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Hip-Hop and Activism

Hip-Hop and Activism

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Published by mista ryan
Handout for talk on Hip-Hop and Activism at the University of the District of Columbia on Feb. 23, 2011
Handout for talk on Hip-Hop and Activism at the University of the District of Columbia on Feb. 23, 2011

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Published by: mista ryan on Feb 23, 2011
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09/06/2011

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UPTURNING THE CHILDREN’S TABLE: HIPHOPGENERATION ATTEMPTS TO CLAIM LEADERSHIPBut Are Meetings And Agendas Enough?By Todd Steven BurroughsJune 21, 2004Originally published in the Spring 2005 Issue of the Jour-nal of Hip-Hop [www.journalofhiphop.org]The members of the HipHop Generation, also known asGeneration X’s People Of Color and Progressive WhitesDivision, are all turning 40 this year, and next, and next,
and to innity-okay, at least all the way until 2020, when
the last ones reach the Big Four-O.Before Angela Bassett, Oprah Winfrey and Lynne Whit-
eld, before Bill and Hillary Clinton became White
House residents and before the Black Panther Party hadregular reunions, turning 40 used to mean you wereover-the-hill, ready for irrelevancy. The Baby Boomers,now all between 60 and 40, used to say in the late 1960sand early 1970s that they couldn’t trust anyone over 30,because 30 was old-a sellout, a member of the Establish-ment happily co-opted by the system. Now the formerlyAfroed and tye-dyed are running the world, and theydon’t trust anyone under 40. An interesting concept: Ageneration who in their 20s and early 30s ran nationalorganizations (Black Panther Party, Students for a Demo-cratic Society (SDS), Student Nonviolent CoordinatingCommitee (SNCC), et. al.) now is explaining that, say,37, is too young. (Meaning, of course, “too young to takemy job, my role.”) “Youth” now means under, what, 50?This new phenomenon particularly is true among Blackand Latino Boomers, who think (correctly?) that theycreated the modern Civil Rights Movement, The Black/Brown Power Movement, modern America and post-modern America. They’re just kids, they say of thoseborn between 1964 and 1980. Not ready. Not part of Our Pioneering Club. They Haven’t Done The ThingsWe Have. They Don’t Know Anything.The 40-something Chuck D must’ve observed this,too. Because he felt compelled to remind the 200 or
so delegates and observers to the rst National Hip
Hop Political Convention in Newark, N.J. last Satur-day (June 19) that nobody old enough to be there wasa “youth” anymore, regardless of what Baby Boom-ers say. That anyone 18 and older was a legal grown-up, ready to vote and to die in Iraq. And that grownpeople had to handle their business themselves....The HipHop generation understands that it’s notabout Captain Jean-Luc Picard replacing James T.Kirk or Static replacing Black Lightning. It’s aboutevery generation creating action for itself. Rosa
Clemente, a conference organizer, said on Pacica
Radio’s “Democracy Now!” that the conference’splanners did not ask anyone’s permission to hold anational political convention and to represent progres-sive America. Right.
But until the HipHop Genera-
tion gures out how to carve a non-symbolic nicheas the middle child of three (competing?) genera
-
tions of people of color, its actions are little morethan the production of another document, anotherrepeat of that well-known Frantz Fanon quote(“Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulll it or betray it”), anotherwell-meaning website and the (sometimes) emptyact of waving placards.
It’s a challenge, though, not insurmountable to thosewho single-handedly created a worldwide, billion-dollar culture out of boredom, spray paint cans,cardboard, turntables and some 45s. It’s just going to
require a difcult, and new, rst step: fundraising and
buying the park before putting the speakers in place.
Further References and Websites:
The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisisin African American Culture
, Bakari Kitwana
Politics and Culture from the perspective of the Hip HopGeneration
, Yvonne Bynoe
Socialism and Democracy,
Issue 36, Hip hop, race, andcultural politics [www.sdonline.org/backissues.htm#36]
Vibe History of Hip-Hop
(edited)
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop,
Jeff ChangDavey D Message Board [www.daveyd.com]http://p076.ezboard.com/fpoliticalpalacefrm57
piece by TATS CRU www.tatcru.com
 
