FNV In Today's Issue: July 25 2000
*Drama For Juvenile at his House Warming Party
*DMC Goes Solo
*All That Skratching Is Making Me Bitch by Billy Jam
*Black August 2000 by Kiilu Nyasha
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The FNV Newsletter
written by Davey D
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Cash Money rap star Juvenile has been running into a string of bad luck as of late. About a week and a half ago he along with several of his partners were hemmed up by police in San Diego after he made an ATM withdrawal in an upscale neighborhood. In what appears to be a serious case of racial profiling, Juvenile was detained by police for several hours until they confirmed his story. He ironically happened to be in San Diego shooting a special for MTV. Last week, Juvenile found himself arrested and charged with five counts of aggravated assault and battery. The charges were levied by five exotic dancers who were hired for his house warming party in Mandeville which is outside of New Orleans.
The women told police that Juvenile became enraged when he discovered a running bath tub had overflowed and water had seeped through the floors of his new house. He accused the women of being careless and stared shoving them and being verbally abusive. he grabbed one by the neck and kicked them all out of his home. He threatened to shoot them and wound up chasing them down the street with an ice pick. The women sought refuge at a neighbors house who called police.
According to Juvenile, nothing could be further from the truth. He noted that he never threatened to shoot anyone and never laid a hand on the women. He accuses them of making up the story because he kicked them out of his house. We will have to keep a close eye on what happens with this case. Lets hope Juvenile is a victim of a vicious set up. If convicted he could get up to six months in jail. He goes to court on September 11.
DMC of Run DMC has announced that he will be releasing a solo album before the end of the year. It will be entitled Checks, Thugs and Rock-N-Roll and will reflect the physical and psychological changes he has been undergoing in recent years. As was pointed out in the VH1 series 'Behind The Music', DMC had undergone a severe voice change. In addition he could no longer 'feel' the energetic, bigger than life, hard rock DMC character we have all come to know and love over the years. His new album will be a mixture of Hip Hop and rock.. His first single will be a Hip Hop remake of the Rock N Roll 1975 classic 'Feel Like Making Love' by Bad Company...
"ALL THAT SKRATCHIN IS MAKIN ME BITCH"
by BILLY JAM, HIP HOP SLAM
FROM ODDITY TO COMMODITY: THE NEW DJ ERA
The 4th of July Weekend, 2000 in San Francisco, that included the Skratchcon 2000 conference, the final filming dates of the "Scratch" documentary, plus the DMC Battle for World Supremacy 2000 & West Coast Team Championship, confirmed that the DJ as turntablist has officially gone from underground phenomenon to bona fide artist status. And as with any other genre's (often awkward) transition from the alternative into the mainstream spotlight, this can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand many applaud the fact that their music is finally getting props/respect/money while on the other many longtime DJs, who for years have dedicated themselves to this unrecognized art-form, feel that 'their' music is been taken from them, distorted, and commercialized.
Regardless of where you stand on this issue you can't deny that the DJ as turntablist has come a long way in a relatively short time. Only three years ago Q-Bert had resigned himself to the fact that the DJ would most likely remain an oddity rather than a commodity. "If this world doesn't accept us we'll just make our own world," he told me in a 1997 interview. Today he's featured in national marketing campaigns in network television ads and is known the world over by all types of music fans. Once hip hop's forgotten bastard cousin, restricted to the small core of fans who sought out DMC/ITF battle video tapes from specialty shops, the DJ is now all over the place. No longer do we blink at the sight of DJs cutting up in MTV rock videos or at the sound of scratching in car commercials. Nor are we surprised (amused maybe) at seeing certain star scratch DJs act like rock stars at concert dates with roadies in tow (to carry their record case and insert/test their needles!).
But the fact that the DJ has arrived, five years after BOMB Hip Hop's prophetic "Return of the DJ" compilation, is really a wonderful thing even though many will inevitably complain (some justified, some just playa hatin jealousy) just as they did when rap/hip hop or when punk/grunge or when techno/rave music graduated from fanzine to Entertainment Tonight/Rolling Stone status. All it means is that the genre is growing into something powerful and ever-present and with that comes the growing pains and various mutations of the musical force: some good, some bad. Now luckily we can walk into a major music megastore and find a "turntablism" section or go into a record store and have rows and rows of battle/break records to choose from. With all of the choices all we have to do now is use our judgement to select the good from the mediocre.
QBert, MixMaster Mike, D-Styles, Shortkut, Yogafrog, J-Rocc, Melo-D, Rhettmatic, Babu, DJ Flare, Cash Money, Steve D, Roc Raida, Rob Swift, Total Eclipse, Mista Sinista, Noize, Craze, A-Trak, Swift Rock, P-Trix: these DJ names, boldly emblazzoned on the back of the SkratchCon 2000 T-shirts,only hinted at the magnitude and importance of Skratchcon 2000. The first ever scratch DJ forum, which took place all day July 1st at San Francisco's prestigious Yerba Beuna Center For The Arts, with an after show (Thud Rumble) across town at the Fillmore Auditorium, effortlessly elevated skratching to both the artistic and academic level of attention and respect that it long deserved. It achieved what it had set out to do: be an event that provided "education and development of skratch music literacy." In fact Skratchcon 2000 will go down in the popular music history books as the turning point for turntablism. Sadly ironic it will also be remembered as the day that the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, who masterminded the whole event, called it quits and gave their final performance.
