Monday, September 12, 2016

The gospel of white fascism (Part 11)...Afrika Bambaataa, KRS ONE, and the 'Teacha's' greatest lesson for Hip-Hop...


Afrika Bambaataa (Aasim) was born Kevin Donovan in the Bronx Rivers Projects on April 17th, 1957. He was the child of Jamaican and Barbadian immigrants, and grew up with a mother and uncle who were deeply entrenched in the Black Power movements of the late 1950’s and 60’s.

Beyond what Bambaataa learned about Black liberation movements at home, he witnessed the Black Panthers and several organizations like them, endeavor to bring about change in his community through organizing and activism. And when Bambaataa wasn’t listening to his mother and uncle debate about differing ideologies regarding the Black liberation struggle, he was going through his mom’s extensive record collection and taking in the sonic overtures playing in his house and throughout his neighborhood.

In Bam’s pre-teen years, he also began taking in the gang activities that were prevalent on his block. From Bam’s perspective, he saw the gangs in his area clear the streets of drug dealers, so they could expand their own turf. And while those gangs did commit themselves to positive activities like raising money to help end the plaque of ‘Sickle Cell Enemia’ and registering people to vote, they also partied and fought to maintain the blocks they considered their own. In the 60’s, it’s said the most powerful gang on New York streets was the ‘Black Spades’, and Bam joined them in 1969 when he was in junior High School. At the time, Bam was known to his Black Spade brethren as ‘Freight-train’.

Now, even though Bam got swept up into gang violence, which according to him was par for the course for youth growing up in the Bronx, his family’s discussions also got him interested in politics. So he accompanied his gang activities with frequent visits to the Black Panther Information Center in the 1970’s.

Bam rose to the position of ‘Warlord’ in the Black Spades and was not only responsible for recruiting new members, but expanding the gang’s turf. Friends who knew him, said Bam was a gifted negotiator, and wasn’t afraid to form alliances with other gangs. Thus, the Black Spades became the largest street gang in the city.

Now, behind Bam being reared on politics, and liking the 1964 movie ‘Zulu’, in 1972, he entered a city-wide writing contest sponsored by UNICEF. The administrators of UNICEF offered a trip to Africa for anyone who could write a compelling essay about the mother continent.

And Bam won the contest.

Once Bam was in Africa, he met with an African chief of the original Zulu Nation. This chief informed him that his neighborhood’s gangs fighting each other, was just another form of tribal warfare that had been going on in Africa for centuries. The chief then said, if Bam really wanted to empower his brothas and sistas back home, what he should do is form an organization that brings all the gangs together. Bam took the wise counsel of this chief and went about naming himself after the Zulu chief ‘Bhambatha’, who in the early 20th century, led an armed rebellion against unfair economic practices in South Africa. And once Bam got back to the states, he left the Black Spades and formed the ‘Bronx River Organization’ in its stead.

Concurrent with his street activism, Bam was polishing his skills as a ‘DJ’. Nurtured by the love of his mother’s eclectic mix of African, island and early funk music, Bam gathered his own collection of records and officially became a DJ by commandeering the ‘wheels of steel’ at a party in the Bronx River Community Center on November 12th, 1976. Coincidentally, the sound system he played on was given to him by his mother as a graduation gift the year before.

Inspired by DJ Kool Herc and Kool DJ Dee, Bam began hosting Hip-Hop parties in 1977. He also vowed to use his Bronx River Organization to lure kids growing up in neighborhoods like he grew up in out of gangs. And being that his organization was now comprised of an assortment of dancers, artists and Djs who were beginning to travel outside of the unites states, Bam once again drew inspiration from his trip to Africa, and renamed his crew, the ‘Universal Zulu Nation’. And Bam stated emphatically that this group would abide by four governing principles, and those were: Peace, Unity, Love and having fun.

Shortly after renaming his organization, Bam assembled 20 musical artists within the Zulu Nation and formed the ‘Soulsonic Force’. In 1981, bombing and tagging (what whites now call graffiti) artist ‘Fab Five Freddy’ was putting together music packages in predominately white downtown Manhattan ‘New Wave’ clubs, and invited Bam and the Soulsonic Force to perform in one called the ‘Mudd Club’. Soulsonic Force shows drew such huge crowds that they wound up playing larger capacity venues like New York City’s ‘Ritz’ and ‘Roxy’ ballrooms.

