Friday, April 29, 2016

Africa Bambaataa: Why it's Important to Stand Up and Speak Out

Those who know me well know that I've spent more than half my life in the underground Hip Hop circuit.  I am far from a house hold name though and I'm old enough that few will remember my very meager contributions to the underground music set.  I'm not a star.  I'm not an icon.  I've never won a Grammy.  I've never gone platinum or even gold.  For all intents and purposes I'm just another brother who loves Hip Hop.  That said, I love Hip Hop.  I love Hip Hop culture.  I love the music.  I am as close to a Hip Hop purist as you can possibly get.  It is for this reason that I am compelled to speak out on the allegations surrounding Africa Bambaataa of the Zulu Nation.

After receiving a phone call from a long time Hip Hop partner who lives on the west coast I have to speak.  After a DM conversation with another good friend a few days ago(who also lives on the west coast) I can no longer be silent.  After listening to an incredibly disheartening interview from on of Hip Hop's true fathers I can no longer hold my tongue.  Many people are going to take issue with some of what I have to say.  But this needs to be said and I need to say it.

If the allegations against Bambaataa are true(and there is strong evidence to suggest it is) then we who claim to love Hip Hop should be condemning this in the strongest way possible.  Child molestation is not something we should waffle on, mince words, or dismiss.  The dismissive nature in which many of us, particularly those of us who remember the Golden Age, is deeply disturbing.  The fact that many of us don't want to speak on this or when we DO speak on it we are downplaying it and dancing around it is, in a word, wrong.  Child abuse and child molestation is a crime.  The victims must live with the trauma for the rest of their lives.  This is not something we should ignore, look past, dismiss, or play down.  We must be direct and we must be straight up with our language.  What happened was wrong.  Period.  Full stop.

Recently I heard an interview with KRS-One.  Now before I continue I've long had a deep and powerful respect for KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions.  Their contributions to the game run deep.  KRS was the emcee you wanted to emulate.  His mic presence, lyrical ability, dedication to Hip Hop, and staying power is a testament to how important he and BDP are to Hip Hop culture.  So you can imagine my disappointment when he was asked about Bambaataa he responded "I don't give a fuck".  It was like being hit in the chest.  I expected KRS to speak loud and strongly condemn the actions of a child molester.  Instead, KRS displayed the type of dismissiveness I spoke of and almost seemed disinterested in the question.

We can't do that.  We can't.  Our voices must be loud.  Our voices must me strong.  Our voices must be direct.  As the elders of Hip Hop we owe it to the culture to speak out.  And we're not.  We're looking the other way.  We're being silent.  We aren't saying what needs to be said.  And wrong.

So today I'm going on record.  Because I cannot in good faith or in good conscious continue to pretend this isn't an issue.  Child molestation is a terrible, terrible thing.  Those who know must come forward.  Those who participated must be punished.  We must speak with one voice and say "We will not tolerate this.  This isn't Hip Hop culture.  This isn't what Hip Hop is about.  This.  Is. Wrong. 

I wont be silent on the issue any longer.  When asked, I will speak and I will speak loudly.  Thank you for reading.


Monday, March 21, 2016

All Lives Matter: Disingenous Bullshit in it's Purest Form

Monday Afternoon Musings....

Them: "Doc why does "All Lives Matter" bother you so much?

Me: "Because it's disingenuous bullshit in it's purist form.  First of all you sit and act is if when we declare "Black Lives Matter" we are speaking as if other lives don't.  You're on some bullshit right off the bat.  You ignore the context in which the words are spoken.  You ignore the climate and circumstances that gave rise to the phrase.  You pretend as if we are asserting ONLY Black Lives Matter when what we are in fact doing is asserting that our lives matter TOO. 

Secondly, if all lives mattered where were you when Eric Garner got choked out for "selling cigarettes"?  Were you standing with us?  Or were you making excuses for why Garner deserved to die?  Where were you when Tamir Rice was shot dead playing in the park?  Where you speaking out with us and sharing in our outrage?  Or were you making excuses for the police who murdered him?

Oh and let's not forget the constant deflection of "What about Black on Black Crime?"  as if A)Other races don't kill each other at similar rates and B)We don't deserve justice because some of our less enlightened sisters and brothers commit crimes.

