Tag Archives: Music

Hip-Hop Workshop

Objectives of the Workshops

  1. To reveal to the participants in the program the power they already have within themselves.
    1. This may mean the power to communicate, or the power to make a difference, or the power to tell a story, or anything else.
    2. The facilitators in this program are resources for the participants to tap into to gain knowledge of and proficiency with tools and developing skills. The facilitators are not to approach this program with the perception that they are creating anything in the participants that does not already exist. The facilitators are not putting things into the participants, rather, they are there to help the participants to draw out what is already inside of them, to help them shape it, and to help them organize it.
  2. Intellectually and emotionally process social conditions, and to continue the process of healing from trauma or traumatic experiences that have occurred in the lives of the participants.
    1. This may either be achieve directly by specifically addressing particular events or indirectly through providing a positive outlet through which emotions can be channeled.
    2. The participants are the directors of the productions, they are the creators, and will be the ones responsible for making the decisions about the content of the material produced. This is the practical application of the first objective, and it also provides protection from pushing an issue onto the participants that they may not be ready to address.
  • Whatever the content the participants select, the facilitator is to ask the questions “why is something important,” and “how does that make you feel,” and to seek to look at the content from different perspectives to foster a deeper understanding.
  1. To produce a final project that brings the vision of the participants to life such as, a complete recorded song or album, a video, or a live performance.
    1. The creation of art is deeply personal, cathartic, and expresses power. In addition, the final product is participant driven because the healing and processing component of the creation of art requires this for it to be the most effective.
    2. All three of the potential final products are interrelated, but have different steps, skills, tools, and planning associated with them. They also tend to have differing audiences and levels of impact, so what the participants would like to achieve with their final product will help to direct what that product is.
  • Components of the Workshops (2 days = 1 Week)~10 Weeks

 

  1. Introduction (1 day)
  2. Writing/Voice (2 days)
  3. Music/Beat Production (2 days)
  4. Song or Poem Development (4 days)
  5. Memorization/Recitation (2 days)
  6. Performing (1-2 days)
  7. Audio Recording (2-4 days)
  8. Video Production (4 days)
  9. Rocking A Show (2 days)

 

  • Tools
    1. Depending on the scope, nature, and constraints of the program, as well as, the access to resources, the tools necessary and selected will vary. If there is access to full audio studio and video equipment, then those may be selected when there is not a concern that the participants will have issues continuing to create material after the program.
    2. If the participants of the program would like to continue to produce material after the workshop and do not have ready access to the equipment needed for continued production, alternatives should be selected.
      1. Free For Computer
      2. Free For Phone (look in google play)
        • It is possible to download all the apps/programs necessary for both audio and video production onto a smart phone for free, and while the tools will not be as powerful as a full studio, they are vastly more than sufficient to create high quality material. (This is only an alternative, and it may not work if the participants do not have smart phones, so this must be considered as well.)
          • Music/Beat Production
            • Music Maker Jam
            • Groove Mixer
          • Audio Recording
            • Band Lab
          • Video Production
            • Adobe Clip (Photoshop)
          • Introduction
            1. Introduction of facilitators, participants, and the program.
              1. This may include a performance or display of material in audio or visual, such as poems, songs, or videos. If possible, the participants should be encouraged to display their work and talent as well.
              2. This is a time set up to let the participants an opportunity to get to know who they are working with and vice versa. Perhaps, some history of how music and poetry came into their life and why it is important to them now.

Phone Apps_edited-1

  • It is also a time to get to know the participants, why they enjoy music or poetry, what they would like to do with it, and what they would like to get out of it.
  1. This should be a time for setting the goals of the program.
    1. What kind of product do the participants want to create? Do they want to create audio recordings, videos, or to organize a performance.
    2. How much experience do they have and with what? What would they like help with?
  2. Introduce the tools that will be used to create their material so that the participants can play with them and start to learn what they can do and how to use them; if there are tutorials they can access share them at this time.
    1. There is no real right way to use any of the tools and the best way that I have found to learn any program is simply to play with it. Aside from the basics or how to get it started, my experience has been that most other instruction is not very effective until problems are encountered when attempting to do a specific function.
    2. There will be time set up later in the program, during each particular phase for working through the programs and whatever instruction is needed throughout the process of creating. Initially, this is merely to give the participants access to the tools so they can have something to take with them and get familiar with.
  • Writing/Voice
    1. Writing is the basis of both hip-hop and poetry and at the core of the writing is the voice of the author.
    2. This session or sessions should be devoted to introducing the participants a few different styles of writing; for example, while hip-hop may be a little more constrained in its stanza formation and rhythm, poetry does not necessarily have to be. While hip-hop is traditionally a style that incorporates rhyming, poetry does not necessarily have to.
    3. There is first person or third person perspective to consider. The consistency of tense; past, present, or future. The six basic questions to answer; who, what, when, where, why, and how of a piece of writing. The usage and power of metaphors and similes when discussing a subject. Is it a story, a description, an explanation, an apology, or a statement of fact?
    4. What are the emotional cues and relevance of particular styles and how emotion works with words to convey the desired message.
    5. Practice writing a few styles and putting together stanzas. The facilitator should come up with a few random prompts for the participants to exercise and play with. At the end of each of these sessions give the participants something to work on to bring back with them to the next session to share.
    6. Each subject can be approached from several perspectives and can be approached with many styles. Each has strengths and weaknesses. For example, a first person perspective while powerful may not necessarily be able to adequately address something that bigger than just the individual, or in reverse, something in third person may not really be able address the personal.
    7. These session will be focused on helping the participants select style, perspective, and to develop the voice of the piece so that it will best convey the messages they want to transmit.
  • Music/Beat Production
    1. These sessions will be devoted to learning the music production software, and the layout of the instrumental aspect of a song.
    2. The music can convey as much if not more emotion and intent as do the lyrics themselves. For example, is it fast or slow (excited or repressed), is the music bright or dark, happy or sad, is it scary or inviting; does it change?
    3. Most hip-hop is in a 4/4 time sequence, with sixteen bars to a verse, 8 bars to a chorus; with two or three verses and choruses to a song. It is this sort of standard recipe that identifies how much writing needs to be done and how long the stanza should be. Then there may be bridges, intros and outros also added into the song, with breaks and beat drops to provide emphasis.
    4. The participants will have had about a week or so to play with the software by this point, so hopefully they have some idea of how to use some of it. The facilitator should walk the participants through the basics of how to set up a drum line, bass line, and melody with the software.
    5. The take home assignment will be to create a beat with the structure of a song
  • Song/Poem Development
    1. Combining the writing and beat sessions, the facilitator should now focus on helping the participants to write to the instrumental.
      1. The voice is like a percussive instrument similar to that of the hi-hat of a drum, thus, the rhythm of the syllables of the written words have a sonically pleasing space to occupy as a component of the music; this is called cadence.
    2. The chorus is the thesis, or the underlying point of the song, and what many people will pay the most attention to. The chorus should be something that ties all the verses together and helps to make the song make sense.
    3. If there are three verses, there could be two or four, regardless, each verse should have a function.
      1. For example; let’s say there is a story, verse one can be scene one, verse two can be scene two, and verse three can be the moral of the story or what is learned from the story or why the story is important.
      2. For example; let’s say it’s a description of a problem, verse one defines in broad terms the subject, verse two gets specific to a particular issue, and verse three tell why it is a problem or what can/should be done about it.
    4. Aside from explaining the general structure of songs, the facilitator should really let the participants do their own writing and creation, and be present as someone who can answer questions or provide a sounding board. This will potentially be one of the most personal aspects of the entire process and is where the majority of the internal power of the participants will be developed and expressed. So, the less influence from the facilitator during this phase the better.
    5. The bulk of the writing process will not occur during the facilitated session, but rather, in between sessions, so that the facilitator can help the participants revise their writing as they create their song.
  • Memorization/Recitation
    1. Each facilitator will have different techniques associated with how to memorize their pieces
      1. One suggestion is to work on memorizing line by line without the music at first and as each verse is memorized to then practice saying it with the music. The verse may need to be revised during this process because it may be discovered that breathing is difficult, or that syllables are hard to say in sequence with one another when performed.
    2. When the piece is memorized, or as it is memorized in steps a major practicing technique is to recite it in front of others. When the performer is confronted with more thoughts than only the lyrics, such as, an audience those thoughts tend to interrupt the ability to recite and requires practice to manage the emotional impact of performing from memory.
    3. This is often a long process and will mostly be homework for the participants.
  • Performing
    1. This particular session will overlap with the memorization and rocking a show sessions, but it will be important at this point to discuss stage presence and how to move one’s body with the music and the lyrics because it impacts both focus and breathing. Part of this will include how to hold a microphone.
    2. This session is also a segue into recording the audio and shooting a video
  • Audio Recording
    1. These sessions will dive into how to use the recording software that the participants have been playing with for a few weeks.
    2. The recording method that will be used is called “dubbing,” wherein tracks will be layered onto one another.
      1. For example; Verse one will be recorded in entirety on one track and on another track specific phrases from the verse will be highlighted by recording them again, and lastly, depending on the verse “ad libs” may also be recorded on a separate track to give the song extra character.
    3. The last component of audio recording is called “mixing” which is setting all the levels of the instruments and lyrics to give the appropriate space to hear everything clearly. Mostly this stage is about turning volumes up and down, but it can get a lot more precise with equalizers and reverb effects depending on the time constraints and desires for the final product.

Mic Booth Functional

  • Video Production
    1. These sessions will dive into how to use the video recording and production software/equipment that the participants have been playing with for a few weeks.
    2. A solid discussion with the participants about how to visually represent the material of the song within the budget of the program and participants to begin to develop a plan for how to create the storyboard of the video.
      1. The storyboard details each scene, what will be required to successfully shoot the scene, and how all the scenes will fit together.
    3. The next step is the shooting of all the scenes of the video
    4. The editing process of the video will probably be the most time consuming component because this is where all the clips of video are put into time with the music that has been recorded. Much of the skill for this process will likely have been developed in the music production phase and working with that software. There will be medium specific things to deal with, but the concept of moving pieces around will be familiar.
  • Rocking A Show
    1. Part of rocking a show is setting it up and promoting it.
    2. The video will or can accomplish a lot of the promoting component, but there will also be an aspect of creating a flyer and informing people about the show. This will utilize both paper flyers and social media events and advertisements.
    3. However, before the promotion of a show, a venue has to approve the performance, which entails both negotiation and contracts usually. So, there should be some discussion and practice with securing a venue to perform at.
    4. Because the songs have been memorized and the video shot, much of the preparation for performing live will have already been accomplished. Returning to microphone control, watching cables, and stage dynamics, with a rehearsal or two; and the participants should be ready to perform if they want to.

 

Song Produced & Shared On My Phone Using Some of the Programs Listed Above

 

 

Summary and Benefits of the Hip-Hop/Spoken Word Workshop

 

The participants in this program will learn how to and develop the skills necessary to create and promote an album, to shoot a video, and to perform on stage. These skills will include writing, revising, teamwork, negotiation, contracts, editing, music productions, video production, recording audio, conceptualization, and project management which are all translatable skills into many fields. In addition to that, the participants will also learn how to use an artistic platform, which can be used as a positive outlet to process through their thoughts and emotions.

Depending on the scope of the project and how many songs and videos the participants want to create, the workshop should take between two and three months to complete. There is a lot to learn and a lot to do and moving much faster than that may not provide enough time for the participants to really grasp the programs and skills. In addition, many of the stages of the development of a hip-hop video is by its very nature creative, and that process may be longer than expected for different groups and individuals. So, setting at least two months aside to work through the program should be a sufficient amount of time for at least one or two songs being brought to completion.

