We Remember World Aids Day-We Want Everyone to ‘Act Right’

Today December 1 2010 is World AIDs Day with its theme being Act Aware.. Last year the theme was Universal Access and Human Rights. With so many things bombarding us ranging from lack of jobs, unemployment benefits not being extended political strife and the latest Lil Kim diss toward Nicki Minaj, thinking about HIV and AIDs may not be top of mind… This morning we wanted to remind folks as to what’s happening..In many of our communities this dreaded disease is still impacting us in ways that are incredibly impacting. The leading cause of death among young people is HIV and AIDs. The primary culprit is lack of medical care and access. Here in the US the primary culprit is woeful ignorance. That has got to change.

First lets start with this song from Michael Franti called ‘Positive’. It was a song done back in 1994 and was proceeded with a request for urban radio stations all around the country to pay tribute to World AIDs day by giving a moment of silence. Sadly many of the urban stations in the big cities where HIV and AIDs was impacting us the most refused. Fortunately, we can share this ground breaking song here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG94nBlcLYg

On a side note wanna give a shout out to West Coast pioneer Captain Rap who put out the song Bad Times back in 1983.. For many of us it was the first time we heard the word AIDs in a rap song. He talks about it in the third verse and how doctors were afraid to treat victims of  this new disease. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QPUazhwYdg&feature=related

For this World AIDS Day 2010 a number of high profile artists are staging ‘digital deaths‘ in which they log off line and won’t come back on until money is raised for the organization Buy Life.  They include  UsherLady GagaP-DiddyUsher and Serana Williams to name a few. The goal is to bring awareness to those in younger generations who are constantly being challenged by videos, TV shows and celebrity sex tapes that leave one with the impression that unprotected sex is ok.

For example, the recent sexually charged video by Raheem DevaughnSingle’ has everyone buzzing as he performs oral sex on a partner.  While its no doubt tantalizing and being widely viewed, one has to ask does it leave those who are young, sexual active and impressionable  with the wrong message that everything is a-ok with no consequences. The startling statistics say we need to raise awareness in a big way.

Below is a a video from Alicia Keys who is also one of the celebrities participating in the digital death series. Will her message be as widely viewed as some of the sex charged videos?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86nv_mTf0OQ&feature=player_embedded

Facts About HIV and AIDs Every One Hip Hop Head Should Know

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus may be passed from one person to another when infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions come in contact with an uninfected person’s broken skin or mucous membranes*. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Some of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/qa/qa1.htm

What is AIDS?

AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome:

Immune Deficiency means a weakness in the body’s system that fights diseases.

Syndrome means a group of health problems that make up a disease.

AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. If you get infected with HIV, your body will try to fight the infection. It will make “antibodies,” – (chemicals that are part of the immune system that recognize invaders like bacteria and viruses and mobilize the body’s attempt to fight infection special molecules to fight HIV.

A blood test for HIV looks for these antibodies. If you have them in your blood, it means that you have HIV infection. People who have the HIV antibodies are called “HIV-Positive.”

Being HIV-positive, or having HIV disease, is not the same as having AIDS. Many people are HIV-positive but don’t get sick for many years. As HIV disease continues, it slowly wears down the immune system. Viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria that usually don’t cause any problems can make you very sick if your immune system is damaged. These are called “opportunistic infections.”

http://www.aids.org/factSheets/101-what-is-aids.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qarXfMLnIp8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylmmkQWd22s&feature=player_embedded

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV transmission can occur when blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, vaginal fluid or breastmilk from an HIV-positive person enters the body of an HIV-negative person. HIV can enter the body through a vein, the lining of the anus or rectum, the lining of the vagina and/or cervix, the opening to the penis, the mouth, other mucous membranes — such as the eyes or inside of the nose — or cuts and sores. Intact, healthy skin is an excellent barrier against HIV and other viruses and bacteria.

Worldwide, the most common way that HIV is transmitted is through sexual transmission, including anal, vaginal or oral sex with an HIV-positive person. HIV also can be transmitted by sharing needles or injection equipment with an injection drug user who is HIV-positive, or from an HIV-positive woman to her infant before or during birth or through breastfeeding after birth. HIV also can be transmitted through receipt of infected blood or blood clotting factors.

http://www.globalhealthreporting.org/diseaseinfo.asp?id=277

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TDq5IC8ibM

Does having HIV mean you’ll die?

