Rebel Diaz Moves Onward with a New Video About Hugo Chavez

Rebel Diaz collectiveGlad to see Rebel Diaz and the RDACBX Collective are standing strong and pushing back hard in spite of the set backs imposed on them by the greedy developers in the Bronx, NYC and its gentrification projects and the FEDs.. After the group painted a mural on the walls of their community center, bringing attention to political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, there was a chilling response from those in power.. The building owner refused to sell the space to the group and he refused to take their rent or negotiate for new terms… He also never expressed concern about the mural..but nevertheless the group came to learn it was a trigger..

As they noted in a recent press conference, RDACBX is not limited to a building, it’s the spirit of the community and that community is everywhere and expanding..Their latest project is a song and dope video that pays tribute to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who was a big supported of the South Bronx community center the group and the neighborhood built.

Here’s what they penned about the video..

Peace Familia!

The direct connection we have with the The Bolivarian Revolution is
that our community space The Rebel Diaz Arts Collective -BX (RDACBX)
was directly funded by Venezuelan owned oil company- Citgo. For 4 1/2
years we received direct assistance from Comandante Hugo Chavez and
the people of Venezuela.

This song is our tribute to him as we consider him to be a champion of poor people around the world. Hugo
Chavez supported Hip Hop in The South Bronx. Hugo Chavez is Hip Hop.
Our community space was violently shut down on Feb. 28th by The NYPD and federal
marshalls. We know what it is. We were a threat because we were
teaching the youth, speaking out against Stop and Frisk, doing
political graffiti, doing open mics, etc.

We are living historic moments of oppression to which we can only respond
with historic moments of resistance!! It is time to Work Like
Chavez!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKkveMo-2NA

Wiz Khalifa’s Song ‘Huey Newton’ Sparks Controversy

Pittsburgh artist Wiz Khalifa has been making a lot of noise as of late. Most recently him and rhyme partner Currensy did song called Huey Newton which has ruffled the feathers of more than a few people who feel like the Black Panther Party co-founder who fought tirelessly for the liberation of Black people is being disrespected.

The song in question has nothing to do with Huey or the Panthers. It’s about smoking weed and kicking it. Hence it left many wondering why name check Huey? Was it to bring controversy or was it a reflection of one’s ignorance where freedom fighters and civil rights icons are seen as fair game for dismissal, ridicule and attacks?

Outkast caused quite abit of controversy with their Rosa Parks song

When I heard the song, two things went through my mind. First was the controversy surrounding Outkast when they used the name of Rosa Parks, the mother of the Civil Rights Movement in the biggest hit single off the critically acclaimed Aquemini album.

Many felt it was a huge disrespect, including some of Park’s people who wound up suing Outkast for using her name without permission. According to her representatives, Ms Parks didn’t like the fact that the group used profanity in a song that in no way reflected what she had stood for.

Outkast felt they were being mis-understood. They claimed that they were paying tribute in an artistic sort of way. Parks’ name was used as a metaphor to lay claim that the group was putting others on notice that it was time  to make way, ‘move to the back of the bus’ and make way for Outkast.

Many in the Civil Rights community wasn’t buying it. While many in the Hip Hop community questioned the motives behind a lawsuit. Was this really Rosa Park’s sentiments or her people trying to make a buck? The counter to that question and ultimately one of the basis for the lawsuit-was Outkast trying to make a buck off of Rosa Parks?

Eventually famed lawyer Johnnie Cochran got involved on behalf of Parks. The lawsuits were dismissed on freedom of speech grounds but Outkast wound up settling with Ms Parks. They shot her some money and agreed to do a few community benefits for her foundation.

The other thing that went through my mind were the recent name checks where iconic freedom fighters are publicly clowned.

We saw this two years ago when a young columnist from Ebony magazinenamed Jam Donaldson of Hot Ghetto Mess fame took shots at political prisoner and former Panther Mumia Abu Jamal. In her piece she stated;

Mumia Abu Jamal

“One day I’m like, ‘Free Mumia’ and other days I’m like, ‘That n***** probably did it.’ And I’m not afraid to admit it, and I’m not afraid to write about it.”

Donaldson’s remarks angered many of Mumia’s supporters who felt her flippant remarks in a respected publication like Ebony not only added but in some ways legitimized an already poisonous climate set by police department unions who had been on a mission to see Mumia put to death.

Donaldson noted that her remarks and take on things are a reflection of how many in her generation feel these days. They’re sarcastic and have no problem crossing what many in the past may have seen as sacred lines. In her case she saw nothing wrong with dissing a man who was fighting for his life on death row. A few years prior comedian Cedric the Entertainer saw nothing wrong with clowning Rosa Parks by calling her lazy in the movie Barbershop. Parks boycotted the NAACP image awards in which Cedric was appearing as a result.

Today an artist like Wiz Khalifa may see nothing wrong with naming a song after Huey Newton without reflecting his legacy. These are just names to people who now live in an increasingly disposable society.

Here’s a video to the song Huey Newton

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu1kpwbx_fU&feature=related

Needless to say… the Huey Newton song got a quick rebuke from more than a few people including Minista Paul Scott of the Militant Mind Militia. Below is his video response where he goes in on Khalifa and Currensy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jo7rV5VTPA&feature=player_embedded

Lastly, weighing in on this is fellow Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X who feels like situations like this can lead to teachable moments. He knows both Wiz and Paul Scott and feels that we should be building bridges and not causing further divisiveness.

Huey Newton

I agree with Jasiri X and I like the video he did in response to the song. At the same time one thing that all of us need to keep in mind is the importance of empathy. We need to walk in each other’s shoes. We need to keep in mind that each generation has heroes and sheroes they hold dear and sadly there are outside forces that routinely malign those leaders and important figures in our community. Hopefully all of us young and old understand this and don’t add to the attacks or in Wiz’s case neglect.

In my generation the icons were Chuck D, KRS, X-Clan, Minister Farrakhan and others who we rallied around. A generation before that, it was the Malcolms, Martins, Shirely Chisolms and Hueys.

The generations after mine came to admire Tupac, Biggie, Diddy. and later Jay-Z.

For today’s generation those figures don’t hold the same emotional cache. They have their own heroes. Is it Lil Wayne? Souljah Boy? Rick RossBeyonce?  The best way to find out is to ask the young folks around you and build. Who are the heroes and sheroes for today’s generation?

Remember we are in a date and time where ethnic studies is being cut from college campuses all around the country and history text books are being re-written as we speak. Freedom fighters like Thurgood Marshall and Cesar Chavez are being removed and replaced with Newt Gingrich and Jerry Falwell. Community leaders are less and less known while  pundits seen on TV and entertainers and music moguls have become the new Civil Rights leaders  Should we be surprised if a Wiz Khalifa doesn’t hold a Huey Newton close to his chest in 2010?

-Davey D-

Here’s Jasiri X’s remarks:

I saw the controversy over the Wiz Khalifa and Currensy song called Huey Newton, including the video response by Paul Scott of the Militant Mind Militia, and being that I know both Wiz and Paul I thought I should weigh in.

I certainly understand why the conscious community would be upset with Wiz and Currensy considering the subject matter of the song, but I just wanted to offer some perspective. I grew up in a very conscious household, however in my early 20s, I dropped out of college and spent most of my days smoking weed, writing rhymes and hustling to support my habit. I figured I was gonna be an MC so I was gonna have as much fun as I could on the way to the top.

Eventually, that lifestyle got old and by the grace of God I regained my conscious mind and began trying to use my talents and gifts to uplift humanity. Wiz grew up around conscious people and he’s one of the most mature young men I’ve ever met. Where he is now…experiencing the tremendous highs of living his dream…does not mean he’s going to stop growing as a person.

I don’t know Currensy, but I did find it interesting that Huey Newton was born in his home state of Louisiana.

I don’t think Paul Scott was wrong in expressing how he felt and his frustration with the state of Hip-Hop. Knowing Paul, I know he spoke out of sincere love for his people and a desire to see us do better. But, I felt like instead of creating more division, I could use this as a teachable moment, so I grabbed the instrumental and did what I do. Paradise recorded the session at James Webb Studios, we added a interview Huey Newton did with William Buckley plus one of his speeches and pieced together the video we called “The Real Huey Newton”.

One Hood,
Jasiri X

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHfotb2pwNI

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White Cops In Philly Refer to Black Kids As Ghetto Monkeys-Black Cop Set to Sue

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daveyd-raider2As you read the article below  please keep in mind several things which make this story even more disturbing. First, Philadelphia currently has a Black Mayor, Michael A Nutter  and had another mayor John F Street, a community activist and organizer who served for 8 years.  This means that the website Domelights used by white Philly Cops to post up racist rantings about the people and the communities they a re supposed to serve was launched and has existed un-challenged on the watch of two African Americans leading the City of Brotherly Love.  How is this possible?

