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Author Topic: Black Radicals Thread  (Read 9466 times)

bandogg

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Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #50 on: February 18, 2005, 12:59:00 AM »
Any minority who claims to be a Republican should be shot.  Ten rounds.

How? If your party had its way, no private citizen could own a firearm. You could throw the bullets at them...

mr*mouth*piece

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Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #51 on: February 18, 2005, 02:43:25 PM »
I am a teacher in one of those high poverty, low performing schools (LAUSD)and I just want to shed some light.  I apologize in advance if I seem overly defensive.
 
School districts shortchange students of color

“Teachers are the most important factor in improving student learning. We can hardly expect low-performing students to tackle California’s world-class standards without ensuring all students have effective, experienced teachers.

I WOULD SAY THAT TEACHERS ARE ONE OF THE KEY FACTORS IN STUDENT IMPROVEMENT.  PEOPLE FAIL TO REALIZE THATS ITS NOT JUST ABOUT THE TEACHER. IF THE ONLY TIME A STUDENT SEES A BOOK IS IN THE CLASSROOM THERE IS A PROBLEM AT HOME. IT MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER TO HAVE A STUDENTS COME TO CLASS WITH THE LATEST JORDANS ON THEIR FEET, ROCAWEAR ON THEIR BACK, BOOSTMOBILE CELLPHONE BUT THEY DON'T HAVE PAPER OR PEN.  IF A STUDENT IS IN THE 9TH GRADE AND CAN'T READ THE PROBLEM IS SYSTEMIC (THE PREVIOUS 9 TEACHERS DROPPED THE BALL, THE PARENT DROPPED THE BALL, AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT DROPPED THE BALL). iT IS RIDICULOUS WHEN A SCHOOL SYSTEM HAS A UNWRITTEN RULE WHERE " STUDENT HAS A BIRTHDAY= STUDENT GOES TO THE NEXT GRADE, UNTIL THEY REACH 12TH GRADE AND CAN'T PASS THE BASIC SKILLS EXAM)  MUCH TOO OFTEN THOSE MAKING POLICY REGARDING OUR CHILDREN WERE NEVER EDUCATORS.  THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN CALIFORNIA (OR AT LEAST SO CAL) IS TOO POLITICAL.  WE NEED EDUCATORS AS POLICYMAKERS AND NOT JUST POLITICAINS.  WE NEED TO DEMAND/ REQUIRE OUR COMMUNTITES TO GET INVOLVED IN OUR SCHOOLS.  PARENTS NEED TO BE MADE MORE ACCOUNTABLE.  PARENTS SHOULD NEVER BELIEVE A CHILD WHEN THEY CONSISTENTLY COME HOME AND SAY THEY DON'T HAVE ANY HOMEWORK.  aND IF IN FACT THEY NEVER RECEIVE HOMEWORK THE PARENT NEEDS TO BE AT THE SCHOOL DEMANDING A ANSWER AS TO WHY THEIR CHILD ISN'T CONSISTENTLY GETTING HOMEWORK. aNOTHER PROBLEM IS THAT THE SYSTEM ALLOWS THINGS TO GO ON IN THE HIGHER POVERTY SCHOOLS THAT WOULD NEVER BE TOLERATED IN THE SUBIRBAN SCHOOLS IN THE SAME DISTRICT.  NEVER WOULD YOU SEE 40+ STUDENTS IN ONE CLASSROOM IN THE "BETTER PERFORMING" SCHOOLS, NEVER WOULD YOU SEE STUDENTS SHARING BOOKS IN THE "BETTER PERFORMING" SCHOOLS.  THESE THINGS GO ON DAILY IN THE "HIGH POVERTY" SCHOOLS

 In fact, teachers in LAUSD high poverty schools actually earn more than the average teacher in the district.

THIS IS POSSIBLY TRUE  IN THE DISTRICT ITS KNOWN AS "COMBAT PAY".  THE PROBLEM WITH THIS IS THE DISTRICT ISN'T SPENDING THIS MONEY WISELY.  MOST OF THE EXTRA PAY COMES IN THE FORM OF PAYING TEACHERS FOR STAYING LONGER HOURS ATTENDING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT.  PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IS GREAT IF IT IS ACTUALLY TEACHING TEACHERS HOW TO REACH THEIR SPECIFIC STUDENT POPULATION.  tHE DISTRICT USUALLY PAY SOME OF THEIR "BUDDIES" WHO OWN THESE "EDUCATIONAL COMPANIES" TO COME INTO THE HIGH POVERTY SCHOOL TO TEACH THE TEACHERS STRATEGIES FOR TEACHING.  THE PROBLEM IS THE STRATEGIES DON'T ADDRESS THE SPECIFIC NEEDS OF OUR CHILDREN, THE PEOPLE TEACHING THESE STRATEGIES HAVE BEEN OUT OF THE CLASSROOM FOR 10+ YEARS AND EVEN WHEN THEY WERE IN THE CLASSROOM THEY DIDN'T TEACH IN THE INNER CITIES. 

 eight Oakland schools face the potentially negative impact – under rules of the federal No Child Left Behind Act – of being privatized into charter schools. CHARTER SCHOOLS AREN'T ALWAYS A BAD THING.  PRIVATE EDUCATION WITHOUT THE COST
 



BOTTOM LINE EDUCATION HAS TO BE A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN STUDENT, TEACHER, PARENT AND SCHOOL DISTRICT.
"If ones advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to lead the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours" - Henry Thoreau

bandogg

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Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #52 on: February 18, 2005, 05:04:57 PM »
Well put *Mouth*piece,

The LAUSD is a bloated bureaucratic monster that has to be destroyed by being broken up into manageable districts that allow for local control. Furthermore, the problem with LAUSD is not a lack of funds, but a lack of accountability on the part of the district, as exemplified in this LA Times piece.

administrators.http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-waterford7feb07,1,5007316.story?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=1&cset=true





CaliToD.C.

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Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #53 on: February 18, 2005, 11:24:53 PM »
Critical Noir: Revolutionary Mixtape -- Songs That Made the Movement
By Mark Anthony Neal, AOL BlackVoices columnist
"The spirits do not descend without music" -- Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones), 'Blues People'

Does the movement make the music or does the music make movement? It is a classic chicken-before-the-egg question that has challenged scholars of history and critics of popular music for some time. There's little doubt though, that for the descendents of formerly enslaved Africans in the United States, music has been a vital aspect of their experience. More so than the literature or visual art and dance that have captured our experience, music has been the primary repository for our anger, fears, desires, pleasures, hope and spiritual beliefs. If you want to get a sense of where the black community at large is at any given time, just listen to our music. This was never more the case during the era of the civil rights and Black Power movements when songs like 'We Shall Overcome' and 'Lift Every Voice and Sing' were the only armor that marchers wore. Below is a mixtape of the songs that made the movement.

'(I Wish I Knew How) It Would Feel to Be Free' -- Nina Simone

Many of the hard-core activists from the period, including the late Kwame Toure (Stokley Carmichael), considered Nina Simone the "voice" of the civil rights movement. While a track like 'Mississippi Goddamn' captures the anger that often surfaced in Simone's personality, it is the more restrained '(I Wish I Knew How) It Would Feel to Be Free' (written by Dr. Billy Taylor) that really captures the emotions of the period.

'We're a Winner' -- The Impressions

With classic recordings like 'Keep on Pushin',' 'Amen' and 'People Get Ready,' Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions helped to mainstream the ideas of the civil rights movement with non-threatening pop anthems. Perhaps this is why so many folk were in a tizzy when Mayfield's music became more concretely political beginning with 'We're a Winner' -- some stations refused to play the song. It was no longer about a "piece of the pie"; Mayfield was talking about a "takeover."

'Young, Gifted and Black' -- Aretha Franklin

When you are arguably the most important black female vocalist of the 20th century (Billie Holiday notwithstanding) and you were literally raised in the bosom of the movement (courtesy of your daddy The Rev. C.L. Franklin), every note you sing is gonna take on an enhanced significance. And indeed, throughout the 1960s Aretha's voice was used in the service of the movement many times. But her most political recording didn't come until 1972 with the release of 'Young, Gifted and Black.' It was Franklin's rendition of the title track -- a song written and initially performed by Simone in tribute to her friend, the late playwright Lorraine Hansberry -- that lit a fire in the still emerging post-civil rights generation as witnessed by John Singleton's use of the song in the film 'Higher Learning.'

'A Change Is Gonna Come' -- Sam Cooke

With the exception of Ms. Billie's 'Strange Fruit' or Coltrane's 'Alabama,' there is perhaps no other song recorded by an African American in the 20th century that makes you stop dead in your tracks the way Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come' does. Mournful, sullen and majestic, the song was Cooke's final gift to a movement that was losing dreamers to shotgun blasts by the day.

'I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing (Open Up the Door, I'll Get It Myself)' -- James Brown

JB's 'Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)' seems like a more obvious choice, even with the little Asian-American and Caucasian kids who sang background on the tune. Whereas 'Say It Loud' was a popular "feel good" anthem, JB's more pronounced Black Nationalist do-for-self politics was on display with 'I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing (Open Up the Door, I'll Get It Myself).'

'Express Yourself' -- Charles Wright and the 103rd Street Rhythm Band

Throughout the 1970s Gamble and Huff revolutionized the concept of politics on the dance floor. But years earlier it was a slice of West Coast funk from Charles Wright that captured the style politics of the generation that emerged in the aftermath of the marches, sit-ins and murders. This "free to be black and me" anthem would be recovered nearly two decades later when Dr. Dre paid tribute to Wright with N.W.A.'s version of the song.

'Walk Tall (live)' -- Julian "Cannonball" Adderley

Back when our man Jesse Jackson Sr. was lovingly known as the "Country Preacher" he often opened up Operation Breadbasket offices to the popular musicians of the day. In October 1969 it was Cannonball Adderley's funky soul-jazz that was in the house. Rev. Jackson's introduction to 'Walk Tall' is worth the price of admission alone.


Victor

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Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #54 on: February 18, 2005, 11:40:13 PM »
This thread is revitalizing the blsdb. Me likes.


mr*mouth*piece

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Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #55 on: February 19, 2005, 01:01:06 AM »
  If you want to get a sense of where the black community at large is at any given time, just listen to our music.

Based on the current state of black music,  where does our community stand at large right now?  I like that quote theres definitely something to be said about our mind state as it relates to music.  I think the author could have even went as far back as the song that were song on the plantations.  My question is how do we get back to that revolutionary mindset?  How did we go from "fight the power" to "when the pimps in the house drop it like its hot"?  I understand there are so many sided to our community sadly at this particular time we aren't seeing much of the positive side in our music (and I'm not only talking about rap alone).  We need a better mix.  Marvin Gaye talked about bumpin and grindin but he also talked about world affairs as well.  We need to get back to the insiparational music but how???? 
"If ones advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to lead the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours" - Henry Thoreau

shiveringjenny

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Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #56 on: February 19, 2005, 01:07:11 AM »
/tag

i'm it.

CaliToD.C.

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Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #57 on: February 19, 2005, 11:10:35 PM »
Hip Hop Culture degrades Women
By Shandra Liyanarchi
www.kykernel.com/news/200...tml?page=2

Hip-hop culture is quickly becoming American culture.

Children as young as five years old are singing hip hop lyrics, not knowing what they mean.

Unfortunately, more and more messages of sexism and misogyny are being taught through lyrics and music videos. As these ideas and thoughts continue to cultivate in mainstream hip-hop, narrow-mindedness floods the brains of listeners of all races.

As this new "lifestyle" gains more popularity, the influence on society becomes apparent. Women are no longer seen as human beings, but sex objects, more or less fashion accessories. These feelings and ideas then force themselves into conventional thinking. Directly or indirectly, listeners are supporting an environment that consents to sexism.

Rap music began a little over 25 years ago with the hip-hop culture being slightly older. By definition, hip-hop was started by Latino and black youth in New York City. Break-dancing, rapping, deejaying and even graffiti-writing all were part of this evolving culture. Now, so much more is associated with hip-hop.

Fashion, movies, language, video games, advertising, music videos, TV shows and overall youth interaction is linked to hip-hop. Even commercials, such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds use the hip-hop culture to appeal to consumers.

