Monday, October 24, 2011

Time to Occupy Hip Hop

Time to Occupy Hip Hop

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

"Y'all been eatin' long enough now, stop bein' greedy
Just keep it real partna, give to the needy"
Stop Being Greedy-DMX

One morning last month, tired of the state of corporate-owned Hip Hop, a small group of people gathered in front of Intergalactic Records with picket signs saying "Hip Hop Sucks!" That night, a DJ rolled up with some old school Kool Herc-type speakers and started blastin' classic, underground Hip Hop, shaking the walls of the building. The movement has since spread like wildfire across the country as thousands of disgruntled former Hip Hop fans have begun gathering at radio stations across the country yelling "Give Hip Hop back to the 99%!"

Think this can't happen? Think again.

With the Occupy Wall Street Movement in full swing, it is only a matter of time before somebody asks the question that will spark the rap revolution.

"Hey, don't those 1 per centers also control the entertainment industry ?"

I think that I can safely say that 99% of the people reading this are fed up with the current state of Hip Hop and are ready to take it back from the 1% that are controlling the direction of the culture. There are only a hand full of major record labels (Sony, EMI , Warner and Universal) most of the radio stations are either owned by Clear Chanel or Radio-One and the major music video programs are all controlled by one company; Viacom. This explains why the same five Hip Hop artists are being played over and over again.

Without a doubt, Hip Hop is one of the most lucrative commodities on the planet and generates billions of dollars, annually, not only for entertainment companies but also for the other Big Willie corporations that the Occupy Wall Street warriors are fighting against. Also, it can be argued that, unlike many of the resident Wall Street tycoons, the entertainment industry moguls are most dependent on "the streets" for their economic survival, making them the most vulnerable to successful protests.

In his book, "Black Labor, White Wealth," Dr. Claud Anderson wrote that " black music is the basis for one of the world's wealthiest industries." He also argues that "the historic exploitation of black music and other art forms provides a strong philosophical reason to target these industries as visible examples of a new black economic agenda."

So, the question becomes not whether an "Occupy Hip Hop" movement will happen but why it hasn't happened yet.

To jack that famous line from Public Enemy, " the reasons are several, most of them federal."

It has been reported that Hip Hop was one of the major motivating factors in the "Arab Spring" uprisings, as it captured the frustrations of the youth overseas. While the average person in the US may not fully grasp the international power of Hip Hop, the government has long recognized the tremendous influence that entertainers have globally: a power that they are not willing to let fall into the " wrong hands."

According to Dr. Penny Von Eschen in her book, "Race Against Empire," during the 1950's the US State Department set up "Cultural Affairs, Psychological Warfare and Propaganda" programs to control Uncle Sam's international image. According to Von Eschen, the State Department recruited entertainers from jazz musicians to the Harlem Globetrotters to travel the globe proving to the world that living in America wasn't that bad.

This is why, even today, despite poverty and record high unemployment, the Feds still need the image of millionaire Hip Hop artists destroying $300,000 cars in videos and throwing up hundred dollar bills in the clubs beamed to every country on Earth. Despite what the Occupy Wall Street "whiners" are crying about on CNN, the Feds need to project the international image that all is still good in the 'hood.

Another reason why Hip Hop has not been occupied is that the people who you would think would be on the front line fightin' the power are actually part of the power structure. Despite the revolutionary rhetoric of even some of the most socially conscious Hip Hop writers and artists, they are still trapped in the corporate matrix and aren't really gonna spark the Gil Scott-Heron "Revolution that Will Not be Televised" or heard on the radio. Like most folks, they are just tryin' to eat and they ain't gonna go back to eatin' Oodles of Noodles for dinner for none of ya'll.

But then you have that pesky 5% at the bottom of the oppressed 99% ladder who really want to see complete constructive change and are willing to do any and everything to get it. Even if it means camping out in front of the Hot 99.9 station and starting a bonfire with Rick Ross cd's and Lil Wayne posters. These are the ones who will put Hip Hop back in the hands of the people .

I know that I speak for the rest of the 99% when I say, "Enough of the Maybach music. It's time for some "payback" music!

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott can be reached at (919) 451-8283

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why Are We Still Marchin' ?

Controlled Chaos:
Why We Are We Still Marchin' ?

Paul Scott

I have marched until my feet have bled and I have rioted until they called the Feds.
What's left my conscious said?
"Revolution" Arrested Development

When folks gather in DC for the Jobs and Justice March and the Martin Luther King Memorial dedication this weekend, I betcha a million bucks that somebody is gonna pose the same question that people have been asking for the last 40 years. "What would Martin Luther King Jr say if he was here, today ?" If MLK was at the march, he would probably mean mug the crowd and yell "after all these years, why are y'all still marchin' ?"

While people have accused the Hip Hop generation of being politically, apathetic (many times for good reason) the hardcore truth is that many young folks are just tired of traveling down the same road that has led us to nowhere-ville. They just need for someone to tell them the best way to bring about change.

Unfortunately, most old school cats are still trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, themselves. They can't answer the basic question, "after all these years of marching and protesting, why are the conditions of poor people, relatively, the same as they were back in 1963?"

The reason is simple. It's called controlled chaos: when things appear to be out of order but they are really being controlled by a master shot caller. There are forces at work making sure that we stay lost in the wilderness and never make it to the Promised Land.

The government's repression of political dissent goes back decades. One can trace it as far back as the early 20th century with the Bureau of Investigation's attack on Marcus Garvey or the House UnAmerican Affairs Committee's attacks on Paul Robeson and others.

While it is known that the FBI's COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) played a major role in destroying political movements during the late 60's and early 70's, what must be examined in the 21st century is "how" they did it.

According to Ward Churchill and Jim Wall in their book, "Agents of Repression," the FBI used several techniques to disrupt movements, including infiltrating organizations with agents, falsely tagging activists as "snitches" and assassinations. Another strategy was setting up phony, militant organizations or "pseudo gangs" "designed to confuse, divide and undermine, as well as do outright battles with authentic dissident groups." This may even account for the street gangs of today who will kill on sight members of rival gangs but would never consider bangin' on the system.

Also, although politicians praise the strategy of nonviolence, history teaches us that it is only after riots, when people start tearin' stuff up, that the government suddenly is able to "find" money for all sorts of social programs that they couldn't find before the rebellions. This is a technique that President Richard Nixon used as he transformed Black Power into Green Power.

One of the least talked about strategies to stop radical movements did not come from the Feds but from philanthropic foundations. According to Robert W Allen in his book "Black Awakening in Capitalist America," these foundations used their money to co-opt the Black Power movement. The main organization responsible was the Ford Foundation, headed by former US national security advisor, McGeorge Bundy, who's brother just happened to be William Bundy, former director of the CIA. Allen called the Ford Foundation "the most important, though, least publicized" organization manipulating the militant black movement."

Not only did the foundations influence the direction of street organizations but they also manipulated Black studies programs at colleges to make sure they produced "Clarence Thomas's" instead of "Malcolm X's." Noliwe Rooks discusses the efforts of the foundations to take the "black" out of Black studies in her book, "White Money, Black Power."

Later, during the Hip Hop era, we see the role that entertainment corporations played in diverting the rebellious energy of poor and oppressed ghetto kids.

During the golden age of conscious Hip Hop (1988-92) we witnessed a period that best represented how rap music could be used as a tool to organize the masses. This was a time when Hip Hop artists, not only made songs about fighting the power, but also participated in acts of civil disobedience such as when members of the X-Clan were involved in the "Day of Outrage" following the murder of Yusef Hawkins in 1989.
However, after '92, conscious Hip Hop was replaced by a materialistic music that made people want to be part of the system instead of fighting against it. They have made grown men walking around with their drawers showin' the ultimate act of rebellion.

Perhaps the most telling example of the political manipulation of Hip Hop was the 2004 election when, instead of using their influence and resources to politically educate their constituents in the 'hood, Hip Hop moguls created a politically ambivalent marketing strategy called "Vote or Die" that did little more than sell overpriced T-Shirts.

The most interesting political movement in recent history is Occupy Wall Street, as activists have successfully broken out of the box of the Republican/Democratic dynamic and have taken the fight straight to the seat of power. If this movement continues focusing on the source of the multiple problems facing the 'hood ( the multi-national corporations) this could be a major tipping point, effecting the economic balance of this country.
However, we have already seen filthy rich celebrities co-sign what is supposed to be a poor people's movement. And it is just a matter of time before some slick politician tries to turn radical, revolutionists into mild mannered voter registration political reformists good only for putting "Vote for Me" posters on people's front yards.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Today we find ourselves at the crossroads; one way leads to Freedom and the other road leads to perpetual oppression.

We all have a choice to make.

Do we we leave the next generation a movement for real socio-economic change or just sore feet and worn out Air Jordans?

"TRUTH Minista" Paul Scott can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Occupying E. Chapel Hill St (A Black Perspective)

I don't often hang out with white Liberals. Any student of African American history will know that coalitions between black activists and white Liberals, many times, have been problematic. As Kwame Ture (Stokley Carmichael) said during the '60's, even the most Liberal white folks are fighting for power but we are fighting for survival.

But I respect the grind of Occupy Wall Street. Anybody who is organizing it to stick it to "the man," I'm down. So, that's why I headed to downtown Durham for the Occupy Durham rally.

I do, however, think that the few black faces in the crowd in Durham, probably represent the demographic makeup of other Occupy rallies across the country.

I gotta admit. I like the way that the Occupy Wall Street people are taking care of business. They have latched on to a concept that black folks have yet to grab, a virtually, leaderless movement that organizes around ideas instead of personalities.


For years, black folks have frantically looked for a messiah to lead us into the Promised Land and the "powers that be" in this country have been all too happy to pick one for us.

Starting back with Booker T. Washington during the eraly 20th century, we have let outside forces choose who was going to be at the front of our march to Freedom. Those in power need one person with whom to negotiate, instead of of dealing with 30 million black folks with issues.

If black folks get upset and start a riot, no problem. They just get on the phone with Rev. "What's his name ," cut a deal and the riot is over. The leader gets a new sponsor for his next event and the masses of black folks get nothing but a speech.

Fortunately Occupy Wall Street hasn't fallen into that trap as the theme was echoed in Durham today "we are the 99% opposing the 1% who control the resources of this world we live in." So, it is hard to pinpoint a leader. In theory, as long as the poverty remains, the movement remains.

As it is said, absolute power corrupts, absolutely. Already we have seen, nationally, how filthy rich celebrities have started giving props to what is supposed to be a poor people's movement. Next politicians will try to turn the revolution into a glorified voter registration drive.

If you can't beat 'em; join 'em.

So, will the Occupiers stick to their guns or will they become like others and switch from being vocal social revolutionists who are going to change the socio-economic dynamics of this nation to mild mannered political reformers who are only good for putting "Voter for me" signs in people's front lawns.

Time will tell.

But for now, I join them in their collective chant of:

Power to the People!

Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Secessions and Insurrections

Secessions and Insurrections

Paul Scott

Today is the day that Durham was supposed to start its great discussions on race, triggered by an exhibit that made its debut at the Museum of Life and Science, "Race: Are We Really So Different." So what better way was there for a black dude like me to kick off my series examining race then to visit the Civil War commemorative event at Bennett Place State Historic Site?

For those not familiar with Bennett Place , according to the brochure, it is the site of the largest surrender of the Civil War." A fact that a lot of white Southerners are still not too happy about.

I must admit, when I rolled up in the Bennett Place parking lot and saw all those Confederate flag license plates, I started to make a u turn and head to the museum but since the Race exhibit was 14 bucks and the commemoration was free, of course, I headed on into Bennett Place.

Now since I have seen more than a few white folks make themselves right at home at black cultural festivals in Durham; Bimbe, Junteenth, so, I thought that I would see, at least a couple of black faces in the crowd. Or at the very least, see some half clothed black man running frantically through the field chased by hound dogs yellin' "save yourselves!"

I was wrong. I was the only "person of color" within a five mile radius.

See, black folks get nervous around Confederate flags, we expect at any moment to hear "Yeeee Hawww, we got us some live ones, boys ! Gimme a rope!"

Fortunately the commemoration was not that type of party. Just a bunch of white folks celebrating the good ol' days. When life was simple and black people like me knew their place.

They had a wagon ride, some dude teaching people how to load a musket and even a recruiting station to sign up for the war. Now, I wasn't exactly sure if the recruiting station was a reenactment or if they were actually planning to take over West Durham.

But that was about it. I made it out alive without getting lynched. Exit the black guy, stage right. None the worst for his hair raising adventure.

I guess the Confederacy is part of American History. But so are slave insurrections.

What if next August 21, African Americans got together at some state park and had a commemoration of the Nat Turner slave rebellion? Instead of hanging up Confederate Flags, we decked the joint out in the Black Liberation colors of red, black and green. How about instead of playing country music we cranked up some Public Enemy jams and instead of being sponsored by the "Sons of Confederate Veterans" the affair was sponsored by the Sons of the "Deacons for Defense" or the "Daughters of the Black Panther Party."

That would go over real big. I can hear the cries of reverse racism, opening up old wounds or instigating a race riot from the area Right Wing radio hosts, now.

Although, the state of North Carolina flips part of the bill for Bennett Place, I doubt very seriously if they would fund "Insurrection Weekend."

See , black folks and whites folks perceive the Civil War differently. To white folks, Confederate soldiers are heroes who should be honored, to black folks they are a bunch of traitors who got their butts kicked trying to keep our ancestors picking cotton.

Kinda like a glass half empty/half full, situation.

While, there is a fear that anything dealing with the more militant aspects of black history might produce the next Malcolm X, there is no such fear that a Civil War commemoration may produce the next David Duke.

Also, while many white folks (and some black folks) are scared to death that any attempts to teach Arican American children the more "nontraditional" parts of Black history in fear it may cause Mr. Buchanan's 8th grade history class to rise up and give him a beat down, there is no concern that a Civil War reenactment might inspire some southern sore loser to get a little payback for their bitter defeat a century ago. Given the history of this country, the latter is more probable.

All people have the right to tell their own stories. However, for black folks, we have very few venues to speak our own truths. The reasons are several.

Many black folks who put on cultural events work so hard at not offending white folks that they sacrifice historical accuracy. People who put on events from a white perspective have no such hang ups.

See, the bottom line is , white folks embrace their history; the good, the bad and the ugly. It is a shame that we run away from ours.

Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Missing: Black Voices

This week folks in Durham will begin discussing race, courtesy of a new exhibit at the Museum of Life and Science called "Race Are We Really That Different?." If things go the way that they usually go 'round here, there will be one thing missing from these discussions; black voices. Especially, black folks that won't white wash the issue.

Seems like, in recent years, someone came up with the novel idea that race issues could be discussed without black people. Don't believe me? Name some African American columnists or radio talk show hosts in the Triangle area?

(I'll Wait...)

And the one or two that you probably named have been there for at least a decade or two, right? You mean to tell me that no black person with an original thought has come around since Bill Clinton was the prez?

It is a cryin' shame that with thousands of black folks in this area we're supposed to be too stupid to notice the lack of African American opinion shapers. Although many people preach about diversity, the most segregated places in this part of NC are media newsrooms. It seems that the only integration going on in some of the local newspapers is in the weekly crime sheet, other that they are lily white.

Now, I know that some are going to argue that there are quite a few African Americans on the TV channels, especially WTVD, who "report" the news. However, this is not the issue. The issue is the serious lack of black folks who "editorialize" the news of the day.

Since I'm one of the dudes that is rarely invited to these feel good "race" discussions, (imagine that) for the next few weeks, I am going to run a series on No Warning Shots dealing with the race issue from a black perspective.

So, stay tuned as we give you the real, uncut, deal about Race in America.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Let's Talk About Race, Baby

Let's Talk About Race, Baby.

Paul Scott

Back in '91, Hip Hop legends, Salt N Pepa shook up America when they released the controversial song, "Let's Talk About Sex." The song was a wake up call to a mainstream America that was reluctant to talk about sex even in the face of a growing AIDS crisis and teen pregnancy epidemic. This month, Durham will tackle the "other" issue: race.

On October 8th, the Museum of Life and Science will host the exhibit, "Race: Are We So Different" that will address the origin of race in both anthropological and sociological terms. There will also be a series of community discussions surrounding the issue through the end of the exhibition, next January, dealing with an issue that is rarely discussed in an open and honest minor. Usually, any racial discussion that does not end with a group of folks sitting around quoting Martin Luther King speeches and locking arms singin' "We Shall Overcome" is not exactly welcomed in this town. Although, racial conflicts effect all cultures, in America it has been mostly black and white.

So, where do we begin tackling the taboo issue? We start at the same place you start when your five year old comes home from kindergarten and asks "where do babies come from." We start at the beginning. However, we have to make the decision whether to tell the awful truth or send our kids down the road of misinformation by telling them that "the stork brings them."

It must be noted that there was not a beef between the races before antiquity as historians have pointed out that the early Greeks actually had respect for the Ethiopians and Egyptians. It was not until the Trans-Atlantic slave trade that racial inferiority began to be used to justify the enslavement of Africans. After that period, pseudo-scientific theories were constructed to prove the superiority of one race over the other. While Johann Blumenbach is credited with dividing humanity into racial groups, prior to that it was, Carl Von Linnaeus that started attributing natural ability to skin color.

Besides serving as the rationale for racial oppression, there has been the fear of race mixing (miscegenation). The "browning of America" has been such a fear of white folks that the one drop rule was created to establish that one drop of black blood would make even the whitest, white dude want to watch Black Entertainment Television.

Has this changed in recent years? Only in Hip Hop. Artists such as KRS have long argued that the "great American melting pot concept" only exists in the world of rap music where little white kids have posters of Lil Wayne on their bedroom walls" and black kids download Eminem songs on Itune. But outside of Rap World things have not changed much.

So, why do we still feel so uncomfortable discussing the issue ? It's just like when, after being chastised for kissing a boy at school, your 12 year old daughter, asks you about your first time.


Race puts us smack dab in the center of the storm where we have to weather questions like "do you hate all white people" or "have you ever used the N Word ?"

What happens when we don't talk about sex? Just go to the Durham Health Department or to Northgate or Southpoint Mall and count all the teenage girls pushing strollers. What happens when we don't talk about race, just take a look at the polarization taking place across the country.

So, yes Durham. Let's talk about race, baby.

For more information about the "Race Are We Different" exhibit visit

Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tyrese vs the Real Decepticons

Tyrese vs the Real Decepticons

Paul Scott

Last Summer, fans flocked to movie theaters in droves to see Tyrese Gibson help the Transformers save Earth from the Decepticons. Now, he is in a fight with the real "Decepti-Cons" who are destroying the 'hood.

You know who I'm talking about. Go to any 'hood in America and you will see the invaders who pimp the community with overpriced chewing gum, stale potato chips and enough 40's to get the whole city tipsy. If you go in and ask for a bottle of natural spring water, you're fresh out of luck but if you are searching for a vintage bottle of 1988 Olde English 800, they got you.

Last week, during a radio interview on Wilmington, Delaware's Kiss 101.7 , Tyrese went in on the "homies" there for allowing a liquor store to be in close proximity to a school. Apparently, this did not sit too well with the station's head dude who, allegedly, bounced him out the door, not because of his stance against liquor stores near kids but because he had the nerve to refer to his listeners as "homies" on a Hip Hop radio station.

(Doesn't make sense to you, either, huh?)

Either way, allegedly, Tyrese's music has been banned from the station until further notice.

As Gibson has pointed out, this is not just about Wilmington. Go to any poor community in America and you will find more liquor stores (liquid crack houses) than anything else. For years, community activists have accused the high proliferation of these stores in predominately Black and Latino neighborhoods as being acts of genocide. However, while community activist Raheem Jackson can stand in front of a store with a protest sign and bullhorn for years and be ignored, one word from a celebrity like Tyrese can spark a revolution. An issue that has plagued communities for years is now being discussed at bus stops, in barbershops and tattoo parlors.

This is why Tyrese's stand sent shock waves through an industry that works in cahoots with corporations to keep the masses of the people blind to the facts.

What if people start really examining the question of why there are really so many liquor stores in the 'hood and then demand answers? Or if people start actually organizing to push legislation to keep liquor stores out of school zones? How about if other artists start using their star power to raise questions, not only about liquor stores but the prison industrial complex, high unemployment in "urban" communities, or how drugs really get into the 'hood ? It could start a domino effect that could upset the socio-economic order of this country.

That is why a socially conscious artist who uses his celebrity status to do more than make people buy cds or movie tickets is considered a threat. And many who have dared to speak out against social injustice have committed revolutionary, career suicide.

Instead of addressing complaints by celebrities, the "Decepti-Cons" use the oldest trick in the book: try to discredit the messenger. Back in the day, they would call outspoken artists, "Communists," then "militants." Today, they try to make using the term "homie" a federal offense.

Another tactic that they have used is a con game called the "straw man fallacy," which is when the real issue is replaced by a fake issue that has nothing to do with the real issue in order to distract attention from the real issue. (Rewind that back twice and think about it.) In this case, they are using Tyrese's, allegedly, dissin' the folks in Delaware as a straw man argument to draw attention from what should be the primary question, "should liquor stores be near schools."

As they say, the players change but the game remains the same.

Unlike the poor righteous teachers who are the community activists, celebrities have something we don't; influence and access to capital. Suppose, Tyrese and a few of his Hollywood homies put some dollars together and open up a health food/book store in Wilmington to compete with the liquor store? Or, what if he takes some of that Transformer money and opens up a radio station in Delaware that features talk shows and plays nothing but conscious Hip Hop? The possibility is there but it all starts with a conversation.

However, we can't put all the weight on celebrities. They can be catalysts for change but the real work is going to have to be done by the homies in the 'hood who are tired of seeing their children drop out of school in order to embrace a life full of addiction and prison bids.

Even though Megatron and his crew have lots of power, we must be willing to fight them if we are going to save this generation from destruction. And this fight won't be easy.

We must all make a commitment to become the "Transformers" of our own communities.

As Optimus Prime said at the end of Transformers 3 ” there will be days when we lose faith but the day will never come when we forsake this planet and it's people.”

Or the ‘hood.

Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots He can be reached at (919) 451-8283