Monday, February 7, 2011
Chapter 4; Verse 2: The Emergency of DJ Kool Herc
In the past couple of weeks, Hip Hop founder/Godfather/kick-starter/pioneer DJ Kool Herc made the hip hop news wire with regards to his health issues and financial quagmire. The man who is responsible for creating hip hop is in much need of an operation for his kidney and has amassed over $10,000 in health care bills. The hip hop community cried out in rage over this seemingly easy problem to solve. The social networks and websites were all a blaze demanding that it was the responsibility of the multi-millionaire hip hoppers to kick in what would be club money or jewelry money to take care of our architect of hip hop. I myself couldn't understand why the debate over raising money lasted as long as it did when the likes of Jay Z, Diddy, Russell, Kanye, Rick Ross, Will etc are all in a position that $10-$25K is money that they sneeze at. DJ Premier and Chuck D joined forces to do a benefit show and an upcoming album to create a fund for him. Countless consumers and lovers of the culture have poured in their dollar donations in reverence and consciousness to help the man who created the culture that we all love so much.
Brilliant Kevin Powell wrote the most moving blog about this emergency. So much more eloquently said than I can ever hope to express, here is the link: http://www.kevinpowell.net/blog/
I read today that Russell Simmons has "stepped up" to help Kool Herc but I found one of his comments a bit disturbing. He is quoted, "We need real health care, that's for sure. As far as helping out, I'd like to help out young kids but I'm going to help out Kool Herc as well. Yeah, I'm going to be one of them and so will a lot of other Hip Hoppers. [We'll] bail him out but I don't think it's their job. I think it's the government's job to take care of people who can't afford health care.,"
I think we ALL understand that it's nobody's JOB to bail out anyone. You do what you do from the kindness of your heart. Now, I could be over-reacting but it really sits with me strangely that he said this. I'm going to assume this came from the reaction from the hip hop community that demanded that it is their (mulit-millionaire hip hop moguls) job to save him. If this quote is in reaction to that sentiment then it absolutely seems more palatable to digest. In such a case I would agree. It is nobody's job to do anything. BUT one would think as a natural progression of circumstances, that if you got it do it! This isn't some old no-name dude off the street. This is THE man who created a musical and cultural movement! This new music genre has thrived and it effects the lives of countless people around the world, including those that have cashed in brilliantly on it.
This news also comes on the heels of today's hip hop headlines that Rick Ross just welcomed Wale to his label by gifting him a $44,000 black diamond Cartier watch. Absolutely not hating on that. Good for him. As Superbowl celebrations and label welcomings were happening yesterday, DJ Kool Herc is still asking to receive donations so that he can live. I'm not one to tell ANYBODY how to spend their money but there is just something inherently uneasy in my soul to know that this is the heart-state of those in our community.
This quote from Kool Herc is taken from his statements from HipHopDX.com.
Following his release from the hospital Kool Herc has now taken to raising awareness of the many issues plaguing this country’s health care system.
"We live in one of the superpowers of the world!" said Kool Herc in a statement to MTV News. "'Give me your tired, your poor ... ' and then you don't take care of them? There should be no weak ants in the colony. There shouldn't be anyone fighting for health care! This has been going on too damn long!”
“Now we are fighting for health care not just for me, but for everyone,” said Herc. “I see this situation as another quest for me to shine light on a sensitive issue for the community. I'm an instrument of God. I'm here for a purpose and I want to be here for the solution."
So as much as this is a Hip Hop emergency, it is also a HUMAN emergency as we as citizens in the United States are facing a health care reform crisis. I have struggled to pay for a breast cancer surgery when I had very limited health care. I have no savings left as a result of staggering health care bills and fell behind in payments to other creditors and now my debts have overwhelmed me. Yes, I'm college educated and worked for a small company that could not afford health care for their employees and had to pay for a policy on my own. Well, that minimum policy did just that; it gave me minimum relief from the mountain of costs it took to restore my health. I understand the stress and the frustration. I am dismayed by the insanity of those who still think in the "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" mentality. Sometimes, people just need help. A wealthy society and government such as our own should not think twice as to providing health care for every citizen. Again, it just seems like the right thing to do. I applaud President Obama for going the distance to bring about reform but even as I write this his health care plan repeal hangs on judgment of Chief Justice ? which is terrifying. In the world of bullshit politics, I know more is at play than the simple idea of doing the right thing.
I can only pray that one day soon Mother Earth and human life is valued more than money.
Posted by Dana at 12:56 PM