"All Lives Matter" is bullshit.  It's a silencing tactic.  If you really believed all lives matter I wouldn't have to assert that Black ones matter.  Murderers wouldn't be walking away and returning to work after killing our unarmed sisters and brothers in cold blood.  I wouldn't have to declare Black Lives Matter.  Because you'd feel me when the lives of my family are lost and you'd stand with me.

Whenever I hear "All Lives Matter" I hear "Shut up.  You're not special.  We don't care".  To which I respond with a hearty "Fuck you.  Go fuck yourself".  Because when all lives truly matter I wont have to declare Black Lives Matter anymore.   But until then I will proudly declare "BLACK LIVES MATTER" and dismiss your "ALL LIVES MATTER" as the disingenuous bullshit that it is.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Naked Truth About Donald Trump

I want people to think about something.  Think about how many times you've heard discussions on national and local news networks about how Mexicans are coming over the border and taking jobs from Americans.  Think about how many times you've heard discussions about how Muslims are looking to infiltrate America, kill and subjugate Americans, and institute Sharia Law.  Think about how many times you've heard about "the gay agenda" and how homosexuals seek to redefine marriage and plunge America into sin, perversion, and decadence.  Think about how many times you've heard discussions about how the majority of young Black men are thugs and criminals and how Black women are lazy, unmotivated welfare queens looking for a handout.  Think about it.

I'm not talking about discussions on fringe conspiratorial outlets either.  I'm talking about real discussion about these so called issues on so called legitimate news networks.  I'm talking about real discussions on popular blogs, and supposedly trusted news sources.  Just think about how often you've heard these and other bigoted and outrageous narratives perpetuated in media outlets all across the nation.  Once you do that, it should come as no surprise why Donald Trump leads the Republican field for POTUS.  I've said recently that Republicans and the media created Donald Trump.  But that's not entirely true.  They didn't so much create Trump as they wrote the blueprint and gave him the tools to usurp not only the Republican party but the Presidential race and the media narrative as well.

The majority of Donald Trump's supporters are, to be blunt, ignorant bigots.  They don't care he has zero qualifications to be POTUS.  They don't care that he's never served in the military or never served in public office.  They care nothing for his lack of understanding of foreign and domestic policy and his obvious ignorance as to how government works.  They don't care about any of that.  They LOVE Donald because he speaks directly to the fears and prejudices that have been played up to the extreme over the last few years.

They love it when he talks about deporting Mexicans and building walls.  They love it when he talks about banning Muslims.  They eat it up when he talks about traditional marriage and yells "All Lives Matter" at the top of his lungs.  They dine on that shit.  It's exactly what they want to hear.  He knows it too.  That's why he's impervious to gaffes.  That's why he rises no matter what he says.  Because he speaks to the worst elements of American society.  And they hear him and they rise.

Republicans are just angry that Trump is better at propaganda than they are.  They are angry that he's seized the captains chair.  They don't care about what he's saying to be honest.  They've been whispering that same shit for years.  Trump is just YELLING it.  He's embracing it.  He's not tip toeing about it.  That's what he's followers mean when they praise him for "telling it like it is".  They are tired of hiding.  They are tired of pretending.  Trump says all the things they want to say but are afraid to because they know better.  They want a leader who will allow them to be openly bigoted.

The naked truth about Donald Trump is that he is the embodiment of everything that's wrong with America.  The media can act like his rise is some strange phenomenon all they want.  The truth is, at the end of the day, they've been saying the same things and doing the same things for years.  They're just mad he's better at peddling racist, bigoted bullshit than they are.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Donald Trump and the Terminal Ignorance of His Supporters.

In June of last year I was convinced Donald Trump would be out of the race by now.  Trump is unqualified to be POTUS.  The establishment doesn't want him.  He has chronic foot in mouth disease.  He's offends just about everyone.  He has no political experience.  He has no military experience.  At times he behaves like a petulant child.  I was convinced he had about as much chance as Sponge Bob Squarepants.  How could such an utter buffoon possibly dominate the Republican field with so many high profile enemies, even within his own party?  Nah.  At the time I thought it simply wasn't possible

Then in late June I had a conversation with a wise brother I build with about politics and an African sister whose intellect I have great respect for.  They both cautioned me that I might be underestimating Trump and overestimating the American voter.  Some of the things they said resonated with me so I decided to do some math.  I examined the situation and hypothesized "What if Trump could actually tap into the gross ignorance that is infested in the minds of many American voters?"  I started looking at his campaign differently.  By July/August I was thinking "Oh no.  This is real.".  I felt like a character in a movie who realized everyone was in danger but only few were aware.  My brethren and my sister's fears were justified.  I started warning people but Trump was still a joke to many.  Like a bad storm, some people were waiting for it all to blow over.  But I knew then it wouldn't.  That the threat was real.  But I don't think ANYONE knew just how real.  In truth, it was worse than anyone possibly imagined.

