Interesting Article: Ernie Paniccioli On Hip-Hop History, Photography and the Law…

What's up everyone,

This is a situation I never knew about until this article was e-mailed to me and hope to get more information about what's good as time passes by.

I'm definitely sure that someone from DJ Kool Herc's side will be saying some things as well as other commentators from within and outside of the Hip-Hop music community.

We know we're in an age where the Black Music form of Hip-Hop is in flux in regards to how it is viewed on a historically and current social, cultural, political and economic basis with its impact not just in the United States, but all over the world.

It's reasonable to want to make sure that the image that you have as an artist, business person, etc. is decent and having some say of that you did historically is completely understandable. And we can all admit that some sides of the "old school" Hip-Hop generation were done dirty by people they dealt with.

I think the situation with this article (again, granted it's short and one only has so much feedback on this situation so far as of this posting) is can this be handled internally or do outside forces (which are already trying to mess around with things anyway) have to be involved? Doing possible dirt on others in various parts of the game because you were done dirty by a manager and others is only going to have a negative effect - and in the end, we all make our livings off of each other in the music industry circle of life (plus its better to try to build before destroying things).

I think we can all have money without having to do the strong arm tatics of bringing in lawyers and such, if that's what this is about - respect as men and women has to be on both sides first and foremost for anything to happen positively.

In regards to this article, all I can say at the moment is that if folks haven't talked face to face with people about their concerns to resolve some issues and went straight to the legal arena, then it's not a good look at all in general for how the Hip-Hop community handles and self-regulates itself, its image and how it eats.

Ernie Paniccioli is the type of man (from seeing him at various events and things throughout the years) I don't see just spitting total B.S. or "beef" for fun and chuckles, so this is a pretty hardcore article to me to throw out there about some aspects of how the "old school" is handling things.

Time will reveal all, truths and falsehoods...

Check the article out below and let me know what you think...also, check out the Dallas Penn link and the comments from the readers and another response from Ernie Paniccioli...

Originally From The Dallas Penn Blog

ERNIE PANICCIOLI On Hip-Hop History, Photography and the Law…
December 21st, 2007

Editor's note: ERNEST PANICCIOLI is an award winning photo-journalist and community activist. 'The Other Side Of Hip-Hop' is the film biopic of his life and the lessons he has learned through the artistic movement called Hip-Hop. This film won the Best Documentary award at the 2007 Big Apple Film Festival.

In Rock, there were a couple of photographers who caught images of a young Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Bob Dylan, the early Beatles and The Stones.

In Hip-Hop there were a small handful of us who caught Bam, (Grand Wizard) Theodore, Lee (Quinones), Vulcan, graf kids and B-boys, as well as Public Enemy, KRS1, Rakim, Crash Crew, Cold Crush, Slick Rick, Tribe Called Quest, Latifah De La Soul, Zulu, Tony Tone, DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster(s) Flash and Caz.

Unlike Rock photographers, those of us who caught the early Hip-Hop magic have not really profited financially. Most of us have done a book or two, and with the exception of Henry Chalfant's 'Subway Art', those books have sold in fairly small numbers, to a very small audience.

Most of the money we've earned has come from sales to magazines or the occasional sale to a media outlet like a Vh1 or MTV. Once or twice I've received a call to supply images for a retro album cover or I've completed the sale for a few hundred dollars of a photo in a gallery show. Any fame or celebrity status we've acquired is in reality among our peers and a very small circle of Hip-Hop's true fans.

Now that Hip-Hop is 33 years old or somewhere in that range we would like to be able to relax and to say we were there, that we documented the early phase of this artistic movement, and we did it honestly, quietly and well. Perhaps get a few paychecks for doing a lecture or for licensing our photos to a sneaker company/clothing line, and maybe go to Vegas in a nice hotel for a 4 day package get away, but now a ugly Grinch has reared his head with threats, accusations and warnings of lawsuits. The Grinch in question is not one of the t.I.'s that typically use their lawyers like Michael Vick uses his pit bulls but none other than the alleged "Godfather of Hip-Hop", the one, the only DJ Kool Herc.

As a DJ perhaps he should rethink his verbal assaults and ask himself if he has paid royalties to every artist, record label, singer, rapper or management group for the records he spins at parties and functions. He should also ask himself what if we as the original historians of this culture decide to write him out of the history (rightly, or wrongly) of Hip-Hop?

If in films, documentaries, magazine articles, speeches, interviews on radio and TV and DVD's we decide showing images of him or even mentioning his name is too much of a hassle and headache, an outright waste of time?

As far as the law goes we are 100% within our rights to use our images of him in any way, shape or form we see fit (with the exception of using his image on clothing or merchandise), especially since none of our images were shot secretly or without his knowledge or consent and were of a PUBLIC FIGURE in A PUBLIC Setting.

Instead of DJ Kool Herc growing old gracefully and utilizing his fame, his unique position in a historic culture and notoriety as a vehicle to get paid properly by global entertainment vehicles such as radio, television and even the Internet as Fab 5 Freddy does or doing DJ gigs that he could command top dollar for, or even getting his own radio show, he has decided to attack, threaten, abuse, hassle and harangue those of us who helped push his face, fame, name and reputation to the world long before the anyone knew or even cared about Hip-Hop.

If he decides to hire some sorry, inept, cut rate shyster to file papers against all of us, or even ONE of us photographers I suggest we unite and fight him with a fury. Not just to protect ourselves in this instance, but to allow us to freely practice our chosen craft that we have used to give so much to so many for so long and for so little.

In unity,
Ernie Paniccioli

The Other Side of Hip Hop" a movie on my life, art politics and photography has been awarded Best Documentary in the 2007 Big Apple Film Festival.


Ernest said...

Every word I wrote and every detail is fact to the best of my knowledge. I spoke to his sister/business manager and DID try to handle it internally. Joe Conzo and I tried to make peace, brush it off and resolve it to the best of our ability. In my heart it troubles me that things could get to this point, but as an artist I have to protect myself from not only lawsuits, but the threats of law suits and from anyone trying to keep me from the full expression of my art and my 30 year documentation of Hip Hop Culture. All Joe Conzo and I tried to do is honestly document Hip Hop and Kool Herc's place in the history of this amazing Culture. As I said before no one wants to deal with a 300 pound man with a 400 pound chip on his shoulder.
Ernie Paniccioli

DJ Fusion/FuseBox Radio said...

Peace Brother Paniccoli,

Thanks for the extra information and for hitting us up over here at with the extra information on this case - it's really appreciated.

That is a wack scenario that you're dealing with and a black eye to a lot of what this Hip-Hop Culture is supposed to be about when people who came up with each other as artists on whatever end of things have to end up dealing with what seems to be more like a contrived and unnecessary conflict which at the end of the day, distracts all parties from being able to make a living AND an impact on society freely doing what they do best - artistic expression.

I look forward to your upcoming books and lectures and hope to see you again in the future. Peace!

Yobachi said...

LOL at the saltine cracka. We used to call white folks saltines on this message board I used to frequent.

" attacking him for this talk of change - it puts her platform of going back to the era of her husband, President Bill Clinton (which wasn't the greatest to begin with"

Yep, Hillary is the establishment Bush-lite candidate. She's actually been thrown by how this election hasn't followed conventional campaign trends and faultered because of it; because she can only think in conventional Washington wisdom.

I'm glad your realize that Barack is a politician of the mainstream and can't wave a magic wand and just change things.

I wrote a piece about this that really piss off Black Obama worshippers. If you're a religiously devouted Obama disciple you might not be able to handle this critique: