Yesterday we on Hard Knock Radio we chopped it up with long time activist and freedom fighter Kali Akuno of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.. The subject at hand was the updated report MXGM had done on Police Killings… About a year ago when they started documenting Black people killed by police it was discovered that every 36 hours Law Enforcement guns down someone from our community… With the new data it was discovered that rate has increased to every 28 hours.. You can see the new report titled Operation Ghetto Storm —>HERE
In our conversation with Kali, not only does he break down the specifics of that report but he also connects the terrorism and mass surveillance the Black community has long experienced with law enforcement to what is currently going on now with the PRISM program. Kali outlines the sordid legacy of Cointel-Pro and later sweeping gang injunctions which were pioneered by former LA Police Chief Darryl Gates. He talks about what it was like growing up in LA and the impact mass surveillance (profiling) had on the Black community. For example, by the time the Rodney King Rebellions unfold in 1992, almost half of LA’s Black male population were listed on LAPD’s Gang Database. People were placed on these lists simply for living in a neighborhood. At the time many outside Black and Brown communities ignored this.. Many even suggested that the folks living in South central, Watts, Compton, East LA etc, were deserving a such treatment. Kali noted that what had become routine in Black and Brown communities in the War on Drugs has now been tweaked and being used to Fight the War on Terror.
In our interview Kali points out that local police and the federal government have long worked together when executing their policies of containment in the hood. What makes the war on terror so frightening is much of the intel gathering is done by private corporation who stand to make a profit.. Kali gives a thorough breakdown of how private industry has shaped the Military Industrial Complex and the long term =effects it is having on folks both here and abroad..
This is a very thorough and insightful interview..
At the end of each year all of us have things we can and should reflect upon. We assess all that has happened and make promises to build upon successes, shed bad habits and bad energy and create better tomorrows..
In looking back at 2012 I would say it was a turbulent, very contentious years..It seemed like everything that went down was in your face and folks were pulling out all the stops to literally body you.. From voter suppression tactics to stand your ground laws to a war on women where sitting law makers not only stated but tried to pass legislation that reflected a twisted belief that some rapes are legitimate while others are actually blessings… Yes, I’m looking at you Gov Mike Huckabee, Todd Akin and Richard Murdock.. Oh yeah I’m looking at you as well Congressman Paul Ryan..
In 2012 billionaires went all out to make life miserable if you weren’t in their circle, it just seemed like the pressure never let up.
And while 2012 was challenging, there were some shining moments, where folks fought back and triumphed. It showed up in the form of Biko Baker and League of Young Voters doing their historic Ignite Tour around Voter Education or Bakari Kitwana of Rap Sessions who gathered up scholars, activists and artists and did a similar tour.
It showed up in the form of Javier Gonzalez and the Soundstrike which put a serious dent in SB 1070 laws in Arizona. It showed up in the form of Jasiri X, Paradise Gray and One Hood who never let up providing a sound track for many of the struggles folks were undertaking in 2012.
It showed up in the form of Barbara Arwine of the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights and political activist Angela Woodson out of Ohio who were on the front lines dealing with Voter Suppression.. You can check them out HERE.. It showed up in the form of folks who stood on voting lines for 6, 7 and 8 hours to cast their ballot while oppressive forces were doing their best to get them to leave and not partake at all.
It showed up in the form of artists Favianna Rodriguez and activists like the Dreamers who were part of the big Undocubus Tour where folks toured the country and challenged the systemic deportations. They put in mad work and at the end of the day had both political parties and the staunchest of enemies changing their tune about immigration.. Now everyone wants to find a way to get comprehensive immigration reform on the books.
It showed in the form of Rebel Diaz and their Bronx based collective who traveled the country, spoke truth to power and showed the true meaning and power of cooperative economics. The fact that they own their own building/ community center in the middle of the South Bronx is testament to their hard word.
It showed up in the form of graf writers Refa 1 who brought us AeroSoul 3 where he gathered pioneering Black and Brown graf artists to Oakland to not only share their crafts but to talk about ways to raise consciousness and why it was important to connect the dots between Khemet and Aztlan..
