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On the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, Wednesday, April 4, we need to stop and reflect on the many landmark movements which began 50 years ago … like hip-hop. For the Oakland Museum of California to showcase this culture in an exhibit entitled “RESPECT: Hip Hop Style and Wisdom” now through August 2018 is to elevate this conversation and its creators to a level unprecedented.
Ajit Pai is a serious enemy to the masses. He heads the FCC. He led the charge to strip the internet of net neutrality protections, and you will soon see drastic changes that will disenfranchise and strip power from millions of people who depend upon on the internet. Net neutrality is what makes the Internet such a powerful platform. It’s a democratizing aspect. We are all one click away for any user wishing to access our material. The million-dollar company and the poor blogger are accessible by all. The excuse to end net neutrality is that we should not have regulations. The long term impact is to keep the ability to communicate to the masses in the hands of a few who are rich, powerful and in position to afford full access.
Last week I noted that there had been a rash of police shootings all over the Bay Area and some of y’all thought I was literally seeing or making up things. Well over the Memorial Day weekend we had three people shot by Bay Area police in two days. Three police shootings in two days is a lot. Ten police shootings in six months by two police departments is a lot. One doesn’t have to look to places like Texas, St. Louis or Louisiana or other Trump-loving states to see questionable police shootings. A lot is happening right here in the Bay Area.
Went out to MLK Civic Center Park in downtown Berkeley to watch fight after fight after fight take place between neo-Nazi pro-Trump supporters and folks who came out to defend against fascism and to defend the Bay. For the most part, the Trump folks who were bold enough to wave flags and chant “F--- the Bay and Build a Wall” got stomped out over and over again. One cat, after talking smack, got beat so bad they had to haul him off to the hospital.
We are all upset about United Airlines as we should be, but that’s low hanging fruit. It’s easy to smash down on the airlines – and, again, they deserve the backlash. But the actual brutality was carried out by officers from one department and backed up by a blatant lie issued by officers from another – which is under a federal consent decree. Let that sink in for a minute and let’s see if accountability will really happen beyond a paid suspension. Let’s see if accountability will happen over the lie told by Chicago Police. Let’s not overlook the larger picture in play around this horrific incident with United Airlines.
Hope people are paying attention to what’s been going on with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the ostracizing that is happening to him via NFL owners. We are bearing witness to owners going all out to send a message that they hope will resonate not just with fellow NFL owners but to other CEOs who oversee increasingly “woke” people who are standing up and speaking out. Fast and hard lines in the sand are being drawn and the name of the game is make those who speak up pay dearly. We can’t return to the days where folks are comfortable and expect athletes and entertainers to simply shut up and play, sing or dance.
I’ve been following the U.S. presidential debates very closely. As a Black man who also happens to be a Muslim with a mother who was originally from the Middle East, I am intrigued by this term “extreme vetting,” which is frequently used by presidential candidate Donald Trump. Maybe extreme vetting needs to be applied to the internal threat posed from rogue police.
A few things we should all be thinking about: A young man named Justin Carr (his name was initially reported as Cantrell) was shot in the head Sept. 21, the second night’s demonstrations in Charlotte. The first accounts came from clergy and other eyewitnesses. This is what one of them penned on his Facebook page. “Been in Uptown Charlotte with the protesters since 7:30. It was peaceful. Then for some reason, riot cops showed up. And within 5 mins (no exaggeration) a dude lay bleeding on the ground. After the young man went down, it became chaos. The police started this though. Remember that. Don’t let the news lie to you. Don’t let CMPD lie.”
Lots of people are up in arms asserting you are unpatriotic if you refuse to stand for the Star Spangled Banner. We see this playing out with Colin Kaepernick. People like to romanticize about how it’s an expression of pride for this beloved country. How many of y’all patriots know we only sing one verse to that song? How many of y’all know the other verses are about hunting down slaves? The song is about recapturing slaves who tried to run away and even fought against their masters to escape bondage during the War of 1812. But Colin needs to stand and sing that song? Yeah, right.
Over the past week Donald Trump has been giving all sorts of speeches where he’s telling Black and Brown folks what he will be doing for us if he gets elected. Now most of us know Trump is full of shyt, and while his remarks have gotten folks talking and many more laughing, he inadvertently does raise a few questions. For those who are voting for Hillary Clinton, one should ask, “What is she putting on the table?” The answer should be more than “she won’t be as bad as Trump.” What exactly is she promising that folks can hang their hats on?