For the past 8 years, Philadelphia has had two Black Police Commissioners, Sylvester Johnson and the Charles Ramseywho is highly decorated and currently oversees the department. How is racism this blatant amongst white officers tolerated on their watch? Do these men not have power or do these men not have backbone to stand up and shut things down? How was Johnson and now Ramsey able to lead officers who feel comfortable enough to embrace and exude the type of unconscionable racism described in the article?  Their inability to have a zero tolerance policy put in place and acted upon when such egregious behavior occurs is a stark reminder that even though we have Black faces in high places it don’t mean a damn thing for the everyday Black person on the streets of  Philly and throughout this country.  

Professor and Fox news Commentator Marc Lamont Hill came across out of control cops on the Temple University campus in Philadelphia just last week. They were making several young men drop their pants in a public place while they laughed and cracked jokes.

Professor and Fox news Commentator Marc Lamont Hill came across out of control cops on the Temple University campus in Philadelphia just last week. They were making several young men drop their pants in a public place while they laughed and cracked jokes.

As I’m reading this story, I can’t help but think about two things. First, is a situation which took place just last week around Temple University in Philly when Professor and Fox News Commentator Marc Lamont Hill came upon some out of control officers who thought it would be funny to harass several young Black men passing through the campus by having them drop their pants in public while being detained. 

Hill tweeted about the incident and described how he stood watching  the officers when he himself got confronted. The officers wanted him to leave the scene. They said he was ‘hovering ‘when Hill was actually observing which he has a right to do as tax paying citizen. Perhaps the only thing that kept him from being made to drop his pants was that he let it be known he was a professor on the campus where the young men were being jammed up.

Hill tweeted about how angry he was because after the cops let the boys go they started laughing and cracking jokes about the incident.  What made this more outrageous was they did this in front of Professor Hill- The message seemingly conveyed by these callous cops was; It don’t matter who the hell you are, we’ll do what we want.  One has to wonder if these cops went home  wrote about the incident and shared a good laugh with other white cops on the racist website Domelights.

The second thing that comes to mind, is the plight of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal. Year after year when his case comes up, the Philadelphia police union Fraternal order of Police #5 leads the charge to block any attempt to free him. Mumia has long talked about the insidious racism and brutality of the Philly police.  The things he’s reported on prior to going to jail over 20 years ago  and throughout his stay on death row have been met with skepticism, rebuke and disbelief by mainstream pundits who simply feel the police can do no wrong.  Perhaps these pundits need to look at the daily, pervasive racist commentary on Domelights from these White officers serving a city with a majority population of people of color and has  Black leadership which is more than unnerving. One can then ask  how much worse and in your face were these racist attitudes  under white leadership, especially when Mumia was free and having to deal with well known racist Police Commissioners like Frank Rizzo. One can only imagine it was even worse.

Lastly one has to ask, how is such conduct tolerated by the Fraternal Order of Police. You go to their website and you see they are alerting their members to upcoming contract hearings on July 24th. I didn’t see anything telling their officers to fall back and set a good example for other officers by not tolearting racism. The FOP want a new contract when they have pretty much remained silent and not reined in their members?  Pay attentions folks and lets see how this plays out.

When will President Obama aggressively address these increasing issues of police terror and the racism that is pervasive throughout many departments?

When will President Obama aggressively address these increasing issues of police terror and the racism that is pervasive throughout many departments?

In closing I will say this.. yesterday we had a huge debate on my website and facebook pages about whether or not President Obama was doing enough to address racial issues that are impacting Black folks daily. Many felt like he was on the case. Others felt like he was falling short. One of the main sticking points in our debate were these increasing incidents of police terror that are happening from Oakland to Mississippi to Houston to Trenton,  NJ with Wise Intelligent to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with Hip Hop pioneer and X-Clan member Paradise Gray. It was not lost on me that earlier this week President Obama went out of his way to offer prayer and praise to officers who were shot and seriously injured in the line of duty  while chasing down suspects in Jersey City, New Jersey. He offered prayer and praise to slain officers in Pittsburgh a couple of months ago and he offered prayer and praise to the 4 officers slain in Oakland back in March.  These things he should do.

At the same time, when is our President going to put out of control police on notice and offer solace to people brutalized by renegade cops?  When is he going to instruct his Attorney General Eric Holder to draft a plan of action to hold police accountable and make sure that there will be zero tolerance for abuse and racist behavior as demonstrated by the white officers on Philly’s police force.  

