon those images and wonders if white America can ever get passed the saturated, heavily marketed characartures of Black America? It often seems like the more street/ghetto you behave the more you can be socially and even financially rewarded especially within the music and entertainment industry. It's no different then the way we as men socially reward good looking women in this patriarchal society.If a woman is smarter, more aggressive or behaves in way that doesn't fit our comfortable images, then we as men often have a problem. The same thing applies to many of us as people of color in our day to day interactions with white America.
Adding fuel to this are the types of enabling gestures that we encounter. All of us have experienced the awkward uncomfortable scenarios of folks when encountering us suddenly switching into 'ghetto dialect', administering the fancy 'black handshake' or other gestures that are based upon stereotypes. The sense is that folks are trying to be down or culturally sensitive. The problem here is culture extends way beyond a fancy handshake and ghetto speak and unfortunately far too many people are unwilling to venture that far. Still others will make remarks like 'Gee you don't sound black' when encountering African Americans who 'speak well' or act surprised if do well in math or school. Complicating this issue are the stereotypical/ negative ghetto'/street ways people behave an act in an attempt to be down with 'Hip Hop culture'. That in itself. becomes problematic as it casts a negative light on Hip Hop and as far as the mainstream society is concerned that negativity usually gets attributed to someone trying to 'act Black'.
In any case I can't say for sure if all this would apply to Upski. He seemed like a cool guy the one time I met him and his progressive politics and community involvement certainly don't suggest that he's out of pocket. However, the issues raised should continuously be discussed because they go beyond Upski and have more to do with our day to day race relations. As for Upski, he had issued a rebuttal statement to the NY Times article. He is in the process of preparing a longer more detailed response. He maintains the NY Times misquoted him.. and if that's the case, he should sue the hell out them and teach them a serious financial lesson. If the NY Times did misquote him and deliberately maligned him, then we all need to take a long hard look at the outside entities seeking to wreck havoc and cause confusion within the ranks of the Hip Hop community.. next issue I will run back everyone's feed back.. The intent is to get people to discuss the issues that were raised in both the article and letters..Until then here's Upski's response
An open letter to the New York Times:
It would take a book-length response to untangle all the inaccuracies, misquotes, and staggering mischaracterizations in N.R. Kleinfields recent smear job on race in hip-hop. After following me around for days, Kleinfield lured me into believing he intended to portray me as hip-hops Great White Hope. To counter that problematic image and in the spirit of honesty- Gita Drury and I at different times spent as much as an hour open-heartedly spoon-feeding him as much dirt about me as we could dredge up. That hours worth of dirt became the focus of his story (along with the falsely paraphrased scenes which Kleinfield reconstructed as though he had witnessed them- with Dog and Evelyn Aako whom I recommended he call after we were unable to find any of my black friends and colleagues whod dish dirt on me). Kleinfields condescending tone throughout the piece is subtly disguised by his way of writing his own views as though they are coming from me. I appreciate criticism of white people including myself. I love raw honesty, but this was just lazy and insulting to the hip-hop community (especially the shallow, stereotypical portrayals of Elliott Wilson, Dog and Trife). I want to publicly apologize to all the people of color in my life for trusting this reporter with material he obviously couldnt handle. My friends and I devote our lives to undoing the sickness of racism, prison proliferation, environmental destruction, and miseducation of youth. Thanks for belittling our work. I am personally extremely hurt by Mr. Kleinfields deception. My reputation has been smeared. Therefore, I expect an apology from Mr. Kleinfield, an explanation of his behavior, and what he has learned from this experience in writing. And please, this time Kleinfield, no lies. I dont want to have to write a book in which I go back and interview all the other people hes done this to. My love for the truth is what made me talk to Mr. Kleinfield in the first place. Now its his turn to tell the truth.
I will be posting a more detailed (15 page!) reply to this article, the responses to it, and the lessons I have learned later this week at www.nomoreprisons.net. I am sending this short letter to the New York Times, though I have little faith they will print it in anything like its original form. I am also sending it to some of Mr. Kleinfields editors and colleagues at the Times in an attempt to hold him accountable for the damage he has done. I am also sending a copy of this to as many of my friends and colleagues as I can find e-mail addresses for while Im on the road, and also to the committee that awards the Pulitzer Prize, which Im sure this series will be nominated for. I am also in the process of calling people of color in my life one by one to make personal apologies for what I said and for my bad judgment in saying it. If anyone has questions or issues with me, or other strategies for counteracting this, I would appreciate you sharing them with me. Im sorry for not reaching out to many of you sooner. I was in shock for the first day, then I had to leave for Chicago to go to a wedding and see my grandmother (who is nearly 100!). Then I will be taking a four day solo retreat and going to New York to work on Active Element. I will respond to all e-mails and phone calls when I get back to the Reciprocity office on Wednesday, July 18. I have to say, Im still pretty shaken up now five days after the article came out. Thanks to all of Gitas and my friends who have supported us through this. If someone asks you about the piece, feel free to share this with them.
========END OF NEWSLETTER================
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written by Davey D
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