The Broadway hit, "A Raisin in the Sun" generated much attention when hip-hop mogul Sean "P.Diddy" Combs joined the cast, and there is even a hip-hop exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Hip-hop is now everyday life for many young people (mostly between the ages of 13 and 30).

However, the most powerful influence from hip-hop is rap music. Grossing billions of dollars annually, much rap music patterns itself with violence, brutal honesty and misogynistic thinking.

Having the ability to manipulate millions, rappers often depict themselves as a "pimp" and portray women as being good only for sexual relations, like a prostitute.

Lyrical content suggests rappers punishing women for being "disobedient," thus further undignifying women.

It's always interesting, yet disturbing, to see men fully clothed and surrounded by women who are scantily clad in pumps and bikinis.

More interesting, however, is with the rise in rap and hip-hop popularity, there seems to be a rise in violence against women, too. Coincidentally, violence against women is rising steadily with females being more and more sexualized in mainstream media. Not only that, but there is also a steady increase in the imprisonment of minority youths alongside the glamorization of rap music.

The disgustingly exaggerated stereotype of the "big booty video ho" is one that is slowly, but surely, being recognized and altered.

Many women have already begun to come together to stop the lyrical abuse and false portrayal of women.

For example, after rapper Nelly ran a credit card through a woman's backside in the music video "Tip Drill," Spelman University, the historically Black women's college in Atlanta, protested his appearance at their bone-marrow drive.

Of course, no one forces these women to don themselves in nothing but hair extensions and glitter. Sexual exploitation in these cases is done with the consent and collaboration of these women. In fact, most show up as unpaid participants.

Backstage at concerts and night clubs are filled with females who would do anything sexually with a man to get drinks, jewelry, money or just to feel wanted and privileged.

Why anyone submits herself to such debase and humiliating conduct is a question us women have to ask ourselves. This is an issue women have to start dealing with.

As cute as Nelly may be, who would actually let him run a credit card through their backside?

Women, especially black women, have always had less power, protection and material wealth than males. From this developed a stereotype of women doing anything to access these things. Eventually, some started to look at themselves as society viewed them and accepted they had no control.

The hypersexualization being seen in the media today is pushing young girls into sexual directions at very young ages.

Hip-hop culture can set the tone for music and images that can drastically affect the way women view themselves.

Whether in hip-hop or not, words are powerful weapons that shouldn't be misused.

Shandra Liyanarchi is a journalism sophomore. Her column appears every other Wednesday.

CaliToD.C.

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Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #58 on: February 19, 2005, 11:16:25 PM »
Dead Prez, It’s Still Bigger than Hip Hop
by FaisalTavernier

(For the record, if you're easily offended, you may not want to read this.)

They may be called Dead Prez (short for presidents,) but their music has never been “All About the Benjamins.” In the late 90s, Dead Prez began forging the way for uncompromising “Black Power” music to once again have an ear with the “gangsta/thugged-out” Hip-Hop market “frankensteined” in the early 90s. After the “assassinations” of the great Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls (RIP,) Hip-Hop was sucked into a vacuum of empty-headed-bling bling-fake-Tupac music that said little to nothing about the state of the world and its social conflicts.
Dead Prez’s debut album “Let’s Get Free” was so raw and innovatively executed that their fire-starting lyrics and chants coupled with soul-stirring beats gained instant notoriety across musical genres. Their song It’s Bigger than Hip Hop got major radio play despite radio’s love for the non-threatening Puff Daddies and Cash Monies that were dominating radio back then. Since that time, Dead Prez has been the most socially and consistently conscious group since Public Enemy. It’s Bigger than Hip Hop’s appeal was so far reaching that it became the theme song for the mammothly successful Dave Chappelle Show.
       
Their latest opus, Revolutionary But Gangsta (RBG) was by far one of the best albums in 2004. With Jay Z, Krayzie Bone, a slew of “fire” tracks on the album, and a theatrically original video for Hell Yeah shot in Miami, how come the Hip-Hop community didn’t respond to it at “the register” like they should have? Why wasn’t the record promoted?

