The Dark Continent: The End of the Road

Don’t Judge me for having the Boyz2Men hit single in my head as I traveled back to the states. After spending the last three months outside of the country it feels almost odd to be back on my college campus in Chicago. I witnessed the execution of a chicken in Humakuya Village(and ate it for dinner), was charged by an elephant in Kruger National Park, saw scorpions scurry in Tshulu Camp, taught students in a school with no water or electricity, experienced the black metropolis of Africa in Johannesburg, Climbed table mountain in Cape Town, pitched tents and slept within eye view of Hippos in Makuya Park, watched students protest for equal education in front of their parliament building, and became an ethnographer by recording the history of Venda culture in rural South Africa. I think of it only being appropriate to use this moment to reflect on the Dark Continent itself and outside perceptions.

Jasiri X on "Left of Black" with Mark Anthony Neal

I was recently honored to appear on Mark Anthony Neal’s weekly webcast “Left of Black”. Mark Anthony Neal is a Professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University, author of five books, frequent commentator for National Public Radio and a regular columnist for theLoop21.com.

The topic we discussed was ‘Conscious’ Hip-Hop in the age of Social Media and how I use the internet and Hip-Hop to address current issues. We also get into my offline, on the ground activism, and how I started working with Paradise the Arkitech of X-Clan. Prior to our conversation he does a excellent interview with Professor Ebony Utley about rap, religion and whether or not Jay Z worships the devil.

Full Court Press: A (Long-Winded) Defense of Jalen Rose

If last week’s rather desultory and occasionally poorly rendered post on The Fab Five was any indication, my love for Jalen Rose and the rest of the Fab Five is immense and endures even today.  I appreciate many of the things they symbolized.  Just like back in ’91, many do not hold this cohort of young black men in the same esteem that I do.   Since its airing, the reaction to the Fab Five documentary has mostly centered on Rose’s comments about his views of the Duke Blue Devils and its black players, Grant Hill in particular.  In the documentary, Rose employed the term “Uncle Tom” to describe how his 18-year-old self understood black Duke players like Hill.  Here’s the clip: 

ODD FUTURE WOLF GANG KILL THEM ALL: Why They Matter

“I created OF cause I feel we’re more talented

Than 40 year-old rappers talkin’ ‘bout Gucci

When they have kids they haven’t seen in years.

Impressing they peers.”

-Tyler, The Creator “Bastard”

A lot has been written about Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. And if my intuition is correct, plenty more will be written in the coming months. Because Odd Future isn’t just going to become popular; Odd Future is revitalizing Hip Hop music. And more than anything else, the above quote perfectly encapsulates why.

R.I.P. Nate Dogg, The Godfather of G-Funk

Before Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson became staples at the Staple Center (pun intended #swag), before bright colors and skinny jeans became cliché (jerking is played out), before krumping became accepted as a movement and not a bunch of weirdoes parading around in  face point, there was a soulful crooner that gave the West coast a distinctive sound. Nathaniel Dwayne Hale better known as Nate Dogg ushered in a new sound to the rap game in the early 90’s-G funk.

G-funk, or Gangsta-funk, is a sub-genre of hip-hop music that emerged from West Coast gangsta rap in the early 1990s. G-funk (which uses funk music with an artificially lowered tempo) incorporates multi-layered and melodic synthesizers, slow hypnotic grooves, a deep bass, background female vocals, the extensive sampling of P-funk tunes, and a high portamento sine wave keyboard lead. The lyrical content consisted of sex, drugs, violence, and women. There was also a slurred “lazy” way of rapping in order to clarify words and stay in rhythmic cadence. Nate Dogg’s career and claim to fame was mostly predicated on his collaborations with rappers.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1plPyJdXKIY

In Post Racial America Prisons Feast on Black Girls

In Post Racial America Prisons Feast on Black Girls
Rachel Pfeffer, New America Media | March 15, 2011

African American girls and young women have become the fastest growing population of incarcerated young people in the country. Efforts to stop mass incarceration focused on black girls are almost nonexistant in government policy, the media, foundations and academia.

Recently, the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice at the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Law School took the bold and necessary step of organizing a day-and-a-half free event titled, “African American Girls and Young Women and Juvenile Justice System: A Call to Action.”

The beauty of this conference was the focus on black girls and the passionate energy to create a path for action among the participants.

Academics and activists, among them formerly incarcerated African American girls and young women, gathered together from across the divides of class, age, race and place to talk about what we know about these young people, their interaction with the criminal justice system–and what we are going to do about it.

Sociologist Nikki Jones of UC Santa Barbara, and Meda Chesney-Lind, University of Hawaii opened up the conference with a look at the statistics.

“No”, said Jones, “Black girls are not committing more crimes, even though they are being incarcerated in record numbers.”  (Read more)

Wanna Be Startin Something: The Spirit of the Night

Here, on the pages of the Black Youth Project, us bloggers engage in a tradition of writing opinion pieces that may interest other Black youth. Often we comment on popular culture, racism (naturally), and politics; and most of the time we criticize heavilly, at least I do. Something feels incomplete, though, about the meditations I place in front of you all. Even though comments creep into my inbox and I can see readers show love on Facebook, the impact I hope for never actualises. This is a space that usually ends with the writer and the reader expressing their point of view, and as a result, ideas may change. Mind changes are not insignificant, but they relate to an outside world that still maintains the problems that upset the individual in the first place. The resolution of the outside world, that of that of the government “righting their wrongs,” others stoping their profiling, etc., is what every voice that speaks (whether verbally or in writing) desires.

6-Year Old Author Fights Stigma Of Child Obesity

6-Year Old Author Fights Stigma Of Child Obesity
NPR | March 15, 2011
Listen here

LaNiyah Bailey, 6, follows a healthy diet and exercises regularly. Yet, due to a health condition, she struggles with being overweight. After being constantly teased by children and adults about her size, Bailey decided to write about her experience. Her new book, Not Fat Because I Wanna Be, aims to help kids understand that bullying others because of their weight is wrong. Host Michel Martin speaks with LaNiyah Bailey about her book and her life. They are joined by her mother LaToya White and father Sango Bailey.