The killings we see and hear about taking place not just in Oakland, but in communities all around the country via intra-community violence are such that they simply can’t be tucked away under a rug. These tragedies pierce our souls and touch our hearts. They leave us sad, angry, traumatized and frustrated, especially if you organize or are in any way politically active and know intimately the forces at work that help foster a climate where Black and Brown life is devalued.
Last week I was alerted to an inflammatory story from Bay Area ABC news reporter Dan Noyes that basically sought to disparage the Black August commemorations. The story noted that “police sources” had leaked an FBI bulletin to him stating that prison guards and police were going to be attacked by members of the Black Guerilla Family in commemoration of Black August. Many found the allegations to be outlandish. Black August is a month that is held to high esteem by many in the Black community who celebrate the resistance movements that have long been a part of our history for the past 300 years.
Khafre Jay and Hip Hop for Change, the non-profit he founded, are starting to make a name for themselves on the Bay Area’s Hip Hop, media and advocacy scene. Besides promoting dope independent shows, Hip Hop for Change is organizing the upcoming Environmental Equity Summit on Saturday, May 21, 1-6 p.m., located at the New Parish in Oakland, has a weekly radio show on the legendary San Francisco station 89.5FM KPOO, a school curriculum to teach youth inside the schools and is housed in the radical community center located in West Oakland, the Qilombo.
Muhammad al-Kareem founded the New Bayview newspaper, later renamed San Francisco Bay View, in 1976 and turned it over to the Ratcliffs in late 1991. So in 2016, we’re excited to be celebrating the newspaper’s 40th anniversary, beginning on Sunday, Feb. 21, 1-5 p.m., at the Main Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco. You’ll hear Muhammad, a panel consisting of writers associated with the Bay View in different eras, a fashion show and musicians reminding us of the beauty and talent within our community. We’ll serve food, too – and it’s all FREE. Spread the word!
In the wake of the brutal police execution of Mario Woods by San Francisco police in Bayview Hunters Point, many are asking where is California state Attorney General Kamala Harris? She was elected with the hope and expectation, naive as it may be, that she of all people would be out there weighing in and demanding justice for Mario. Sadly Harris has thus far been pretty much absent from the fight.
Aisha Fukushima is one of the most internationally traveled artists now on the scene in the Bay behind the legendary Hip Hop independent gurus Hiero. Her blend of Hip Hop, Soul, Jazz, Spoken Word and international sounds is a deviation from the assembly line Hip Hop that is trending right now in Cali and across the country. More importantly, she is a raptivist, an activist who uses rhyming to get her message out.
In November of 2004, Oakland-born and Vallejo-raised Hip Hop legend, Mac Dre, was shot and killed in the streets of Kansas City. “Legend of the Bay” is a must see documentary on the life of Mac Dre and the local independent rap industry that he helped to create. “Mac Dre: Legend of the Bay” will be screened for free to close out the San Francisco Black Film Festival: Sunday, June 14, 6 p.m., at the Boom Boom Room, 1601 Fillmore St., San Francisco.
On April 18, Wesley Burton was killed by a hit and run driver on Martin Luther King and 60th Street in North Oakland in the early morning hours after his show, Side Show Radio. This father, radio man, music producer, friend and comrade meant a lot to a lot of people. I wanted to talk with Davey D about his thoughts on Wesley Burton, who he has known for at least the last 20 years. Here’s Davey D in his own words.
In the early morning hours of April 18, veteran KPFA radio broadcaster Wesley Burton was killed in a car accident when a hit and run driver struck his car, reportedly killing him before the ambulance could arrive on a North Oakland street, while he was in route home from KPFA radio station approximately two miles away. He left behind a wife and three children.
Love and Fit Hop with Stic of dead prez and Afya Ibomu is today, Monday, Feb. 9, 11 a.m., in the Merritt College Student Lounge, 12500 Campus Drive, Oakland. Stic.man and his wife, Afya Ibomu, are both engaged in creating “Fit-Hop,” a subgenre that promotes sobriety and healthy living as opposed to the mainstream Hip Hop. Check Stic out in his own words.