How Racism Is Destroying America's Political Discourse

A few years ago I had an internship at the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, where one of my chief duties was to spend hours looking through microfilm for newspaper clippings that dramatized the racial climate in Philadelphia throughout the years.

One article that stood out was a poll of Philadelphians that asked, “How would you describe the state of racial equality in America today?” The vast majority of whites (something like 60-70%) answered “Good.”

The year was 1968.

These people had no idea how dire the state of race relations was in America at the time because all they could compare it to was a not-so-distant past marred by lynching, sharecropping and segregation. But today we can see quite clearly that things were bad. Racism was alive and well.

And that’s why race is such a tricky issue in America. Racism grows classier and more refined every day, but it never goes away. How else can we explain the American people tolerating the unprecedented disrespect, racism, obstruction and outright legislative terrorism being perpetrated by the GOP?

Why You Should Be Taking Tyler, the Creator and Kreayshawn Seriously

Last Saturday night, Kreayshawn and the White Girl Mob played a sold-out gig in Hollywood. And according to Spin Magazine, it was an insane show.

“…the audience rushed the stage where they proceeded to completely freak out — bouncing, stripping, cooking, and flipping into the crowd — until the music was done and they were forced bodily from the limelight by the venue’s security. It was intensely electric.”

The next day, she hit the VMAs, where she was nominated (and a favorite) for the Best New Artist Award. She lost to like-minded and equally controversial Tyler, the Creator. Like Kreayshawn, Tyler and Odd Future rose to prominence through YouTube, blogs and social media, don’t fit in any radio format, and have sharply divided critics and fans.

A lot of people aren’t taking Kreayshawn and Odd Future seriously. And that’s understandable. When something comes along that is so alien to mainstream standards and tastes, it always gets dismissed.

But don’t be fooled. Their success is organic and real; not some record label’s scheme. The rise of artists like Odd Future and Kreayshawn (as well as Lil B and Waka Flocka Flame) is subversive to Hip Hop’s status quo. And it might end up being a big deal.

THE WEEKND Continues To Astound With New Mixtape "THURSDAY"

Our prayers were answered yesterday, people.

Last night, Toronto-based R&B mystery man The Weeknd unleashed his brand new mixtape Thursday.  You can follow the link below to snag the free download.

Things have changed drastically for The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) since the release of his first tape House Of Balloons earlier this year. For one thing, there was absolutely no pressure. But since then, House of Balloons has been the most positively-reviewed album of the year thus far. Tesfaye now releases his follow-up to an audience hungry for another dose of a dark, haunted and debauched majesty that we now come to expect (i.e. demand) from The Weeknd.

And our hero does not disappoint.

WATCH THE THRONE, And Why Jay-Z and Mitt Romney Have A LOT In Common

Mitt Romney and Jay-Z have a lot in common.

Like Jay-Z, whose widely considered to be the most influential and important figure in Hip Hop today, Mitt Romney is currently the front runner for the Republican Presidential Nomination. In fact, like Jay-Z, he’s been the de facto “front runner” in the race for a while now.

And like Jay-Z, Mitt Romney continues to hold onto this position for no good reason at all. And probably won’t be holding onto it for long.

Not Even Black Toddlers Are Safe From Media Slander

Yes, the CBS station in Chicago chopped up an interview by a 4 year old to make it look like he was a thug in training, when he really wanted to be a police officer. I guess scary black men are an old hat and now we need a new boogie…um…boy.

Check how the boy’s “reaction” to the violence was characterized as “disturbing” and “Very scary indeed”. This was a planned, orchestrated and intentional act of character assassination on a 4 year old boy.

It’s also interesting that this comes on the heels of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to impose a new curfew for Chicago children under the age of 12.  With the school to prison pipeline in full effect, propaganda like this leads to more black youth being criminalized and brutalized by the police.

Sadly, this also takes away from the very real problem of violence in our communities and how to effectively solve it, without demonizing children for ratings.

WBBM communications director Shawnelle Richie issued this statement:

“We accept responsibility for the mistakes that were made, both in the reporting and editing of the story. The video of the child should not have aired. As soon as news management identified the problem, they took immediate steps to ensure that the video would not air in subsequent newscasts. In addition, we have followed up with our employees to make sure that we all have learned from the mistakes that were made.”

Yeah right

Jay-Z and Kanye's Out-Of-Touch, Wealth-Obsessed, Culturally-Irrelevant "Otis"

A couple days ago, Jay-Z and Kanye West unleashed their new single “Otis” upon the internets. Set to a fairly inventive (if awkward) sample from Otis Redding’s classic “Try A Little Tenderness,” Jay and Ye trade bars about money, wealth and….umm, money.

The song is really, really bad.

Now don’t get it twisted. The very idea of a Jay-Z-Kanye West joint album makes me all giddy and warm inside like any other Hip Hop (or Pop) fan. But if this “luxury rap” style is going to define Watch The Throne, Yeezy and Jigga might reemerge from their luxurious, million-dollar mansions in the sky to find themselves irrelevant to a culture founded on its ability to resonate with the common man.