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12/11/2017 "The Black Economy 50 Years After The March On Washington"


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Hip-Hop Fridays: Davey D. Interview With Project Censored


Media Democracy in Action is a report on the everyday activism of
grassroots media groups all across the nation. Media from the bottom
up is a sharp contrast to the top-down corporate media being offered
in the mainsteam. Expanding and growing the media democracy movement
is beginning to meet the needs for alternative/independent news and
information. Included in chapter 5 of the report are sections on: Hip Hop and
Political Action, Pacifica News, Flash Points, Democracy Now, Free
Speech TV, North Bay Progressive, Independent Media in the Middle
East, American Coalition for Media Education (ACME), and Retro Poll.

This interview below is an excerpt.

Project Censored (PC) Interviews DaveyD.

DaveyD is a Hip Hop historian, journalist deejay and community
activist. He writes for numerous publications and magazines and puts
out a popular online newsletter call The FNV, which has a subscriber
base of 100,000 people. He the host of Hard Knock Radio and Friday
night Vibe on Pacifica Station KPFA in the San Francisco bay area.

PC - How do you define Hip-Hop culture?

DaveyD: There are a couple of ways to answer this question. First,
the term Hip Hop means many things for many people. In fact, back in
the early days of the 1970s, when this cultural phenomenon came to
be, we never even called it Hip Hop. It was a term that came about
around or when a popular deejay named DJ Lovebug Starski incorporated
scatting in his raps. Hence he would say something like, "You hip hop
hippity-hip hop ya don't stop." Hip Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa
heard Lovebug do this and decided to use the phrase to describe this
emerging dance/music scene that had captivated most of the young
people in the Bronx.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the term Hip Hop is often
used interchangeably with the term rap, which unfortunately doesn't
speak to all that Hip Hop encompasses. To put it simply, Hip Hop is a
set of cultural expressions that encompasses b-boying (break dancing)
deejaying, writing, graffiti and emceeing (rap). Hip Hop is the
larger culture and lifestyle, while rap is just one aspect which
happens to be commodified to the point that it has become the face of
Hip Hop. It's important to keep this in mind, especially if we see
ourselves as media-savvy progressives.

I always find it a bit ironic when I'm around people who will suggest
that we not take what is written and depicted in the media at face
value, because it is often done so to further a particular political
or social agenda. Yet those same people will draw their opinions and
assessments about something like Hip Hop based upon what they have
seen, read and heard in those very same media they asked us to be
wary of. So, in short, Hip Hop is much more than the materialistic,
misogynistic images that are routinely marketed and disseminated on
the airwaves and throughout our community. Even more important is the
fact that there are many within Hip Hop who bemoan the fact that this
vibrant culture, which is embraced in damn near every country on the
planet, has been reduced to this one sliver and conversation.

We, who are reading a book like Project Censored, can sometimes feel
like we are spitting in the wind - or that we are all alone because
of the overwhelming onslaught of corporate propaganda, slick public
relations spins and outright lies regarding issues concerning the
environment, our government's foreign policy or human rights. But,
there are many within Hip Hop who feel just as frustrated when they
flip on the TV and see a video being aired on MTV or BET during
primetime hours with a scantily clad woman mindlessly gyrating to a
gangsta rap tune from the latest flavor of the month rap star. In the
words of rap star Chuck D of Public Enemy's, "Don't Believe the
Hype," or more concretely, "don't selectively NOT believe the hype."
If the Bill O'Reillys and Fox News networks of the world are
distorting news stories about issues important to the progressive
community, then they are definitely distorting stories and images
about Hip Hop music and culture.

With all that being said, let's build upon the initial definition of
this thing we call Hip Hop. It's important to note that Hip Hop did
not show up in a vacuum. Pioneers like Kingston, Jamaican-born DJ
Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash did not wake up one
day, decide to go to a library and develop a blueprint for these
activities. They personified and became a catalyst to the reaction an
entire generation of disenfranchised, marginalized, oppressed Black
and Latino youth had to certain social, economic and political
conditions that were impacting them in the early 1970s.

Those early expressions that we find within Hip Hop, for the most
part, were a continuation of the cultural aesthetics from past
generations; in particular, those expressions that we can find within
the African American and various Latino communities that allowed one
to cope while enduring troubled times.

While I'm aware that there are somewhat unique ways in which Hip Hop
expressions manifested themselves in New York during the early 1970s
, if you look at what was going on throughout the country at the same
time, you will find similar parallel expressions. For example, when I
was in the Bronx running with a Hip Hop crew, making pause button
cassette tapes and trying to get known at local community centers for
my emcee skills, 3000 miles away in Oakland California, where I live
now, there were hundreds of garage bands. Now, on the surface someone
would say that the garage bands in the Bay Area were different than
the early Hip Hop crews in NY. I say only to a certain degree. While
their specific activities were different, what inspired folks to
express themselves in the manner that they did was pretty much the
same. Garage bands in the Bay Area were reacting to oppressive
social, economic and political conditions in the Bay Area, and the
formation of early Hip Hop crews in the Bronx were reacting to
oppressive conditions.

The city of NY, at the time I was coming up, had turned its back on
Black youth. They were suppressing gang activity. They fired 15,000
schoolteachers to avoid a fiscal crisis, radio was shoving disco down
our throats, etc. In Oakland, the same thing was happening. Both
groups found themselves on the outs and being ignored. This left the
doors wide open for the emergence of coping expressions that were
part of a larger dance and music scene. In New York, we called it Hip
Hop. In California, it was the funk scene. In Washington, D.C., we
called it Go Go. In Chicago, we called it House, etc. All these
expressions were built upon expressions of the past generations, like
doo wop in the 1950s, or the be-bop scene in the 1940s, or the Lindy
Hop scene in the 1930s. This means that, as we look at Hip Hop
carefully, the question that should arise is not, When did Hip Hop
culture emerge?, but instead, where was Hip Hop expression in each
generation or geographical part of the country?

PC - Why should Project Censored cover Hip Hop when there are so many
other pressing issues to cover?

Davey D: There are a couple of ways to answer this question. First,
we have to take into account that over the years Project Censored has
established itself as a watchdog group of sorts and a vanguard over
mass media. It has done an excellent job alerting the public about
some of the huge stories that have been covered up or omitted by the
mainstream press. Project Censored has also done an excellent job of
pointing out how there seems to be a systematic attempt by many who
are in power to manipulate and distort information disseminated via
popular means.

It's been my understanding that usually when such things happen,
folks start to create alternative means to communicate. Hence,
alternative weeklies have been established and the Internet has
become increasingly popular, as has community radio. As those media
become more popular, you start to notice increasing attempts to
either corrupt, discredit, and marginalize or outright take over
these alternative means of communication. For example, over the years
we have seen a diluting of alternative weekly newspapers. There are
many progressives who see them as no longer being as hard-hitting or
viable alternatives to the mainstream papers that they initially
sought to replace.

While the Internet has grown by leaps and bounds, we have also found
that more and more big companies are getting into the act, and buying
up and controlling important infrastructure that hold the Internet
together. Suddenly, you find that popular sites like yahoo or hotmail
will shut down your listserv and email without warning based upon
what they arbitrarily consider inappropriate content. Many ISPs will
limit the number of emails you can send out unless you're on a
special white list and even then they will limit you. In many
neighborhoods throughout the country, DSL and other high-speed
connections are either not available or over priced. So the point
that I'm making is that those who wish to control the flow of
information have, and continue to find ways, to stifle the full
potential of these alternative means and prevent one from seriously
communicating to the masses.

