Posts Tagged ‘hip hop’

oh. em. gee.

9.June.10

alls i know is 1) if i don’t get into law school or miraculously get into CUNY, then I’m going to the Governor’s Island Show (thank god they moved it from Jones beach), 2) if i get into GGU I’m going to the San Francisco Show at the Shoreline Ampitheater, 3) if i get into any other school, i will have to miss it this year. but this concert will be LEGENDARY.

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sir lucious leftfoot

8.June.10


this video came out a little while ago, and the song some months ago. but i still had to post it.

Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty is out July 6th

free shyne

7.October.09

wtf. shyne JUST got out of jail, and now they are trying to deport him back to brazil!!!
i’m going to make free shyne  shirts. will anyone buy them?

shyne-quasi o.g.

rock the bellz

20.July.09

so yesterday was rock the bells 2009, at jones beach, in wantagh NY. Basically out on long island, kind of in the middle of nowhere. thing is, i was going by myself. which i’ve done before, gone to a concert by myself. but not a festival like this. so going by myself was mistake #1. also paying the amount I did for my ticket was mistake #2. And it took me 2.5 hours to drive there. THAT was the most painful. not the heat, or the boredome and awkwardness in between sets and walking around the venue by myself. it was the drive. i did get to see the end of tech n9ne, la coka nostra, common (w/talib kweli), wu-tang (rae, rza, meth, and some other people…i’m not a huge wu fan), and finally the roots. i left early b/c i wanted to avoid concert traffic. i hit traffic anyways, but at least it wasnt concert traffic on top of that. so i missed nas & damian marley. which i was willing to, in order to make my drive home less painful. traffic with a manual is not fun at all. good thing was i got home at a reasonable hour, and was able to get enough sleep. which is rare. here are some pics that i took with my phone:

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the roots

common my man

common my man

shine your light on the world

18.April.09

note: i began writing this post on 4/16

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spring will be here soon, I hope. that also means allergy season! yes.

I happen to be listening to umi says by mos def right now, at work. (hence the title of this post) It has been more that a week since my last post, so I thought it time to put some more stuff up. I have been collecting some articles that I have read online since I posted last. And I would like to share them with you now.

This article on Gay Iraqis from NYT is not suprising, but still disheartening. For the first time ever (or at least in many many years), a gaysubculture exists in certain cities of Iraq.  However, it is actually illegal to be homosexual and the police and local Shiite leaders have encouraged the “punishment” and killing of any gay or lesbian Iraqi.

Clerics in Sadr City have urged followers to help root out homosexuality in Iraqi society, and the police have begun their own crackdown on gay men.

“Homosexuality is against the law,” said Lt. Muthana Shaad, at a police station in the Karada district, a neighborhood that has become popular with gay men. “And it’s disgusting.”

For the past four months, he said, officers have been engaged in a “campaign to clean up the streets and get the beggars and homosexuals off them.”

Gay men, he said, can be arrested only if they are seen engaging in sex, but the police try to drive them away. “These people, we make sure they can’t get together in a coffee shop or walk together in the street — we make them break up,” he said.

Gay men and lesbians in Iraq have long been among the targets of both Shiite and Sunni death squads, but their murders have been overshadowed by the hundreds of overall weekly casualties during the height of sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007.

In 2005, the country’s most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a religious decree that said gay men and lesbians should be “punished, in fact, killed.” He added, “The people should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.” The language has since been removed from his Web site.

What is even more sad and disturbing, is the fact that many of these killings may be at the hands of their own families:

“Our investigation has found that these incidents are being committed by relatives of the gays — not just because of the militias,” he said. “They are killing them because it is a shame on the family.”

He said families typically refused to cooperate with the investigation or even to claim the bodies. No arrests have been made in the killings.

We think that here in the United States we are making progess with both Iowa and Vermont’s recent rulings on same-sex marriage, but homophobia is still EXTREMELY strong is most parts of the country and will not just disappear with a few court rulings. Many Americans’ mindset on homosexuality may not actually be far from some Iraqis, who are participating in this “cleansing”.

Another article that does not surprise me, as I am not a huge fan of the military, and this is one of the reasons. On Salon, there is an article on how the US military strongly encourages its psychologists to NOT diagnose veterans with PTSD. There happens to be an actual recording of a clinician telling a Sergeant, in secret, that he has been encouraged, along with other clinicians, to instead diagnose veterans with an anxiety disorder, instead of PTSD. Just another way for the military to screw its veterans over by not providing the medical care due to them for risking their lives, family, and often sanity, for their country.

For more than a year he’s been seeking treatment at Fort Carson for a brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, the signature injuries of the Iraq war. Sgt. X is also suffering through the Army’s confusing disability payment system, handled by something called a medical evaluation board. The process of negotiating the system has been made harder by his war-damaged memory. Sgt. X’s wife has to go with him to doctor’s appointments so he’ll remember what the doctor tells him.

