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Thursday, November 29, 2007
Enough is Enough/Stop Hate Crimes and Police Violence Rally in Washington DC - Nov. 17, 2007: BlackRadioIsBack.com Opinon and Pictures
Due to life in general being a bit hectic the past few days and weeks, I've been a bit behind posting up pictures of some past events for BlackRadioIsBack.com that folks have been at - for that, I apologize.
Below is a slideshow of some pictures taken by myself for BlackRadioIsBack.com and an opinon of the events that took place while in Washington, DC for the "Stop Hate Crimes and Police Violence" rally and concert that was held on November 17, 2007 by the Hip Hop Caucus and a collective of various organizations at the Washington Monument.
The event was held to protest and raise awareness against Police Brutality, Hate Crimes and how the U.S. justice system handles various situations regarding race in general.
There were speeches by local and national community activists, family members who were directly affected by police brutality and various performances throughout the day.
I feel that this postive, down-to-earth (since we know sometimes that folks can get "siddity" at some of these things), well attended event was given the short shift in regards recieving any in-depth media coverage, especially compared to the previous day's march with Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, etc. with the National Action Network.
Even doing a Google News Search only came up with so much - some of the good entries that were acutally about this event follows (unsurprisingly, from Independent Media sources):
I do know that CNN did a live feed of the event on their website during the day...but "mainstream" media wise (besides talking to an uninterested Fox News cameraman while setting up at the beginning of the rally), not too many representives were out to see what was happening.
Personally, I think the coverage skewed hard in this direction for three reasons:
1. Young People of Color Not Acting Up Apparently Makes Poor Television
I was at the event from folks setting up at the Washington Monument from 10 am in the morning until the last speakers and acts came on around 6:30 pm. Besides some people being loud and popping off the mouth a bit rowdy around the night time for a brief period, nothing at all happened.
No riots, no reason for the police (who were there HEAVY both visible and undercover) to crack someone upside the head, little "inappropriate language" for the new wave of the "anti-Hip-Hop Brigades" (a.k.a. "anti-Young People of Color Below 35 Years Old 99% Of The Time Crew") to protest about, etc.
All types of music was played during the concert - Latin Rock, Spoken Word, Hip-Hop, DC Go-Go (which for some in the DC Metropolitian area, also spells trouble like Hip-Hop Music and Culture) and so forth with the audience feeling the vibe, getting their dance or head nod on and everything else that comes with that.
When Hip-Hop Culture and Music Artists are getting blamed for the U.S. Dollar falling to the Euro, the N-Word being spread to the masses and damaging Black People on the daily (even though they made up the term in the first place, regardless of how you feel about the word) and the end of civilization itself for being materialistic and about getting money (since we know Rock & Roll folks are NEVER that way * rolls eyes *), you would think that a group of young People of Color NOT acting the a** (along with some other folks of different age ranges) would be front page news.
Nope, Nope and Nope.
The message that is being put out to people in general is:
No Stereotype = No Text or TV or 'Tention (yes, I know I am streching it with abbreviating attention) for you.
Black People and other People of Color in general get the bad end of things in media portrayals (the NBC Series on Black Women is pretty much depressing seperatist garbage, especially the one on Black Women and Relationships), but it almost seems like that scenario is worse when you actually are trying to be about something period.
Just because this has been happening pretty much since Black People's ancestors being led off the Middle Passage boats to the Americas and Islands to slavery, I'm not surprised - just still a wee bit idealistic enough to be disappointed.
2. No Media-Anointed "Black Leaders" Were There
Now before I hop on my Bath & Body Works soapbox and probably make somebody upset, let me say that I do have respect for those of the Civil Rights Movement and the progress that said movement has been made for Black People and other People of Color in the United States (and its influence for creating change worldwide).
But let's be real and face facts:
* The ball was dropped mighty hard around the 1970s and 1980s by a significant amount of the Civil Rights Movment generation.
I think this was partially due to fear (understandable on varying levels), getting tired (of either fighting or the personal problems things may have caused) or being happy to culturally assimilate and dumping the Black or Brown Pride thing to the side for a check and to "get along".