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“Trump Card” by Renaissance

 

 

Many of the things that we as warriors for justice have fought for over generations are in jeopardy because of the President Elect. Labor unions, People of Color, LGBTQ Rights, Reproductive Rights, Immigration Rights, Human Rights, Civil Rights, Environmental Sustainability and Justice; this new administration is targeting nearly everything we as a people need to protect just to live day-to-day. Not that this isn’t true on any other day, just more so today, now is a time that we must act in unison to ensure or liberties and immunities are not destroyed.

Many will wonder about the choice of the title “Trump Card.” It is a saying that predates Donald Trump by over a century and means an unexpected and unforeseen condition or factor that overcomes all opposition. We the People and the Social Movement are the unexpected and unforeseen factor that will emerge victorious, which is precisely what I wrote to this song to report and encourage.

Black Power: The Choice is Ours

Police brutality against Black people and other People of Color, is nothing new. Racism is nothing new. Economic discrimination and racism are nothing new. Red-lining, gentrification, outsourcing, sweatshops, employment discrimination, glass-ceilings and sticky-floors; none of these things are new, but are rather, a continuation of Jim Crow segregation and imperialism. Colonialism and imperialism are nothing new, and neither is the military industrial complex that is utilized to maintain its structure.

 

 

Extra-judicial killings, which by definition are lynchings, are nothing new. In 1951, William James Patterson, with the help of the National Association of for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), submitted to the newly created United Nations (UN) in general, and the UN Human Rights Commission in particular, a report titled “We Charge Genocide.” This report systematically detailed the occurrences of genocide, according and in reference to each line of the definition that the UN Genocide Convention detailed, in regard to the treatment of Black people in the United States, which included reports of lynchings by police officers as horrendous as the lynchings today. He tells a story in the report that was printed in one of the newspapers that served as the primary resources of most of his evidence (there was no internet then), wherein a police officer simply walks up to a parked car and shoots a Black man in the head. The recent tragedy of police officers killing Keith Lamont Scott while he was reading in his car is a mirror image of what Patterson was reporting on over sixty years ago! Patterson also details the extensive economic oppression, which includes Red Lining and the formation of ‘ghettos,’ as well as, the medical discrimination towards Black people in the United States. The “Ten Point Platform” of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP) released in 1966, called for self-determination, equal opportunity of employment and education, fair housing conditions, for the United States to honor the US Constitution, and Point Seven specifically called for an end to “police brutality and murder of black people.” The killing of Black people by police officers is nothing new to the people of the United States.

 

 

Slavery, and yes it is an institution that is still very much functioning even within the borders of the United States, as well as, elsewhere, is definitely not something that is new. That prison walls are meant to keep ‘criminals’ in is only part of the truth, the reality is that it is also meant to keep people out; wherein the majority of modern day slavery in the United States is occurring. Prisoners are compelled to make everything from paint to military grade equipment, which includes furniture. Some states, like Washington, even have written into their laws that all state agencies “must” purchase these goods. The Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, that was supposed to have outlawed slavery, however, did not; “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” And this does not even begin to scratch the surface on human trafficking, the sex-trade, or migrant farm workers. The Thirteenth Amendment provided the foundation for the Prison Industrial Complex that exists today, and of which the police institution is a major component. Since, what the police do is “catch” (arrest) so-called ‘criminals’ and put them into prisons, which are modern day slave plantation, that technically makes one of the primary functions of the police institution to be ‘slave catching.” This however, is completely ‘constitutional’ as the Fugitive Slave Clause Article V Section 2 states; “No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be do.” Slavery was not abolished in the United States, it was transformed to conceal its true functioning and presence.

 

 

None of these events and institutions are distinct or mutually exclusive. They are in fact all mechanisms of a much larger system of oppression. And they are most certainly not anything that is new.

 

 

However, many of the people jumping up and down in public and on social media all pissed off because they do not believe Black Lives Matter, either as an organization or as a movement, the people of the many rebellions that have erupted throughout our country over the last few years, or even merely any dissenters of the system have any moral ground or claim. They attempt to dictate to us how and when we can and should protest or respond to the generations of oppression. Often times they recommend that we should utilize the tools and mechanisms of those who came before us because they were “good protestors.” Please! The demonstrators in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s (and yes our people have been protesting and demonstrating against all of this suppression and oppression, white supremacy and this entire racist superstructure in all of those decades) have always been hated and loathed. Don’t listen to that fabricated nonsense you think you were taught in your history books. One of the things they always make disappear is that it is not called “The Struggle” because it was easy and the oppressors simply admitted their wrongdoing and all was ok. If you think that was the case, please reread the historical section above and re-check that misconception. It is and was called The Struggle because it is a struggle, it is a fight against the systems of power. This is a war for our very lives.

 

 

These people who clamor that racism does not exists, or start invalidating our concerns and demands by making references to “Black on Black” issues, or who claim that police officers are merely doing their jobs, that ‘slavery’ (notice that they almost always missed the enslaved [the someone doing something to someone else] part) is over so get over it, or whatever else they may come up with; are hyper problematic. First, they miss that this is nothing new. These trauma, these incidents, the racist system has been in place destroying our communities and tearing apart families for generations. Our people have been opposing this system for generations. The only thing that is even remotely new about what is going on is the social media presence and the evidence that has been compiled; which comes with its own kind of trauma. As a result of the interlocking and overlapping networks and access to information, the lies and half-truths that used to be spread about how far this country has come and how the “Race Problem” is gone has been tossed to the wind as the rubbish that it is. Trump exemplifies this perfectly and so does Hillary, for that matter.

 

 

Second thing they miss is that all the tactics they suggest have been done. They look down on the people from their moral armchairs rebuking and chastising the people who revolt to throw off our oppressor and our oppression upset that the monopoly of violence has been interrupted. The country and even President Obama seem to be just fine when everything goes according to their plan. Tupac, the nephew of Assata Shakur, and who was named after the revolutionary of Peru who almost overthrew the Spanish Empire, Tupac Amaru, warned us; “Cops give a damn about a negro? Pull the trigger, kill a nigga, he’s a hero.” Or the United States and their drone strikes killing innocent people in other countries, all to gain access to their resources. This monopoly on violence is disgusting! These people act like they do not understand why our people, why Black people are upset, like there was only one person killed “by accident,” or that one person did not get the job, or went to prison or was sentenced to death wrongly. They act like this is something that is new. It is not and that is precisely why Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. states that “a riot is a language of the unheard.”

 

 

We are unheard today for the same reasons that the Reconstruction Era ended, our lives are not valued! It was this systematic silencing for generations with broken promises and dropped vows that lead King to write “Why We Can’t Wait” in 1963, one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln during the United States Civil War in 1863; our people still had not achieved freedom and liberation from our oppressors. And yet, another fifty years has passed and we are still fighting for the same things. No, this is nothing new and these arm chair, neo liberal moralizers do not get to tell us how to throw off our oppressors and oppression. The half-truths and lies they have imbibed will no longer pacify our people’s thirst for liberation, quell our rebellions, or stifle our disquiet!

 

 

For too long has this system attempted to conceal a very real truth; the amount of power that we as Black people actually have in this country. At no time since the conception of the United States has the country been devoid of the institution of slavery. The entire structure of the nation is dependent upon a docile, submissive, complicit population of workers of whom to exploit the labor of. In fact, that dependence is so interwoven into the fabric of this nation that should our people simply decide not to participate in that system any longer it would cause that system to collapse.

 

 

There is an unfair advantage that is garnered from suppressed wages, and the synthetic inflation of prices that result from practices like red lining that this country is dependent on. So dependent in fact, that it will attempt to do damn near anything to make sure that its profit structure is not interrupted; such as, crafting laws to criminalize acts such as possessing cannabis, by which they then force people into these modern day slave plantations, and disenfranchise them in the process so that we cannot undo the havoc they have created. Red lining was essentially motivated by the desire to limit the power of black people by keeping us segregated.  Politicians and bankers engaged in this practice heavily  in the northern states, which many Black people migrated to during the Great Migration to escape Jim Crow in the south. But, these redlined neighborhoods formed major voting blocks and those in power sought to limit that power by redistricting their neighborhoods so that they would not be able to influence the political structure, and thus the outcomes and conditions of their lives very much. When that did not work, not ten years after the victory of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, President Nixon puts (now called) “marijuana” (a Spanish word) on Schedule One of the Controlled Substance List. Not even heroin is that high on the schedule! And alcohol and tobacco, which kill or lead to the deaths of thousands more are not as controlled as cannabis. After 1965, when Black people won the right to vote, the largest new voting block United States had ever witnessed was coming into being. People were woke because of the Civil Rights, Black Nationalism, and Black Power movements that collective comprised the Black Liberation Era, more Black youth were making it into and through college because of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the 1964 Civil Rights Act; so, there was real potential to challenge and change the system.

 

 

This is also the time that the infamous J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is known for warning against the emergence of a “Black Messiah” and for the formation of the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) to destroy the Black Liberation Movement. Hoover, COINTELPRO, and the United States government are the reason that so many of our leaders from that era were killed, imprisoned, or forced into exile. These agents also brought about the downfall of the Black Panther Part approximately one hundred years after the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 was passed by the US Congress to get rid of the KKK. The KKK still exists to this day. The KKK is one of the most blatant terrorist organizations that the United States has ever witnessed and yet, for all its clamor about terrorism, it is still invading other countries, dropping bombs, employing drones, creating armies to suppress their own people, toppling democratic governments, violating almost every tenet of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and has labeled Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization. The same shit is happening all over again! This is nothing new!

 

 

Everything about this system has been designed and tailored to limit Black Power. From the education system with the School-to-Prison Pipeline, to the police institution, to the Prison Industrial Complex, and the Military Industrial Complex (also part of the militarization of the police). Our schools do not teach us our true power. They may teach that some people have the Freedom of Speech, but not how to use it. They may teach that this is a democratic society, but they do not teach everyone equally has to exercise their democratic rights. They do not teach that we have immense power and that we give our power away by consent. They say that a democratic government, even a representative one such as we live in, is one of consent. But, since we cannot vote a new system in the only consent that people have is to pay taxes, but we cannot refrain from paying taxes and revoking that consent, so technically speaking we do not live in a state of consent, but rather, one of compulsion. Voting in a system (for those of us who have not been disenfranchised by an unjust system already) that controls the agenda, and one in which there is an economic bar to entry, and a patriarchal system in place we have the same system as the Articles of Confederation (the predecessor of the US Constitution) laid out; namely, that only white, male, landed gentry could hold office. The net result is the same, regardless of what laws are written. The schools do not teach us that. However, consent is also given through participation.

 

 

Neglect to participate and revoke the implicit consent. They want to steal our right to vote to change the system, to direct our way of life, to influence the development of our own communities; then we merely neglect to play along with their game any longer. They want to kill our people with impunity, then we stop participating in their repressive system. They want to continue to hold us within the confines of internal colonies, then we retract from their system. They want to silence the cultural evolution that has been underway in this country for the last hundred and fifty years, then we let them have their system that is so dependent on us. It is not like it is doing us or the planet any good any way. It is time to take a lesson from Black Wall Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Granted, the police and KKK burned it to the ground after shooting all the Black People they could find (1920), but building their own, for their own they rivaled New York’s Wall Street. That alone proves that we do not need them. It also shows their level of fear about separatists and Black Nationalist like Marcus Garvey and Malcom X. The capitalistic structure, which is so far off base of what Adam Smith envisioned is destroying the planet, corrupting the relationship the people have with the planet, and is responsible for the empire structure of imperialism destroying the lives of Black people and people of color all over the globe. It is time to envision a new way of doing things, and an organization in Jackson, Mississippi called Cooperation Jackson has been working diligently to create such a structure.

 

 

We do not only have to pull away, but we can create something entirely new in its place. Something that will liberate our people, all our peoples, and feed our souls at the same time. Whatever we choose to do as a people, it is important to recognize that we have a choice and that we have power. We have immense power. And furthermore, that we are locked within and engaged in a war that none of us asked for or sought that has been going on for generations. This is nothing new.

 

By looking back and unpacking the cryptic, concealed, and distorted history to see what is really going on and for how long, hopefully we can begin to envision what it is that we do want and how to achieve those ends. I am not the first to talk about these things and I most certainly will not be the last. Below is a speech that Malcom X made in 1964, “The Ballot or the Bullet” wherein you will hear him speaking on Black Nationalism and self-determination and how to achieve it. Below that are some links for how to connect and exercise your power.

 

Black Power

 

All Power to the People

 

Black Lives Matter

https://www.facebook.com/events/530975733769201/

https://www.facebook.com/inmjusticeboycott/

 

 

Lyrics

 

Bet, we matter!

 

Verse 1:

Imagine if you will

Our folx in their offices

people in their prisons

& students at their colleges

Chose not to show up, for work, one day

Not forever, but just, for the same day

Cuz the sectors we occupy

The whole system disarray

It’ll makes the Status Quo: hit the breaks!

this is some of the power, we have, in the game, today

We have immense power in this world today/

Black Power! In the Fray

Douglass said we will only suffer

the level of tyranny that we accept

cuz complicitly going along with a system

designed to break us, is in effect

the removal of our values and self-respect/

It’s clear from the protests,

We’re not happy with conditions

Killer police, broken schools

Or Our brothers and sisters in prisons/

But if we disagree, why participate

And If our lives don’t matter to them, then why should we stay

Why not stray and drop our roles,

let them fend for their own goals

Let the Traffic technicians,

Walk away from controls

& let their traffic, come down to a screeching holt

Don’t sabotage it,

Merely fail to comply with the system we know

Think about what would happen if we just—let—go /

 

Verse 2:

 

Let Black Marines, stop shooting global P.O.C.

Leaving blockades, discarding, weapons in the heat

Thinning ranks, Dank

Not sacrificing lives for those who don’t thank

Or spread value after tanks, stop firing

Drop, tools at gates

Leave, mops in bins

Stop constructing, cleaning buildings

That we’re never meant to live/

Quit buying into gimmicks

Cuz national wellbeing

Measured, by economics

not how we do within it/

Maybe money’s all they hear

Lack thereof is what they fear

Love the banks that hold it dear

Could be time to interfere

Pull our cash (that) they’re investing

Fractal, interesting

Gambling, our nest eggs

On things we’ll never see/

But they cannot spend, what they do not have

When their coffers empty because we grab, our money

Think it’s funny, till there is no milk and honey/

The financial system’s delicate

We have the power to stall it merely,

By not complying

Though a bank run’s what they’ll call it/

But recall red lines, restrictive covenants, been played for puppets,

Like the Muppets

Since the 13th Amendment heard trumpets/

Fingers in markets, Augmenting profits, for generations,

Divestment of Property, Grand Larceny, Properly,

Probably costing, the nation’s chance to make it

rapin the system// skatin permission

Awaitin division, derision isn’t just revolutionary

But a responsibility, to the children we’re raisin/

We have the power, to stop gentrification,

to unhinge racialized degradation

& State sanctioned violence

By refraining our participation

 

Verse 3:

Now imagine if you will,

That some of this is done,

Or that, all of it is done,

and it’s, all done at once/

We stop participating,

Reciprocating, victim blaming/

Patient waiting

& instead we move to vindicating

Retracting from a system,

That hates our being,

By neglecting, to comply with,

The status quo regime/

Cuz, that’s been a routine

that leads to our demise

One filled with (endless) crimes

Impunity, tears, and lies/

A system that fails to educate, and liberate

But consummates prisons, kills our children clean slate

One that Rapes, emasculates, and otherwise derogates

men and women, changing fates, weaving gates to hold in place

But depends upon us

To perform roles honest

will come to a, crashing halt

Like; “who is John Galt?”/

That’s the power we have,

and it’s a power we’ve used

those in the Civil Rights Movement

Knew it through and through

brought the system to its knees

by not complying to please

Or seeking negative peace

For small measure release

But after Martin Luther King

started stating these things

And people began seeing

How, it’s true and it rings

he was shot dead, in the head, at Loraine Motel,

Now, only time will tell,

if a new J. Edgar Hoover will decide to spell,

COINTELPRO, at the top of a file

because they fear the rise of a “Black Messiah”

 

Verse 4:

 

They claim through their behaviors

that our lives do not matter

But all of that is chatter,

& the static of denial

reality is that

We matter, more than they can fathom

Back to Atom, through the stratum, through (their) historical datum

Jesus was a Black man, and we’d have no mathematics

Astronomy, architecture, religion, acrobatics

Without our blackness, fact is, every factor good here

Would smash to backwards/

Neanderthal stomping cave dancers

for those of us alive today,

our presence holds a weight (that) they cannot escape,

their fate is sealed with ours,

but they love to fabricate a trace of dominance

while the truth is that they are nothing more than cowards

Respect the truth, inform the youth, and choose

We’ll only suffer, the tyranny

We allow to get through

By participating, we’re insinuating consent

To a system that none of us agrees to

You see;

We are powerful!

Black is Beautiful!

Black Power is Immutable!

You see;

We are powerful!

Black is Beautiful!