President Obama gave lots of money in his stimulus package for police-Perhaps he needs to take some of that money bback and treat the polce the way he treated the car companies. Let them know they don’t get any money until they start doing right by the American people.

Something to Ponder…

-Davey D-

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  • Cops claim police message board “infested with racist, white supremacist” remarks
  • Boards reference swim club incident, calls black kids “ghetto monkey faces”
  • One post describes “no car insurance driving, bad weave wearing” black women
  • Lawsuit seeks for site to be taken down or have cops stop posting during work
  • Black Philadelphia police sue over message board, say it’s racist

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/07/17/police.racism.lawsuit/index.html

    Domelights is a privately run website used by police in Philadelphia where they routinely post up racist rantings including one where they referred to Black kids discriminated at a Philly country club-Ghetto Monkeys'

    Domelights is a privately run website used by police in Philadelphia where they routinely post up racist rantings including one where they referred to Black kids discriminated at a Philly country club as Ghetto Monekeys

    (CNN) — A group of black Philadelphia police officers filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against their department, alleging an online forum geared toward city police is “infested with racist, white supremacist and anti-African-American content.”

    The suit alleges white officers post on and moderate the privately operated site, Domelights.com, both on and off the job.

    Domelights’ users “often joke about the racially offensive commentary on the site … or will mention them in front of black police officers,” thus creating “a racially hostile work environment,” according to lawyers for the all-black Guardian Civic League, the lead plaintiff in the suit.

    A look at the site’s forums Friday for racist comments found several possibilities.

    Reads one: “In urban areas, it seems [African-Americans] living on welfare in paid for housing is ingrained in their culture as well as fighting. … Kids, along with adults can’t speak proper English or spell at a 3rd grade level, but they can sing among “theyselves” the lyrics to a rap song.”

    Said another Domelights user of an African-American woman: “She is a classic example of that exact non tax paying, no car insurance driving, bad weave wearing, all the whitey’s are racist black women.”

    The site’s tagline is “the voice of the good guys.”

    “Every time African-Americans do or say something in our city, we get this backlash of cops who think they’re anonymous on this Web site — just racist, nasty, hurtful things about what we do,” said Rochelle Bilal, the president of the Guardian Civic League and a 23-year veteran of the force.

    The league’s attorney said other black officers echo Bilal’s statement.

    “We’ve heard the same story over and over again, which is that [African-American officers] witness in the workplace Domelights being used and discussed [in a racial manner],” said Brian Mildenberg, whose firm is also representing a Philadelphia day camp that recently gained national attention when its mostly black campers were turned away from a swim club.

    He said it was “a gift from the heavens in a way that the two things happened at once.”

    While Mildenberg and Bilal said they had been monitoring the 10-year-old Web site for years, the pool incident did seem to play into the timing of the lawsuit.

    “When they said something about our pretty, brown, young, innocent children and called them monkeys because they wanted to go swimming, that was enough,” Bilal said.

    She may have been referring to this comment posted on Domelights: “Maybe the people who work for a living didn’t want to swim with a bunch of ghetto monkey faces.”

    The lawsuit also highlights comments made on Domelights by the site’s founder and administrator, a sergeant in the Philadelphiapolice force who goes by the online handle “McQ.”

    A statement from McQ that Mildenberg described as “racially abusive commentary” reads, “Blacks and other minorities frequently don’t have the resources that white people have. Consequently, blacks may not be able to keep their vehicles inspected, registered, and roadworthy.”

    McQ is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit. Asked why McQ bears responsibility for the racist remarks of his site’s anonymous commenters, Mildenberg said it was because “he started it.”

    The person known as McQ did not respond to a request for comment, but posted a message on the site citing the lawsuit. McQ wrote that the suit may cause the Web site to be suspended, but added his statement was not an admission of wrongdoing.

    “I categorically deny any wrongdoing on my part,” the message reads. “I did not make racist posts. I did not maintain the Web site on city time.”

    Ideally, Mildenberg said, his clients would like to see the site shut down. Failing that, they want Philadelphia police officers to be prohibited from posting comments on the site, particularly during working hours.

    The plaintiffs in the class-action suit also are seeking unspecified financial damages available under the Civil Rights Act for Philadelphia’s 2,300 African-American police officers, according to Mildenberg.

    Shelley Smith, Philadelphia’s city solicitor, said. “The lawsuit is about a private Web site. It’s not a police department Web site. It’s not operated or overseen by the police department. The allegations against the city and police department are misplaced.”

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