Archive for December, 2007

Make room for the Jolie-Pitt family

Posted in Articles of Interest, Slavery & Justice on December 27, 2007 by blackrep

NOLA Projects
It’s week-old news now, but the furor that has erupted in New Orleans (quite justifiably) about the tearing down of HUD housing projects reached a fever pitch last week when a city council meeting turned violent. Protesters and police clashed at NOLA city hall’s front gate and in the council’s chambers, where it was decided, unanimously, that the projects would be torn down. From CNN:

Peter O’Connell, who described himself as a student living in New Orleans, told the station he was hit by pepper spray and narrowly avoided being shocked by a police stun gun, which hit his jacket but not his body.

“We were just trying to gain access to the City Council meeting, which we all feel and know that we have a right to attend,” he said. “We were denied access and, in the process, brutalized by the police.”


Backpacker history

Posted in Articles of Interest, Hip Hop on December 21, 2007 by blackrep

Pharoah Monch
Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a piece for The Voice back in 2004 that just surfaced at the Rep in the vicinity of the printer. Coates disects a seminal underground Hip Hop label, Rawkus Records, that in some way was over before it started. Rawkus’ story is indicative of many of the problems plaguing boutique labels in the late 20th century. How much further have we come?

Remember 1997? Radio has been deregulated. The reign of Bad Boy has begun and you can’t walk down the street without hearing Mase mumble, “Can’t a young man make money anymore?” And then comes Funcrusher Plus, a straight razor to hip-pop’s gilded visage. The album revels in dark moods. Its MCs are morbid tour guides escorting you across a jagged soundscape of drum and noise. And now suddenly Rawkus isn’t about post-hippie idealism. Suddenly it’s indie as fuck. You’ve been sitting in your dorm room, jaded and smoked out, cursing the Samboism of Big Tigger. Then you hear Co-Flo and realize that, yes, there is hip-hop on other planets.

Brown U, reparations, and re-integrating the public schools

Posted in Articles of Interest, Education, Slavery & Justice on December 20, 2007 by blackrep

A friend and former classmate of mine, Dana Goldstein, posted a great update on the state of reparations and re-integration on the American Prospect:

Last spring Brown University announced that after a three-year study of its founding family’s participation in the 18th-century and 19th-century slave trade, it would atone by raising a $10 million endowment for the local Providence, Rhode Island, public school district, one of the most troubled in the country. Some reparations advocates criticized the plan, saying it doesn’t do enough to help African American descendents of slaves. Although almost 90 percent of Providence public school students are nonwhite, just 22 percent are black.

How can we start to do this important work if the 2/3 of the African-American community supporting “reparations” (96% of whites oppose them, whatever they are) don’t see the need to include descendants of non-US slaves/non-slaves affected by the legacy of slavery?

IQ Testing benchmarks – more about assimilation than intelligence

Posted in Articles of Interest, Education, Slavery & Justice on December 20, 2007 by blackrep

IQ Test
Malcolm Gladwell
, who, in his most famous book, “The Tipping Point,” used pop-science and anecdotes to advocate a social theory based on the idea that the compounding factors influencing such disparate phenomena as disease outbreak and gentrification are similarly pushed ever farther towards epoch-shattering events, wrote an excellent piece in this past week’s New Yorker magazine on the Flynn Effect. Flynn’s work refutes everything held dear by the “IQ fundamentalists,” as Gladwell calls those, like James Watson, who cite the test’s determinism of genetic superiority of certain races over others:

The very fact that average I.Q.s shift over time ought to create a “crisis of confidence,” Flynn writes in “What Is Intelligence?” (Cambridge; $22), his latest attempt to puzzle through the implications of his discovery. “How could such huge gains be intelligence gains? Either the children of today were far brighter than their parents or, at least in some circumstances, I.Q. tests were not good measures of intelligence.”

Hip Hop still a force of positivity in France

Posted in Articles of Interest, Genre-defying, Hip Hop on December 20, 2007 by blackrep

K Rhyme
The following excerpt is from an interesting article in the Times that a colleague turned me on to. It’s important to think hard about how local color (as it has in 20th century American lit.) creates specific contexts for communities that exist in nations, in trans-nations and in a global context where the meanings of cultural products are constantly being remade and reinterpreted by people with extremely different perspectives. While Parisian suburbs have been blazing on and off, Marseilles remains relatively cool, despite its similarly impoverished situation. Michael Kimmelman attributes this to the city’s diversity, culture of quiet confrontation, and neighborhood solidarity, citing the character of Marseilles Hip Hop :

Rappers in Marseille, some of the most original and distinctive ones anyway, compose sad odes to their local neighborhoods and hymns to the whole melting-pot city. The sound of Paris hip-hop, slicker and more aggressive, adopts much from American gangsta rap, as Marseille hip-hop does too, but Marseille boasts a groovier style. It mixes in blues, flamenco, Jamaican ragga.

Yes, Reagonomics killed respect for live music, but this is not live music

Posted in Artists, Education, Hip Hop on December 20, 2007 by blackrep

Rufus Thomas
Recently stumbled across an interesting article on the Dis-Education blog. Would love to hear some of your thoughts:

Part of the degeneration of popular Black music into snippy jingles, bad cliche lyrics and unoriginal, over-sampled music is owed to the fact that at one point in time kids quit learning how to play music. In the late early 80s, thanks to the Reaganomics, money was funneled out of the public schools, and the first programs cut from those underfunded, inner-city schools was music. So kids with a passion for music making, turned to new technology that made music-creation easy: synths, drum machines, sampling devices, etc.

So fast forward to now — an entire generation of youth have no idea what the sound, feel or look of REAL instruments is like. Enter ROCK BAND to save the day. This video game has the potential for millions of kids to shun the “band nerd” label and head to band class.

Christopher Johson aka Tranzit Thawt on Famecast

Posted in Uncategorized on December 20, 2007 by blackrep

Everybody cast your vote!