Testing positive for HIV means that you now carry the virus that causes AIDS. It does not mean that you have AIDS, nor does it mean that you will die. Although there is no cure for AIDS, many opportunistic infections that make people sick can be controlled, prevented or eliminated. This has substantially increased the longevity and quality of life for people living with AIDS. Bottom line, HIV/AIDS is not the same death sentence it was say 25 years ago. People are living long healthy lives with HIV and AIDS. The sooner you start to become aware and the more you know about the “virus” the better your chances are delaying the effects of the disease.

http://www.aids.org/info/aids-hiv-positive-will-i-die.html

Conscious Daughters and Paris-Caught Up

http://www.guerrillafunk.com/mp3/all_caught_up.mp3

Do I have to tell everyone that I’m HIV positive?

No. Who you tell your status is your own business. They only people that need to tell are anyone you are going to have unprotected sex with. Not disclosing your status is punishable by law. Any person who exposes another to HIV by engaging in unprotected sexual activity is guilty of a felony, when the infected person: 1) knows he/she is infected; 2) has not disclosed his/her HIV-positive status; and 3) acts with the intent to infect the other person with HIV. The felony charge is punishable in the state prison for three, five, or eight years.

http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/AIDS/Documents/RPT2002AIDSLaws.pdf

How do I protect myself and my partner from contracting HIV?

Getting tested, knowing your status and limiting risk-factors for contracting the virus like sharing needles or having unprotected sex with other people, is the best way to protect yourself and your partner. Many health advocates suggest getting tested at least 3 to 4 times a year and more depending on the person’s sexual behaviors.

Can you tell someone is HIV positive just by looking at them?

No. A person living with HIV may look healthy and feel good just like you. A blood test is the only way a person can find out if he or she is infected with HIV.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6DCubdIgO8

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Is Eminem Being Unfairly Targeted for His Homophobic Lyrics Because he’s White?

There’s a lot of buzz around Eminem‘s recent 60 Minutes appearance with Anderson Cooper. On the surface it was a good look as there’s no denying Em’s popularity. He’s now seen as an OG of sorts who has finally returned to the scene after being away for a couple of years recovering from a series of life altering mishaps.

We all know about the tragic night club shooting of his best friend Proof (Detroit’s un-official mayor ) a few years back. We also know that Eminem almost overdosed and had been hooked on drugs. According to him he’s been 2 years sober. Like it or not when polled Eminem’s name frequents cracks the top 5 in one Hip Hop’s greatest rapper ever.  His delivery, controversial subject matter and clever word play has earned him his respect. However, what caught people’s attention during the 60 Minutes interview was his remarks around homophobic and misogynistic lyrics. When asked about them and the controversy that emerged here’s what Em is quoted as saying;

“I felt like I was being attacked. I was being singled out. I felt like, ‘Is it because of the color of my skin? Is it because of that you’re paying more attention?’ There are certain rappers that do and say the same things that I’m saying and I don’t hear no one say anything about that.”.

You can peep the full interview here..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFGVXtwc-Ak

Em’s remarks raised more than a few eyebrows and left us with a few things to think about. The name of the game as he well knows is when you’re trying to make noise to blow up a spot, unless you have a compelling story to tell or exemplary skill sets, the best way to bring attention to yourself or an issue is to kick up dust and cause controversy.

This is what Eminem did. He bursted on the scene 10 years ago causing controversy. It wasn’t just his shocking lyrics but also some of his on and off stage antics. For example, I recall on one of his early visits to the Bay he got into a heated exchange with a radio host on KALX (UC Berkeley’s radio station) who thought he was a bit rude and over the top. The host Sister Tamu wound up breaking his record on the air. Word of that incident spread quick.

A few months later (may 1999) while doing a concert at the Fillmore a fight broke out. Em attempted to quell things only to jump off the stage with crew in tow to pummel a heckler who he felt wasn’t showing the proper respect. What appeared to be an isolated incident was later revealed to be something that somewhat staged as similar incidents of Em jumping off the stage to confront hecklers occurred at other concerts including Las Vegas a few days later. Again controversy sells and Eminem early on was a spark plug for it…

It should come as no surprise that folks wishing to get a message across would not attach themselves to his missteps to get a message out. This has been a tried and true method used by organizations like PETA when it comes to animal abuse and obviously other organizations like GLAAD who went after Eminem to bring attention to homophobia. But with that being said, while Eminem has come under fire, he has never been economically blocked at least not in the ways we seen other artists who dared cross certain lines.

For example, take reggae artist Buju Banton.. Here’s a guy that recorded an over the top homophobic song back in 1988 when he was 15. The song  ‘Boom Bye Bye‘ was about the murdering  gay man and became a huge hit and an anthem of sorts. 20 years after this song was recorded folks never let up him. They protested, got his tours canceled. Folks have and continue to go all out on Buju.  Eminem.. yeah he got heat from GLAAD and other organizations, but his concerts were never cancelled even here in San Francisco where activist have shut down Buju everytime his name is even mentioned.

This has gone on even after Buju has gone on to do positive music and explained his immaturity and ignorance at 15. He is now considered a strong voice for Jamaica. The protests have gone on even after he was the first to set up program Willy to help prevent the spread HIV and AIDs in Jamaica. Prior to that using a condom was seen in a bad light the same way homosexuality was. Buju took those steps and has still been dogged.

Em still performed his over the top songs even after public apologies and a show of reconciliation with singer Elton John who is outspoken on Gay Rights. Em was still embraced even though he does many of those ‘offensive’ songs. In addition when Eminem is mentioned it’s rarely with the tag Anti-gay rapper vs Buju who is frequently cited in the press as Anti-gay singer.

Def Jeff

Now one may look at Buju and say his song was an anthem that sparked violence and hence deserved to be protested. Thats understandable on a number of levels so lets look at  a few other less egregious examples..  I recall back in the early 90s ago LA rapper Def Jeff coming to San Francisco to perform at Club Townsend. He attempted to try to get the crowd hyped  by first yelling ‘All the Ugly People Be Quiet’. When he got a luke warm response he then yelled ‘All the People who got Aids be Quiet‘. To put it simply, after he yelled those remarks it was a wrap.

Even though Def Jeff got a resounding response from the audience that night he soon found himself blacklisted by SF club owners. Many who heard about his remarks refused to book him. Years later, he admitted at that time, he was young and just ignorant to both the horrors of HIV and AIDs. He was also oblivious to the type of anger and scapegoating directed at the Gay community. At that time AIDs was more associated with white Gay males as opposed to folks in the inner city and Jeff was simply insensitive. He apologized, but to know avail. He hasn’t been in the Bay to perform since.

A few months prior to Def Jeff’s remarks, Turbo B the lead rapper for the group the Snap which had the mega hit song ‘The Power’, made some unsavory remarks about Gays and AIDs and caused a huge uproar. Turbo later apologized for his ignorance, but it was all but a wrap for him and his career pretty much went down the tubes from there. It didn’t help that the Snap had a large following in the Gay community. Folks weren’t gonna allow those anti-gay remarks to go.

Cypress Hill

Also around that time a more visible and publicized incident occurred with Cypress Hill who were performing at the Bill Graham Civic Center during the Soul Assassins Tour. The show featured House of Pain, Cypress Hill and a number of other acts. Someone in the opening act acting as hype man yelled out to the crowd ‘”All the fags in the House Be Quiet’. There was a loud response from all the straight males who of course responded to the call.

The next day, angry members of the Gay community reacted and targeted radio giant KMEL which gave away tickets for the show. Letters and phone calls came in and the end result was Cypress Hill was banned from airplay on the station. The group quickly issued a letter of apology, even though they weren’t onstage at the time. The logic from the Gay protestors was that they were responsible for the insensitivity of the acts they brought along with them, hence they needed to be banned. The Cypress Hill radio boycott lasted for almost a year. It wasn’t lifted until they actually wound up doing a syndicated Soul Assassin’s radio show on our station.

Now again let’s not get things twisted, anyone advocating for the beating, killing or even the discrimination of gays or any ethnic group is bad news. And folks on the receiving end of those insults and threats have every right and should express their anger and outrage. If that outrage includes protests and shutting folks down, so be it. All of us have a responsibility in being aware of boundaries that exists within certain communities.But bringing this back to Eminem, he was given huge passes and in many ways embraced. Em’s angry lyrics have more often than not been praised by publications like the UK Guardian and Spin Magazine for expressing and reflecting the angst and anger felt by many within the white working class.

So is Eminem a target for his homophobic and misogynist lyrics because he’s white? Hardly. It’s more likely that he’s a target because he’s enormously popular. I think many of these organizations learned that they can only go so far in bringing attention to these issues going after lesser known artists. Hence  as long as Eminem is in the spotlight he allows a light to be shined on these issues. Hence anything he says will be scrutinized for an opportunity to weigh in. The attacks on Eminem are not the same as the shut downs and demonization of entire groups of Black and Brown folks for anti-social ills.

