Refa 1 & Mark Anthony Neal Speak on Trayvon, Black Male Image & Hip Hop

Refa1 and Mark Anthony Neal

Refa 1 and Mark Anthony Neal

HKR ..The other day we sat down with two long time activist/ educators and Hip Hop practitioners, Refa 1 and Mark Anthony Neal to talk about media images of Black people and how it impacted the George Zimmerman trial and folks in general being profiled. We also talked about Hip Hop and how its being used and misused and the steps we must take to push back on corporate dominance.

Refa 1 who is a pioneering aerosol artist who spoke at length about the importance of us controlling our own images and narratives. He noted that Hip Hop started out being something that we controlled and we allowed it to be turned over to corporate entities who literally turned its meaning and message upside down. he talked about the work he’s been doing with Black writers from all over the world to reclaim image and to set new standards for others to follow. He also spoke about the importance staying connected to the hood and doing work in the hood so that folks who are easily influenced can see quality work right in front of them..

Mark Anthony Neal is a professor at Duke University in North Carolina and the author of several  books including his most recent one ‘Looking For Leroy Illegible Black Masculinities‘  He talked about the ways Black men and Black boys in particular are recognized and not recognized by society at large. In short we are often prejudged and boxed in to fit a certain type of narrative and stereotype.

Neal kicked off our interview by citing an example of how we react when we see a Black boy with  basketball vs a Black boy with a violin.  He explained that for many watching the Zimmerman trial, seeing a black boy as thug has become the norm leaving many with very little leeway to see us any other way. Black boy and Black men are seen as people who have to be contained , policed and controlled.  He went into further detail as to how that plays out in other situations above and beyond the trial.

Both Refa and Mark talked about ways in which we must reclaim our humanity and how its been systematically stripped from us.. We talked about the ways in which Hip Hop and culture can help us heal and repair our image..

below is the full interview with both men.. Take listen they drop a lot of knowledge.

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HKR-Refa 1 & Mark Anthony Neal on Trayvon, Race and Hip Hop

Barack X…. Our Intv w/ Jelani Cobb about Obama, Race & Black Image

Professor Jelani Cobb

Earlier this week, long time activist and historian Jelani Cobb put out an article in the New Yorker that talks about President Barack Obama and his image.. He goes in on what the image of a Black man in the White House has meant for the community at large, what its meant for folks all over the world and what type of backlash it has resulted in among white supremacists.

In his article Jelani says the following…

In black America—where people have been voting for Presidential candidates who didn’t share their racial background since even before the Fifteenth Amendment—the 2008 election wasn’t seen as the star-spangled “Kumbaya” it was billed as elsewhere. White rejoicing at Obama’s racial landmark seemed tone deaf, unduly self-congratulatory. White voters had simply done something black voters had been doing for at least the previous hundred and thirty-four years. For this reason and others like it, there was a tendency among blacks to see Obama as an extension of black achievement—but not necessarily a barometer of changing white attitudes. The hyperbolic talk of a post-racial society suggested that white voters, or at least a highly visible segment of them, tended to see the election in precisely the opposite terms.

The other night, we got Jelani to skype into our Black Images class at SF State and share his thoughts on Black image, his article and the complexities around how many see Barack Obama.. We spoke at length about what it means when a Black man is the head of an empire and is the face of foreign policy that is seen as unpopular and out right oppressive in some parts of the world..  Click the link to hear Jelani’s remarks which we aired the other day on Hard Knock Radio..