An Open Letter to 97.9 The Box-in Houston-Don’t Ban Trae the Truth

First we have to give props to Matt Sonzala for doing what so many in his position don’t do speak up for the artist in his area and step to an institution that could potentially be a future employer. Matt as well as being the man who heads up the Hip Hop potion of SXSW is first and foremost a radio cat… So while many remain silent, he at least is willing to speak up and call crap crap.. The open letter below lays out situation surrounding Trae the Truth being banned from Houston station 97.9 the Box and several DJs being fired for supporting him. He also explains the extent of the ‘ban’ which forbids DJs from engaging Trae on twitter, FB, and other activities outside the station..

To be honest if a station has beef with an artist on I can get them not wanting to mess with him to a degree.., however when were talking about Radio One there’s always some things to consider that would make you say mmmm. Case in point, While Radio One is banning indy artist Trae for insulting one of their deejays on a mixtape, they didn’t seem to have problem keeping corporate backed, commercial mainstay the Game in the mix after members of crew were accused of whupping on one of their popular jocks (Zxulu ) at WYKS in Washington DC a few years back  sending him to the hospital.

The way that incident went down was Radio One banned Game from all 69 stations but after a week they rescinded the ban. The official story according to game’s manager Jimmy ‘Henchmen’ Rosemond was they ‘cleared it up a misunderstanding’. The industry whispers amongst radio and label folks was that label heads called and deals were cut.. One of the more persistent stories was the label sunk a ton of promo money into Game  and if Radio One wasn’t  gonna play him, then they  wanted their  money back’. Weeks later even though the official line was Game’s people weren’t involved and it was all a mistake, he had no problem bragging about the beating and even issuing a veiled threat on the remix of ‘Hate it or Love it’, which on occasion could be heard on Radio One stations. Talk about being scandalous. is this really about Radio One towing amoral line of sorts or is this about the money that’s something to ponder

-Davey D-

An Open Letter to 97.9 The Box About Trae being banned

From Matt Sonzala

http://austinsurreal.blogspot.com/2010/04/open-letter-to-979-box-from-matt.html

Matt Sonzala

To Whom it May Concern,

And as this is an “open letter,” I mean all y’all. All of you who are or should be concerned about the situation happening at 97.9 The Box in Houston.”

It pains me to write this letter, as this week, I along with every lover of hip-hop music and culture have already been hit hard by the passing of Keith “Guru” Elam. When Guru, the voice behind Gang Starr, passed away on Tuesday, I and plenty of other people pulled out our old Gang Starr records and celebrated the life of one of hip-hop’s most engaging and important MC’s. We listened to his music as we mourned our collective loss.

As I listened, I personally began thinking hard about hip-hop, and what it has become. Listening to his deft word play and deep, meaningful lyrics, often about street life, I felt a jolt of energy flow through me, like something I haven’t felt in a long time. I realized while listening to this music, some of which is 20 years old, how much hip-hop music has taught me throughout my life. This week – tragically through Guru’s passing – I remembered that hip-hop music is a serious gift to our generation.

And the loss of Guru made me think about how much we need to respect its power.

When I heard about 97.9 The Box (KBXX) banning Trae tha Truth, I honestly brushed it off. Fact of the matter is, Trae has the support of the streets of Houston. And I figured that an MC of his stature in the community probably doesn’t really even need a station like The Box.

Then on the night of Wednesday April 21st, I got the news that the Kracker Nuttz – a group of three incredible DJ’s who have been on KBXX for over 12 years, and were always rated extremely high in the market as they were not afraid to take chances and play certain hip-hop music that exists “outside the box,” – had been fired from KBXX for playing a Chamillionaire song that featured a verse from Trae.

I then realized that this situation affects a lot more than just Trae.

For anyone reading this letter who does not know what went down, allow me to try to briefly explain.

A couple years back, the City of Houston and its former Mayor Bill White, issued Trae tha Truth a proclamation and a humanitarian award in honor of all of the community work he has done in his city. The day this proclamation was given has now become known as Trae Day in Houston.

On the second anniversary of Trae Day, Trae held a concert and carnival of sorts for families on the campus of Texas Southern University. After a positive day of music, fun and games, and after Trae and all of the other artists, presenters and much of the crowd had left, there was an altercation that involved gun play.

The next morning, KBXX conducted an interview with Trae. On air personality Nnete made some off color comments that from all accounts I have received, implied that a situation like this would of course happen at an event produced by Trae Tha Truth. Basically she said that these are the kinds of people that he and his music attract.

Bun B phoned in to the station immediately after hearing that and told them that they were wrong for what they said.

Trae of course took offense to the statements made against him and on his next mix CD, mentioned Nnete on two songs. The rhymes were insulting, but not threatening.

After that he was banned from KBXX, and rumor has it, all Radio 1 owned stations.

This is the email that was allegedly sent to all staff at KBXX:

“URGENT: – Effective Immediately: DO NOT AIR: “Trae tha Truth” on our station. No interviews, no calls, no comments, no posts on our website, no station twitter, no station facebook, no songs in mix show no verses on remixes, or songs in regular rotation. No exceptions. The current online postings will be removed shortly. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors. Thank u. Have a great weekend!”

So in effect, Trae has been banned from KBXX because of some words he said on a mixtape that were derogatory towards a KBXX employee.

I can semi-understand that as I am quite often quick to defend my people as well (as evidenced by this letter). But fact of the matter is, this is America and here we are supposed to have free speech. A man insulting another man or woman generally should not merit an all out ban.

But if you want to go deeper, KBXX boasts day in and day out that it is Houston’s Home for “Interactive Hip-Hop and R&B.” Meaning, in some way they represent hip-hop culture, and have even built a “home” for and from it in Houston.

Well, if this is the case, then this “hip-hop” station should recognize that what Trae did represents the essence of hip-hop. Before you go and label me some backpacker, who is overly sensitive about hip-hop (and uses words like “essence”), you, KBXX, have to realize that what you say every day about representing for hip-hop is serious to many of us.

Trae did not come down to the station and grab Nnete by the neck, he wrote a song that took some verbal stabs at her. Trae did not attack or disrupt any business being done by Nnete in the name of KBXX or otherwise. He wrote a song that she found to be insulting.

Nnete used her platform, under the banner of hip-hop, to air out her grievance with Trae, and Trae used his platform, under the banner of hip-hop, to air out his grievance with Nnete. And for this he has been banned? That is extremely petty, and goes very much against what hip-hop is and has been since it’s inception.

Closing the door to dialogue is never positive, and that is exactly what KBXX has done.

In the time since the ban, DJ GT was suspended without pay for a week and a half for responding to a Twitter post that questioned his involvement in the ban (and supposedly mentioned his mother). DJ Baby Jae of the Kracker Nuttz was suspended for a week and a half without pay for making a mixtape – totally outside of the work environment – that featured Trae.

Two weeks ago, Houston rapper Killa Kyleon visited Michael Watts on his Swisha House mix show and shouted out Trae. The next day we learned that Kyleon was also banned from KBXX (though this has not been officially confirmed to me as of yet) and that the Swisha House show was cut down to only two hours.

Now we come to learn that three of Houston’s most respected DJ’s, who served over 12 years on the air at KBXX, have been fired for playing a Chamillionaire song that features Trae.

It’s just ridiculous.

In addition to these firings, other problems arise from the banning of Trae from KBXX. For one, Trae is an artist who can draw a strong crowd at a Houston club. KBXX is the main means of promoting a lot of the urban club nights that happen in Houston. If the promoter adds Trae to a show, he or she cannot have Trae mentioned in an advertisement, Trae music cannot be played in the advertisement, and nothing about Trae can be used in any sort of promotion on KBXX.

This limits many promoters ability to make money and survive in Houston.

It may not seem like much to you, but consider this scenario. In the days following the tragic earthquake in Haiti, Bun B put together a benefit concert with a lot of Houston hip-hop artists to raise money for the impoverished nation. Trae, being a popular artist and a man of the community was of course invited to be a part of it.

The event organizers were informed that KBXX would not support it at all, if Trae was a part of it. Trae decided to back out of the show so that it could be advertised and promoted on Houston’s main urban radio outlet – but still showed up in support of the cause.

This ban affects a lot of things on a lot of levels and is a gross abuse of power on the part of KBXX. This especially pains me, as for years KBXX was one of the premier urban radio stations in the nation. I personally saw their ascent, as I interned on their promotions team for their first two years of existence. For two years in the early 1990’s, I was out in the streets, driving their van and promoting their station. And at the time they were at war with Majic 102 to become the top urban station in the city.

They ended up winning, and winning big. You want to know how? They listened to and supported the community. They played records by UGK, Big Mello, Geto Boys, Scarface, all sorts of Houston rappers, many before anyone outside the city had ever heard of them. They kept it fresh, supported the city and stayed in the streets.

And they became an extreme force to be reckoned with in the Houston hip-hop community.

I’m not sure what happened after that, but it sure isn’t like it was.

So I have a few questions for KBXX and Radio 1, but first I have to make this statement.

KBXX – you are in the wrong here. You initiated this problem, and now refuse to work to fix it. Your ban on Trae, and the subsequent actions you have taken on fairly innocent parties, is reprehensible and cowardly. It’s also lazy. I realize that in the age of 140 character tweets and Facebook updates, genuine conversations often take a back seat. This situation merits a genuine conversation, and a solution.

Your half assed, one sided solution is not the answer.

My questions:

You play a song called “Mr. Hit That Hoe” almost every hour, every day. It plays like a mantra to the youth, spewing the nonsensical line over and over again “Hit that hoe, hit that hoe, hit that hoe, hit that hoe.” How do you justify banning an artist who instead of hitting a woman when he was angry, wrote a song and attempted to make a point, rather than hurt someone? (And yes I understand the “sort of hip-hop” meaning of this song, but still, over and over it states “Hit that hoe, hit that hoe, hit that hoe, hit that hoe.” And KBXX plays it, a lot.)

Do you recognize how far and wide this ban reaches, and how many people you are really affecting with this? Do you really want your actions to force supporters of your station to turn their backs on YOU?

Are you willing to talk to Trae and come to some sort of an agreement? Will you realize that you were wrong to fire the Kracker Nutz before some other station comes to town, snatches them up and destroys you from 7 p.m. – Midnight (or whatever slot they put them in)?

Will you admit to the city that you were hasty in making the decisions that you have made?

Or, will you tell the city the real reason you banned Trae the Truth? If there’s another reason out there, and it is legitimate, this will save you from the backlash that you are about to endure.

Seriously, this issue has been blown way out of proportion, and a solution needs to be found. I don’t really expect you or your corporate cronies to really care about the words that I am writing on this matter, but I do ask you to think about hip-hop, the culture that you misrepresent, and the effect you are having as a whole on the Houston Hip-Hop Community.

Sincerely (Thank u. Have a great weekend!),

Matt Sonzala

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Henry Louis Gates pens Article Absolving White People For Slavery-Wants us to Blame Africans

Wow this is a two page story that the New York Times is running…You’d think Henry Louis Gates would’ve learned a few things after his confrontation with Cambridge police last year when they accused him of breaking into his house and jammed him up… Apparently not.. All I can do is shake my head and note that this article appears the night after ABC Nightline ran that story about Black Women not finding suitable men.. As author Bakari Kitwana pointed out, Yes today we all need to highlight and celebrate Black pathologies…

So this article basically says Africans helped white slavers capture us.. Duh.. We’ve been known that. Hell it was Black slaves that usually ran to master and told about slave insurrections. It was Black slave that were sometimes made to be overseers. None of that absolves the horrific institution of slavery which here in the US was rooted in the strong belief that our ancestors who were forced to work those fields were less than human and forced to endure unspeakable horrors. The hatred for us because of skin color remained long after slavery into Jim Crow and as we can see in recent days continues..We wont even get into a discussion of colonialism and the racialized politics around that especially as African nations fought to be free. Meanwhile while this Gates article appears, the state of Texas is erasing and downplaying the harshness of slavery in its history books.

This article is akin to pointing out that there were Jews who helped the German during the height of Nazi Germany.. Not for one minute would one ever think of absolving germany for her role in the holocaust and nor should we be absolving those Europeans who gleefully played roles in Transatlantic slavery, no matter what Africans helped out.. What took place in this 2000 x 3000 land mass we call America rest on the shoulders of ‘Mr Charlie’. He gets no pass on what was done..He was caught holding the bag.. and to be honest if there was some nutcase on the continent who “Helped” sell us into bondage they can be dealt with as well.. But in the meantime it was Mr Charlie a European decent who was all up in here raping our mothers, sisters and grandmothers, snatching up kids and separating our families, beating our people to pulps and basically using and abusing human being stolen from their land.  I dont care how many Henry Gates articles are published by the NY Times..He (Mr Charlie ) gets no pass..nuff said

-Davey D-

Ending the Slavery Blame-Game

by Henry Louis Gates

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/23/opinion/23gates.html?pagewanted=1

Henry Louis Gates

THANKS to an unlikely confluence of history and genetics — the fact that he is African-American and president — Barack Obama has a unique opportunity to reshape the debate over one of the most contentious issues of America’s racial legacy: reparations, the idea that the descendants of American slaves should receive compensation for their ancestors’ unpaid labor and bondage.

There are many thorny issues to resolve before we can arrive at a judicious (if symbolic) gesture to match such a sustained, heinous crime. Perhaps the most vexing is how to parcel out blame to those directly involved in the capture and sale of human beings for immense economic gain.

While we are all familiar with the role played by the United States and the European colonial powers like Britain, France, Holland, Portugal and Spain, there is very little discussion of the role Africans themselves played. And that role, it turns out, was a considerable one, especially for the slave-trading kingdoms of western and central Africa. These included the Akan of the kingdom of Asante in what is now Ghana, the Fon of Dahomey (now Benin), the Mbundu of Ndongo in modern Angola and the Kongo of today’s Congo, among several others.

For centuries, Europeans in Africa kept close to their military and trading posts on the coast. Exploration of the interior, home to the bulk of Africans sold into bondage at the height of the slave trade, came only during the colonial conquests, which is why Henry Morton Stanley’s pursuit of Dr. David Livingstone in 1871 made for such compelling press: he was going where no (white) man had gone before.

How did slaves make it to these coastal forts? The historians John Thornton and Linda Heywood of Boston University estimate that 90 percent of those shipped to the New World were enslaved by Africans and then sold to European traders. The sad truth is that without complex business partnerships between African elites and European traders and commercial agents, the slave trade to the New World would have been impossible, at least on the scale it occurred.

Advocates of reparations for the descendants of those slaves generally ignore this untidy problem of the significant role that Africans played in the trade, choosing to believe the romanticized version that our ancestors were all kidnapped unawares by evil white men, like Kunta Kinte was in “Roots.” The truth, however, is much more complex: slavery was a business, highly organized and lucrative for European buyers and African sellers alike.

The African role in the slave trade was fully understood and openly acknowledged by many African-Americans even before the Civil War. For Frederick Douglass, it was an argument against repatriation schemes for the freed slaves. “The savage chiefs of the western coasts of Africa, who for ages have been accustomed to selling their captives into bondage and pocketing the ready cash for them, will not more readily accept our moral and economical ideas than the slave traders of Maryland and Virginia,” he warned. “We are, therefore, less inclined to go to Africa to work against the slave trade than to stay here to work against it.”

To be sure, the African role in the slave trade was greatly reduced after 1807, when abolitionists, first in Britain and then, a year later, in the United States, succeeded in banning the importation of slaves. Meanwhile, slaves continued to be bought and sold within the United States, and slavery as an institution would not be abolished until 1865. But the culpability of American plantation owners neither erases nor supplants that of the African slavers. In recent years, some African leaders have become more comfortable discussing this complicated past than African-Americans tend to be.

