THINGS FALL APART: What Happened To Hip Hop's Conscience?

Has anyone else been wondering what happened to the socially conscious voice in Hip Hop music?

Yes, I’m aware that there are plenty of emcees out there in the underground with tons of relevant shit to say. But what about the mainstream? There used to be some semblance of balance in Hip Hop. There was a time when a Neo Soul/alternative Hip Hop movement was a visual, popular alternative to the violence, misogyny, and materialism of mainstream Hip Hop. It was a time when that gorgeous and supernaturally gifted actress from Sister Act 2 became the de facto leader of that movement, and the spokeswoman for a generation.

This article is a love letter to that glorious movement, and an explanation as to why it faded away.

Was It OK For Beyonce, Usher, and Mariah Carey To Perform For The Qaddafi Family?

According to the New York Times, as well as documents obtained by Wikileaks, a slew of pop megastars have received massive paychecks from the dictatorial/psychotic Qaddafi family of Libya, in exchange for private concert performances.

While the people of their country were living in utter poverty and misery, and tortured and/or imprisoned if they ever dared to express dissent, General Qaddafi’s sons were throwing lavish parties in St. Bart’s, extending invitations to some very big names. A recent New Year’s Eve blowout featured back-to-back performances from Usher and Beyonce. The year prior, Mariah Carey rang in the New Year with the Qaddafi’s. All reportedly netted a whopping $1 million a piece for their services.

Such a Painful Black Girl Reunion: Oprah and Iyanla

As a middle school student, I remember reading Iyanla Vanzant’s One Day My Soul Just Opened Up and thinking who is this black woman to write such a book about spiritual recovery that did not mention Jesus Christ as the penultimate factor in spiritual rejuvenation. Yes, back then I was a burgeoning Christian fundamentalist who enjoyed reading big girl books that I was not suppose to read including Terri McMillan’s How Stellar Got Her Groove Back and T.D. Jakes’ Woman Thou Art Loosed. So, now to watch Iyanla on Oprah tell her story of decline made me think about what it means for Black women to tell each other the “cold” truth in a world that in some very real ways are bent on our mental, spiritual, and physical demise or at the bare minimal our collective demoralization.

How Fate Brought a Hip-Hop Pioneer and a Activist MC to Madison, Wisconsin

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It has seemed since me and Paradise the Architech began this journey of exposing “right wing” liars using the most powerful weapon on the planet, Hip-Hop, the stars have been aligning for us. From being in Oakland, CA the day of the Oscar Grant rebellion, to covering the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, to the almost perfect timing of our Tea Party video, we’ve always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. And once again, by sheer “coincidence”, we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of 70,000 protesters last Friday and Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin.

About 4 months ago, I was contact by the University of Wisconsin-Platteville to be the keynote speaker for their Black History Month celebration called ” Ebony Weekend “. (Of course, we had no idea what was on the horizon that same weekend in Wisconsin, but that’s not all…) A few weeks ago, we had an opportunity to sit down with some very cool people we had met at the PA Progressive Summit. Paradise and I had traveled to DC to do an interview on ” Russia Today ” and afterward we met with Beth Becker, Neal Rauhauser, Alan Rosenblatt and a few others to talk politics.

T.G.I.T.T.B. (Thank God It's The Token Blacky)

What’s scarier than a racist that calls out “nigger” or “coon” viciously? The racist who’s night you save by being the “token blacky”. I pose two disappointments for the eager audience at a non-black party: no weed and no freestyle. Still I manage to be the life of the party, dougieing on every song, judging rap skills, and—check this out—having big lips. Although I get a lot more love at these parties, I can’t help but realize how socially destructive they are. What’s really under all this amusement is a non-black majority (usually White) taking delight in my abnormality.

Like A Gena 6 (Is the world on the same page with Black folks?)

Oh no! The folks back home will never stop smacking their lips over this one. As African American Studies grows across the nation, its scholarly diversity does not fall behind. Could white professors be added to the “things keeping Black people down” list? Possibly, but the fall of Black academia shouldn’t be instantly expected. Many of you, with folded arms right now, have already made the fatal mistake of pitting experience as the only knowledge of struggle. Did you hear me? I said that a white teacher can understand why Langston Hughes has to say he knows rivers; or similarly, scream with Nina Simone in Mississippi.

What's Up With Kwanzaa? Part 2

Greetings Black people, if you have been celebrating Kwanzaa for the first time I hope that it has been a good experience. If not and you are still considering, there are three days left. I left you earlier in the week with some ways to observe the Nguzu Saba, the seven principles of Kwanzaa. This blog entry will continue with the last of the principles. check blog name

What's Up With Kwanzaa?

Hope everyone’s Christmas was complete with family and happiness. If you thought that such a spirit lives for a few moments in December, you are indeed wrong and perhaps exhausted. There follows more family time and appreciation for any Black souls that share, also, a need for little historical significance in their life. Today is the first day of Kwanzaa, a holiday coming out of the sixties for the celebration of African-American or Black identity. For whoever that does not know, Kwanzaa begins the day after Christmas until New Years day. Forget all of the assumptions that the holiday is strictly for people born directly in Africa. Black skin indicates more than a good enough reason to celebrate. Our unique holiday dedicates itself to giving life to the principles that will restore the strong family bases we’ve seem to lost. So, in my encouragement of people to celebrate, I thought I would give people a few ideas as to how to observe Nguzu Saba, the Swahili translation of the Seven Principles.

Georgia Prison Strike & Why We Need Our Own Media

Did you know one of the largest prison protests in US history took place last week? If you said no that’s not surprising considering it was not covered by corporate funded mainstream media. The word got out through conscious bloggers like Davey D, effective uses of social media like Twitter and Facebook and by the hard work and efforts of some a the few independent and unafraid media outlets we have left.

According to the Final Call Newspaper (the last standing black owned weekly international newspaper),

“Fed up with bad food, unjust treatment, poor education and inadequate health care, thousands of inmates in Georgia’s prison system staged “Lockdown for Liberty,” a peaceful protest on Dec. 9, according to activists”

Puck the anti-black Folice

You know. We always talk about education saying it as the answer to everything, yet we never talk about actual lessons. Talking about learning something, everyone knows about our culture: chicken induced diabetes, large rolling stone penises, the list goes on. The feeling “I’m f@cked up” extends to us as a whole when we too only know, nothing else; not thinking about solutions, just leaving our problems at the level of knowledge. We know we are spiraling downward, and nothing else needs to be said. But wait, we aren’t dead yet. I hear cats that say the conversation’s played out—I feel that—why don’t we bring up new points? Let’s consider exhibit A: undeniably racist encounters with police officers are regular routines among us with the dark skin. We know right? On the flipside, learning truly begins when we stop telling ourselves “there’s nothing we can do.”