But what Sgt. X wants to tell a reporter about is one doctor’s appointment at Fort Carson that his wife did not witness. When she couldn’t accompany him to an appointment with psychologist Douglas McNinch last June, Sgt. X tucked a recording device into his pocket and set it on voice-activation so it would capture what the doctor said. Sgt. X had no idea that the little machine in his pocket was about to capture recorded evidence of something wounded soldiers and their advocates have long suspected — that the military does not want Iraq veterans to be diagnosed with PTSD, a condition that obligates the military to provide expensive, intensive long-term care, including the possibility of lifetime disability payments. And, as Salon will explore in a second article Thursday, after the Army became aware of the tape, the Senate Armed Services Committee declined to investigate its implications, despite prodding from a senator who is not on the committee. The Army then conducted its own internal investigation — and cleared itself of any wrongdoing…..

“OK,” McNinch told Sgt. X. “I will tell you something confidentially that I would have to deny if it were ever public. Not only myself, but all the clinicians up here are being pressured to not diagnose PTSD and diagnose anxiety disorder NOS [instead].” McNinch told him that Army medical boards were “kick[ing] back” his diagnoses of PTSD, saying soldiers had not seen enough trauma to have “serious PTSD issues.”

“Unfortunately,” McNinch told Sgt. X, “yours has not been the only case … I and other [doctors] are under a lot of pressure to not diagnose PTSD. It’s not fair. I think it’s a horrible way to treat soldiers, but unfortunately, you know, now the V.A. is jumping on board, saying, ‘Well, these people don’t have PTSD,’ and stuff like that.”

Salon offers some other problems with recognizing mental health problems in vets:

Many publications, including Salon, and even some government agencies have documented other instances of reluctance to recognize mental wounds caused by war at bases across the country.

  • A recent weeklong series in Salon showed how apparent resistance to identifying combat stress ends up grinding down the lowest-ranking troops, sometimes with deadly results. Those articles included, for example, the story of Pvt. Adam Lieberman, who suffered with severe symptoms of PTSD. For two years, the Army blamed his problems on a personality disorder, anxiety disorder or alcohol abuse but resisted diagnosing him with PTSD until after his suicide attempt last October.
  • The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm, last October questioned why 2,800 war veterans were labeled with personality disorder diagnoses, another cheap label the Army has been accused of plastering on soldiers instead of PTSD.
  • In November 2005 the Department of Veterans Affairs halted a review of 72,000 veterans who receive monthly disability payments for mental trauma from war. The department wanted to make sure the veterans were not faking their symptoms. Salon first exposed the review that August. Then Daniel L. Cooper, the V.A.’s undersecretary for benefits, told Salon at the time that, “We have a responsibility to preserve the integrity of the rating system and to ensure that hard-earned taxpayer dollars are going to those who deserve and have earned them.”  The department stopped the process a month after a Vietnam veteran in New Mexico, agitated over the review, shot himself to death in protest. .
  • In early 2005, Salon exposed a pattern of medical officials searching to pin soldiers’ problems on childhood trauma instead of combat stress at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

To listen to a clip of the recording that Sgt. X obtained, click here.

Michelle and her mother, Mrs. Robinson, in the May issue of ESSENCE

Michelle and her mother, Mrs. Robinson, in the May issue of ESSENCE

Countless articles and commentaries have been written about Michelle Obama, even before her husband became the 44th President of the United States of America. Whether about her clothes, her parenting, or her revealing biceps, everyone who is anyone has an opinion of the First Lady. I have tried reading the numerous posts on Michelle Obama (go to Michelle Obama Watch to get your fill), but I found one article from the Nation, written by the amazing Katha Pollitt , that wrapped up everything I think and feel about our first black first lady:

Someday we’ll get beyond obsessing about first ladies–and by “we” I mean the sort of journalists who use “we” to mean “the vast majority of Americans” when it is usually just themselves and their friends. Meanwhile, Michelle Obama is getting more bouquets from the media than any woman in public life since Mother Teresa. Her clothes, her looks, her height (six feet!), her curves, her delightful combination of warmth, simplicity, charm, dignity, humor and smarts. Gone are the days when National Review put her on the cover as “Mrs. Grievance,” when Maureen Dowd wondered aloud if Michelle’s wifely jokes about Barack’s foibles were “emasculating” and when Christopher Hitchens wrote in Slate that her undergraduate thesis, “Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community,” was not “written in any known language” and used it to tie her to Louis Farrakhan, a pair of African dictators and the Holocaust. Remember how Obama supporters fumed about that New Yorker cover cartoon of Barack as an Al Qaeda terrorist and Michelle as a rifle-toting Black Panther? People wouldn’t get that it was satire! Seems pretty silly now, doesn’t it? Yesterday’s fist-bumping radical is today’s mom in chief….

click here to read the rest of the article

Malikah

Malikah

As a self proclaimed hip-hop head, I am always interested in learning about hip-hop around the world, and how different cultures make hip-hop their own. The LA Times published an article on Middle Eastern rappers, what they rap about and the types of censorship they deal with. Like the “conscious” rappers in the US, many rap about politics and poverty. One of the rappers they wrote about is the female Lebanese hip-hopper, Lynn Fattouh, or “Malikah”:

“We’re struggling,” says Lynn Fattouh, also known as Malikah, a 23-year-old Lebanese rap star who is one of the most famous female artists in the Arab hip-hop world.

“We’re living a very hard life,” she says. “We’re witnessing war. We’re witnessing hunger. We’re living in countries where they don’t even follow human rights. All the pain and all the stuff happening around us pushes us to express ourselves.”

All eyes turn to Malikah as she hits the stage. Her taut frame, exuding toughness, sways hard back and forth, her fist curled tight around the microphone as she flows in Arabic:

I am talking to you woman to woman.

It’s time to face up

It’s time to plan.

Cry out for freedom . . .

Men have decided to manage your life and destiny.

Don’t live in despair.

Here is a video of one of her performances on MTV (MTV Lebanon?):

Many of the best rappers have moved abroad, especially those from the Palestinian territories. Hip-hop artists in the Middle East occasionally craft lighter rhymes about partying with their homies, acquiring Dolce & Gabbana clothes or about who’s the best rapper in town. But they return to themes of war, poverty and repression because often they’ve experienced little else.

“We don’t do it like any other culture does it,” Malikah says. “Not like they do it in the States or they do it France. When we rap, we use our language, our culture.”

pretty awesome, huh.

And to follow up on my previous post about the whole Madonna adopting black babies, I found this piece on Global Comment written by blogger and my twitter friend, Renee Martin. Renee has a way of articulating almost exactly my views on a number of issues. This time, she hit the nail right on the head with her piece on Madonna’s second (attempted) Malawian adoption:

Madonna has constructed herself as the loving earth mother gone abroad to save the African children from a life despair. Though she has invested in orphanages and has started a few programs, her desire to adopt children despite the express wishes of their famillies, evidences her colonialist positioning. In this second attempt to adopt a child, the family has also expressed a desire to block the adoption.

According to The Sun, “the girl’s gran Lucy Chekechiwa, 60, said she has been asked repeatedly by officials if Mercy could be adopted by an “unidentified foreign family” — but was firmly against it. Speaking from her village in Zomba District, Lucy said: “Twice I have told the adoption people that I do not want Mercy to go outside the country. But they keep on at us. Now they say that Mercy will be leaving us, but can return at age 18.”

Even with the express refusal of the families in question, Madonna continued with her adoption plans firm in the belief that her class privilege would offer David and now Mercy a better life. Though a life with Madonna would provide opportunities that would otherwise be denied to Mercy because of her poverty and our decided commitment to maintaining a hierarchy of bodies, these children will lose their cultural links by not being reared within their country. It will not suffice to surround the children with Western blacks as they will not be able to pass on the traditions that are unique to Malawian culture.

Since the first white man stepped foot on the African continent they have raped and ravaged both the land and the people. To justify this history of tyranny the white man’s burden has been employed as a defensive ideology. Africans have been constructed as backward and in need of rescue. Difference has been understood as a signification of a lack of advancement rather than a alternate form of living. By adopting these children, Madonna is only continuing a long tradition of western colonization based in the belief that whiteness is ultimately superior to that of bodies of color.

This was the type of piece I was looking for when I posted about Madonna and Mercy earlier.

Another twitter friend of mine, Sarah Haskins, with her weekly installment of Target Women on Current TV’s show InfoMania. There has been much talk about this commercial, and Sarah makes a funny of it:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

if you happen to have a hankering for some dope old school hip hop, makes sure to visit my new favorite website, The Meaning of Dope . I found this gem there:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

and lastly, I made a floor plan of my studio. Why? It helps me figure out what size rugs and “furniture” i can possible fit…check it out here

traveling is humbling

24.December.08

as i sit here in terminal E (gate E9 to be exact) of the Philadelphia International Airport with many many other exhausted and frustrated travelers, I really can only just sit back and take everything all in as it is.  I would say that I stopped stressing out about traveling a couple of years ago. This also may be due to the fact that I only fly one to two times per year, tops. my flight was supposed to leave at 3:15 pm EST, and right now we are “scheduled” to leave at 6:15-6:30 EST. It may sound strange, but I kind of like the delays. It gives me time to relax before getting on the plane; I can read, get something to eat/drink, listen to some jams, or pay $7.99 for 24 hours of wifi connection (thanks, AT&T). If I were at Newark airport, I would probably have gotten about 2 massages by now at the massage bar (its totally worth it). I love to people watch and just make up little stories of their lives in my head, though this can be dangerous, the whole judging others on only their appearance thing. For the first time ever, I also visited the airport bar/pub..and she didn’t card me! hooray for not looking like I am 15, anymore. I had a glass of Riesling while I started reading Ms. Tricia Rose’s new masterpiece (well, I cannot personally call it a masterpiece, but because it is written by her, I’m pretty confident it is) The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop-and Why It Matters.  It has been on my amazon.com wish list and I saw it in the bookstore during some last minute christmas shopping, so I bought it. Even though I have yet to read a stack of other books I have bought for myself within the past year or so. Rose is known for her monumental piece in hip hop studies, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America ,which I have to say I have not yet read. I actually found the book in the library of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers, waiting to talk with one of my professors about a paper. Here is a review on Black Noise, just to get the gist of Tricia Rose:

