Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Thanks to the wonderful folks of Ballerstatus.com I learned just yesterday that the rapper Waka Flocka has signed on to be the new spokesperson for PETA! I pause with a million question marks running through my mind as to how this unlikely paring came about. I must emphasize the word unlikely as directly related to my own judgmental perceptions I have of this guy. Honestly speaking, I'm not a fan of his music. What I've heard of his talents follows 95% of today's "dumbed-down" & minimal lyric-filled approach to hip hop music. This is why I refer to him as a rapper not an emcee.
I admittedly have judged him as a rapper and quickly dismissed him as a musician simply because I do not feel inspired in any good way when I listen to his music. My judgments range from shallow, boring, ignorant and a pawn of the dark evil forces that decide what hip hop music should be popular. So to my absolute and TOTAL shock of the news that he has a cause that he is participating in, it nearly knocked me over with skeptical excitement. He's quoted, "Animals should be treated the same as you would a kid. Would you want someone just to walk up and skin your kid? Hell no!"
My very judgmental self kept me from full celebration of this event as I immediately thought; 'Does this guy really have a passion and concern for animals or did he get a fat paycheck to take some photos for the campaign?' I didn't say it was ok to think this way but I'm just sayin'! Honesty is in full effect here. But even as I write this, I begin to think about all the other celebs that have signed on for PETA campaigns in the past and recent past. I'm not 100% convinced that Klhoe Kardashian was an animal lover prior to her campaign. She appears to be about as engaging as Waka's lyrics. SO who am I to judge? ABSOLUTELY nobody. If Waka's campaign can bring more awareness about the injustices taking place in slaughterhouses and mink farms to an audience that most likely could give a shit(again my ugly head of judgment stands up here), then ROCK ON! This gives me another opportunity to reassess my O.G. hip hop mind-state and embrace the latest evolution of a culture that I love so much.
WAKA FLOCKA FLAME- wow :)
Posted by Dana at 2:33 PM
Monday, February 7, 2011
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
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I can't believe that the entire month of January flew by in the blink of an eye. There were many days that I sat at my computer with the intention to write but came up blank. So much has been going on with me personally and the world, at times it just felt overwhelming to pick a place to start.
The past few weeks the Middle East has exploded again with civil unrest. Starting in Tunisia when a man set himself on fire in protest to the government regime. Tunisia-a small Islamic country kicked off a series of revolutions throughout the Middle East with Egypt at the forefront of all the world news headlines. I'm shamed to say that until the protests started I had no idea that Egyptians were so unhappy and oppressed by their current President, President Mubarak. I've known of him only from our own government's praises that Egypt has been a staunch ally to the US all of these years. It's been 30 years that he has been in power and I do remember as a little girl in 1979-1980 ( I was 10) when the Egyptian president Anwar Sadat was assassinated and Murbarak came to power. President Jimmy Carter was in office.
The young people of Egypt took its cues from Tunisia and took to the streets in a united voice calling for the end of the corruption and brutality of Mubarak's regime. He is a stubborn and proud man and even as I write this he has not conceded to the people's wishes. I watched on Al Jezeera TV - stream on my computer, the peaceful protest that is happening now in the streets of Cairo. Over 2 million people have gathered and are in for the long haul until the president steps down. It is a very powerful sight to behold.
In these recent events and even looking at the state of political turmoil and resentment happening here at home in the United States, I wonder if revolution will ever take place again here. The climate is heating up for one but I'm unsure if the citizens of the United States have reached their tipping point yet. Speaking with my daddy a few weeks ago, I was venting on my frustration of not finding a job since I've been unemployed for a year and half and the insane process of receiving unemployment benefits. Some republicans wanted to cut the benefits after the initial 6 month allotment but President Obama has extended it multiple times now. THANK GOD for it. Even though my earnings have gone from $1500 a week to $400 a week it is SOMETHING. The audacity of the wealthy saying that people will become dependent on government assistance is absurd to me. There is no way I can ever get used to maintaining a lifestyle that I worked hard to achieve to basically poverty level. At 40 years old, I'm considering going back to school to get my master's degree but hesitate only because I don't want to acquire more debt of student loans and still have nothing available to me at a decent wage when I'm done earning my degree. Feels very much like damned if I do and damned if I don't. The divide of the wealthy and the poor is growing fast here in America and once the divide collapses to the majority being poor, I firmly believe the revolution will be televised. It's exactly what the country was founded on (revolution) and it would be remiss of the government to not keep this in the forefront of their decision making and political agendas on Capitol Hill.
Posted by Dana at 12:55 PM