In this episode Kwasi brings back Dutty Bookman to discuss the movement he has helped dub as the Reggae Revival after a panel at SXSW 2027. He also speaks to Koro Fyah of the Bevel Rock camp about his ABC’s at SXSW as well. Bomani interviews the founder of the Uganda’s Bavubuka Foundation, Babaluku, and their chief archivist Gilbert Daniels about Hip-Hop in Uganda and the Lugaflow movement. Bomani and Kwasi also discuss spirituality in independent music, and how the community discusses things like sin. A must listen!
Social media has been great for the black community in the last couple of years. People are under the false impression that the killings of unarmed black men has been on the rise but, if you check the statistics, it has happened consistently throughout our history. What has changed is that now social media means we don’t have to wait for traditional mass media to report these incidents. The people on the ground have control of the story, and can broadcast it to as many people as they would like. Social media isn’t going to solve this age old American problem, but it has made it impossible to ignore. The rage on display in Ferguson is the result of years of abuse. The geography of Ferguson puts in smack in the middle of the country, the easiest location from people from all corners of the continental U.S. to come and
The killing of Michael Brown was the proverbial “straw”. There are countless stories from that community that show the police were an occupying army specifically harassing black people. So much so that they take to the streets in armored personnel carriers and camouflage. What’s up with the camouflage? They are the police. In their home country. In their your home state. Probably their home town. They aren’t blending in with anything. You can get combat gear that isn’t camouflage. That is considering that any of this makes sense. The camo is doing nothing for the situation but make those who have tried to ignore the situation, have to deal with the truth. These aren’t self contained and governed communities. These are economically red lined police states where the occupying army of a police force is given absolute autonomy to control black bodies. So what do we do, know that we no longer have the bliss of ignorance? Here is my take.
We need to make sure we don’t waste energy trying to explain ourselves to outsiders. We outnumber them (black people and non black people who understand what is truly attacking the black community). We know “black on black crime” isn’t a thing (that all crime is committed against those in closest proximity and since our communities remain racially segregated almost all crime by every ethnicity is against “your own”). We know that we are appalled by all murders, but that being murdered by someone who you are paying to protect you is a special case that requires special action. we know that you can’t tell the difference between a “good black” and a “bad black” by looking at them. We know that there is no use of protesting an unsolved murder, only one where the perpetrator is known and the authorities refuse to act. We know that the drug war is strictly a tool of the racist prison industrial complex. It is being used to take fathers out of homes, and villainies black youth and destroy their futures, as per it’s intentions when marijuana and other drugs were made illegal.
Speaking directly about Ferguson, this is what needs to happen, and what we all must make sure to do:
A) the black people of Ferguson need to vote in local elections
B) the black people of Ferguson need to vote in local elections
C) black people need to improve ourselves morally, educationally and financially. Not to impress white america. There is no historical evidence that proves that the “better we act” the better the U.S. will treat us. We need to improve us for us.
D) we need to be prepared to fight. Obama is wrong. There are plenty of reasons to assault the authorities. If no one ever assaulted the authorities this country would not exists.
E) tell your children you love them.
Every news story and statistic I see about Ferguson makes it obvious that for years their police have been an occupying army, and not members of their community dedicated to protect and serve. It has been reported that only 1500 out of 2000 resident of Ferguson voted in the last election. I’m not going to be too judgmental, because if you look at these statistics across most black communities you might find similar levels of disconnect and disinterest from the process. There could be many reasons, including the higher rates of convicted criminals in our respective communities (mostly from non violent drug offenses) and how that affects voting rights. But when it comes down to it, the black people of Ferguson are the majority, and have only 2 of 52 police officers, and 1 of 6 city council officials. It’s not even necessary for the police and council members to be black, but to obviously have no connection-understanding-empathy for the black residents of the town is completely unacceptable. Some people have already recognized this disparity, and even set up voter registration tables at the site of Michael Browns murder. I applaud them for fighting the fire, not just the smoke. We all need to do this.
We need to be informed and involved with all the politics we can be (something I’m slacking on). Not just the president, but the alderman and sheriff etc. We need to demand an unequivocal end to the drug war and only vote for people who are advocating that. We must elect officials who promise to fund public education at the level that public education professionals deem fit (the way we go into debt to fund the military) and make it impossible for the corporations and the wealthy to make their vote more important that the rest of the country. This ultimately means that my last vote for a Democrat was in 2008. I am absolutely fine with that. I detailed why I voted for Jill Stein in 2012 here. We need to demand that police are from or live in the communities they patrol. We need to know our neighbors. We need to have a plan in place to what we are going to do when this Ferguson madness hits your town. I’ve learned a lot watching my friends interact with the situation there. I’ve felt a little guilt for not being their myself, but I’ve realized that I need to be prepped and ready and on the front line if (when) this happens in the DC Metropolitan area. The interactions will be confusing for some, because they think that simply being black makes some people empathetic to the crisis that affects our community. Many African Americans are taking active part in this oppression, because to many people know about white supremacy but would rather improve their own personal position in white supremacy than fight against it. As a proverb says “When the ax entered the forest, the trees said ‘hey look, the handle is one of us”.
We need to understand that the current Anglo-American justice system (as MO Lt. Governor Peter Kinder correctly called it) we currently live under isn’t due to any proof of its righteousness or effectiveness. It’s our system because those who are ramming that system down our throats had perfected the art of oppression and violence, to the point that when we gained freedom we begged to be apart of the system that once held us down. We must not continue to live the lie that we are in a post racial society. We want peace and harmony amongst all races, but me and mine demand are peace and harmony to come with equality, not just out of fear of a militarized police force.
Please be careful, and look out for your friends and loved ones. If you have someone in your life who complains that we can’t fight police brutality until we end violence in our own community, do not, I repeat DO NOT let them chew gum and walk at the same time. It might be a waste of time explaining that all these issues are intertwined. The violence committed by police and by the criminals in our own communities are part of an endless and pointless war that white supremacy and vulture capitalism are benefiting from. Your breath will be in vain pointing to the numerous organizations and individuals in every community who are doing their best to change the tide of destruction in our community, even it does mean directly battling the system of White Supremacy that for to long has dominated the majority of the globe. Instead connect with the millions of us who are ready to take action. I am blessed to be a part of a community that doesn’t wait for CNN to tell us it’s a problem. Who are quick to Instagram and Tweet about injustice, but are even quicker to volunteer in their Boys & Girls Clubs are as tutors with school children. A community that “Stop Snitching” is a motto of both neighborhood killers, and Police officers amongst themselves, and we refuse to let anyone’s murder happen in silence. If we spend all of our time trying to convince those who don’t want to understand these things, we won’t use that time for more important things like organizing, controlling local politics, educating our own children. we are large in number, and fired up. all we need is us.