In 1999, for instance, President Mathieu Kerekou of Benin astonished an all-black congregation in Baltimore by falling to his knees and begging African-Americans’ forgiveness for the “shameful” and “abominable” role Africans played in the trade. Other African leaders, including Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, followed Mr. Kerekou’s bold example.

Our new understanding of the scope of African involvement in the slave trade is not historical guesswork. Thanks to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, directed by the historian David Eltis of Emory University, we now know the ports from which more than 450,000 of our African ancestors were shipped out to what is now the United States (the database has records of 12.5 million people shipped to all parts of the New World from 1514 to 1866). About 16 percent of United States slaves came from eastern Nigeria, while 24 percent came from the Congo and Angola.

Through the work of Professors Thornton and Heywood, we also know that the victims of the slave trade were predominantly members of as few as 50 ethnic groups. This data, along with the tracing of blacks’ ancestry through DNA tests, is giving us a fuller understanding of the identities of both the victims and the facilitators of the African slave trade.

For many African-Americans, these facts can be difficult to accept. Excuses run the gamut, from “Africans didn’t know how harsh slavery in America was” and “Slavery in Africa was, by comparison, humane” or, in a bizarre version of “The devil made me do it,” “Africans were driven to this only by the unprecedented profits offered by greedy European countries.”

But the sad truth is that the conquest and capture of Africans and their sale to Europeans was one of the main sources of foreign exchange for several African kingdoms for a very long time. Slaves were the main export of the kingdom of Kongo; the Asante Empire in Ghana exported slaves and used the profits to import gold. Queen Njinga, the brilliant 17th-century monarch of the Mbundu, waged wars of resistance against the Portuguese but also conquered polities as far as 500 miles inland and sold her captives to the Portuguese. When Njinga converted to Christianity, she sold African traditional religious leaders into slavery, claiming they had violated her new Christian precepts.

Did these Africans know how harsh slavery was in the New World? Actually, many elite Africans visited Europe in that era, and they did so on slave ships following the prevailing winds through the New World. For example, when Antonio Manuel, Kongo’s ambassador to the Vatican, went to Europe in 1604, he first stopped in Bahia, Brazil, where he arranged to free a countryman who had been wrongfully enslaved.

African monarchs also sent their children along these same slave routes to be educated in Europe. And there were thousands of former slaves who returned to settle Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Middle Passage, in other words, was sometimes a two-way street. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to claim that Africans were ignorant or innocent.

Given this remarkably messy history, the problem with reparations may not be so much whether they are a good idea or deciding who would get them; the larger question just might be from whom they would be extracted.

So how could President Obama untangle the knot? In David Remnick’s new book “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama,” one of the president’s former students at the University of Chicago comments on Mr. Obama’s mixed feelings about the reparations movement: “He told us what he thought about reparations. He agreed entirely with thetheory of reparations. But in practice he didn’t think it was really workable.”

About the practicalities, Professor Obama may have been more right than he knew. Fortunately, in President Obama, the child of an African and an American, we finally have a leader who is uniquely positioned to bridge the great reparations divide. He is uniquely placed to publicly attribute responsibility and culpability where they truly belong, to white people and black people, on both sides of the Atlantic, complicit alike in one of the greatest evils in the history of civilization. And reaching that understanding is a vital precursor to any just and lasting agreement on the divisive issue of slavery reparations.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

State of Arizona is Set to Join the ‘Birther’ Movement-They Tell Obama-No Birth certificate No Name on Ballot in 2012

The state of Arizona continues to be a sad joke for the rest of the country. First it passed a stringent immigration bill that gave police sweeping powers that would essentially allow them to step to any and all people they perceived as being ion this country illegally. Translation: Arizona stepped back to the horrific days of Apartheid South Africa with a ‘Let Me See Your ID‘ law that would undoubtly target Mexican and Mexican Americans..