This ethnographic study is the first detailed exploration of rap music within its social, cultural, and artistic contexts. Rose (history/Africana studies, NYU) carefully analyzes each defining element of the genre. For example, her study of the cultural and technological implications of sampling-a pillar of rap-is both impressive and unprecedented. Further, Rose’s hermeneutics extend beyond the music itself to such corollary expressions of hiphop style as rap music videos and breakdancing. Rose constructs a solid bridge between hiphop and academe: she explains the former in the language of the latter and does so splendidly. However, even the most powerful words cannot recreate music. Since academicians may be unfamiliar with the works discussed, an accompanying CD or cassette would have been helpful. While Brian Cross’s less-rigorous It’s Not About a Salary (LJ 2/15/94) remains a better choice for public libraries, Black Noise belongs on the shelves of almost every academic collection.

But back to why traveling is a humbling experience. Way to veer off of the real purpose of this post. On my long train ride from Central NJ to the Philly airport, I sat next to this very nice woman. We chatted about where she was headed to, her grandchildren, her life (she had her first child at the age of 12 and her parents told her that it was a tumor…), and that she recently received her masters in social work from NYU and she works with drug addicts. I actually really enjoy talking to and getting to know random strangers I meet during my travels.  Also, during really stressful times (holiday traveling), you see people’s real colors come out. Some turn inward, angry, and negative. Some try to help others and stay positive. I have learned that taking everything with a grain of salt and attempting to think positive can really make a difference in your stress level and how you treat others around you. This may sound a bit hypocritical to some who know me, for I can often be very cynical and negative. I suppose while traveling, though, I really do make an effort to take everything lightly.

And if your family is anything like mine, and I’m sure it is (for no family is “normal” and we all have our different issues), I found this little article on WebMD about overcoming holiday anxiety and stress.

Someecards really knows how to say happy holidays the right way

chris_41

linkage

17.December.08

i just back from bowling with my co-workers for our christmas…and it is about 2 hours past my bedtime. so this is a quick but awesome post.

My friend from high school posted on her facebook something about supporting the dismantling of the non-profit industrial complex, and to support Left Turn magazine, and left media in general. What is the non-profit industrial complex, you say? Read on, my friends:

The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

Review of THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE FUNDED: BEYOND THE NON-PROFIT INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, edited by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence
South End Press, 2007

Following the Ford Foundation’s reversal of its decision to award INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence a $100,000 grant after reviewing their position on Palestine, the radical feminist organization sponsored the 2004 conference, The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, where most of the essays in this collection were presented. This resulting anthology offers some of the best analysis of the government and the corporate elite’s attempts to co-opt social movements in the US. It answers an urgent call to confront the normalization of what has come to be known as the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC)—the corporatization of progressive and radical social movements.

For those who work in the non-profit sector, the insights offered by this diverse array of activists can be enlightening, but also sobering. Perhaps the most disheartening fact is the NPIC’s power to shape our approaches and tactics for social change. As Dylan Rodriguez points out, “[m]ore insidious than the…constraints exerted by the foundation/state/non-profit nexus is the way in which [it]…grounds an epistemology—literally, a way of knowing social change and resistance praxis—that is difficult to escape or rupture.” This epistemology is responsible for the belief that activists must conform to 501(c)(3) status for legitimacy and funding and that social services serve a greater need and purpose than the arduous task of social change….

Collaboration is stifled when fierce competition for funding and stringent, narrow grant guidelines divide groups that are working towards the same goal. Worse yet, in many cases, non-profits are formed by individuals with the primary intention of creating jobs for themselves. These groups have no interest in true collaboration, but thrive on dominating the non-profit sector and maintaining the status quo. Post-Katrina, an alarming number of new NGOs were established by non-local, non-profit opportunists in response to the proliferation of foundation and government grants for “relief” and “rebuilding” efforts, while long-standing, displaced and struggling local organizations were squeezed out of the funding grab.

Tiffany Lethabo King and Ewuare Osayande warn that “philanthropy never intends to fund revolutionary struggle that demands the just seizure of wealth, resources, and power that has been gained by exploiting the bodies, lives and land of people of color worldwide.” The NPIC’s tentacles reach far beyond the US. Movements in the Global South are already under the threat of becoming non-profitized and co-opted. As activists in the US, we have an obligation to continue this discourse, learn from one another’s mistakes and organize beyond the NPIC.

very interesting. as one who is looking to work in the legal field of this NPIC, it is enlightening to see the critiques mad against the very establishments..

and a GREAT post (though a few months late) for all of my white feminist sisters out there. I know you are there, and reading this. This piece really hits upon many things I struggle with as a class-privileged white feminist. It is a bit long (not really, though), so I just picked out some of my favorite sections. It is originally from make/shift mag: feminisms in motion (from the media links page at leftturn.org):

On Prisons, Borders, Safety and Privilege: An Open Letter to White Feminists

There is no role for the white liberal [in social change]; he is our affliction. -James Baldwin, 1963.