It showed in the form of Serena Williams and Gabby Douglass taking Gold Medals in the London Olympics and dealing with horrific negative feedback because of how they danced or wore their hair..The disrespect that gymnastic champ Gabby Douglass endured over her hair was outlandish, but she handled it with class and dignity and kept it moving. Her 90 million dollar endorsement deal from Wheaties was also nice..
It showed in the form of Jill Stein and Cheri Hunkula who stayed the course and push valiantly the virtues and un-compromised positions of a 3rd party (the Greens). It was more than just them being in a 3rd party.. It was watching them put their principles to practice…I would encourage folks to peep the interview we did with them at the democratic National Convention
It showed up in the form of brave folks from the Occupy Movement to Medea Benjamin and Code Pink activists who shun strong light on the Drone Warfare that were are currently engaged in.. It showed up in the form of 30 thousand people who marched against the Stop and Frisk Practices in New York City.. Y’all remember the Silent March?
Elon James White
It showed up in the form of folks taking their time to create innovative broadcasts as way to fight the stranglehold of corporate media..Elon James white‘s daily This Week In Blackness is one example.. Weyland Southon and author Adam Mansbach‘s weekly Father Figure show which airs on KPFA is another.
We be remissed not to shout out Skyyhook Radio which has been innovative, woman owned and runs 24/7..and Chuck D‘s Cant Stop Won’t Stop Hip Hop Show and Occupy the Hood’s radio show. We also have scholar Marc Anthony Neal‘s Left of Black TV show along with Bruce Dixon and Glen Ford‘s Black Agenda Radio.
On the mainstream front we had Melissa Harris Perry‘s show on MSNBC and Roland Martin‘s Washington Watch on TVone . We also had Marc Lamont Hill and Alyonna on Huffington Post Live. That’s just to name a few of the many.
It showed up in the form of folks who endured 16 mass shootings, from Colorado to Oakland to Newtown and still managed to push forward, keep their humanity and fight to bring about a better way and a brighter tomorrow…I could go on and on..Here’s a few more things that stood out in 2012…
Album of the Year… It was a toss up between Nas‘ ‘Life is Good‘, Kendrick Lamar ‘Good Kid Maad City‘ Killer Mike ‘RAP Music‘ Public Enemy ‘Most of My Heroes Don’t Appear on No Stamps‘ and Brother Ali ‘Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color‘
Song of the Year…There were too many joints to name that moved me in 2012 everyone from Nas to Asap Rocky to E-40 to Melina Jones had bangers. depending on my mood, dictated what I was rocking with.. 3 Songs seemed to keep me in step all years… Public Enemy w/ Brother Ali ‘Stand Up‘ Killer Mike ‘Anywhere But Here‘ and Rebel Diaz ‘Revolution‘
The Death of Soul Train Host and Founder Don Cornelius...He was one of many people we lost in 2012 including the seemingly immortal Dick Clark and Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes. All of us grew up on those 3 gentlemen. Even though we knew they were aging we never thought they’d pass.
In the case of Don Cornelius it was troubling because he committed suicide. I don’t think we ever really sat down and dealt with what that really was about..We just kinda swept it under the rug…8 months later we were all forced to confront it again with the sudden passing of former Jungle Brother, music mogul and founder of Violator Entertainment Chris Lighty. His passing shook us and made many of us reflect on mental health which is sadly a taboo subject in many of our circles.
With respect to Don we paid tribute with a great interview from Chuck D of Public Enemy who reminded us of his greatness. You peep that HERE
Comedians Dick Gregory and Paul Mooney Link Up…Earlier this year I started doing a weekly spot OLM News w/ Davey D on Free Speech TV... I interviewed lots of folks but the highlight was when I got comedian Paul Mooney who is a frequent guest on my daily radio show and comedian Dick Gregory who is also no stranger to my outlet on the air at the same time.