Now, secondly, this brings us to Hip Hop and why it's important to be
covered by Project Censored. A lot of people often forget that, in
addition to broadcast and print media, there are cultural media, many
of which have proven to have as much if not more impact than the
traditional media and forms of communication that Project Censored
has monitored. We often forget that songs, dance, spoken word and
various forms of art and cultural expression are media. What makes
these cultural and artistic media so important, and have potentially
more impact, is the fact that they oftentimes allow for greater
participation and interaction by those who embrace them, as opposed
to the traditional media that we have been taught to socialize around.
So, now, if we understand that TV, radio and newspapers have been
co-opted, so much that they now serve as middle men or filters that
limit and distort the communication that we should ideally have with
one another, we should not be surprised when similar attempts are
made to shut down, discredit, distort or take over cultural
expressions and media? It's all about who controls the flow of
information. And he who controls the flow of information sets the
societal tone and agenda.

PC - What do you mean when you say shutting down cultural media?

Davey D: Historically, one of the most glaring examples of cultural
media shut downs was the banning of the drum used by slaves in
Louisiana's Congo Square and other places in the 1700s. The slave
masters sensed that the African dances the slaves were doing had
deeper meaning. In fact, they did: the slaves were parodying and
making fun of the stiff aristocratic mannerisms and movements of
whites. In Brazil, the dances were used to mask the fighting
techniques (we now call it capoeira), which the slaves eventually
used when they revolted and liberated themselves. We should also note
that many of the movements used in capoeira are similar to the ones
used by today's b-boys, or break dancers, although the early break
dancers weren't aware or even trying to pattern their movements after
this Brazilian slave dance/ fighting style.

As for the drum, it set the tone and provided the rhythm, and
continued to be a major source of communication. Fearing both a slave
revolt and the African slaves becoming sinful, white slave owners
shut down the medium and banned the use of the drum. The name of the
game back during slavery was the same as it is today: control the
flow of information. He who controls the flow controls the game.
Now, let's fast forward to the 1970s, when these African-based
cultural expressions manifested themselves in what we now call Hip
Hop. It was around this time that radio was undergoing change. There
was a move afoot to start toning down and silencing what was known as
the personality jock. For those who don't understand how the
personality jock presented himself, think back to Spike Lee's movie,
'Do The Right Thing', where he depicted a deejay, named Mister Senor
Love Daddy, on a fictional neighborhood radio station. The colorful
mannerisms and chatterbox style of Love Daddy exemplified the
pioneering style that was heralded by Black radio deejays in years
past. These personality jocks went on to influence their white
counterparts like Alan Freed and, later, Wolfman Jack.

These radio jocks were more then just announcers. They were
historians and community bulletin boards, who not only provided
cultural and entertaining information, but would often rhyme on the
mic while introducing songs. Sadly, many people overlook the fact
that these Black radio jocks were the precursors to today's rap
stars. They even influenced the toasting style of Jamaican deejays,
who would hear the rhyming chatterbox styles of jocks like Jocko
Henderson, whose radio show, "Ace of Rockets," could be heard off the
coast of Florida. This Jamaican style was later brought to New York
City and inspired today's rappers.

So important was the Black radio deejay that on August 11, 1967, Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech to The National Association of
TV & Radio Announcers, where he spoke at length about how radio was
the primary means of communication for Black people, and how
significant a role the Black radio personality jock was in the
community. He talked about landmark figures like Daddy O, Magnificent
Montague and others who used radio as a powerful tool to enhance
their communication to the community and further the Civil Rights
struggle and other liberation movements. In fact, King's Atlanta SCLC
(Southern Christian Leadership Coalition) headquarters sat right
above the nation's first Black-owned radio station WERD. Here, King
would frequently hook up with legendary radio personality Jack the
Rapper and communicate where folks should assemble for the next
march, what to expect, how to execute the plan of action, etc.

PC - How does all this relate to Hip Hop?

Davey D: Whenever we look at cultural expression, we should ideally
be able to establish some sort of historical context. I mention all
this about Black radio because as the personality jocks were being
silenced and the music was being compromised and diluted, you had the
systematic shut down of the Black Power Movement. It was in this
vacuum that the social, economic and political conditions of that
time period gave birth to Hip Hop.

In the 1970s, many black radio stations began to adapt a mode of
operation, which was accompanied by a slogan of 'More music, less
talk' in order to appeal to white advertisers. They even stopped
calling themselves Black and adapted the term "Urban Contemporary" to
make themselves sound more diverse and mainstream. Even more
disturbing was the fact that many of these deejays were being
restricted from playing the music they liked, as it was now being
dictated to them by the program directors of these radio stations.
Nelson George chronicles a lot of this information in the book "Death
of Rhythm and Blues."

Sadly, as much of the inspirational message/protest music of the
1970s, which had inspired the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements
and was personified by artists like Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone, James
Brown, Edwin Starr and others, was being phased out on these Black
radio stations, it was replaced with formulaic disco music.

Interestingly, a lot of the disco music that was starting to be
played on the black radio stations in New York City was done by white
rock artists like Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and others. Nelson George
talks about how popular Black stations like WBLS would have huge
advertising posters of a white woman with the station's call letters
and the slogan "World's Best Looking Sound."

This is significant because, as I mentioned before, prior to the
1970s, radio was the primary means of communication within the Black
community. The personality jocks reflected the cultural mannerisms,
language and modes of communication that were completely relatable to
the larger community, thus making radio even more powerful. I don't
believe it was coincidence that, as all these mediums were being
compromised, we suddenly found our community in the crosshairs of an
overzealous FBI which was on a mission to derail the Black Power
movement and many of the youth organizations that stirred it.
During this time there were a lot of leaders, in particular Black
Panthers, SNCC members and other militants who got killed or sent to
jail for long periods of time for what many believed to be trumped-up
charges. This was accomplished under a program called Cointel-pro
that was started by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

One of the main goals, which was spelled out in the FBI's internal
documents from 1968, was goal number 5 which was to prevent the
long-range growth of Black militant organizations especially among
youth. Specific tactics to prevent these young people from converting
other young people need to be developed. Former Congresswoman Cynthia
McKinney recently pointed out that in 2003, based upon all that has
happened in the past, if you look at what has been happening with
various sectors of Hip Hop, it appears that goal number 5 from the
FBI's 1968 memo is still being carried out. In short, there seems to
be an all out effort to destabilize today's youth movement and
distort and control aspects of Hip Hop through the use of traditional
media.

PC - So what are some of the biggest obstacles facing the Hip Hop Community?

Davey D: There are myriad challenges facing the Hip Hop Community.

Ranging from internal beefs, to generational divide, to the media
selectively focusing on one aspect of Hip Hop and making it seem like
it's the whole thing. Additionally there is the co-opting and
corporatization of the culture and ongoing harassment by law
enforcement including the DEA, FBI. Several police municipalities
have formed task forces that are investigating artists and labels.
There have even been attempts to connect Hip Hop to terrorism and the
Beltway snipers. In many respects the problems Hip Hop faces mirror
the problems that we face as Black folks, communities of color and
young people in America. We help set trends, make lots of business's
lots of money, and we're also the convenient scapegoats for many of
societies ills.

In order to answer this question there are a few points people need
to keep in mind. First, Hip Hop always reflects the values,
sentiments and mindset of the people and communities who embrace it.
Second, a tool is only as good as the people who use it. Third,
within Hip Hop there are a multitude of conversations taking place.
Let's deal with the first two points. Mos Def who is a well respected
"conscious" artist starts off his landmark album "Black on Both
Sides" by answering the question: Where is Hip Hop Going? He states
that Hip Hop is going where the people are going. If the people are
smoked out, Hip Hop will be smoked out. If the people are uplifted,
Hip Hop will be uplifted.

Today within Hip Hop we have an interesting dichotomy. We have a
tremendous amount of activism with tons of folks and Hip Hop
organizations doing some incredible things. On the other hand we have
people who seemingly everyday are running afoul of the law, getting
investigated by the Federal Government, getting arrested, shot or
killed.

It's puzzling how in Hip Hop we can have 2 or 3 Hip Hop Political
Action Committees, including one set up by music mogul Russell
Simmons, another one spearheaded by Ras Baraka, [deputy mayor of
Newark New Jersey.] and one set up by Afeni Shakur, who is the mother
to the late 2Pac.

