Tuesday, March 25, 2008

NW Hip Hop News: March/April

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

NW Hip Hop News: March 2008

March/April 2008 Issue:

-Seattle Battles HB2712, the Gangbill
-Hip Hop Activist Arrested at NAAM Opening
-Seattle Women in Hip Hop in the Press
-206 Zulu 4th Anniversary Celebration Recap
-DJ B-Girl CD Release this Friday at Lofi!!

It Keeps Getting Worse: HB 2712

Hip Hop organizers and activists in Washington state have been turning up the heat behind demanding Gov. Christine Gregoire veto House Bill 2712 , the anti-gang legislation immediately. In the past few weeks, Hip Hop grassroots media outlets Zulu Radio, The Keith Tucker Show, and Hip Hop 101 TV have all done features on the issue, urging their viewers and listeners to SIGN THE PETITION TO VETO THE GANG BILL , and call the offices of Governor Gregoire at (360) 902-4111 to voice objections.

From the jump, it was apparent to many youth advocates and human rights activists that this bill would unfairly criminalize young people in our communities, especially young people of color. In an informational video by James Bible and Priest Amen, featuring music from Rajnii Eddins, Blue Scholars , and Gabriel Teodros, the commentators outline concerns surrounding the bill. They summarize how HB 2712 will legitimize racial profiling, stereotype culturally-relevant non-violent behavior as gang-
related, lean too heavily on increasing arrests and creating harsher punishments, and completely lack to acknowledge the root causes of gang activity in young people.

Despite this, HB 2712 passed House by a 94-1 margin in early March, largely because the original bill promised $10 million dollars for intervention programs seperate in addition to competitive grants for law enforcement agencies. Sadly but not suprisingly, while the money on the law enforcement side survived Senate, the money for intervention did not.

On March 24th, the Coalition of Citizens for Justice, made up of members of the NAACP, the National Black United Front, SYPP, Justice Works, and others, met with the governor’s aide, Marty Brown, to voice their concerns. Gregoire was unable to attend the meeting. "He seemed really nonchalant about it," said Priest Amen, "we were concerned about his demeanor, and we hope he took our concerns about the bill seriously." So far, the coalition has gained the support of Senator Adam Kline, and King Council Member Larry Gossett, as well as held press conferences to raise awareness on the bill.

Despite the success of these informational campaigns in building a strong base of support for the veto, it still remains unclear whether or not our voices have fallen on deaf ears in the governor’s office. The bill will cross her desk on March 28th, but she has until April 5th to either sign or veto it. As a last effort, the Coalition of Citizens for Justice is planning a rally later this week, either on Friday or Saturday. You can email Priest97@msn.com for more information.

When asked what the coalition will do if the bill is passed and the legislation becomes law, Priest Amen asserted that the group is well-equipt and prepared to challenge the constitutionality of the bill in court. They also plan to organize a group to push for the removal of Governor Christie Gregoire. "We need a governor who will be more accountable to the concerns of the youth, of low income people, people of color- the full diversity of Washington State."

Activist Arrested at NAAM Grand Opening

When the Urban League’s Northwest African American Museum hosted its grand opening on March 15th at the old Colman School in Seattle, it was featured on the front page of the Sunday paper, as well as in most other major and independent press in the city. Most stories gushed acclaim and praise for NAAM and commended the efforts of the Urban League in seeing the project through. Public officials from the governor down were present at the opening ceremony, as well as church leaders, and other prestigious community members. On the surface, it was a celebration. However, for many in the Hip Hop community, the opening of NAAM marked the next step in a legacy of class-struggle passed down to us from the previous generation, a struggle that calls into question the very intention of many established "leaders" speaking for the Black Community in Seattle.

Charlie James, one of several original visionaries and activists who fought for twenty years for the project, wrote a bittersweet article published in the Seattle Times this March on his refusal to participate in opening ceremony. Instead of bowing out, Wyking, of the Seattle Hip Hop Youth Council, took the stage on March 8th, to confront public officials on their support of the gang bill, and address the shortcomings of the Urban League Village NAAM. Hear him speak more on the issue here in a KBCS broadcast.

(Photo: From left, Carver Gayton, former F.B.I Agent, and Executive Director of Northwest African American Museum, Wyking calling NAAM out)

Upon hearing about the arrest of Wyking at the grand opening of the Northwest African American Museum in March, Amanda Diva of Floetry Remix whipped up a tragically hilarious take on the issue for her online show, Diva TV: Episode 9. The Seattle-specific segment starts roughly 4 minutes and 30 seconds into the show, and shows Miss Diva visiting a very disappointing African American Museum in Seattle where the only three Black leaders are Oprah Whinrey, Bill Cosby, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She said, "[ Seattle’s Urban League] had the chance and the power to make sure that this community center was done in a proper way and they chose the payout instead. What a let down."

Be on the look out for more indepth, investigative report on the history of the African American Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, coming soon from our media coalition. In the meantime, for some context, check out this video on the gentrification in the Central District and Hidmo.

B Girl Media

2008: The Year of the Woman in Hip Hop

The tremendous organizing and outreach efforts behind the regional women in Hip Hop movement, lead by groups like C.A.R.A , B-Girl Bench, and Pinay sa Seattle, are paying off as more and more women Hip Hop artists are finding their way into local media. Check out the February 20th article on 1st Quarter Storm here, and be sure to read El Dia and Rogue Pinay’s own responses in the comments below. Also check March 19th’s article on our comrade Beloved1. Special thanks to Erika Hobart for holding it down at the Seattle Weekly.
Emcee, activist, and teaching-artist Beloved1 is also repping the Northwest in her work with the Woman- hood Learning Project. Launched by Hip Hop Association, WLP "is a sound out to all the B-Girls and Hip Hop Queens-women who have transformed music and culture." In an early March press released, H2A declared 2008 The Year of Women in Hip Hop, and are launching a series of projects to educate, organize, and empower women in Hip Hop. For more information email beloved313@gmail.com.

Also, Be sure to join the B-Girl Media/Project Mayhem family at the Lo Fi Gallery this Friday for the OFFICIAL "Love or Fate" release Party , and afterparty at Oseao Gallery. See the Calendar for more information!

206 Zulu’s 4th Anniversary Recap
By King Khazm

Hip Hop Culture and community represented full force at Seattle Center last February 15-17th, at the 206 Zulu 4th Anniversary Celebration. Held in collaboration with Festival Sundiata , Seattle’s Center’s African/African-American Cultural Arts festival, people of all ages and ethnicities from across the country gathered to experience this true-school celebration of ’peace, love, unity, and having fun!’ This year’s showcase featured moving performances from Beyond Reality, Gabriel Teodros, The Elefaders , BYC, Major Moves (NJ), DJ DV One, Alpha-P, DJ Young Native (AZ), Mind Movers, Orukusaki (SF), DJ Backside (CA), Paulie Rhyme (Cleveland), and more, with immaculate lighting and sound provided by Spoken Visuals.

A new addition to this year’s event was a second stage, which housed "Couch Sessions," hosted by Laura "Piece" Kelly-Jahn . This live interview segment, which ran during performance intermissions, invited inspiring, educational, and critical dialogue with key leaders in the Northwest Hip Hop Community, including King Khazm, DJ Kun Luv of Seaspot, Ghetto Prez of Sea Sick, and Block Union Teamsters, and Wyking of Seattle Hip Hop Youth Council. discussion segment complimented an interactive Writer’s Bench, Youth Workshops, coordinated by Julie-C, featuring beat box workshops from Audio Poet , breakin’ and dance lead by Rufio, BeLoved, and graff lead by OneSevenNine. Generous time and equipment donations from SCAN Network and Georgio Brown Productions made for an impressive interactive, multimedia experience for all who attended. 206 Zulu would like to thank special guests Zulu King Yoda (NYC), of the Universal Zulu Nation World Supreme Council, as well as Zulu Queen Michele (PA), Davey D, and UZN Oregon for showing support. 206 Zulu would also like to also extend a very special thanks to Heidi Jackson , of djDIVA’s Night at Waid’s Haitian Cuisine & Lounge, Massive Monkees, The Vera Project , and Soul One for hosting the After Parties! Stay tuned for photos and videos coming soon. In the meanwhile, check out the 3rd Anniversary’s photos HERE.

206 Zulu is getting down at Seattle Center on May 24th again, for Northwest Folklife Festival! Featuring Alpha-P, Waves of the Mind, and BYC, as well as special performances from Orbitron , DJ Tecumseh, and DJ B-Girl. We’ll keep you plugged.

Thanks for reading. You can reach me at juliec@hiphopcongress.com


Julie C.

Read more: http://www.myspace.com/juliec206/blog#ixzz11mY9mRFT

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