"SCRATCH" DOCUMENTARY UPDATE BY DIRECTOR DOUG PRAY:
Here's the latest report for "All that skratchin is makin me bitch" from
"Scratch" documentary director Doug Pray:
"We're back in the cutting room after a great shoot in SF covering Skratchcon2000 & Thud Rumble performances at the Fillmore, as well as picking up some good interviews with MixMasterMike, DJ Shadow, Scratch Perverts, Babu, Craze, Cash Money, and a blazing, firing-squad style interview with the Hamsters (Cue, Eddie Def, Quest & Marz were the firing squad) who had plenty to say about the state of the art (and the art of the state). Also rounded out the documentary's portrait of the Bay Area DJ community by getting some perspective from indy label owners Naut Humon(Asphodel),Dave Paul (Bomb Hip-Hop), and, of course, YOU, the owner of Hip-hop Slam! We have one last shoot in August in NYC (DMC US Finals and a few final interviews to tie the whole damn thing together). What sux about this process is getting near the end and realizing that we aren't going to be able to include every DJ we wanted to in the film... (though maybe we can get them in musically in the audio tracks) we'll see. Either way, we're super pumped about SCRATCH so far and you can be sure the edit room will be a non-stop jam for the next 3 months (after all, like DJing, editing interviews and live performances is nothing more than digging, digging, digging, finding cool beats and breaks and voices, and slamming them all together)." For ongoing updates on "Scratch" visit the documentary film's website: http://www.scratchmovie.com
BLACK AUGUST 2000: A Story of African Freedom Fighters
by Kiilu Nyasha
Black August is a month of great significance for Africans throughout the Diaspora, but particularly here in the U.S. where it originated. "August," as Mumia Abu-Jamal noted, "is a month of meaning, of repression and radical resistance, of injustice and divine justice; of repression and righteous rebellion; of individual and collective efforts to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us.".
On this 21st anniversary of Black August, first organized to honor our fallen freedom fighters, Jonathan and George Jackson, Khatari Gaulden, James McClain, William Christmas, and the sole survivor of the August 7, 1970 Courthouse Slave Rebellion, Ruchell Cinque Magee, it is still a time to embrace the principles of unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical fitness and/or training in martial arts, resistance, and spiritual renewal..
The concept, Black August, grew out of the need to expose to the light of day the glorious and heroic deeds of those Afrikan women and men who recognized and struggled against the injustices heaped upon people of color on a daily basis in America.
One cannot tell the story of Black August without first providing the reader with a brief glimpse of the "Black Movement" behind California prison walls in the Sixties, led by George Jackson and W. L. Nolen, among others.
As Jackson wrote: "...when I was accused of robbing a gas station of $70, I accepted a deal...but when time came for sentencing, they tossed me into the penitentiary with one to life. It was 1960. I was 18 years old.... I met Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Engels, and Mao when I entered prison and they redeemed me. For the first four years I studied nothing but economics and military ideas. I met black guerrillas, George Big Jake Lewis, and James Carr, W.L. Nolen, Bill Christmas, Torry Gibson, and many, many others. We attempted to transform the Black criminal mentality into a black revolutionary mentality. As a result, each of us has been subject to years of the most vicious reactionary violence by the state. Our mortality rate is almost what you would expect to find in a history of Dachau. Three of us [Nolen, Sweet Jugs Miller, and Cleve Edwards) were murdered several months ago [Jan. 13, 1969] by a pig shooting from thirty feet above their heads with a military rifle. (Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson)
When the brothers first demanded the killer guard be tried for murder, they were rebuffed. Upon their insistence, the administration held a kangaroo court and three days later returned a verdict of "justifiable homicide.". Shortly afterward, a white guard was found beaten to death and thrown from a tier. Six days later, three prisoners were accused of murder, and became known as The Soledad Brothers.
"I am being tried in court right now with two other brothers. John Clutchette and Fleeta Drumgo, for the alleged slaying of a prison guard. This charge carries an automatic death penalty for me. I cant get life. I already have it."
On August 7, 1970, just a few days after George was transferred to San Quentin, his younger brother Jonathan Jackson, 17, invaded Marin County Courthouse single-handed, with a satchel full of handguns, an assault rifle and a shotgun hidden under his raincoat. "Freeze," he commanded as he tossed guns to William Christmas, James McClain, and Ruchell Magee. Magee was on the witness stand testifying for McClain, on trial for assaulting a guard in the wake of a guards murder of another Black prisoner, Fred Billingsley, beaten and teargassed to death. A jailhouse lawyer, Magee had deluged the courts with petitions for seven years contesting his illegal conviction in 63. The courts had refused to listen, so Magee seized the hour and joined the guerrillas as they took the judge, prosecutor and three jurors hostage to a waiting van. To reporters gathering quickly outside the courthouse, Jonathan shouted, "You can take our pictures. We are the revolutionaries!"
Operating with courage and calm even their enemies had to respect, the four Black freedom fighters commandeered their hostages out of the courthouse without a hitch. The plan was to use the hostages to take over a radio station and broadcast the racist, murderous prison conditions and demand the immediate release of The Soledad Brothers. But before Jonathan could drive the van out of the parking lot, the San Quentin guards arrived and opened fire. When the shooting stopped, Jonathan, Christmas, McClain and the judge lay dead. Magee and the prosecutor were critically wounded, and one juror suffered a minor arm wound.
Magee survived his wounds and was tried originally with co-defendant Angela Davis. Their trials were later severed and Davis was eventually acquitted of all charges. Magee was convicted of simple kidnap and remains in prison to date -- 37 years with no physical assaults on his record. An incredible jailhouse lawyer, Magee has been responsible for countless prisoners being released -- the main reason he was kept for nearly 20 years in one lockup after another. He is currently at Corcoran State Prison, having been recently transferred from Pelican Bay, remains strong and determined to win his freedom and that of all oppressed peoples.
In his second book, Blood In My Eye, published posthumously, Jackson noted: "Reformism is an old story in Amerika. There have been depressions and socio-economic political crises throughout the period that marked the formation of the present upper-class ruling circle, and their controlling elites. But the parties of the left were too committed to reformism to exploit their revolutionary potential....Fascism has temporarily succeeded under the guise of reform." Those words ring even truer today as we witness a form of fascism that has replaced gas ovens with executions and torture chambers; plantations with prison industrial complexes deployed in rural white communities to perpetuate white supremacy and Black/Brown slavery.
The concentration of wealth at the top is worse than ever: One percent now owns more wealth than that of the combined 95% of the U.S. population; individuals are so rich their wealth exceeds the total budgets of numerous nations -- as they plunder the globe in the quest for more.
"The fascist must expand to live. Consequently he has pushed his frontiers to the farthest lands and peoples.... Im going to bust my heart trying to stop these smug, degenerate, primitive, omnivorous, uncivil --- and anyone who would aid me, I embrace you.
"International capitalism cannot be destroyed without the extremes of struggle...We are the only ones...who can get at the monsters heart without subjecting the world to nuclear fire. We have a momentous historical role to act out if we will. The whole world for all time in the future will love us and remember us as the righteous people who made it possible for the world to live on.... I dont want to die and leave a few sad songs and a hump in the ground as my only monument. I want to leave a world that is liberated from trash, pollution, racism, nation-states, nation-state wars and armies, from pomp, bigotry, parochialism, a thousand different brands of untruth, and licentious, usurious economics." (Soledad Brother)
On August 21, 1971, after numerous failed attempts on his life, the State finally succeeded in assassinating George Jackson, then Field Marshall of the Black Panther Party, in what was described by prison officials as an escape attempt in which Jackson allegedly smuggled a gun into San Quentin in a wig. That feat was proven impossible, and evidence subsequently suggested a setup designed by prison officials to eliminate Jackson once and for all.
However, they didnt count on losing any of their own in the process. On that fateful day, three notoriously racist prison guards and two inmate turnkeys were also killed, presumably by Jackson who was shot and killed by guards as he drew fire away from the other prisoners in the Adjustment Center (lockup) of San Quentin.
Subsequently, six A/C prisoners were singled out and put on trial -- wearing 30 lbs of chains in Marin courthouse -- for various charges of murder and assault: Fleeta Drumgo, David Johnson, Hugo L.A. Pinell (Yogi), Luis Talamantez, Johnny Spain, and Willie Sundiata Tate. Only one was convicted of murder, Johnny Spain. The others were either acquitted or convicted of assault. Pinell is the only one remaining in prison and has suffered prolonged torture in lockups since 1969. He is currently serving his 10th year in Pelican Bays SHU, a torture chamber if ever there was one. A true warrior, Pinell would put his life on the line to defend his fellow captives.
As decades passed, our Black scholars, like Mumia Abu-Jamal, learned of other liberation moves that happened in Black August. E.g., the first and only armed revolution whereby Africans freed themselves from chattel slavery commenced on August 21, 1791. Nat Turners slave rebellion began on August 21, 1831 (coincidence?), and Harriet Tubmans Underground Railroad started in August. As Mumia stated, "Their sacrifice, their despair, their determination and their blood has painted the month Black for all time."
Let us honor our martyred freedom fighters as George Jackson counselled: "Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution"
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