Fast forward to today.  Trump is the clear front runner in the Republican race for the White House.  Despite losing Iowa, he's had strong showings in New Hampshire and South Carolina and had a dominant showing in Nevada.  He's spun his lack of political experience and the fact that's he's never governed ANYTHING into something positive.  Gaffs that would've ended campaigns four years ago seem to bolster his.  His supporters cheer every time he opens his mouth, no matter how outrageous the comments are.  His bigotry inspires his supporters, noted by the hooded KKK members holding signs after his win in Nevada.  These things would normally destroy a candidate but not only is Trump immune, he's turned these things into fuel.  Many people are wondering how this is possible.  Well, in truth, it's very simple.  So simple it's downright ugly.

Trump's supporters are ignorant, largely uneducated, bigoted, low information voters.  They know almost nothing about how government works and even less about the political process.  They are motivated by a burning hatred for Barack Obama and all things "liberal".  What's more, their ignorance is terminal.  They don't care what Trump says or what Trump does.  They are going to support him regardless.  Reasoning with Trump supporters is like trying to have a intellectual conversation with a mountain goat.  It's literally like talking to a wall.  They don't want to hear you.  They don't care what you think.  They don't care what you say.  Fuck you.  They are voting for Donald J. Trump.  Take THAT liberals!  They have no idea how Trump will supposedly make America great again and quite frankly they don't give a fuck. Not even Tea Party darlings like Ted Cruz and Ben Carson can stop Trump.  His supporters flock to him, almost begging him for a cup of Kool Aid.  They are voting for him.  Period.

Do not attempt to reason with a Trump supporter.  Do not engage them.  Their ignorance is terminal.  They love Donald Trump.  They will support Donald Trump.  No amount of speaking with them will convince them otherwise.  Trump IS the Republican voter.  It's who they want.  They don't care.  Don't fear Trump.  Fear the people who follow him.  THEY are the real problem.  They are the reason he is where he is.

In a way this is bigger than even he is and as I said it's far worse than anyone imagined.  Trump is exploiting the absolute worst aspects of this country.  And you know what?  It's working....

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Stop Comparing the Panthers to the KKK

I need to be clear on something because I'm getting tired of hearing this comparison being made and moving forward I'm going to be fairly merciless when I hear it.

The KKK is a domestic terrorist organization.  They are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Black men and women.  Their heinous crimes include rape, arson, lynching, castration, bombings, and wanton acts of brutality and violence. 

I will not entertain comparisons between the KKK and the Black Panther Party any longer.  Only a moron or a closeted bigot would even attempt to make the comparison.  Nothing in the history of the Panthers can even be remotely equated to the brutal and bloody legacy of the KKK.  At no point has the Panthers ever advocated the eradication and/or subjugation of the white race.  There is no comparison.  None.  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch. 

If you are one of those people comparing the KKK to the Panthers, STOP IT.  Right now.  You look and sound like a fool and I wont hear that bullshit anymore.  Don't come around me with it.  Don't say it in front of me.  Shut it.  Seriously.  I wont tolerate it.  Perhaps you are looking to assuage your feelings of guilt.  Perhaps you are looking to deflect.  I couldn't care less.  Knock it the hell off.   No one has time or interest in that nonsense.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Sad and Terrible Defense of Bill Cosby

I really wanted my first blog posting of 2016 to be something positive and inspiring.  But this is an issue I really can't ignore.  It's all over the news and I'm hearing some immensely disturbing things. 