In the same year, Zulu Nation members Arthur Baker and keyboardist John Robie, produced a single called ‘Planet Rock’ that was credited to the Soulsonic Force. The song became an immediate hit and stormed up world-wide music charts. The song melded melodies from the european disco band ‘Kraftwerk’ and their song ‘Trans-Europe Express’, with the funky R&B stylings of 80’s artists like ‘Captain Sky’ (Supersperm) and Babe Ruth. The conflation of these musical genres, created a new music Bam called ‘electro-funk’. After Bam and the Soulsonic Force went on the first european Hip-Hop tour, they followed up the success of ‘Planet Rock’ with the single, ‘Looking for the Perfect Beat’ in 1983. The song ‘Renegades of Funk’ followed shortly after.

In 1984, Bam and other Hip-Hop luminaries appeared in the movie ‘Beat Street’, but it wasn’t until Bam’s landmark recording with James Brown titled ‘Unity’, that musical industry circles officially recognized and named him the ‘Godfather of Hip-Hop’, as he performed beside the ‘Godfather of Soul’.

Lawrence Parker, better known as KRS-ONE, was born on August 20th, 1965 in the South Bronx area of New York City. And like Bambaataa’s mother, KRS’ mom had an eclectic mix of records that introduced him to early funk, rap, island and African soundscapes. KRS’ mother was also well versed in the philosophies of Black liberation movements and shared her wealth of knowledge with him as a pre-teen.

Due to a tumultuous home life, KRS ran away at 13 and began living on the streets. By day, he’d read about philosophy and religion at the library, and by night, he’d practice rapping at the homeless shelters he lived in. At 17 he got his GED.

While staying at the Franklin Armory Shelter in the Bronx, KRS met Scott Sterling who was a social worker. On weekends, Scott DJ’ed in New York City clubs using the moniker Scott ‘LaRock’, and behind Scott’s love of KRS’ emceeing ability, the two formed a friendship and created ‘Boogie Down Productions’ with Derrick ‘D-Nice’ Jones. Shortly afterwards, the trio released the album ‘Criminal Minded’ on the independent ‘B-Boy’ records label in 1987. Unfortunately, that same year, tragedy struck and Scott LaRock was murdered.

KRS persevered and kept Boogie Down Productions (BDP) moving forward with his brother Kenny. And after engaging in the classic ‘Bride Wars’ battle with MC Shan, where KRS struck with a death-blow-of-a-diss-record tilted, ‘The Bridge is over’, he and his brother went on to release a litany of classic recordings like: ‘You must learn’, ‘Sound of da police’, ‘Loves gonna’ getcha’ (Material love)’, ‘My philosophy’, ‘I’m still #1’, ‘Step into a world’ (Raptures delight), ‘Outta here’, ‘Self Destruction’, and a host of others.

Now, in April of this year, Bronx political activist Ronald Savage, accused Afrika Bambaataa of molesting him in 1980, when he was 15. And behind Ronald’s allegations, three more men accused Bam of sexual abuse. Bam has categorically denied these allegations in several media outlets. However, on May 6th, 2016, Bam was dismissed from his role as the Universal Zulu Nation’s leader.

Now, I’d like to make one point emphatically clear, if Afrika Bambaataa did in fact molest the men accusing him of sexual abuse when they were boys, I say he should spend the rest of his natural life in jail. Point blank, period.

And in news related to this story, KRS ONE was quoted as saying he could ‘care less’ about the accusations made against Bam. So almost everyone in the Hip-Hop community has turned against him as well. *Side Note: In response to the controversy surrounding KRS ONE, MC Shan (or sham), has seemingly come out of retirement with a diss record addressed at KRS. Now the sham, I mean, Shan song is called ‘Revenge of the walking dead’. And after about a minute of looking at the vid, I turned that crap off. Cause not only were Shan’s beats and rhymes mediocre, but the Sham-man made the dumb-founded mistake of patterning his video after the TV series, ‘The Walking Dead’. So in this vid, Mr. Sham-a-lama-ding-dong has ‘zombified’ make up on his face, looking like shredded flesh, and he’s got extras in his vid acting and looking like zombies as well. What this nimrod failed to realize is Black people don’t fetishize over zombies, vampires and other fantastic predators on hue-man life, like whites do. white people love these creatures because they remind them of themselves. whites are real-life inhumane serial killers. So when any Black person sees a movie about zombies, vampires and other monsters, they should know these stories are written by white people who are trying to show us who and what they really are. 30 plus years after the ‘Bridge Wars’ battle, sham, I mean Shan, still got it wrong. *SMDH*   

Now, for any Black person in or outside the Hip-Hop community, who has these same negative viewpoints on Bam and KRS, I want you to consider one fact very seriously. And that fact is this: In order for white fascists to exterminate Black people, they have to get rid of the Hip-Hop culture.

And behind my saying this, I can almost see the turned up faces and rolling eyes of the Black men and women reading this post. On top of that, you’re probably thinking, what kinda’ ridiculously bogus non-sense are you puttin’ out there now bruh? And what the hell does this have to do with KRS and Bam. Well, let me explain…

A couple of months ago, I watched the Michael Moore documentary, ‘Where to invade next?’ And when Mike visited a prison in Norway, or some other part of eastern europe, he not only saw how humane the prison system was compared to u.s. correctional facilities, but he saw that the young men of the prison were rapping like their favorite artists. On top of that, these young european inmates had basically created their own rap music record label, complete with a recording studio inside the jail. That’s the global reach of rap (i.e. Hip-Hop) culture. Now, my point is not to say that only criminal-minded white youths endeavor to be rappers, but every Black person reading this should know that the whole world’s youth culture has adopted Hip-Hop as their own.

Now, white fascists know that the first phase in the wholesale extermination of Black people, is the complete discrediting of our humanity (hue-man-ity). And if people, especially young white people, have embraced Hip-Hop as their culture, then white fascists have a problem. Here’s why…

Hip-Hop shows too many white people the ingenuity of Black people, and it shows them too much of our humanity as well. And white fascists know its gonna’ be difficult to convince a white adult who’s been raised on Hip-Hop, that they should go along with plans to kill off huge swaths of Black folks in america or abroad. I remember a couple of months ago, I watched an MSNBC re-broadcast with a white journalist who was hosting the show, and he had Chuck D of Public Enemy on. This white newsperson said he ‘grew up’ listening to Chuck’s music, so it exposed him to different points of view socio-politically. And mind you, there are millions of these white persons occupying positions that have a direct effect on the lives of our people in america. Thus, white fascists have targeted the Hip-Hop culture for extinction. And one of the best ways to kill off this culture, is by destroying its leaders and/or their institutions.

Enter Ronald Savage, and his child molesting allegations against Afrika Bambaataa…

And everyone reading this should note that Ronald Savage worked as a New York State Democratic Committee-person. Meaning, this brotha worked for the government.

Now, let me make another fact emphatically clear—just cause Ron Savage worked in the government, doesn’t mean his claims of sexual abuse, or the claims of sexual abuse made by other men against Bam, are false. But, behind these claims, I’m hearing a chorus of people, from the Bronx especially, say that it’s no secret that Bam was sexually abusing boys for years, or decades even. But behind these allegations, the Black Diaspora, especially in Hip-Hop circles, should be asking ourselves: With all these allegations of sexual abuse against Bambaataa, you’re telling me no one has a shred of evidence that can put this man behind bars?

Moreover, every man accused of a crime has a right to a fair trial. So when are Ron Savage and these other men gonna’ press criminal charges against Bam so he can face a jury of his peers? If you’re swearing up and down that this man is guilty, then let Bam have his day in court. Problem is, the Black Diaspora just wants to skip over the trial and say Bam is guilty.

And when people say that KRS is endorsing a child molester, by saying he doesn’t care about what people are accusing Bam of, I don’t think the Hip-Hop community fully realizes KRS is saying that he doesn’t care to partake in gossip and allegations. In an interview KRS did in England, when this subject was brought up, KRS said: “There’s no dismissal (of the people who made these accusations)…show me the evidence, and I’ll definitely have justice done…” And the video of that interview will be at the end of this post.

Moreover, KRS made the salient point that if our leadership in the Hip-Hop culture can be snatched away purely by means of accusations, then it not only makes us look weak, but it makes our culture weak as well. And he said empatically: “…our culture cannot fall (strictly) on the accusations of four people…” KRS also stated that if we have problems in our culture, we should deal with them internally, we shouldn’t seek justice from those outside the culture who’ve shown time and time again, that they mean us nothing but harm.

So I’ve said all that to say this, it’s high time that the Black Diaspora stops looking at the Hip-Hop culture strictly as an entertainment medium. It’s definitely that, but it’s universal appeal and global reach is not only responsible for generating billions of dollars in revenue, especially for the corporate world, but white fascists are showing us it has the capacity to tell the world that Black men especially, are not sub-human beasts with no interior lives. It tells the story of our struggles dealing with and in the constructs of white fascism. So it’s important that we preserve and try to safe-guard this culture by creating organizations to keep it surviving and thriving. Cause quiet as it’s kept, one day, our lives may depend on it.

Later…

MontUHURU Mimia

P.S.

Here's the interview KRS did in england, where he addresses his support for Bambaataa. 

video

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