Saturday, April 7, 2007

Open Letter to NW Hip Hop on Fighting for Media Rights

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Spring 2007 News
Seattle Hip Hop It's Time to Ride on KUBE 93

An Open letter to Northwest Hip Hop,

Let's get our heads right. It's time to put aside all our petty differences and historical beefs, regionalized dramas, paranoia, jealously, and whatever else keeps folks divided in this community. The fact is none of us are getting major radio play, the bullshit on mainstream radio is hurting all of us in terms of public interest in Hip Hop, and we can either stay clamourin at the bottom of the barrel, OR learn how to work together, create our own distribution networks, empower the media alternatives that do play our music, and demand something better from KUBE 93. There's no reason why Northwest artists can't sell 20,000 units regularly, except the fact that our lack of unity allows the very sharp, very organized corporations to bop us over and over, creating all this in-fighting and nonsense. Let's get over that for a second and look at what we're up against:

Today, four radio companies agreed to payola settlement with FCC. Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Entercom, and Citadel have tentatively agreed to pay the government $12.5 million and provide 8,400 half-hour segments of free airtime for independent record labels and local artists as part of a consent decree with the FCC.

Looks like the FCC is making these media conglomerates play our music! Sounds good right? Don't be fooled.

Industry watchdogs like Davey D from Hard knock Radio have been tracking this mess develop from the gate and they say the major labels have been ready for months to counteract this settlement. "The industry already has a bunch of former major label people who set up a quote unquote independent record consortium," says Davey D, "and that's the people they are gonna pull from. They ain't gonna pull from the local guy on the corner who needs a shot. You could play Lil Jon, Justin Timberlake, E-40, all of whom are now considered independent artists. It ain't gonna be dRED.i or Blue Scholars, it's gonna be key people connected to the industy and maybe they'll toss one person in there to look like they're doing something."

Paul Porter from Industry Ears scoffed at the settlement in an interview from earlier today with FreeMix Radio (you can peep it at "The public, we have nobody representing us and that's how deals like this get cut, plain and simple." Porter goes on to expain how corportate interests and the RIAA's involvement got the FCC to walk away from making a formal agreement for independent airplay as a part of the consent decree. "Basically," Porter expains, "they are leaving it up to the broadcasters to police themselves, nobody is investigated, and this is another whitewash."

So what should we do?

-Instead of everyone jumping up at once to be the one or two local artists that MIGHT get their song played once or twice outside of Future Flavors on KUBE 93, we gotta organize local artists, record labels, promotors, and advocates to collectively put the pressure on folks like Eric Powers through petitions, organized protests, marches, rallies, or boycotts. The experience of folks like Gordon Curvey and influence of people like Jonathan Moore, reguardless of anyone's opinions of them, are critical in ensuring sustainable success.

-We may have to organize media monitoring of KUBE 93 to make sure the music they are playing is representative of the Hip Hop they claim to be. Of course we know it is not. But, Hip Hop is a culture recognized by United Nations, and it is on the people of this culture and community to set the standards. No one will do it for us, certainly not the FCC.

-We need a systemized means to increase support and crosspromotions of independent media outlets that DO provide opportunites to local artists. Shows like Zulu Radio on KBCS, the Download on KHIM, the Twomp, Street Sounds, Afragenesis Network, TV like Coolout, Music Inner City, and Hip Hop 101. Websites like,, etc. The more powerful these independent outlets are, the more capacity they have to help artists. I propose the establishment of a Urban Arts Independent Media Coalition.

-Start collectively utilizing our networks and set up exchanges with artists, indy media outlets, and activists in other cities. We can bypass all this BS. We got Universal Zulu Nation, National Hip Hop Political Convention, Hip Hop Congress, Temple of Hip Hop, and numerous other international networks that have never been systemized for music distribution on a grassroots level!! We are at a place in Hip Hop's short history where the circles are becoming smaller, national organizers from different regions are in regular communication with each other, and this is very very possible. But it will take a great deal of coordination and organization to make this work.

-Utilize the international Media reform movement to our advantage. Our interests as independent artists and activists are the same as theirs. Local groups like Reclaim the Media who are piloting the Northwest Community Radio Network are one example.

Let's utlize some of this phenomenal creativity and genius we see manifested in NW Hip Hop and apply that to the structures we are operating in. It's time to change the game for real.

Seattle Police Strike Again Attack Another Hip Hop Artist

The following is a statement from Randee Eddins, poet, community activist and leader concerning the case of her son, Rajni. The attached MP3 in the email is a segment of the TWOMP News, audio DJ B-Girl Chillz, Merc, and I captured outside of Seattle Courthouse on the initial day of Rajnii's hearing. Please air this segment on your radio shows, burn it on your mix tapes, and post it on your websites! Please forward widely and voice your support in this continuing battle for justice and lasting change in the criminal justice system~
Julie C (emcee/ activist)

powered by BREAKDOWN FM & ODEO

He came armed with a question. Yes, admittedly, he did do that. My
much loved only son, Rajnii Alexander Gibson-Eddins, a well-known
young Arts Educator, Performance Artist and Youth Advocate, approached
a police officer's car armed with a question.

For that, he was frisked, handcuffed, detained, arrested and charged
with obstruction of a public official. My son, who had no criminal
history; had no disrespectful bravado for the police officer who
arrested him, had nothing more in mind than the safety and security of
a young black adolescent who he had been told by one of his students
was being carted off to jail for spitting out gum.

The over the top response of the officer, R. Nelson came about,
reportedly, because he was afraid for his safety and his fellow
officers' safety. Afraid of Rajnii? Afraid of this most gentle
articulate young black man; artist educator, poet, actor, youth
advocate, community activist, and former elder foster brother to more
than 50 youth?

Afraid of his question?

"Let's examine this closely, shall we? Was it the…" excuse me
officer, I'd like to know what this child is being charged with so I
can notify her parents?"

Was it because when they told my son, my Rajnii, to move back from the
vehicle and he promptly complied, not once, not twice but 3 times but
continued to persist with the question, was that what made the officer
feel unsafe?

Was it that some police officers in certain neighborhoods have
forgotten they are paid to serve us and not paid to detain us,
humiliate us, harass us or arrest us? Ironically, my son is the
grandson and nephew of law enforcement officers; my late father was a
retired police officer and my brother is an officer with the sheriff's

My son has served youth in a positive manner from Redmond to Tacoma,
co-founded a spoken word community organization to allow a culturally
diverse group of young people to flex and hone their voices in a
variety of venues.

Rajnii has performed spoken word from the Seattle City Council
chambers to Benaroya Hall, to Seattle Center, to colleges and
universities, libraries, bookstores, cafes, nightclubs, festivals,
theatres, community and cultural arts centers. He was chosen to be
part of Seattle's National Slam team for both 2004 and 2005 and
nominated for Seattle Poet Populist.

Rajnii has worked at many local Seattle area schools as both a
teaching assistant and teaching artist and volunteered thousands of
community service hours to improve the lives of our community's

Rajnii is only 26 but has already designed and implemented a
curriculum using positive hip-hop and taught a host of teachers how to
engage their disaffected students using it as a tool; has taken
students into the studio out of his own pocket and cheered them on at
their every effort to realize their artistic dreams.

Rajnii is considered a fierce mc in the hip-hop community, he writes
and performs his songs, his style, his way and definitely knows how to
rock the mic and move a crowd. He has been on countless albums to
support his peers with both lyrics and singing. He is known
affectionately by family and friends and the wider youth advocacy
community as the Peace Bringer'.

Further, at 24, Rajnii was invited by two high schools in New York to
be their keynote speaker performing with the great eloquence, passion
and clarity he is known for and receiving standing ovations at both

You see, I am the fiercely proud mother of a great son; the kind of
son, friends used to borrow as an example to their own. A son known
for his respectful demeanor, known for kindness, generosity and
humility, known for brilliant artistic talent and his uncanny ability
to engage and redirect youth toward positive pursuits.

And yet, we are here, standing at this impasse; outraged, stunned,
dismayed, apprehensive, indignant, and determined. Why should my son
have any stain on his impeccable record? Why did this officer decide
in this case that discretion was not the better part of valor?

And most importantly, when have our police gotten so frightened for
their safety that they arrest educators who demonstrate concern for a
student rather than applaud them?

After all, he was only armed with a question.

I guess the lesson the police would have our community learn here is
we must warn other educators do not approach the police armed with a
question, mothers and fathers do not, youth do not, students do not,
concerned community members do not, advocates do not, activists do
not, spoken word artists do not, performance artists do not, elders do
not, ministers do not, business owners do not approach the police
whose salary you pay armed with a question...especially if you are

If you who are reading this in 2007 America are as outraged and
concerned as I am, email our Seattle mayor, our Seattle city
attorney's office, our Seattle chief of police, newspaper editors,
your community organizations, school boards, share it from your
pulpits, discuss this with your friends.

If you are able to offer any support financially please contact me at, because as a mother, a former foster mother, a
community activist and advocate for the positive development of all
youth, I recognize the issue is much greater than just my son and will
contribute where ever I can to help see the necessary changes made to
protect other youth from this debilitating experience.

However, we need to make all police departments answer to how being
armed with a simple question in America can throw any fine young man
in jail. We need to refuse to have the Rajnii's of the world
criminalized, humiliated and their positive efforts diminished due to
overzealous punitive response by those sworn to protect and serve.

Let's choose to have this conversation and seek positive resolution
about this ugly issue of racial profiling and find a new way to keep
the Officer Nelsons from overreacting.

Perhaps retraining, perhaps censure, perhaps removal from service in
the heavily populated minority community that he/they, apparently,
fear so much?

We have to remember, need to remember, it was Rajnii today and it
could very well be, you or your loved one, tomorrow.

Any and all efforts of support us in these efforts are very much appreciated.

Peace and Blessings.
Randee Eddins

Read more: