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!
Seven years ago around this time, we had just elected a black president. I remember the buzz in the air that lasted long after election night. Everyone was trying to figure out the new world we were in, and just happy to have lived to see it. That year I ended up over my best friend’s house on the weekend after NYE to watch the Rose Bowl. I don’t remember anything about the game, except for that before the end of the 1st quarter the announcer pointed out the black head referee and said, “This is the first black man to be head referee at the Rose Bowl”. My boy and I looked at each other for second, serious screw faces and heads cocked sideways, then we burst out laughing. Full belly laughs. Not that we thought the first black referee at the Rose Bowl was a joke, just that all “first black” (or any black) accomplishments now paled in comparison to what we had just accomplished just weeks earlier. We had moved on in the last few months before that football game, where our goal posts for what we considered success and black historical relevance had changed. The same has happened to the art of black filmmaking.
(scroll down to see a performance and music video from Omekongo)
Introduction: Welcome to the even place. My name is Bomani Armah. We are taping my show today called ‘The Indie’. We’re talking about independent thought, independent business, independent art—got one of my favorite independent people sitting here next to me, Mr. Omekongo Dibinga. Say hello to the people.
Omekongo: Hello people, how are you doing?
Bomani: Alright now Omekongo—if you don’t know, you really need to get familiar with this brother. As long as I’ve been doing the music and poetry scene, he has been in it and he has been one of my favorite poets, favorite activist. He’s always on top of some issue where he’s traveling the country and the world talking it through his art form and his motivational speaking. And today we brought him here to talk about a couple of different things. One is his latest video which is “It’s a Girl” which I was actually really proud to be a part of and also the End of Silence Campaign—I see you’ve got the cool t-shirt on there. So, tell us a little bit about yourself. Let’s start from the beginning; who and what does Omekongo Dibingo do?
Omekongo: First of all, thanks for having me on the show.
Bomani: You’re more than welcomed.
Omekongo: For all of you out there, I’m a kid who grew up in Boston Massachusetts, son of Congolese immigrants and I started writing as a tool to escape. I was bullied a lot. People used to pick on us because we’re African. They used to hate on our names—Tarzan references, writing just became my escape. I discovered people like Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni. They were talking about Africa being beautiful so I started memorizing their stuff until I felt mature enough to write my own in the 4th or 5th grade. And from there, I just started writing with one hope. The one hope was that people would hear what I’m saying and stop bullying me, stop picking on me and really be interested in my story. The more I shared, the more they were interested in my story and the more they were to share their story and as they say the rest is history.
Thanks again for reading my blog. If you don’t already know, I’m one of several skilled engineers who work out of Urban-Intalek Studios in Washington D.C.. I’m passionate about helping people find and express their voice artistically, and working at Washington D.C.’s premiere boutique studio is a great way to do it! I’ll be posting recording, production and songwriting tips regularly, as well as interviews with some of the artist who are clients of Urban-Intalek, starting with this interview with the inspiration hip-hop artist Rae Shine. Thanks to Charles and Kali from Chill Out DC for making this shoot almost effortless!
Rae shine is every engineer’s dream. She comes into the studio completely prepared, with her rhymes memorized, her tracks prepped for recording, and the ability to articulate the feeling she wants in the mix to the person behind the boards. Rae’s artistic pursuit of perfection, and never ending professionalism, reminds me that I don’t have to settle for less. Everyone who hears her flow, or watches her live show, is always surprised by the heavy, and sometimes dark, subject matter that comes from such a bright light of a person. But when you hear the overall message, of spiritual searching, redemption, and positive outlook on life, you are drawn in and want to know more. On top of being her engineer, it was a blessing to be there for her when she couldn’t get the original samples cleared on her track Savages. She asked me to step in as a producer and make it happen. Just in time for her martial arts inspired video! Check out her “More than a Mic” Interview, and then enjoy her videos and her new album “Vision Quest”. Thanks Rae!