We have a couple of Hip Hop Think Tanks, the most prominent being the
Urban Think Tank which is headed by long time Hip Hop fixture Yvonne
Bynoe. They put out a quarterly publication called Doula. They're
about to publish a book of essays and white papers addressing all
sorts of issues impacting the Hip Hop Community and they regularly
hold workshops to train people to do political organizing.

The other Hip Hop Think Tanks are the Hip Hop Archives, which
is housed on Harvard's Campus, and another one which is supposed to
be starting up on Columbia's campus under the leadership of Manning
Marable.

As we speak there are several Hip Hop Museums and Cultural Centers
being built, have been built or are in the planning stages in several
cities around the world including Seattle, Cleveland, Oakland, Mount
Vernon, NY, Harlem, NY and Germany

We have political organizations like Hip Hop Congress that are on
several college campuses throughout the country and have just held
their 3rd National convention in Los Angeles. We even have a newly
formed Hip Hop Republican chapter that just set up on the campus of
Howard University.

We have Hip Hop organizations that have been knee deep in the fight
to stop the Prison Industrial Complex. We have Hip Hop organizations
that have been on the front line fighting AIDs. Hip Hop played a
major role in sparking gang truces.. We have lots of people who are
deeply involved in the fight to improve education and they have been
developing Hip Hop oriented curriculum that is working. We had a lot
of Hip Hoppers, who organized, developed songs and come out in full
force against the War in Iraq. We have all these great and positive
things going on This is what Project Censored is doing. This is what
the Hip Hop community is struggling with as well. We are trying to
expose those other conversations, so folks will know there is more to
us then violence, misogyny and mayhem.

I often remind progressives and activists that over the years
corporate media, along with the help of folks pushing a conservative
agenda, have successfully mounted a campaign that has resulted in the
discrediting of their community. In many circles, the progressive
community is depicted as a body of out-of-touch 60s leftovers, who
wear Birkenstocks, eat granola and have no real sense of reality.
Those of us who see ourselves as progressive know that this the
furthest thing from the truth. Sure there are some folks who can fall
into some of those categories. But being progressive is a lot more
then wearing Birkenstocks and eating granola.

Within Hip Hop a similar thing has happened. We have been
depicted as violent criminals, who have no political savvy or
understanding. That is also a far cry from the truth. With that in
mind it's up to us to take steps to learn about communities outside
our own, to bridge the gap. If we remember how the corporate media is
falsely depicting progressives, then it is pretty likely that they
are falsely potraying other communities including Hip Hop. It's up to
all of us to know and do better.

Now within the Hip Hop community there has been a lot of
activism around the issues of media and media reform. Artist like
Chuck D of Public Enemy has been in the forefront, both in terms of
writing about it as well as speaking before Congress and the FCC on
numerous occasions. He, like others, has recognized that the ongoing
unbalanced presentation of images and information is having dire
effects within the Hip Hop and larger African American community.
Chuck decided to spearhead a campaign of encouraging artists to
create their own media. He uses the internet and digital technology
as the tool. His rapstation.com website, where artists can upload and
distribute their music as well as design their own album covers, has
been a huge success. In fact it's been so effective that major media
conglomerates like Clear Channel have resurrected similar models
within their own on-line ventures.

Chuck recently released a video/documentary called "Digitize or Die,"
where he is shown dealing with media giants and explaining how we
should be using technology to our advantage.

Another thing about Chuck D we should mention is that he was also
among the first major recording artists to record and distribute his
albums via the net, thus showing folks that they can bypass corporate
media middlemen. Some groups like Hieroglphics out of Oakland have
generated a million dollars worth of album sales online, while other
popular acts like the Living Legends Crew have been able to tour the
world two or three times via their on-line ventures.

Another artist, Paris, decided that putting out records that received
little if any airtime was not enough, so he launched an incredible
website called Guerillafunk.com, which features all his political
musings. He also teamed up with a news agency called the Guerilla
News Network and produced an incredible film called 'The Aftermath:
Unanswered Questions About 9-11." Everytime the film has been shown,
it's been standing room only.

On an editorial tip, dozens of Hip Hop artists have set up well
healed websites that have effectively replaced newspapers and many
other outlets as primary sources for political and entertainment
information. One prominent site blackelectorate.com is run and
conceived by Cedric Muhammed, who is the former general manger for
the popular multiplatinum group The Wu-Tang Clan. His day to day
articles and insightful political analysis has been so much on point
that many elected officials around the country actual purchase his
services. He's launched an online political university and has become
frequent commentator on radio and TV stations around the country.
That's not bad for a Hip Hopper who is under 30.

Popandpolitics.com is another landmark site run by author and former
CNN/ABC news commentator Ferai Chideya, who is also well established
and known throughout the Hip Hop community.

Sites like sohh.com, allhiphop.com, hiphopactivist.com,
okayplayer.com, playahata.com, eurweb.com, daveyd.com,
guerillafunk.com are online destinations that easily reach more then
5 million visitors a month. These are places I would highly encourage
the progressive community to check out.

I would also encourage people to applaud the efforts that were
launched by Bay Area based Hip Hop organizations like the Mindz Eye
Collective, Lets Get Free and the Touth Media Council, which lead a 2
year campaign against Clear Channel's number one radio station KMEL
to hold them accountable. The campaign included taping and monitoring
the radio station, issuing a report which went on record with the FCC
and setting up a series of meetings with the station where they
issued three demands including more community access, more airplay
for local artists, and for the station to address social justice
issues being championed by many within the Hip Hop community. On June
2, KMEL bowed and agreed to let the consortium of organizations do
alive broadcast from the BlackBox community center in downtown
Oakland to address the issues of violence. The event was well
received and had standing room only.

It was a testament to the strength and power of the Hip Hop community
that other radio shows that have made noise and been seen as beacons
in this ever consolidating media landscape include Dominque Diprima's
show Street Science, which is heard every Sunday on KKBT in LA, and
Hard Knock Radio which is heard daily on KPFA. 94.1 here in the Bay
Area, and Radio X up in Seattle.

Another Hip Hop inspired campaign that has been picking up steam by
demanding media reform is the Turn Off the Radio campaign, which was
started by long time community activist and radio vet Bob Law. He's
teamed up with Hip Hop pioneers like Afrika Bambaataa, Chuck D, dead
prez and Daddy O of the group Stetsasonic to call into account the
harmful impact commercial radio in NY, along with Viacom's popular
video shows on BET and MTV, is having on the Black community. Law has
been relentless in speaking out and bringing the community up to
speed on what is taking place in the media. This past January he held
a tribunal that included more then a 1000 people as well as NY City
council members who spoke for more then six hours about this
important issue. The mainstream media has tried to ignore the Turn
Off The Radio Campaign, but its been picking up steam and has been
spreading to other cities including Detroit and Kansas City.

Lastly we would be remiss if we did not mention the ongoing
uncompromising efforts of Hip Hop activist Najee Ali, who was
recently appointed to be West Coast chair of Al Sharpton's
presidential campaign. Najee has an organization called Project
Islamic Hope that has gone head to head with everyone from Clear
Channel to Russell Simmons to Snoop Dogg about misogynist, negative
imagery. Ali a former gang banger, who served time in prison, has
been a key player in helping forge peace and understanding amongst
LA's gangs.

His most recent campaign helped in forcing the offensive Hip Hop TV
show Platinum, which depicted Hip Hoppers as gangs and thugs, to be
taken off the air. Ali had written a series of articles calling for a
boycott to the show. His next move was to rally the troops to the
streets and start targeting advertisers. He even had a public verbal
tangle with Russell Simmons over this show. Ali eventually won out.
Simmons recently teamed up with grassroots activist in NY to combat
the Rockefeller Drug Laws as it celebrated its 30th anniversary. They
had a count down to fairness in which they demanded the laws be
repealed or the Hip Hop Community would march on City Hall. When this
didn't happen 50 thousand people showed up along with many of Hip
Hop's biggest stars including: 50 cent, Jay-Z, Fat Joe, Sean P-Diidy
Combs, dead prez, Rosa Clemente and many others to speak out against
the drug laws. Russell got a two hour private meeting with the
Governor of NY, George Pataki.

Here in the Bay Area, a two year campaign spearheaded by Hip Hop
groups like Books Not Bars, Lets Get Free, Ella Baker center Youth
Force and others curtailed the building of a juvenile super prison in
Dublin. These groups effectively negotiated with Alameda County
supervisors, did demonstrations, and got arrested for civil
disobedience. In the end they got the county to yield. It was a major
victory and again it underscored the power of Hip Hop.

There is also a League of Hip Hop voters being formed by a number of
Hip Hop activists, Active Elements Foundation, who recently published
a book called Future 500 [future500.org], which spotlights all the
prominent youth and Hip Hop organizations in the country. The purpose
of this organization is the inform the Hip Hop community about
politics.

We had a lot of Hip Hoppers who have organized, put out songs and
come out in full force against the War in Iraq. In fact it was the
Hip Hop community that was among the first to put on any sort of
rally protesting the war on terrorism. Groups like Lets Get Free and
Mindz Eye Collective along with artists like Michael Franti and the
late June Jordan held a well attended rally at Snow Park in Oakland
the day after 9-11 to bring attention to racially motivated attacks
upon Muslims.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee gave her first interview explaining her
historic "No" vote against Bush's war on a Hip Hop show, Street
Knowledge.

Since 9-11, there have been close to 40 songs released by Hip Hop
artists addressing the war in Iraq and the War on Terrorism. Many of
these songs have been done by popular artists like Nas, Public Enemy,
Black Eyed Peas, Blackalicious, Dilated peoples, The Coup, dead prez,
Beastie Boys, and Michael Franti & Spearhead to name a few. Sadly,
many of these songs have not been played on the radio or MTV and BET
with any sort of consistency.

There's even posse cut that features many of the country's so called
gangsta rappers, that are part of Snoop Dogg's camp, which include;
producer Fredwreck, an outspoken Palestinian Hip Hopper, WC, Daz,
RBX, Soopafly, and Trey Dee, to name a few, who speak out against the
War and how it relates to domestic problems faced by everyday people
living in the hood. Radio stations all around the country have
refused to play this record which is called "Down With US" and is
under the name STOP.

Fredwreck pointed out very clearly, that at any given moment you can
turn on your radio and hear any of the artists, many whom are former
gang members, who have sold millions of records on commercial radio,
glamorizing street life and other negative things. Yet when they come
together and try and do something positive or release positive
material, the radio stations don't wanna touch it.

The best thing that folks can do is start to look beyond the
headlines and include members of the Hip Hop community in all these
important conversations. Help support the efforts that are already
being undertaken to combat some of the problems they are facing.
Start the important process of dialoging so we can share resources,
learn from one another and have a true cultural exchange. There is no
one answer. Listed below are some organizations and resources that
you may find useful.

BLACKELECTORATE.COM
POPANDPOLITICS.COM
URBANTHINKTANK.ORG
HIPHOPSUMMITACTIONETWORK.ORG
RAPSTATION.COM
FUTURE500.ORG
GUERILLAFUNK.COM-Paris hip hop political website
ALLHIPHOP.COM-great information on Hip Hop days to day happenings
DAVEYD.COM-tons of articles on media, hip hop and politics
HIPHOPACTIVIST.COM-information on hip hop activism and activist
OKAYPLAYER.COM-check their political message board
PLAYAHATA.COM- get their great political Newsletter

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Project Censored
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
707-664-2500

Tax deductable donations accepted.
www.projectcensored.org/c.../donor.htm

Peter Phillips Ph.D.
Sociology Department/Project Censored
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
707-664-2588
www.projectcensored.org/


Friday, October 17, 2003

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