In 1983, when I was in kindergarten, white (Jewish) lesbian feminist Adrienne Rich implored a white-led feminist movement: “Without addressing the whiteness of white feminism, our movement will turn in on itself and collapse.” Twenty-five years later, I’m dubious about a movement — “ours” or otherwise — that has not only failed to honestly and consistently address its whiteness but has also, in so doing, become something far less than a movement for social change.[1]…..

I thought about calling this an open letter to liberal feminists, or to mainstream feminists, or some other things, but I finally decided on the adjective white — not because race is the only defining difference between the liberal/reformist so-called feminism I’m critiquing and more radical social-change-oriented feminisms, but because I see many of the strains of this argument threading together around whiteness — if by whiteness I can mean not only skin privilege but also straightness,[6] liberalism[7], a sense of entitlement to safety (especially within existing social structures), and other markers of an identity and worldview shaped by assimilation to power. Because, of course, whiteness is no essential fact; it is a construct, a lumping together of different people and practices into a dominant, powerful whole.

I’m using whiteness here to talk broadly about assimilated identities and assimilationist politics, which undermine movements for social change. As white people in the twenty-first century, we can’t undo or deny the skin privilege we have been granted via generations of erasure of cultural differences and assimilation to power. But as white feminists, if we are working toward profound social change, we can choose not to engage in political work that is about assimilation to and achieving “safety” or “empowerment” or “freedom” of movement within existing power structures — especially when those structures (e.g., militaristically enforced national borders, the prison industrial complex) are designed to make others unsafe, and unfree.

I wonder again: What is your feminism for? If it is for disruption and redistribution of power across society (i.e., not just for women like you), it cannot be so ignorant of, exploitative of, and even counter to the prison-abolition and immigrants’ rights movements — not only because marginalized women are involved in and affected by those struggles, but because they are where some of the most significant challenges to power are being made today.

Privilege is a kind of poison — insidious, it obscures, misleads, confuses — and this is part of how power is maintained, as well-meaning privileged people miss the mark, can’t clearly see what’s going on and how we’re implicated, are able to comfortably see ourselves as not responsible. Liberalism and assimilationist politics are safe ways for privileged people to believe they are fighting the good fight; liberalism and assimilation, I think, are privilege’s — power’s — instruments….

If feminism is about social change, it is about recognizing that safety in this society is a fantasy afforded only by assimilation to power, and the cost of that fake safety is the safety of those who cannot, or will not, access it. If feminism is about social change, it is about radically challenging prisons and borders of all kinds.

If feminism is about social change, white feminism — a feminism of assimilation, of gentle reform and/or strengthening of institutions that are instrumental to economic exploitation and white supremacy, of ignorance and/or appropriation of the work of feminists of color — is an oxymoron. And it is not a thing of some bygone era before everyone read bell hooks in college. It is happening now; you might be part of it.

Yeah. Just let that soak in for a second.

and another gem from Macon. this is seriously one of my BIGGEST pet peeves, and I oftentimes have difficulty explaining to people why. he pretty much sums it all up for me here:

use “ghetto” as an adjective

“Dudes, that’s so ghetto!
Okay, now, just a sec, don’t start smiling . . . “

One bit of slang that I find annoying, and that I’m hearing more and more often from white folks these days, is the conversion of a particular noun, “ghetto,” into an adjective. I’m not a grammar cop, so it’s not the “incorrect” usage of “ghetto” as an adjective that bothers me. I just think that since the noun brings to most American minds stereotypical images of exclusively non-white urban areas, the white use of it as an adjective is racist. And since the noun also denotes an impoverished urban area, and the people I hear using it as an adjective are mostly middle- and upper-middle class white folks, it’s also classist.

I also find the word irksome because for white people, it has a “Get-out-of-jail-free card” quality to it. To illustrate what I mean by that, ask yourself why, when white folks use the word “ghetto” to describe another person’s clothing or accessories, or their car or something about the way they’re acting–why don’t they use the words “trashy” or “trailer park” instead?

It’s true that those words, which bring to mind classist notions of “white trash” or “rednecks,” sometimes don’t fit, because what’s being described conjures up for the speaker certain stereotypes about black people, instead of stereotypes about poor white people. But that specifically “black” connection is often only there in what’s being described because the speaker is using the word “ghetto,” instead of “trashy” or “trailer park.” There’s nothing especially black about fixing things with duct tape, for instance, or eating inexpensive foods, or otherwise saving or stretching a buck. So why say “ghetto” for such things, instead of something else?

I think that for a lot of white people, using the word “ghetto” as an adjective has an extra element of daring and hipness to it, and also an air of knowingness, about the noun that is, the actual places called “ghettos.” It’s almost as if the white person is claiming (in a way that’s nearly always unwarranted) that they really know what “the ghetto” is like because they’ve been daring enough to actually go there. And it has a “Get-out-of-jail-free card” quality to it because although the speaker is conjuring up and basically uttering racist stereotypes, that’s supposed to be okay because there’s something hip about saying “ghetto” like that.

But then, this piece of slang is becoming so common that it’s already losing that kind of edge, as well as much of any connection to the places and people brought to mind by the word “ghetto.” Kind of like the word “gay,” which so many white kids use to describe something they think is wrong, or awkward, or “stupid.” I’ve called kids on this usage of “gay,” and then asked if they know what “homophobic” means, but they acted like they’d temporarily forgotten that the word they were using means “homosexual.”

For an example of how “ghetto” is also moving away from its original meaning, listen to this one-minute video that a guy made about his lawn mower; notice how (from what I can tell) he uses “ghetto” and “redneck” interchangeably:

A lot of slang gains currency precisely because it’s inappropriate. Many of the elders still do not approve of racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, and sacrilegious language, so the rebellious young ones still use and abuse it. But slang also gains currency from novelty; new words and phrases get old fast, and then move into the realm of cliché. As slang words get old, many of them also lose their forbidden edge by drifting away, for their users at least, from their inappropriate racism, sexism, homophobia, and so on.
As for the racism of the adjectival “ghetto,” I looked up the word at Urban Dictionary, which describes itself as “the slang dictionary you wrote.” I don’t know how “urban” this popular, user-written site really is, and you also usually can’t tell who’s contributing a definition. A white person’s casual use of “ghetto” is certainly different from that of a non-white person’s, as is a white person saying it to white versus non-white people. Still, the debates that develop at Urban Dictionary over certain words and terms can give a good overall sense of what they mean, and as an added bonus, the poetry that slang has always had is often on display (okay, it’s sometimes on display).

Readers there have contributed dozens of suggested definitions for “ghetto.” Some insist that the word is a noun and should stay that way, while others recognize that it’s now widely used and understood as an adjective, and insisting that it remain a noun isn’t going to change that.

What do you think? Should people, white or otherwise, stop using ghetto as an adjective? Are there good or bad ways of using it? Do other objectionable words or phrases like this one come to mind?

For the uninitiated, I’ve copied below some of the contributors’ examples, where “ghetto” is used the way I’ve been hearing it. (Note to grammar cops–I haven’t edited these sentences . . . so I hope they don’t make you [sic].)


Marcus’s South Pole jeans that sag down past his knees are very ghetto when paired with a doorag.

Replacing a broken window with a trashbag and ducttape is ghetto.

“Look how ghetto I look!” Muffy said as she put on her gucci sunglasses.

Jane hid her head in embarrasment as her mom shamelessly committed the ghetto act of stuffing the restaurant’s bread rolls, sugar packets, and silverware in her purse.

You might be ghetto if your car has rims which cost more than the car itself.

Yo Koolaid got so much sugar in it, that it’s Ghetto.

Your Cd player has dents in it. It’s so ghetto.

Word. That backpack is so ghetto! Where did you get it? At the Ghap?

greatness. it reminds me of an article I read last year about the ghetto culture machine

ok, i could post a million other articles, but i’m falling asleep as we speak.

i leave you with a video that made me laugh so hard i almost cried:

guy is actually really good at all of the dance moves, too.

the real and bk

10.December.08

oftentimes when i am going through my blogs, i watch these hilarious videos made by the guys over at The Real. they are f-ing awesome. and i have thoroughly enjoyed every video they have released thus far. and following up with my previous hipster post, i give you their video: A Message from the Brooklyn Tourism Board (props to eskay)

Vodpod videos no longer available.


rainy sunday/monday

1.December.08

as i watch some Brits in their attempt to be half-way decent dog owners (its me or the dog….Victoria has killer bangs) and wait for my wash to dry, i present you with some more thanksgiving wisdom.

From The Progressive, Mark Anthony Rolo, an American Indian, shares his view on the day:

Thanksgiving without the history, please?

If ever there was an American holiday where history ought to be left off the menu it is Thanksgiving.

As an American Indian, I can’t think of anything more depressing than sitting around the dinner table tracing the legacy of a holiday that began with a questionable decision to save a band of starving pilgrims at Plymouth Rock.

Almost immediately after the Indians’ rescue feast, the pilgrims and their European successors began a ceaseless campaign of colonization – raiding Indian villages, murdering inhabitants, stealing land and spreading infectious diseases that nearly wiped out whole tribal populations on the entire East Coast.

Excuse me, but I thought Indians were supposed to be the savages.

And the pups have made NPR news! they leave it 1 week….:(

and I need to tag surf more often. I find myself watching dope videos from blogs like compton.kickboxing:

did phife just reference roe vs. wade? yes. yes he did. and ?uestlove looks 15 years old.

insert witty title here

24.November.08

ok, so I have much to post, little time, so lets get to it.

1. I’ve been waiting to find some commentary on this catchy but messed up song, you know, “Arab Money” by Busta. The song has a hot beat…but is pretty racist. I found a good article at Racialicious:

Busta’s Busted: “Arab Money”

by Special Correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie

I know, I know. If you’re looking for socially conscious rap or hip hop, you don’t go to Busta Rhymes. But this still surprises me:

Maytha from KABOBfest has highlighted Rhyme’s song “Arab Money,” which has some disgustingly racist lyrics. Maytha brings up some great points about this video, namely, that it is a blatant example of the acceptability of anti-Arab racism……

Busta Rhymes’ song (and its fakey Arabic chorus–shudder) is just one more instance of hip hop’s cultural appropriation of Middle Eastern music (producer Timbaland has been “sampling” Arabic songs for years: remember Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin”? That is Egyptian artist Hossam Ramzy’s “Khusara Khusara” that you hear)….

When I first heard the song, I didn’t know whether to be angrier about the sexism (Rhymes makes reference to “Middle East women and Middle East bread”—things), the racism, or the casual name dropping in what Maytha calls “baseless stereotypes masquerading as knowledge….

The major problem with Rhyme’s song is that it uses cultural appropriation to perpetuate stereotypes, which are not only absorbed by non-Arab audiences, but can be internalized by Arabs. Case in point: Maytha shows us Arab American hip hop artist/producer Noose’s reworking of “Arab money” into an equally stereotype-ridden video. Perhaps it was missing the icing, however: there wasn’t a belly dancer…..

Another thought that crosses my mind is that “Arab” is used not as an ethnicity but as an adjective for money. Which begs the question, what kind of money is “Arab” money? From Busta Rhymes’ and Noose’s songs, I gather it has something to do with an obscene amount of wealth, which is in itself a stereotype. But this is especially dangerous in that colloquialisms are easily twisted (please reference the history of the terms “gay” and “queer” for further examples), and “Arab” could (and in some cases has) become a pejorative term, used in negative ways just like “African”, “native” and “Jew” have been.

This is the problem with cultural appropriation: initially, things are appropriated for a reason (wearing a keffiyah to show solidarity with Palestinians, for example). But quickly, this same appropriation turns into empty name-dropping, outright stealing (here’s looking at you, Timbaland), and/or derogatory usage against the original “owner” of whatever was appropriated.

I can’t help but wonder whether Busta Rhymes will get any Arab money for this album.

Great commentary. I’m glad I found this. Though I can’t help laughing (and secretly doing when i hear the song) at Busta’s dance to the song.

2. I found this article on Feministe on mixed race relationships. I must admit I think I have found myself saying some of these before, more than once:

What not to say about mixed race relationships

Inspired by this (The comments thread rather then the article itself) .1) You’ll have such beautiful children.

“But that’s a nice thing to say!”. Yes but it’s also a tired old stereotype. Plus, nothing magic happens when mixed race people procreate, i.e two less than averagely good looking people will probably have a less than averagely good looking child.

2) Any cooking metaphors/ animal husbandry metaphors

Mix..blend…yuck, yuck, yuck. Remember you’re talking about human beings, not food. People can’t actually mix or blend. Also, people in mixed race relationships (MRR) have children for exactly the same reasons other people do, not as some kind of eugenics project. When people say “Oh x ethnicity with y ethnicity, that’s a really good mix”, is that meant to be taken seriously? Is there such a thing as a bad ethnic mix? Are they expecting people in MRR’s to be grateful for their approval?

3)Whether you approve of them or not

Yes, everyone’s entitled to their opinion but consider the wisdom of sharing that opinion, and whether the person you’re talking to wants that opinion. If the reason you don’t approve is “It’s not fair on the children”, then the 1960’s are calling and they want their prejudice back.

4) Speculate as to why they are having a Mixed Race relationship.

Unless you are dating that person, then it’s really none of your business. Even if you think it’s just a big fetish, so what? Are you the love police, ready to bust up any relationship that doesn’t fit your criteria?

Again, people in MRR’s, are probably with each other for the same reasons as any other relationship – because they like each other and being together.

5)Any stereotypes (positive or negative) or your general opinion of their partner’s ethinic group.

Aside from having heard all the stereotypes already, do you think the person you are talking to will say “Oh you’re right, all “n” men are domineering/romantic/generous/mean (delete as appropriate). I should leave him/stay with him forever.”?

Makes to step back and think about things….

3.  A blog from Salon has voted Jay Smooth one of the Sexiest Men of the Year. I second that motion.

Jay Smooth is the hip-hop vlogging, self-confessed nerd, founder of New York’s longest running hip-hop radio show, and mastermind of hip-hop video blog Ill Doctrine. Ill Doctrine comments on contemporary hip-hop, something I admittedly know very little about but of which I am now an avid slobbering novice fan, as well as everything that touches, informs, reflects, and develops hip-hop. Which is everything. His videos are intelligent, funny, and make me slightly ashamed that the most I contribute to the Internerd are posts about peanut butter (this blog) and yoga classes (old blog).

Sexy to me has a lot to do with a combination of two crucial elements: intelligence and self-confidence. And I don’t mean that kind of swaggering and unchallenged self-confidence that we attach to so-called sexy men, the Clooneys and Pitts of the world. What I see in Jay Smooth is that intelligence coupled with that good sense called humor. His posts are relevant and challenging, and they demand a lot of critical thinking from his viewers, and they avoid bombast. He doesn’t take it easy. He makes his ideas complex, and he does it with this smile — eyes at half-mast, eyebrows a-quizzical — that shows he’s comfortable and confident with who he is and what he says. That, my friends, is the crucial combo.

Plus he’s cute as hell

4. And last but DEFINITELY not least….another reason I love me some JT:

p.s. 1:01 –  Wtf is Samberg doing??

1:13- Go ‘hed Paul Rudd. Go ‘hed.

***AND, I found this amazing article on Beyaki from PostBougie, originally posted by BlackScientist:

If You Liked It Then You Shoulda Put A Ring On it: Beyonce and Socially Conservative Idealogy

Let me say upfront that Beyonce is my choice poison. If I had to choose one musical artist with a crappy message who I could listen to for the rest of my life, it’d be her (beating out weezy f baby only because of her music videos). I love Beyonce. She is my favorite overachiever. You can find me any day naomi campbell walk-ing back and forth in my bedroom to “Freakum Dress” or trying to shake my derriere to “Single Ladies”.

THAT BEING SAID.

Beyonce is like the feds when it comes to promoting a conservative social agenda. She alone is policing social behavior like bill o’reilly is paying her do it. The whole time I’m getting down to her jams I’m just like “dang b! thats jacked up!” The messages in her songs almost always encourage patriarchy, female subservience, and heteronormativity like a mug! –pretty much conformity overall (including gender conformity) to the socially conservative status quo. In her songs, Beyonce celebrates the oppressive power dynamic that exists between men and women, while simultaneously trying to imply that women can utilize the subordinate position in a heterosexual romantic relationship to empower themselves. If he doesn’t marry you, step! That’ll show him who’s boss. She perpetuates this entanglement of systems of inequalities, such as marriage, with other concepts that have been socially constructed such as love and gender.

And i understand she’s talking to her audience and that many girls and boys can relate to what she’s saying, circumstantially. But I just wish there could be some critical analysis of her implications, and maybe the tweaking of a few words here and there. The fact that she legitimizes only certain expressions of ‘love’ (commitment), masculinity and femininity, and what that means for young girls and boys who are trying to shape their identities, as well as for grown folk who are expressing themselves in alternative ways. Also how those particular expressions that she endorses are part of the larger structure that keeps people in their places, acting as productive bodies for the economy. I want whoever is on her team to at least consider these ideas, and how they could alter her message to communicate a more progressive politics on gender, sex, sexuality, and certain institutions.

Now for kicks, I want to highlight some lyrics that have stood out to me as being particularly annoying and as leaning right of center. Please, add some if you have any! or argue with me about how Beyonce made “Independent Woman” or whatever.

Lyric: If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it.
Translation: If you liked it – “It” most likely refers to a woman here, and perhaps one’s relationship with her, or her sexual abilities. If you liked the woman you were with, you should have married her because not only is that the only way to keep a woman but it is the only legitimate form of recognizing love.

Lyric: Pull me into your arms. Say I’m the one you own. If you don’t you’ll be alone. And like a ghost, I’ll be gone.
Translation: This is why you put a ring on it. Marriage has historically been about who has property rights over women. So tell me you own me, it makes my heart warm.

Lyric: You need a real woman in your life. Taking care of home and still fly. And Ima help you build up your account. When you’re in those big meetings for the mills, you take me just to compliment the deal.
Translation: I’m a trophy wife. When you make business deals, you tote me along like a new car. I’m your favorite prop. Oh, and I can clean the kitchen, wash clothes, cook your dinner, AND put your durag on, all in monolo blahnik heels.

Lyric: I can do for you what Martin did for the people. Ran by the man but the women keep the tempo. It’s very seldom that you’re blessed to find your equal. Still play my part and let you take the lead role, believe me. I’ll follow, this could be easy. I’ll be the help whenever you need me.
Translation: I’ll validate your masculinity by letting you take the ‘lead role’, because the only way I know how to support you is by ensuring that you feel control over me. I’m comfortable fading into the background and being your hot assistant sidekick.  You’re the block, but I’m the lights. You’re the diamond, and I’m the little glimpse of light that makes you shine.

I can’t even start on “If I Were A Boy”… that’s like a whole nother blog in itself.

These are just a few examples trying to illustrate why Beyonce is one of the biggest, albeit flyest, proponents of a retrograde conservative ideology that is restrictive to everyone’s expression, normative and non-conforming alike. It either traps you within (with limited options of expression and often oblivious privilege) or marks you outside (in what is sometimes a more intimately liberated but nonetheless socially and politically marginalized space).

alright, sleepy time for me. later haters.