Some members of the Civil Rights Movement who left their children and grandchildren high and dry ideologically have the nerve to wonder why some things are they way they are at the present and personally, that's annoys the hell out of me.
Remember, all children learn from their elders in some way, shape or form - whether its within the family and home, the streets or through mainstream media sources.
After all, what 20 - 40 year old that you know about off the top of your head owns a major distrubtion TV, Music, Movie or Radio group of companies like a FOX News, MSNBC - Microsoft & NBC together, Universal, etc. that distributes some form of Hip-Hop culture?
That's right - NONE.
Those negative images that folks complain about (and there are some - a sista is not blind or naive) are put out there by your elders of whatever ethnic background.
Ponder that for a minute before whining about Hip-Hop Generation folks putting out crazy ideas - they historically came from somewhere and are being supported by those who are higher up.
* In anything, there are always hustlers, fakes and undercover jakes jockeying for a spot - and that includes the realm of activism.
While are are still those who I feel are truly for the advancement of People of Color and Humanity in general of all ages, there are those who are also using any form of the Civil Rights Movement as another hustle to get by or a way to get popular.
I think this is a bit more in open now in the day of the Internet and 24 Hour News Cycles with channels like CNN, MSNBC, BBC News, Fox News, etc.
Any form of Media is nothing without something to feed on or information to put out.
And with "minority issues", especially with Black People in the United States, instead of trying to actually finding lots of people to get opinons from - music artists, community activists, politicans, etc. - there is a select amount of people where no matter what happens, seems like they are ALWAYS reached out to:
1. Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.
2. Rev. Al Sharpton
3. Michael Eric Dyson
4. Tavis Smiley
5. Michael Baisden
6. Dr. Cornel West
Apologizing or talking to any of the folks above, does NOT mean you get a free pass or special insight to the entire Black Nation, I'm sorry.
Now, these folks have their own good and bad sides to them, but are they the ONLY people out there for these news channels who know or can talk intelligently about Black People?
I think not.
Being a TV talking head is becoming a very lucrative prospect and some who never or rarely touched on Black American issues are all of the sudden trying to jump in the fray, and not because of legitimate "I've changed my ways" reasons (see #5).
And please, let's not even get into people who are brought on who are random and/or ignorant seeming as hell to talk about serious issues just because the marketing budget is low.
NO ONE BLACK PERSON CAN SPEAK FOR EVERYONE - NEVER HAS BEEN THAT WAY, NEVER WILL BE - SO PLEASE STOP TRYING TO MAKE IT SO TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER.
3. Black Generation Communication & Participation Gap
I don't know the behind the scenes planning on this event, so maybe I'm a bit wrong on this statement in advance.
Why on earth did the National Action Network not try to aid or assist the Hip-Hop Caucus with rounding up young people and others in general to the rally AFTER the Friday march around the Department of Justice, especially since the issues being talked about were the same?
Can you imagine the impact that a huge turnout like Friday's march carrying over in momentum the next day?
It would have been crazy.
Maybe everyone wanted the events to stand on their own two feet for whatever reasons (logistics, worry, the fear of stereotypes coming true, egos, etc.).
But on the real, it was a lot of extra potential sort of wasted not having the old and young really unite on something important and believe in each other.
The lack of faith of the old guard and the new in each other's work ethics, common sense and wanting to make things right is utterly sickening, especially in the realm of activism.
When you hear someone of color your mother's age (for me, mid-50s) ask you, "Do you think young people will really come to this event and not act up?" in a dead serious tone when the things that people are protesting about are currently affecting those 35 and below the most (Jena 6, the West Virginia case of torture, etc.), there is a serious issue and disregard to what's going on.
At the end of the day, I think all this proves is that people need to take things in their own hands in terms of getting the word out there - while the internet is still free, folks can check out things like blogs, YouTube, MySpace, etc. to find other sourcees to find out things that are really going on and hopefully from the ground up, make a difference.
I will update the links of the various organizations and folks I ran into at the event later on tonight...