Posted on October 17, 2013
Most hip hop journalists these days fall into two camps, neither of which has much to do with journalism.
The first camp includes press release aggregators and groupie types who act more like publicists than journalists. These writers attend all the right parties, score all the right interviews, blindly co-sign “hot” artists, post new singles as soon as they receive them and act as virtual mouthpieces for record labels, never questioning the direction of the culture or the artists who represent it.
They invite readers to look, listen and click, but not think. When confronted about the ills of hip hop, these “journalists” will make endless excuses in defense of rap and why they aren’t addressing deeper issues in their reporting – and they have to make these excuses, because their livelihood and status depend on rap’s popularity.
On the other end of the spectrum are “cultural tourists” at so-called hipster magazines…continue reading at RapRehab.com.
Posted on September 17, 2013
When Marcel Edwards joined the Air Force in November of 1981, she was a wide-eyed 21-year-old who was proud to serve her country. Now 52, Edwards says that a sexual assault she experienced while in the military has shattered her existence.
In late 1989 Edwards was stationed at Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, North Carolina, while separated from a husband who she says was abusive. One night a male co-worker who Edwards trusted came to her apartment under the premise that he had something important to tell her. After some small talk that quickly turned sexual, Edwards says he pinned her down and raped her while her two young children slept in the next room.
“He saw me in a vulnerable situation and he took advantage of it, knowing that my husband wasn’t there, that I was separated, and there was no mistake about that,” said Edwards, an African-American woman…continue reading at theGrio.
Posted on September 12, 2013
As people across the country prepare to converge on the nation’s capital for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington this Saturday, the Boston chapter of the NAACP is gearing up to send more than 200 people to commemorate the historic rally. And many of them are teens who know the 1963 march only through a few paragraphs in a book, or a video recording of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
“When we go to history class, they do teach about black history, but it’ll be a section, a page in the history books. It’s not like where we go and learn about Europe for a good whole semester,” said Marcus Curry, 18. “I feel like as the youth, we need to engage ourselves in these types of events just to better ourselves. Before we can help the community, we need to know where we come from.”
TheGrio spoke with several teens involved in the Boston NAACP’s Summer Job Pipeline to Leadership program who will attend the anniversary march recreation on Saturday, and many echoed the same ideas: black history is relegated to a small slice of a book, or a week in class. Slavery is covered in a couple of pages. Major events like the March on Washington are skimmed over in a few paragraphs and discussions of the Civil Rights Movement include only the most prominent leaders and activists, such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks…continue reading at theGrio.
Posted on September 12, 2013
The dream is not yet a reality. That was the recurring theme at a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington that featured panelists, performances and a rousing keynote address from U.S. Rep. John Lewis on Sunday.
It was an event during which Martin Luther King, Jr. was quoted liberally, topics of discussion ranged from raising the minimum wage to the death of Trayvon Martin, and audience members — many of whom attended the original march — occasionally bowed their heads or wiped away tears.
“If it hadn’t been for the March on Washington, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” said Lewis, the sole surviving speaker from the march and one of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. “It changed America forever”…continue reading at theGrio.
Posted on August 13, 2013
On a Friday in June 2013, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and John Legend performed before a crowd of 14,000 in a Fayetteville, Ark., college sports arena.
Hugh Jackman hosted the event, and Tom Cruise was on hand to give a speech. But this wasn’t a concert or award ceremony — it was a shareholders’ meeting and employee rally for retail giant Walmart.
Associates from around the world represented the multicultural face of the retail giant that employs 2.2 million people internationally. MCs with microphones asked for “shout outs” from Walmart sales associates from China, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Japan, India, Africa and Canada. The event was electric, video footage shows, as those in attendance appeared to illustrate through their enthusiasm that Walmart is a great place to work…continue reading at theGrio.
Posted on August 13, 2013
The songs range from lush, emotive pop/R&B numbers to anthemic rap tracks that shake the venue, where fans alternately scream, dance, rap, sing along and sometimes just stare in awe. Sports stars such as Kevin Durant and Tom Brady are on hand. Even the police officers working detail look mildly entertained.
It all ends with a sea of cell phones glowing while the two artists raise their champagne glasses to the crowd, exchange a bro hug and disappear from sight.
That was the scene at Fenway Park on Saturday night when rap mogul Jay Z and pop/R&B genius Justin Timberlake dazzled a capacity crowd during the first of a two-night stand on their Legends of the Summer tour…continue reading at The Sun Chronicle.
Posted on July 18, 2013
It’s 9 o’clock on a Wednesday night, and I’m at the grocery store to get cat food. I walk in and see a display of patio furniture with a man sitting in one of the chairs. He almost looks like part of the display, except for the fact that he’s slumped over with a brown bag in his hand. He is apparently drunk and probably homeless. I keep walking toward the cat food aisle, but I am now thinking about him, wondering how long he’s been there and how much longer he’ll stay asleep under that canopy before someone kicks him out.
As it turns out, it’s not long. By the time I get to the checkout line, two female employees — a teenager and a middle-aged woman — have confronted him. “Sir, you can’t be here,” says the middle-aged one. Without a word, he shuffles out of the store, brown bag in hand. I look at them, and they look at each other wordlessly, and then they walk back to wherever they were before.
Posted on July 17, 2013
While rappers like Lupe Fiasco, Immortal Technique and Phonte have been vocal about the verdict and what it says about the value of black life in this society, far too many high-profile stars have said nothing.
Kanye West, for example, positioned himself as a new age revolutionary on Yeezus, but his revolutionary spirit seems to have disappeared since he stepped out of the booth; his last tweet as of this writing was a link to a GQ article about his new creative direction. Jay-Z recently took to Twitter to connect with fans as a promotional stunt for Magna Carta Holy Grail, but we haven’t heard a peep from him about arguably the most important court decision of our generation.
To be fair, Kanye West and Jay-Z use Twitter sparingly, if at all. But it’s telling that both superstars have recently used the medium to promote their new projects but not to protest a gross miscarriage of justice. Their silence on this issue speaks to a broader silence in hip-hop on issues that matter…continue reading at theGrio.
Posted on June 23, 2013
If Friday night’s show at the Comcast Center was any indication, the legendary band will be staging spirited live performances well into their golden years.
The foursome – John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Buckingham and Stevie Nicks – have survived breakups, breakdowns, drug addictions, a fickle music climate and the loss of singer-songwriter and pianist Christine McVie. What remains is a band that’s clear-eyed and clearly in love with what they do, full of youthful energy despite the fact that they’re technically senior citizens…continue reading at The Sun Chronicle.
Posted on June 23, 2013
A fenced-in, guarded all-white enclave in South Africa is perhaps the most glaring example of segregation in 2013, but in the supposedly post-racial U.S., segregation persists in less conspicuous forms, and it has troubling links to violence.
While U.S. segregation has been outlawed for decades, multiple studies show that de facto segregation endures in various cities around the country, albeit without the gates and guards of the community in Kleinfontein, South Africa, where residents claim they keep blacks out to protect their culture.
“I think if you’re a kid that grows up in Detroit, it is very possible the only white people you’ll ever come in contact with are people who are superiors,” said Motor City resident Candice Fortman, 32, who grew up in an all-black neighborhood that spanned 20 blocks…continue reading at theGrio.