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 There are several major policy issues impacting UrbanAmerica which tie in with Hip-Hop/urban youth1.  Transportation2.  Housing3.  Health Care4.  Education5.  Incarceration Rates (especially Black and brown males)In groups (which we will select shortly), create an advo-cacy campaign which has the following characteristics:1. Educates the masses on the issue2. Employs elements of Hip-Hop culture3. Has a multi-generational scope4. Gets heard in the suburbs and rocks the boulevard5. Is primarily targets the Hip-Hop genertion(s)1.   I give niggaz the truth, cause they pride is indigent2.  You better off rich and guilty, than poor and innocent3.  But I’m sick of feeling impotent watching the world burn4.  In the era of apocalypse waiting my turn5.  I’m a Harlem nigga that’s concerned with the future6.  And if you’re in my way it’d be an honor to shoot ya7.  Up root ya, with the evil that grows in my people8.  Making them deceitful, cannibalistic and lethal9.  But I see through the mentality implanted in us10.  And I educate my fam about who we should trust
“Harlem Streets”, Immortal Technique, RevolutionaryVol. 2
Keys for Mobilizing Thru Hip-Hop
1. Relate issue to both history and present2. Educate of secondary and tertiary issues3. Form partnerships4. Be open to being educated5. Get multi-generational support
Ideas For Hip-Hop Activism
1. Use media/art/performance2. Skits, movies, alternative versions of songsi.e. “Move Bush, Get out the Way”
3. Grafti oriented iers or Fonts
[www.dafont.com]4. Open mic sessions5. Movie/book sessions6. Breaking down rap videos for substance7. Song/rap/poem/essay contest8. Fashion show fundraiser9. CD/t-shirt fundraiser10. Record a documentary
Roles of Hip-Hop Activism
Participant: Any person or organization pursuingthe advancement of the Hip-Hop generation utiliz-ing any of the 5 elements of Hip-Hop
1. Bombing/Writing (grafti)
2. B-boying (breakdancing)3. Dee-jaying4. Emceeing5. Knowledge (of self and culture)Author/Artist: Writing about Hip-Hop culture is away to preserve the roots of the culture as well asenhance the population’s knowledge of the culture.Organizational Leaders (or participants) –Involvement in a group that is trying to supportexplain, and ‘humanize’ Hip-Hop to the massesTeaching Hip-Hop: Teaching classes or forums onHip-Hop as culture, the history, values espoused,and identifying issues revalent to the culture.Hip-Hop activism encompasses all countries, cross-ing language, cultural and geographic barriers.Class issues still remain though.
cartoon from Black Panther NewspaperA Hip-Hop concert in Cuba 
 
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Andrew J. Ryan, raised in the Bronx, New York, was the founding Executive Director of Hip-Hop Matters, a
non-prot organization whose mission is to energize, motivate, empower and support America’s youth through
responsible use of Hip-Hop culture.  He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Hip-Hop, an educa-
tional publication that embodies the elements of the Hip-Hop culture.Ryan’s urban upbringing sparked his passion to integrate Hip-Hop and education.  His primary interests revolve
around the use of learning technologies to address educational gaps in urban education.  He has taught at the
university, high school and middle school levels (math) and is currently a visiting professor in the Center forAcademic Technology at the Univeristy of the District of Columbia .  Here, Ryan manages the technology offer
-ings for over 500 faculty and recently facilitated a yearlong fellowship on Blended Learning.Ryan has conducted over 75 workshops connecting the use of technology with established pedagogical practic-
es. Mr. Ryan holds a BS in Computer Science and MS in Systems Engineering and expects to complete his PhDin ‘something’ eventually.  His prior professional experience includes organizations such as Chase Bank, Boeing,
IBM, Lockheed aMartin, NASA, and the FAA.
Key Organizational Movements: Hip-Hop Activism in Action
Zulu Nation -- Goals of the Universal Zulu Nation
1.  To educate, develop and improve the present state of mind of adults and youth around the world.2.  To spread our message of love, peace and unity amongst all races through our ways and actions.3.  To preserve the culture of Hip-Hop and all art forms created from it and to use music as a medium for cul-tural exchange and understanding.4.  To provide a safe haven to nurture the inherent genius of adults and youth around the world.5.  To assist others in developing careers and opportunities as they express their God-given potential and talents.
Stop The Violence Movement:
Raised over $600,000 for the National Urban League.  Organized to promotepeace within the Hip-Hop community.  Recorded the Song “Self-Destruction”H.E.A.L. Movement:  Human Education Against Lies, organized by KRS-1 was a production of a collaborative
video and album by artists designated to destroy common sense deciency syndrome (CSDS).  Artists involved
includeL Kid Capri, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Jam Master Jay, Chuck D, JonathanDemme, Ted Demme, Ziggy Marley.  Proceeds went to distribute millions of free books to youth worldwide.
The Refugee Project:
A non-prot created by the (Re)Fugees to champion underprivileged youth.  Founded in
1996, the project encourages positive social action among at-risk youth.
Hip-Hop for Respect:
This maxi-single, produced by Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Devin Roberson, released onMarch 14th in memory of Amadou Diallo and Tyesha Miller.  Proceeds were given to the Hip-Hop for respect
Foundation, a non-prot organization that combats police brutality worldwide.
Hip-Hop Summit Action Network:
Founded in 2001, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) is dedi-cated to harnessing the cultural relevance of Hip-Hop music to serve as a catalyst for education advocacy andother societal concerns fundamental to the well-being of at-risk youth throughout the United States.
Hip-Hop Congress:
The goal of The Hip Hop Congress is to create a viable forum for people to learn, ex-press themselves, interact with diverse ideas and cultures, and gain the tools they need to facilitate their owngoals. The Hip Hop Congress hopes to set up a global marketplace and network where like-minded individualsand communities can connect, share resources and develop ideas and strategy. While the Hip Hop Congress isfounded on an ideal, our actions are pragmatic and powerful.
The Unbound Project:
A compilation of rappers and poets trying to raise the awareness of the prison crisis inthe United States.  The Unbound Project donates all of its proceeds to the Mumia Abu Jamal Defense Fund.
Honorable Mentions:
•  Vote or Die: 2004 mobilization effort to increase the number of young voters in the presidential election.•  2002 NYC Rally against projected $1.2B cut in funding for public schools•  All in the Same Gang: West Coast gang treaty organized by Hip-Hop in 1990
Hip-Hop, as with many popular cultures, is unique in thesense that to accurately document the culture, requires itsinterpreters to participate in its expressions.       - KRS-ONE

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