Whether you agree with their politics or not, there is no denying their ability to make high-quality inspirational music and be an articulate voice for voiceless Black consciousness. We caught up with these brothers at the opening for Mello Mondays in the Design District. Because of time constraints, we didn’t talk about everything we wanted to (i.e. Their $30 million law suit against the NYPD, their perspectives on the “rap Elvis” Eminem handling so much of the new Tupac projects, their highly successful mix tapes, and if it happened today, what city do they think “the revolution” would pop off?). We talked to M1 before going to print and he assured us that we will continue this Innerview in the near future. So keep your eyes peeled for Urban America’s next issue. You never know what may happen.
“The Innerview”

Faisal UAN: We kicked it with Lord Jamar a few months back and talked about your first encounter with him and how your careers took off since then. How have your lives and music changed since your debut “Let’s Get Free?”
Stick: That was what, 96? That’s been almost 10 years! A nigg* done lost a few teeth, (he says laughing,) gained a few teeth. We’ve just been growing, learning the business, becoming fathers, and taking responsibility for what we’re putting out here…. It’s better than ever.
M1: I know a whole lot more about “the game” than I did before. We got a crash course. We was baptized in the fire. It wasn’t nobody there to hold our hands all the way through this sh*t. It was some real critical thinking (involved,) some luck, and trying to anticipate what the next move is going to be from the enemy so we know what our move should be. And there was a lot of those strenuous conversations with Stic trying to figure out which way we’re gonna treat these crackas. So I learned a whole lot since then.

Faisal UAN: A lot of people don’t know about your Florida roots. Where did you guys link up and how long were you in Florida together?
SticMan: We met in Tallahassee. That’s where I was born, raised, and (where) I met the homey (he says pointing to M1). We lived in Tallahassee as friends for a long time doing the everyday sh*t. That’s where some of these “Hell Yeah” stories come from.

Faisal UAN: In Menace II Society and a lot of the “hood movies,” they often depict the conscious brother like he’s corny or goofy. The title of your album Revolutionary But Gangsta (RBG) seems to address a different side of what “Revolutionary” means. Did you use that title to throw some things off?
M1:        Not throw anybody off, what we tried to do is (“Be clear,” says Stic in the background.) Yeah, exactly! Counteract anybody thinking that what we do is for alternative communities, suburbs, skateboarders, all them white college students who come to them shows when they pay us that money. I feel all that! Keep giving me the money. But it’s not intended for those people. So “Revolutionary But Gangsta” was a way for us to try and deliver to the people who live where we at, without people in the middle trying to interpret it for us.

Faisal UAN: On you’re your first album, you use the Creole term “Coupe’ Tet Boule’ Kay.” With this being a Special Haiti Sankofa issue of Urban America, what does that statement mean to you and what are some of your reflections on Haitian History?

SticMan: One of my mentors in Tallahassee, Babatunde Imhotep, he was from Haiti. He introduced me to Kung Fu. He introduced me to Yosef ben-Yochannon and a lot of African studies. He said one of the “revolutionary” slogans in Haiti was “Coupe’ Tet Boule’ Kay, (i.e.) Cut head, Burn Houses.” He told me that when I was a little nigg* going through sh*t in high school. He was like, “you’re gonna have to fight everyday in this life. I’m way older than you and I’m preparing you.” So when we shout that out, that’s in solidarity with Haiti and everybody else going through “it” with the system on their back.

Holla @ me, faisal@souljah.com

CaliToD.C.

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Re: Black Radicals Thread
« Reply #59 on: February 19, 2005, 11:25:48 PM »
Have You Heard "I’m Black" by Styles P., Yet?
www.blackelectorate.com/a...sp?ID=1309

by Cedric Muhammed
of BlackElectorate.com

The morning of Super Bowl Sunday I received an enthusiastic phone call from my closest friend in the world of Hip-Hop - E. from Queens. "Yo, I just heard something that is going to make you write again," he told me by phone as both of us - down with the Green-and-White (he’s a suffering New York Jets fan) - were driving, on our respective journeys to watch the Philadelphia Eagles play the New England Patriots. E. had just heard Hot 97, in New York City, play a new song by Styles P., one-third of Hip-Hop’s street legend group, The Lox.

"The song is called what?," I asked E. to repeat himself.

"I’m Black" he said again, laughing a bit and letting it all sink in for me. Then he reminded me of some of our humorous conversations, where I make light of the apparent unwillingness of many Black Hip-Hop artists, professionals and activists within the industry and community, to self-identify in terms of race, or at least acknowledge - when obviously appropriate - the dominating and leading role that Blacks play in Hip-Hop.

E. and I together went through the various preferred phrases, "the youth", "the culture", "the Hip-Hop nation/generation/community”; "the people". In a throwback to the usage of the prominent marketing term, "urban"; today it is often anything but "Black". If you follow the logic of the preferred language and labels, even the federal agents and local police departments that trail overwhelmingly Black Hip-Hop artists are not doing so because of any racial factors; rather they are supposedly under surveillance on the basis of their musical genre. Thus, these task force groups and individuals are known as the "Hip-Hop Cops". It is not racial profiling, just profiling.

I pointed this dynamic out to E. months ago and he never misses an opportunity to bring my attention to it, whenever he witnesses it, on radio, TV or public events and rallies. This race-neutral or race-averse language was at its highest when "we" were told that "we" just had to vote in the last presidential election. Not because of any race-oriented problems plaguing Hip-Hop artists, professionals or consumers but rather because if "we" didn’t "we" were going to ‘die’. At least that’s what the T-Shirts said.

Certainly Hip-Hop is more than Black and Brown people, and some phrases and labels come closer than others in pointing to race and natural identity, but I just think it is so unnecessary, at times ridiculous, and at the very least a stretch for leading Hip-Hop artists, opinion leaders and moguls to go out of their way to try and make others comfortable by downplaying race-centered realities about the music and culture and the history of the lives of those that gave birth to the music and culture. The compassion and inclusiveness in the tactic or reflex is touching but the deferential attitude to others it demonstrates is disrespectful of self. When Black Hip-Hop figures should be asserting themselves they would rather play a game of finesse. It is strange to me, to watch so many otherwise rebellious and confident 20 and 30-something year old rappers become so timid and 'conservative' when dealing with identity.

So when E. told me that Styles P. made a song called "I’m Black", and that he heard it on commercial radio, playing on one of the most influential stations in America, I couldn’t believe it, and yet I could. I couldn’t believe it because over the last 10 years I have grown accustomed to Hip-Hop format radio stations and video channels going to extremes in supposed political correctness, muting or ignoring virtually any type of race-centered issues facing the listeners. BlackElectorate.com even published an article last year, by Ashanti Alvarez about how Hip-Hop radio stations were editing out Kanye West’s use of the phrase ‘White Man’ from one of his songs. And then there is Ja Rule telling Minister Louis Farrakhan in the unedited portion of their near two hour conversation, that MTV had one set of rules for his video "Clap Back" while BET had another. Although both channels are owned by the same parent company, Viacom, Ja said that MTV, disproportionately watched by Whites, made him take out lines and images that dealt with gun violence while BET, disproportionately watched by Blacks, was allowed to leave them in.

Perhaps the impact of the return of Star and Buc Wild to radio and "I’m Black" by Styles P. heralds an era when the subject of race is not taboo on Hip-Hop format radio stations. But then again, maybe not, E. tells me he hasn’t heard "I’m Black" a single time since the morning of Super Bowl Sunday and one of my Brothers tells me that he has only heard the song played by Star, on his morning show, but no where else. Why isn't this song getting more radio spins, especially in February, of all months?

Have you heard it on your Hip-Hop format radio stations?

The reason why I wasn’t surprised to hear about "I’m Black" is because of my enormous respect for Styles P. In 2002 I wrote about how I believe that he, more genuinely than any other rapper, embodies the principle of duality. He exemplifies a spirit that conveys honest self-examination, and an even-handed picture of the heaven and hell that we all experience every day, but particularly that of many of us in Black America. His music is graphic, but always down-to-earth and balanced. He brags, he laughs, he prays, he drinks, he hustles, he cries, he enjoys life, but always in a manner that let’s you know he is always in struggle, and in the struggle.

Styles made clear how serious he is about this song and the direction it leads him and his listeners in saying, "In society, sometimes people forget about who they are and where they came from. Whatever happens, I'm black. I'm being conscious nowadays, being in the position I'm in to give consciousness to the kids."