Black Power is Immutable!

 

Just Imagine what will happen when we use it…

“Invisible Walls” by Renaissance

 

Verse 1:

Stuck in transition
Lacking position
Latitude, Longitude
Complicates Mission
Glossed over vision
The world, no it isn’t
A visit, Cuz this myth
Is bigger than Wizards
My head in orbits
Round phantoms so gorgeous
Dreams in remission
Yo God has been missin
From my prayers
Through night terrors
And Flashes of RAGE
Blank stares, at my wares
I’m locked in a cage
I’m put on display
Just to shock and amaze
Gawked at through windows
I’ve been here for days
There is no escape
From a place that can’t be
I’m telling you now
You bark up the wrong tree
I’m just out of phase
Between your world and mine
Hear but cant see
Smell but cant find
I’m just trying to live
I hope you don’t mind
Crossing the barriers
Encroaching lines

Chorus:

Fight against the poison of the mind cuz I believe

Fight against the prison with walls that I can’t see

Fight against the system makes us seem like the enemy

Fight against the barriers don’t want us to be free

Fight against the urge to quite, instead live my destiny

Fight against the trap to become another tragedy

Fight against the lies they use to justify their tyranny

Fight to pull these walls down until they come tumbling

 

Verse 2:

Stay in your place
Respect your race
You don’t belong, man,
Just look at your face
Been turned all around
Feeling things just like this
Every time I walk
In to their office
My degree don’t mean shit
When I’m caught in the grips
Of whips, chains, and ships
Hist the scars on my wrists
Blind fold my eyes
But there’s still no surprise
America filled
To the brim with its lies
Got their roles and the jobs
All neatly comprised
Prison bed counts
Done from third graders’ eyes
How well they read
Forget what they need
They work or they bleed
Jim Crow concedes
Some walls we see
Others we don’t
Some will believe
Others just won’t
Cuz they’ve not had to cross
Deal with the loss
Traverse the gauntlet
Risk paying the costs

Roots Reaching Black

Had to make it PHAT, had to take it back

Had to rep for a culture that the roots are reaching Black

Beautiful, Powerful, Indisputably Immutable

The history a crucible, the music is a tool to use

Cathartic when it needs to be, hard to beat society

At times, the rhymes, plant the seeds we need to breathe

Through police brutality, fatalities, impunity

the root of e-vil, our people see the enemy

An internal colony, Fanon saw the tragedy

Overseer to officer, KRS, a prodigy

His progeny, are challenging, violence’s monopoly

By the state, the fate of which, attempt to claim us property

Hip Hop is the voice/ and the weapon of choice!

Since Grand Master Flash and DMC were making noise

Cuz with the “Message,” hood pov-erty, was being challenged

& “Fuck the Police,” expounded on that knowledge

 

My roots are reaching Black

to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, to Jay z and Goodie Mob

To Lauren Hill and them all

My roots are reaching Black

To Assata, MLK, Malcom x, and James Brown

that’s the tip that I’m on

My roots are reaching Black

to the pride of a nation, and the fight for Liberation

Cuz our history’s bomb

My roots are reaching Black

Through the Hip Hop in my blood, and the music in my soul

Yo! The revolution’s on!

 

Not to say it’s not a party music, wouldn’t be true

It’s the part of the genre, we be celebrating to

Get ya club on, ya dance on, or smoke a blunt to

Or, however you hang, when you’re chillin wit your crew

Don’t be fooled, “Walk Ruff and Stuff with yo Afro Puffs”

Was Black Power, to the core, filled with Black Love

challenging pat-riarchy, white standards of beauty

And Internalized Oppression with con-tinuity

Queen Latifa, a master emcee

Blessed us with her presence in the 1980s scene

& Helped to make the music what it is to you and me

So Lauren Hill could call out “Politrixions” with the Fugees

While Bill Clinton, prison warden, playin the sax

Signed into law, the 1994, Crime Act

No more education in the prison labor system

& 3 Strikes was made law by those Politrixions

 

My roots are reaching Black

to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, to Jay z and Goodie Mob

To Lauren Hill and them all

My roots are reaching Black

To Assata, MLK, Malcom x, and James Brown

that’s the tip that I’m on

My roots are reaching Black

to the pride of a nation, and the fight for Liberation

Cuz our history’s bomb

My roots are reaching Black

Through the Hip Hop in my blood, and the music in my soul

Yo! The revolution’s on!

 

What is problematic, was the corporate takeover

of a cultural art form, meant to restore the

pride of our people, integrity the needle

The One’s and Two’s, the Wheels of Steel, spinnin through to freedom

When they moved in and sup-planted, their business model

& Threw down the throttle on producin gangsta bauble

to make a Modern-Day-Minstrel, Black Face, metropolis

but a Dangerous Black, outta control, was all you got from this

While the War on Drugs, was being waged, out on our Streets

The Reagans and the Clintons, were pulling back their sheets

Stereotypes, that fed the hype, of the white supremist blight

and the P.I.C. was being formed right in plain sight,

With these images that the corporations spun about us

The public in Amerika, had no doubt, about us

Thank god the Underground rose to challenge all this B.S.

Where people like Mos Def and Immortal Technique flourished

 

My roots are reaching Black

to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, to Jay z and Goodie Mob

To Lauren Hill and them all

My roots are reaching Black

To Assata, MLK, Malcom x, and James Brown

that’s the tip that I’m on

My roots are reaching Black

to the pride of a nation, and the fight for Liberation

Cuz our history’s bomb

My roots are reaching Black

Through the Hip Hop in my blood, and the music in my soul

Yo! The revolution’s on!

 

The sound of resistance, the people and the message

Answering the questions, most pressing to the masses

Ripping through the truth, conflicting our community

Familiar and sad, like, this is nothing new to me

Jobs are always fleeting degrading our sense of worth

Our schools so deplorable it’s education that hurts

Drugs on the streets, but don’t own a poppy field

The youth are packing heat for safety, can we be real

Red Lining, White Flight, Welfare, Ghettos

Out-sourcing, Globalization, yup and there goes

The neighborhood, with the manufacturing work

To other countries, into prisons, where they’re getting paid dirt

150 years from slavery, but ain’t much changed

Time to claim the economic means and shatter these chains

Hip Hop, the voice of the oppressed and the poor

So, I’m wit LL Cool J, “It’s time for war!”

 

My roots are reaching Black

to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, to Jay z and Goodie Mob

To Lauren Hill and them all

My roots are reaching Black

To Assata, MLK, Malcom x, and James Brown

that’s the tip that I’m on

My roots are reaching Black

to the pride of a nation, and the fight for Liberation

Cuz our history’s bomb

My roots are reaching Black

Through the Hip Hop in my blood, and the music in my soul

Yo! The revolution’s on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Letter to the Men” by Renaissance the Poet: New HipHop Song & Explanatory Essay

How the hell is a man going to jump up and scream for Liberation and Justice, Equality and to be treated fairly, to have greater bargaining power, and to be treated like a human being; then turn around to promote Misogyny and Patriarchy which are mechanisms of Colonization and the Exploitation of the bodies and minds of women?

There is a manifest contradiction when these two opposite ends of the spectrum—justice vs. injustice—coalesce into one individual, wherein the latter completely disqualifies the former to the point that the man promotes a system of injustice instead of justice. Any ideology or societal organization principle that systematically relegates a particular group of people to a position of inferiority in a hierarchical structure, simply because of their affiliation or identity with the group is discriminatory, bigoted, and unjust to its core. Patriarchy is one of those unjust ideologies because it systematically seeks to relegate all women to positions of inferiority simply for being women. Ideologies that generalize and discriminate based on qualities beyond the will and volition of the individual is ignorant, short-sighted, and unjust.

Capability, merit, previous accomplishment, and potential future contributions are by far a more efficient and just means of distributing power and respect among and between people. Some men are promoted to positions of prestige and power, but lack the integrity, the intelligence, the character, and the communication skills necessary to perform the role they are selected for because they were selected solely on the basis of gender. This is a detrimental and foolhardy practice. Likewise, denying a position of prestige and power to a woman because the very same vital qualities that are necessary to fulfill the role are ignored for men and discounted in women, that is, they have not been considered in the cases of many women, qualities that they in fact possess. This is also a detrimental and foolhardy practice. If people were evaluated, both male and female, in terms of their capability; their merit, their previous accomplishments and their potential future contributions instead of their genders, sexes, ages, or ethnicity then the roles they are selected for would actually be fulfilled and the outcomes would be much more productive and achieved more efficiently.

A person should be judged by the contents of their character; not by their gender, sex, color, creed, or religion.

Adding Sexism to this discussion of the unjust hierarchical social structure of patriarchy, wherein the bodies of women are objectified and commodified, denying their humanity and instead attributing value to women only in sexual or monetary terms; the dehumanization of women is a glaring and unacceptable problem. It is also a dangerous and harmful combination.

Patriarchy is insidious because it has been the norm for thousands of years, and as a result the many ways it crops up could seem to many of the cisgendered men to be benign. For instance, the oldest reference to women as bitches I have found was in Homer’sThe Odyssey” from Ancient Greece. The term and the hatred of women, misogyny itself, is old, very old. Furthermore, contemporary women may be subjected to continuous unwanted sexual advances from men; men who feel entitled to do this because they are men and feel we must be macho and promiscuous to fulfill our roles as men. Patriarchy also denies women the same sexual freedoms granted to men and instead they are condemned and shamed by men and other women—who have been indoctrinated with patriarchy—for expressing themselves sexually, or dressing in a revealing manner. For thousands of years women have been thought of as being naturally ‘incompetent’ in some fields or activities, and their opinions in leadership roles have often been viewed as less credible. Women have rarely been given the same space to express their thoughts as men, regardless of how correct and astute they are and have been. Of course this denies the very real truth that women have been present and have been powerful decision makers in many of the biggest decisions that have shaped our world; the Julio-Claudian blood-line of the 12 Caesars of Rome in the era of Jesus was controlled by women; the shaping of the United States was heavily influenced by Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams, one of the revolutionaries; Sojourner Truth the African American abolitionists; Harriet Tubman, an African American abolitionist and freedom fighter; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the suffragist; Eleanor Roosevelt, the first chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights; Madam C.J. Walker, the first Black Woman millionaire who created a line of black hair products; the list can go on. Patriarchy also shows up when a woman justly and intelligently asserts herself and her autonomy and she is referred to as a bitch, which is an attempt to discredit her and her assertions. Patriarchy is ugly and ubiquitous and the list can go on, but the point is that patriarchy seeks to deny women their humanity and relegate them to positions of inferiority wherein they are only perceived as minor partners, partial contributors, sexual objects, and needing a man’s guidance and protection (paternalism); none of which is true.

Here are three interrelated points:

1. In a sense, culture is a living entity. It does and must evolve. To claim that subordination of women must be “be natural and correct” because “that is how it has always been” is wrong. It is a cop-out, it is recklessly conservative, it is unjust, and it is childish.

2. That a man may feel ‘entitled’ to a woman’s body is a continuation of exploitation and slavery; slavery simply being the ownership of another’s body. It is the refusal to recognize the autonomy of another. Entitlement can only emerge when one ‘feels’ they have the right to ownership over something or someone.

3. For a man to clamor for his rights and equity, and deny women similar rights and equity is a manifest contradiction to the concept of justice, equality, and world free from oppression.

Furthermore, that men are afraid of women and their inherent potential to shape our world; much the same as racism is about managing the fear of Black people coming to social, political and economic power because white people fear that the same harms they have visited on Black People will be visited upon them. This fear is driven by greed, the most fundamental components of colonialism and exploitation. It is about power, which is expressed in terms of control of the external world and, most often control of resources or other people. This fear is a plague that has led men to attempt to silence women and to hold them in bondage because of a fear of a loss of control, but this behavior is stifling our ability to develop as a people into a more mature society and culture. Since all living things must grow, this pestilent nostalgia is actually choking our culture and killing us: Reverse Racism.

I am calling on the men to be more; to do less; and to acknowledge, accept and respect the leadership of women. I am calling on the men to end our subordination of women; to end our abuse of women; and to stand up to those who continue to hate and abuse women. I am calling on the men to see and acknowledge the true value inherent in each and every woman; to treasure that value; and to disregard the antiquated valuation of women that has been instilled in us by the oppressive and colonizing culture of conquest and sexual exploitation. I am calling on the men to recognize the harm we are doing to us all by holding half of our population hostage, in bondage, attempting to silence the best within us. I am calling on the men to be Men, and in particular Black Men, to do away with this ideology of dualism and competition so that we can move forward as a people and achieve the liberation we so desperately desire.

i.Written by Renaissance the Poet

ii. Edited by Sharon Welensky & Tim Sage

___________________________________________________

Backing Track & Mix by Scott Paul Johnson

www.facebook.com/spjohnson

Written & Recorded by Renaissance the Poet

www.facebook.com/renaissancethepoet.official

___________________________________________________

Lyrics:

Verse 1

There’s a very real problem that needs to be addressed

And I hope my words offend, cause you to question your intents

As a man, a male, privileged, to live without regrets

This letter is for you, from a man who finally gets

That Oppression of women is the sickest form there is

there is nothing that epitomizes hatred more than this

Weakness, feeling the need to express dominance

Prominently, by suppressing a woman’s right to live

& to live un-assailed by male hostility

In the streets, on the job and in our families

Sexual harassment an infectious demon,

Spreading because men feel entitled to bodies bein

Perceived as property, a fallacy Contradicting we

The liberty we scream for we constantly recede

Cuz our greed makes us think we can take all that we see

We’d never tolerate being another man’s property

Chorus

Sisters, Mothers, Daughters, Aunties, Girlfriends, Wives, Friends

The Women of the World combine to be the best there is

I just can’t take the hate no more, I’m calling out the men

You have a duty to us all to be the best you can

Verse 2

Walking down the street women have to risk the cat calling

Being asked for numbers, getting groped, raped and can’t stop it

& when they Stand Their Ground, flipping around the situation

Denying a man has the Right to incur this inflammation

She is insulted, threatened and in the worst cases

Women have been killed for denying men to their faces

& if that is not entitlement then I don’t know what is

Because who has a claim to another’s life

Let alone to a smile or even her mind

If she graces you the privilege, it is a gift, not a right

And she has the Right, like us, to be left alone

On her way home, to school, work or talking on the phone

& She has the Right to associate with you or not

Without fear of reprisal or the way being blocked

It’s not for you to decide, this is her choice

Infringement is Wrong, man, so cease all the noise

Chorus

Sisters, Mothers, Daughters, Aunties, Girlfriends, Wives, Friends

The Women of the World combine to be the best there is

I just can’t take the hate no more, I’m calling out the men

You have a duty to us all to be the best you can

Verse 3

Women should be valued and cherished not disrespected

They’re Amazing, Intelligent, Partners, and they’re Finished

They do not need anything added or taken from them

There is nothing a man has that a woman needs from him

Not even semen, if that’s what you’re thinking

You can Check a sperm bank if you think that I am beefin

Paternalism a joke, they’re as capable as men

Neither need concealing nor protection, because they’re Women

They’re Human and were born with all they will ever need

Save respect and to be loved, just like you and me

And humans deserve to be treated with dignity

That means treated with equity, honor and esteem

Fail in any of these and you’ll see that she up and leaves

And finds one who can provide all the things that she needs

But I see that so many out get this wrong

& that’s why I wrote you a letter in the form of a song

Chorus

Sisters, Mothers, Daughters, Aunties, Girlfriends, Wives, Friends

The Women of the World combine to be the best there is

I just can’t take the hate no more, I’m calling out the men

You have a duty to us all to be the best you can

“The World We Want” by Sarra Tekola & Renaissance (((Music Video)))

And this is the video that we put together. Initially, it began as a project for a competition at the University of Washington, and although, it will still be submitted, as we began constructing the project we realized the potential for helping to make a real difference. We are both seniors at the UW, both musically inclined, both activists with a heart fro justice and a sustainable planet. Everything just fit together. I am also a photographer, videographer, producer, studio technician, poet, spoken word artist, and so much more. So, in the short time period we had to get this accomplished, I threw everything I had into this with Sarra, including the kitchen sink. It was simultaneously, both the hardest and most rewarding project that I have ever been part of.

Climate Change is all the more pressing at this particular junction in time, in Seattle specifically because Shell Oil is planning to bring a seafaring oil rig through Seattle’s harbor, which will serve as a lay-station as it forges its way to the arctic to drill for oil. If this occurs, then the dreaded two degrees of change the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 360, Rising Tide, and a host of others have been warning about will be crossed. This will doom the planet to catastrophic failure. Hence, the “Draw The Line” logo. We are standing up and yelling NO!!!

We hope that this song and video will cause you to consider what is happening and to foster some creativity on your part to learn more if you are not already hip to the situation.

Peace & Love

~Renaissance

Further Readings:

We Have A World to Win written by Jess Spear

Rude Awakening written by Renaissance

The Capitalist Dilemma written by Renaissance

“The World We Want” by Sarra Tekola & Renaissance (((SONG)))

This is the song we have been grinding on for a couple of weeks now and I think it came out very well.
We hope that you enjoy it enough to pass it along to others.

You may also download it for free.