According to them it was the first time it had ever happened and it wasn’t totally planned. They just happened to be in town at the same time. I was scheduled to do separate interviews with them.. Mooney was running a late, Gregory needed to move his time up and boom magic happened. Out of this landmark show the two set up a successful tour together.. Enjoy the conversation below
The killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin set things off in a big way during 2012.. It was one of many deaths that would come to Black folks at the hands of the police.. From Rekia Boyd to Ramarley Graham to Alan Bluford to Jordan Davis, the list of folks who fell victim to police terrorism was long.. It was enough to prompt an explosive report from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in early July that documented all the the Black people who had been killed by police. Initially it worked out to every 40 hours a Black person died at the hands of the police… After it was updated it came down to Every 36 Hours..You can read that report HERE.
The most tragic thing about this report was it was embraced all over the world except at home including amongst our own Black intelligentsia who seemed hell-bent on keeping a lid on this so as not to disrupt a contentious presidential election that may have impacted Barack Obama..
I don’t think she and her legacy was ever fully appreciated.. Already we are seeing and hearing younger generation attribute her signature song At last to Beyoncé who sung it at President Obama’s Inauguration ..We were thankful Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X and producers Agent of Change had a tribute song for here called Etta and ran down her amazing legacy
Atlanta based rap star Killer Mike was a high point for 2012..I feel he as an artist and his album were totally underplayed. What stood out for me with Killer Mike was how he went in on President Reagan and completely took a part the revisionist image that had been carefully crafted for him over the years…You can check out our insightful interview HERE
Bay Area rapper Too Short got into some hot water in 2012 when he was complimented by rap star 2 Chainz who called him a father figure.. Short took that compliment to another level at the urging of XXL editor Vanessa Satten by penning what was supposed to be a satirical advice column for kids. His advice included telling little boys how to take it to the hole and force sex upon ‘little girls’.. needless to say this caused a lot of outrage..
A coalition of women within the Hip Hop industry formed the 44% Coalition to bring attention to the alarming statistic that shows 44% of the women who are sexually assaulted are under 18. The women called for the firing of Satten and a boycott of Too Short.. As the debate heated up Too Short reached out and had an impassioned conversation with coalition member and writer dream hampton about misogyny… You can read that interview HERE.
From there Too Short agreed to be apart of a well attended town hall meeting at Oakland City Hall… Unfortunately while Short was well received by the audience, local media outlets never bothered to stay for the talk and instead ran unflattering hit pieces that had very little to do with the intense conversation that took place that evening. You can read about that HERE
Jimmy Castor who gave us the b-boy anthem ‘It’s Just begun‘ along with fun funk songs like Troglodytes (Cave Man) and Bertha Butt Boogie..Although him and his band The Castor Bunch were funk legends, they were also cornerstones to Hip Hop.. many a bboy move was done to his signature song…
We were sorry to see so many music and entertainment outlets overlook him when he passed as well as in their end of year tributes. Chuck was a giant among giants. His musicianship was exceptional. The GoGo sound was essential in continuing DC’s long music legacy as well as helping shape Hip Hop’s evolution. Here’s our tribute to him who always kept it 100% and in the pocket. Looking Back, Remembering Chuck Brown and the Go Go Sound He Pioneered
We Lost MCA from the legendary group Beastie Boys after he endured along battle with cancer…We paid tribute to him and had an insightful interview w/ author Dan Charnas of the Big Payback about MCA’s legacy
Here’s our tribute mix to him courtesy of DJ Sloepoke out of LA who did him true justice
We lost the iconic Whitney Houston in 2012 Her funeral which was viewed by folks all over the world was moving and much needed considering all the drama surrounding her death. It was something to behold..
We lost actor Michael Clark Duncan.. His passing caught many of us off guard, because we had no idea he was sick until we got word he had a heart attack and his finance former Reality TV star Omarrosa helped revive him.. We didn’t hear anything more for what seemed like a few weeks and then we got word the popular actor had passed at age 52.
We lost George Jefferson (actor Sherman Hemsley) We lost Moesha star Yvette Wilson. We also lost music legend Donna Summer
“Woke up this morning and got hit w/ this foolishness from the bottle thrower named Drake.. He’s just told the Jewish press he’s the ‘first person to successfully rap and sing’ I was ike WTF? This is why Hip Hop history should be required b4 putting out a record.. Can we start with Angie Stone of Sequence.. she raps and sings better.. Maybe Drake forgot 8x Grammy winner Lauryn Hill? Cee-Lo, Mos Def, hell Black Thought kills it in both genres? Did dude forget Queen Latifah, Force MDs, Devin the Dude? Hell, Teena Marie, Blondie and Tom Tom Club blow Drake out the water doing both.. First time I heard singing and rapping was in 78-79 when GMF and the Furious 4 came to Bx Science and harmonized routines.. Later I heard Crash Crew and of course we had Cold Crush who killed it everytime on the singing/ rap tip y’all remember this from back in the days?? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCTjA9zapLc&feature=related.. Damn Drake even ja Rule and 50 Cent kill u on the sing rap tip..LOL
It’s always a pleasure and enlightening to sit down and chop it up w/ Atlanta emcee Killer Mike. He’s never at loss for words and he pulls no punches when speaking on political situations. Our recent sit down w/ Mike was no exception.. We talked at length about his new album R.A.P. Music which was produced by EL-P of Def Jux fame. Many would not associate the pair because on the surface they appear to be on opposite sides of the musical spectrum, but in reality they have lots in common.. The album they created is a hard-hitting masterpiece that seriously bumps and lyrically is a breath of fresh air and a much-needed nourishment shot for the dome.
During our interview we started off talking about the album’s lead single ‘Reagan’. This is an excellent scathing critique of one of the worst presidents this country ever produced who in recent years has seen millions of dollars poured into campaigns to sanitize his image. Killer Mike accurately reminds us that Reagan was a criminal who answered to a powerful cartel who ultimately controlled him. Mike goes in on both the song and interview about Reagan.
He also pulls no punches on other Presidents including Barack Obama who he famously stood up for and supported in 2008. In fact during the 2008 Ozone Awards, Killer Mike sitting on a panel pushed his rap colleagues to clean themselves up, put on their Sunday best and not allow any industry rap BS be the downfall of than candidate Obama.
In our interview, Killer Mike explains that his position on Obama didn’t ‘evolve’, it was part and parcel of what one should do when you elect someone to office. He noted that all politicians need to be pushed and held accountable and his responsibility as someone who is active in voting and helping get folks in office is to speak up, be loud and make sure they understand there will be political consequence fr not doing right by the folks who support him/her. So, yes he supported Obama. In 08 he was the best man for the job, but the nature of the Presidency is to do the bidding of those who push him the hardest, and hence Mike brings heat in challenging Obama and anyone who is in office.
In our interview Killer Mike lays out what he says should be top priorities for any President seeking his vote as well as many within the Black Community. He details a job program in which folks coming into the community must partner with residents. He also talks about expunging the record of those who were incarcerated and returning home. Mike talks about the importance of providing programs and opportunities so one doesn’t return to prison which ultimately impacts the larger community.
During our conversation we talked about standout songs like the melodic ‘Anywhere But Here‘, where Mike gives us a thoughtful and compelling view of New York City and Atlanta. In the first part of the song, he talks about Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Stop and Frisk and the ghost of Sean Bell and others who are victims to police terrorism. He talks about the importance holding police accountable via the Mayor and other politicians who control them. He explained that anyone who allows the police to be out of control don’t politically punish the Mayor for allowing this to happen, has missed the mark in a big way..
New York City is contrasted w/ Killer Mike’s hometown of Atlanta which he describes as a Black male heaven because of its abundance of opportunity, Black office holders and beautiful women. In the song Mike notes how in a city of such abundance, Black blood is still being spilled, with young brothers playing the role of villan vs the good guy who many feel never win.
It’s a powerful cut and during our interview Mike expands upon the political and social dynamics of Atlanta and its relationship to the rest of Georgia. He noted that one day he may actually run for office because he feels that strong about his city and wants to see it improve.
Just is just a short summary and doesn’t do justice to Killer Mike’s passion and love for his community and this music we call Hip Hop.. We divide this interview up in two parts..
Click links below to listen to our interview w/ Killer Mike