Since Bill Cosby's formal arrest on December 30 many people have gone well out of their way to defend him.  They have used all manner of terrible excuses and some of the defenses used have be outright cringe worthy.  I've heard writers, bloggers, entertainers, and every day brothers and sisters give sad and terrible commentary.  I've heard people who seem to lack basic common sense offer outlandish reasons why Cosby might be innocent.  To say I am disappointed, particularly in my people, is a massive understatement.   I'm convinced people have no idea how they sound and it's time to break this down and lay it flat.  So let's begin with shutting down some of the bullshit I continue to hear....

1.  Why Did The Women Wait So Long?

This is the most popular and most frequent defense used.    It's also the most basic and most ignorant.  To ask this question is not only insulting to victims of rape and sexual assault but it also clearly displays an almost unforgivable level of ignorance.  When people ask why did the women wait so long I always answer "Because of you".  Naturally they act shocked and surprised, and ask me how they could possibly be responsible.  I point out that along with the feelings of shame, pain, hurt, and even guilt, rape victims must also deal with a judgmental society who often makes them complicit in their own rape.  Rape victims must often deal with the humiliation of being called liars, opportunists, gold diggers, whores, and other colorful dehumanizing adjectives.  Couple that with the fact that rapists often get away with their crimes and it should come as no surprise why many rape victims are fearful to come forward.  Oh and just for the record, many of Cosby's accusers DIDN'T wait to come forward.  Cosby has been accused of rape for decades. 

2.  Why were They Drinking and Partying With Him?

This defense makes absolutely no sense.  According to Cosby apologists, the fact that some of these women may have wanted to drink, party, and use recreational drugs meant they deserved to be raped.   Or wanted to be raped.  I've actually heard people use the nefarious "they wanted it" excuse(which is quite frankly disgusting) many times.  You see in the minds of Cosby apologists, wanting to party and wanting to be raped are one and the same.  Wanting to have a drink or a smoke and wanting to be raped are one and the same.  Wanting to engage in CONSENSUAL sex and wanting to be raped are one and the same.  Many low key rapists are unwittingly out themselves with this one. 

3.  This is a Conspiracy to Bring Cosby Down Because He Planned to Buy NBC

This defense is so absurd it barely merits attention.  NBC Universal is worth somewhere between 23 and 32 billion dollars with an operating income of 4 billion dollars.  Bill Cosby is worth 400 million dollars.  Now I know math is hard but there is no way Cosby could possibly buy NBC Universal or the NBC Network.  People based this nonsensical myth on a 23 year old story where Cosby along with a HALF DOZEN OTHER INVESTORS attempted to buy NBC in the early 90s.   GE refused and that was that.  There is no truth to this conspiracy.  It's complete and utter nonsense.

4. They Are Attacking the Legacy of  A Strong Black Man

This one bothers me.  It bothers me because for the last two decades Bill Cosby has been shaming, belittling, and talking down to us as Black people.  Cosby has been pummeling us with respectability politics and looking down his nose at us for a long time.  Cosby has long abandoned his Pro-Black stance and has long embraced the kind of shaming and victim blaming that has stifled the upward mobility of Black people.  On more than one occasion he has blamed US for our struggles in society and has been dismissive of important racial and social issues.  He does not stand with us.  In his own words:

"Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! And then we all run out and are outraged, 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"

"Are you not paying attention, people with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack. Isn’t that a sign of something, or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up (laughter and clapping ). Isn’t it a sign of something when she’s got her dress all the way up to the crack…and got all kinds of needles and things going through her body.  We are not Africans. With names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap and all of them are in jail"

-His words.  Not mine.  Why would racist whites want to bring him down?  Here was a prominent Black icon shaming and degrading struggling brothers and sisters.  He was saying exactly what they wanted him to say.

5.  Cosby's No Different than Any Other Hollywood Actor

I'm not even sure how this is a defense.  If your defense of Cosby is "Well look at Charlie Sheen, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, etc" then you HAVE to know you're out of gas with no leg to stand on.  If the best you can do to defend Cosby is compare him to other rapists, pedophiles, and drug users then you've got nothing.

At the end of the day we need to examine these and other terrible defenses of Bill Cosby and understand that this it is a part of a much bigger societal problem.  Rape culture is real.  Cosby and his apologists and defenders are living proof of this.  We have a long way to go brothers and sisters.  A very long way.  Where we are right now is immensely troubling.  What does it say about us when we will go so far out of our way to defend an obvious serial rapist?

Thank you for Reading
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