When Def Jeff and Turbo B got clocked all of rap was called into question. When Buju Banton was called all of Jamaica and its culture was called into question. When Em was called out it began and stopped with him. We didn’t make the connection with Eminem being a white man born in the US who may be part of and ultimately influenced by a culture that includes everyone from conservative politicians to overzealous Evangelists who routinely bash the gay community. Bottomline in spite of his hard upbringing there are major institutions in this country that have afforded Eminem a few priviledges he himself might not recognize and certainly didn’t acknowledge during his interview

something to consider

-Davey D-

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Chuck D & Funk Expert Rickey Vincent Speak on the Music & Political Legacy of Michael Jackson & the Jackson 5

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Listen to the History of Funk pt 1-retrospective look at Michael Jackson & the Jackson 5

1-Breakdown FM-History of Funk pt1-Michael jackson & the Jackson 5

2-Breakdown FM-History of Funk pt2-w/Chuck D How MJ influenced Hip Hop & Politics

 
Professor Rick Vincent-author of History of Funk drops a lot of insight about the musical legacy of Michael Jackson  and his brothers

Professor Rick Vincent-author of History of Funk drops a lot of insight about the musical legacy of Michael Jackson and his brothers

Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 are considered steller musicians and entertainers who changed the game in major ways. Oftentimes when we speak of them they are presented as if they came out of nowhere and their musical prowess came out of a vacuum. We wanted to give people some deeper insight into their music and what it meant to Soul, Funk and the Black community.

We sat down with Professor Ricky Vincent aka the Uhuru Maggot, author of the landmark book The History of Funk. We sat down and walked through the history of MJ and the Jacksons and talked in depth about their influences ranging from James Brown to Stevie Wonder. We talked in depth about their roots including how MJ and his brothers grew up in Gary, Indiana. We talked about the important role Gary played in Black America, both in terms of having one of the country’s first African American mayors and the 1972 meeting by Black folks to set a nationwide agenda.

We talked about their father Joe Jackson and who he is and how he spent alot of childhood and teenage years in Oakland, California. Vincent talked about the vibrant blues scene that was in full gear when Joe jackson was around in West Oakland and how that may have been a foundation for his musical ambitions.

We spoke about Michael Jackson and his dancing history. We talked about his signature moves ‘The Robot’, The Moonwalk and locking and noted how these were popular dance styles well known in various hoods throughout California for years prior to Michael introducing them to the rest of the world.

We talked about the struggles the group had when MJ’s voice changed and how Motown executives wanted them to follow a particular pop formula while the group pushed to establish a new sound that was more soulful, funky and contemporary. Eventually the tension became so great that the group left Motown and joined Epic. Because Motown owned the name The Jackson 5, the group changed their name to The Jacksons. Complicating their situation even more was the fact that older brother Jermaine married Berry Gordy’s daughter hence he went on to stay at Motown and do a solo career.

We talk about the influence James Brown had on Michael and how he went out and pretty much adapted much of Brown’s delivery, showmanship and overall style. We explore the music from that time period in the mid 70s and note how the group found themselves under the gun as they tried to keep up with icons like Stevie Wonder, George Clinton, Sly Stone, BT Express and an array of ‘child groups like the Sylvers who had bursted on the scene and were hitting hard.

Ricky reminded us of how George Clinton and his p-funk mob were in Detroit recording songs and that their style and influence was definitely felt. because he was connecting with the hood, the Jacksons were forced to step it up and become alittle more raw with their music.

We end this segment by highlighting the various musical directions the group took.

Here’s the link to part1

Breakdown FM-History of Funk pt1-Michael jackson & the Jackson 5

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Chuck D spoke about Michael Jackson's political side and how he influenced his love for Hip Hop

Chuck D spoke about Michael Jackson's political side and how he influenced his love for Hip Hop

In pt 2 we are joined by Chuck D of Public Enemy where we have an indepth discussion about MJ and his politics and how Chuck was introduced to Hip Hop via Mike.

Chuck talks about the important role legendary songwriters Gamble & Huff played in pushing Mike and his brothers. Author Ricky Vincent talks about how the message in the music is part of a much larger tradition within Black music.

Chuck D also talks about how some of Michael Jackson’s records which were used as breakbeats influenced him and made him embrace Hip hop more. In particular is the vintage cut ‘Music’s Taking Over’. Chuck also talks about the sample they used from MJ in the song By The Time I get to Arizona.

Chuck also talks about the important influence Michael Jackson had in the realm of videos.

We play lots of Jackson’s political songs as well as the cuts that inspired Chuck D.

We conclude the interview by talking about MJs War with Sony Music and Tommy Mottola, his charitable works and the importance of being named the King of Pop.

Here’s the link to pt 2

Breakdown FM-History of Funk pt2-w/Chuck D How MJ influenced Hip Hop & Politics

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