We sat down with Pittsburgh rap star Jasiri X of the organization One Hood who talked to us about all that was going on the city which has made national news because of the city’s infamous footbal team , the Steelers winning a record number 6 superbowls. Residents proudly refer to the city as Sixburgh as people around the nation praised the city as one that has returned from the harsh economic turbulance of Steelmills shutting down and factories leaving to go overseas.
Jasiri X laid to rest those myths by pointing out that underneath the pride and swagger is another story as the city gets prepared for the upcoming G20 Summit. His assessment was sobering and eye opening and in stark contrast with the nationwide write up Pittsburgh had recently gotten as being the ‘most liveable city in America’.
Most notable in this interview was Jasiri expressing profound disappointment in the way President Obama has allowed a number things around the issues of poverty and police brutality slide. There were many within the organization One Hood who spent countless hours registering people to vote and taking them to the polls only to have them and their community overlooked when Obama’s aid Valerie Jarrett came to town and made shocking statements about how economic hardships have not befallen Pittsburgh. Jasiri talked in great detail about the immense poverty that still exists in many of the city’s Black communities. He talked about how gentrification and new developments have worsened things not made them better.
He talked about the on going police harrassment and terror residents are experiencing on a routine basis. He talked about how the Pittsburgh police department has been making practice runs for the upcoming G20 summit, in the Black community. They been using all sorts of new crowd control and surveillenace techniques in the hood.
Jasiri X talked about how the police have been showing up in the hood with army tanks and extra man power even though several officers have been killed in in neighborhoods outside the hood. Pittsburgh is becoming a police state with all sorts of laws restricting people’s movements being put into place. Among those victimized by this new crackdown are people activist/journalist Paradise Gray of X-Clan. He was recently arrested on trumped up charges when he came to film a protest that people were having against gentrification. Many feel Gray was arrested so he could be on the books and face stiffer penalties should he show up to film or protest at the upcoming G20 summit.
Jasiri talked about how officers have been put on notice that if they leak out any information about security plans for the upcoming G20 Summit, they will be terminated. Sadly no officer has been terminated for committing acts of brutality. He noted how the city has been hiring police outside the city of Pittsburgh and how its caused a lot of tension and unrest.
Jasiri talked about how all protests in city parks have been banned in preparation for the G20. All permits have been denied including one solicted by a Pittsburgh legislator.