http://www.thesouthernshift.com/news/2010/04/let-me-see-your-id-arizonas-new-immigration-law-harks-back-apartheid-south-africa

Next we have Senator John McCain who appeared on the Bill O’Reilly show to weighed in on the hoopla around the law and decided to make the outlandish statement about Mexicans illegals  were intentionally running down people. He later backtracked and tried to explain himself. He said he was referring to people near the border fleeing law enforcement. We say it was John McCain having flashbacks of his POW days when he felt compelled to refer to his Vietenamese captors as ‘Gooks’.

http://www.thesouthernshift.com/news/2010/04/let-me-see-your-id-arizonas-new-immigration-law-harks-back-apartheid-south-africa

Today we now have Arizona trying to pass a law demanding that the President show his birth certificate if he expects to be on the 2012 ballot.. Yes Arizona the new cradle for dumbness and white supremacy..(I guess thats a redundant statement) has now officially joined the ‘Birther Movement’. Unbelievable.

-Davey D-

PHOENIX – Arizona lawmakers expressing doubt over whetherPresident Barack Obama was born in the United States are pushing a bill through the Legislature that would require the president to show hisbirth certificate to get on the state’s 2012 ballot.

The House passed the measure Wednesday on a 31-29 vote, ignoring protests from opponents who said it’s casting Arizona in an ugly light and could give the elected secretary of state broad powers to kick apresidential candidate off the ballot.

“We’re becoming a national joke,” Rep. Chad Campbell, a Phoenix Democrat who opposes the measure, said Thursday.

The measure’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Judy Burges of Skull Valley, said she isn’t sure Obama could prove his eligibility for the ballot in Arizona and wants to erase all doubts.

“You have half the population who thinks everything is fine, and you have the other half of the population who has had doubts built up in their mind,” Burges said.

So-called “birthers” have contended since the 2008 presidential campaign that Obama is ineligible to be president because, they argue, he was actually born in Kenya, his father’s homeland. TheConstitution says that a person must be a “natural-born citizen” to be eligible for the presidency.

Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama’s citizenship, and his Hawaiian birth certificate has been made public, along with birth notices from two Honolulu newspapers published within days of his birth in August 1961.

Courts have rebuffed lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility, but the issue hasn’t gone away. Lawmakers have introduced similar bills in a handful of other states. They include Oklahoma, where a measure passed the House but failed in the Senate, and Missouri, where a bill was withdrawn before any action was taken.

Eleven U.S. House Republicans have signed on to a federal bill, but it hasn’t received a hearing in the Democrat-controlled House.

Arizona’s measure would require U.S. presidential candidates to submit documents to the secretary of state proving they meet the constitutional requirements to be president. The secretary of state could then decide to keep a candidate off the Arizona ballot if he or she had reasonable cause to believe the candidate was ineligible.

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett opposes the bill, arguing it gives his office too much power, according to his spokesman Matthew Benson. Benson said Bennett, a Republican, has no doubts about Obama’s citizenship.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where supporters are trying to pull together enough votes to pass the measure. If they do, it’s unclear if Republican Gov. Jan Brewer will give it her support. Her spokesman, Paul Senseman, said the governor won’t comment on pending legislation, but he added she doesn’t have doubts about Obama’s citizenship.

The measure comes amid a string of controversial proposals in Arizona that have garnered national attention, including a sweeping illegal immigration crackdown awaiting action by the governor and a measure allowing people to carry concealed weapons without permits. The governor signed the gun bill last week.

Rep. Tom Chabin, D-Flagstaff, pleaded with his colleagues to oppose the birth certificate measure Wednesday.

“When you undermine the sitting president of the United States, you undermine our nation, and it makes us look very ugly,” Chabin said Thursday.

But some supporters insist the bill isn’t aimed at Obama, it’s just common sense.

“It’s our ballot,” said state Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, who believes Obama has proven his citizenship. “The parties need to prove that their nominee is eligible to hold the office of president to be on our ballot.”

original story: http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/President-Barack-Obama

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner