Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 29th is Black Unity Day

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the LA Rebellion, following the acquittals of the officers that beat Rodney King, we proclaim April 29th as Black Unity Day.

For more info contact (919) 308-4233

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why Can't We Get Along?

Why We Can't Get Along:
Is There a Conspiracy Against Hip Hop Unity ?
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

"How to make a slave by Willie Lynch is still applyin'"
                                          Redefintion- Black Star

Two score years ago, evil marketing genius, Big Willie Lynchman stood on the bank of the Los Angeles River and delivered a speech to entertainment executives about how to control Hip Hop. "You must divide the old school rappers against the new school, the East Coast against the West Coast , male rappers against female rappers," he shouted. "If you do this, I guarantee that you will control Hip Hop for another twenty years...."

Of course the above scenario is jacked from the Willie Lynch: How to Make a Slave letter but just like the infamous letter, if it ain't historically true, it's darn near close.

As Phillip A. Muhammad, author of The Hip Hop Nation: Willie Lynch's Newest Slave put it , "The doctrine and methods of Willie Lynch gave birth to a modern slave mentality that permits today's rappers to be pimped, prostituted, punked, bullied, isolated and corrupted due to the divisive characteristics that are outlined within the Willie Lynch Letter."

So much so, that in 2012, we are still asking ourselves, "Why can't Black folks get along?"

Although the mainstream media like to focus on the violent aspect of the 1992 LA Rebellion, following the trial of the cops that beat Rodney King, the real threat to the social hegemony of this country was not the burnin' and lootin' but the peace treaties and the spirit of Black unity that swept the nation. For the first time in more than 20 years the African American community yelled out with a united voice "We ain't gonna take it no more!!!

All of a sudden gangs that had been bitter enemies for years were partyin' together at community picnics. But before the coals could even cool on the grill, the unity ended. Twenty years later we have to ask, what happened?

Like all things, the answers are rooted in history, as one of the greatest weapons against Black unity has been the divide and conquer strategy.

In Eugene Genovese's work, "From Rebellion to Revolution" he mentions that some Maroon societies even signed "peace treaties" with colonial regimes for freedom in exchange for pledges to return runaways and "repress slave rebellions" in the Caribbean. He also wrote that in the US, during the Nat Turner Revolt,  some slaves even sided with their masters.

But through it all there were always those who fought for unity.

The greatest example of Black solidarity is, perhaps, the United Negro Improvement Association founded by Marcus Garvey in 1914, which is said to have had at its apex two million members. Although a remnant of the UNIA still exists, according to historians like Theodore G. Vincent (Black Power and the Garvey Movement), it was, virtually, destroyed by a combination of federal persecution, internal bickering and the efforts of integrationist "mainstream" Black leaders who started a "Garvey Must Go" campaign.

Perhaps the closest thing to Garvey's Movement in Hip Hop was X-Clan and the Black Watch Movement during the late 80's/early 90's. Original X-Clan member Paradise Gray said that the key behind the success of that movement was that it was "inter-generational." "Everywhere X-Clan traveled there were elders to greet us." said Gray. During that brief period in Hip Hop history, 1988-1992, unity was the norm not an exception to the rule.

But after 1992, things began to change.

Although, Dr. Dre and political awareness is oxymoronic, he captured white America's fear on The Chronic's largely forgotten track "The Day the N*ggaz Took Over;" prompting the end of the Conscious Hip Hop Era.

All of a sudden the people that America considered useless street thugs became intelligent hoodlums. The book "Uprising" by Yusuf Shah and Sister Shah 'Keyah featured gang members who spoke very clearly about the state of America following the LA Rebellion. According to one interviewee, General Robert Lee, the reason why the peace treaty failed was " a big conspiracy with the government and police starting much of the trouble."

But "the state" was not the only reason.

Conscious Hip Hop began to decline when artists began to focus on teaching middle class white America about "growin' up in the 'hood" instead of giving young Black children a Knowledge of Self.

Perhaps too much emphasis was placed on convincing white folks that "rappers were people too." The lowest point being when feared "gangsta rappers" Ice T and Tupac Shakur sang the sappy duet "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" on the Saturday Night Special in 1996.

Retrospectively, William Van DeBurg in New Day in Babylon argued that, after the Black Power Movement,  America experienced a "welcomed hiatus from urban rioting"  and "both the press and public lost interest in Black Power."

In the same manner, the more the smoke cleared from the LA Uprising, the more "Black unity" became an out -of -date fad.

Also,  although the topic of urban outrage and 'hood tales appealed to a broad audience, in an industry dominated by green power, the idea of Black unity was dismissed as only appealing to a small, insignificant African American demographic. Hip Hop murder and mayhem was a much bigger money maker.

The average American really does not give two cents about Black -on- Black relations. The only time that it is really mentioned is when during a Trayvon Martin-like situation, racist right wingers need to point a figure and create straw man arguments to blame white racism on "Black on Black violence. "

"Uh, how are you guys gonna blame us, when you kill each other every day, Buddy ?"

We have to realize that the Black on Black violence is a direct result of the destruction of Black unity.

But that's the problem. What's the solution?

Dr. Alim Bey, author of First World Order and owner of the Cultural Freedom Bookstore in Fayetteville NC suggested, " Awareness has to be the key; a re-establishment of culture."

So how are you going to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the LA Rebellion. Are you gonna just kick back and watch CNN, Fox and MSNBC talking heads wax poetic about Black issues about which they know nothing about? Or are you going to use the anniversary to, proactively, help solve the problems we are facing today?

On April 29, 2012 we are calling for a Black Unity/Peace Treaty and a formal resurrection of political Hip Hop. On that day we must use our social network outlets, Face Book, Twitter, etc to promote the idea of Peace in the 'hood.

With all the ill stuff that has happened to Black people in just the past few months it is very necessary for us to put behind differences and work towards a common goal.

Like West Coast Kam warned us two decades ago on "Peace Treaty":
"It's now or never/more than ever Black people have to stick together. "

This is part 4 of the month long series "Rap, Race and Riots: Hip Hop 20 years after the LA Rebellion."

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott's weekly column is This Ain't Hip Hop: a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. He can be reached at  website  Twitter @truthminista

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Assassination of Hip Hop

The Assassination of Hip Hop:
Did the LA Riots Murder Rebel Music?
              TRUTH Minista Paul Scott
"They know one day we'll learn how to use it/That's why they fear our jungle music"
                                            Jungle Music -Jeru tha Damaja
April 29,2012, following the assassination of political Hip Hop artist, Lil J B, in Jasper Texas, America experienced her worst riot in the last 20 years, prompting the authorities to enact Operation You Gots ta Chill.  Like clockwork "responsible" leaders held press conferences urging for calm, while at the same time activists were being hauled off to football stadiums that had been converted into concentration camps. Immediately, all Hip Hop was banned from the radio, accept for songs by Niki Minaj and Drake...
Think this can't happen? Think again.
For many years people have been talking about how "Hip Hop is dead." But what must be understood is that the bullet that killed real Hip Hop was fired on April 29, 1992 during the LA Rebellion following the acquittal of the cops that beat Rodney King.  Many Hip Hop historians will tell you, at that moment in time Hip Hop changed forever.
Since we know, according to Lou Cannon, in his book Official Negligence  that during the LA Rebellion , something called Operation Cool Response was enacted to keep the natives from gettin' restless, could some operation also have been launched to silence political rap music?
It's very possible.
Prior to 1992, America had been somewhat tolerant of rap music as entertainment,  however, they underestimated it's potential to spark a revolution. So following the outrage surrounding the so called Rodney King verdict, something had to be done quickly, so they resorted to the old tactics that had been used for centuries to squash political dissent.
The suppression of Black voices is nothing new as it can be traced back to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade when the drum was taken from tribes for fear that it would have allowed the  Africans to unite against the slave traders.
It must also be noted that the reason that most people are under the false impression that the enslaved Africans did not rebel is because that information has been hidden from history.
In his book, American Negro Slave Revolts,  Hebert Aptheker argued that the reason that most people believe that the slaves did not fight back was because of the suppression of information by politicians and newspaper owners who felt that the truth about rebellions would spread fear among Whites and encourage more rebellions among Blacks. So this type of information was kept on the low.
This manipulation of facts continued into the 20th century.
According to Dr. Patricia Turner in her book , I Heard it Through the Grapevine, during the heated racial period around World War II there were even "rumor clinics" set up to "prevent potentially adverse hear say of all sorts from gaining credibility."
Perhaps the most horrendous acts of political suppression happened during the Civil Rights /Vietnam War Era. Attorney William Kunstler wrote in his autobiography,  My Life as a Civil Rights Lawyer,  that H. Rap Brown (whose words were ironically the basis for Big Bank Hank's line on Rappers Delight) was arrested in July 1967 in Cambridge, Maryland for advocating a riot. This  led to the Rap Brown Statute which made it a federal crime for anyone to cross state lines with intention of starting a riot. According to Kunstler,  this law was used in the infamous trial of the Chicago 8 which included the bounding, gagging and chaining of Black Panther Bobby Seale in the courtroom.
The entertainment industry has also played a major role in squashing rebellions over the years.
Although "urban" radio is seen as the voice of the 'hood, it has played a major role in suppressing more "militant" voices.  
According to Brian Ward, in his book , Just My Soul Responding, during the '60s  "militants felt that soul radio discouraged black insurgency and reinforced the racial and economic status quo in subtle ways." Ward states that in 1967, the Take a Look Foundation was established to "use black oriented radio to defuse tensions."
So anything with the ability to "move the crowd" has been used for us and against us. Hip Hop is no exception.
Rap artists are no stranger to censorship. Back during the early 80's, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five couldn't even say "pissin' on stage" on the radio and we still can't figure out what was so bad about Digital Underground's Humpty Hump braggin' how "he once got busy in a Burger King bathroom."
However, there is a big difference between censorship of that nature and the suppression of political ideas. There are many examples of Hip Hop artists feeling America's wrath after they crossed the line of demarcation between rap and radical thought.
Perhaps one of the best examples is West Coast artist Paris. According to a November 29, 1992 Los Angeles Times article, Time Warner gave him "six figures" as compensation after refusing to put out his Sleeping With the Enemy cd.
Also, rapper Too Short recently alleged that his record label made him make sex songs instead of more political music around that same period.
In the years since the  LA Rebellion, it has become increasingly harder for artists to fight for their rights to politically party. It must be noted then even rare instances of activism, like Mos Def's performance of Katrina Clap outside of the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards Show are viewed as random acts of radicalism or temporary temper tantrums, not part of a protracted struggle against oppression.
Let's be clear.  The reason that you don't hear Dead Prez and Immortal Technique on the radio is not because of their profanity but their "profound-ity." There is no more cussin' on an Immortal Technique record song than  there is on the barely edited , yet radio friendly Marvin's Room by Drake.
Fortunately, there is still a small Hip Hop resistance made of activists, writers and artists still bringin' the noise. But speakin' Truth comes with a price.
Like Ice T once said "Freedom of speech, just watch what you say."
The powers that be don't want the masses to know the truth. And if you are one of the few who dare to speak it, you may find yourself being banned from radio, blacklisted from Hip hop conferences and all other venues.
But some body's gotta do it.
Like Lupe Fiasco said, "The Show Goes On"
"Even if they ban us, they'll never slow my plans up."
This is part 3 of the month long series, Rap, Race and Riots": Hip Hop 20 Years After the LA Rebellion 
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott's weekly column is This Ain't Hip Hop, a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. He can be reached at His website is or  Twitter @truthminista

Monday, April 16, 2012

Challenge to Talk Radio: Black People Can't Be Racist

Claiming that Black people can't be racist, a controversial NC activist is calling for a redefinition of the word.

Paul Scott of Durham NC says that racism means that you have power to deprive others of their rights and that only applies to white people.

"The word "Racist" is racist in itself."

Scott says the usage of the word should be changed.

"Black people cannot be racist and I challenge any of those conservative talk show hosts to prove me wrong," says Scott

Scott has appeared on talk shows across the country on networks such as Fox News and MSNBC. He has been interviewed by newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor and many others discussing Rap, Race and Religion.

For more information contact (919) 308-4233


Monday, April 9, 2012

Can Black People Be Racist ?

Can Black People Be Racist?:
Rodney, Reginald and Reverse Racism

White America/assassinate my character.

Gotta Have It -Kanye West and Jay Z

After being caught on You Tube with a white sheet, a box of matches and a gasoline can braggin' about burning down the home of AfricanAmerican activist, Emmett Evers, Byron De la Bryant was finally being charged with a hate crime. The prosecution used hundreds of historical documents of cross burnings, brutal beatings and lynchings to prove that Bryant's actions were part of a long legacy of racist crimes against African Americans. However, after the defense showed the jury a video of the 1992 beating of Reginald Denny, they found Bryant not guilty....

April 29, 1992, millions of Africans Americans sat by their televisions outraged that the acquittal of the four white officers accused of beating Rodney King was evidence of white America's racism. Later that same day, millions of White Americans sat by their televisions convinced that the beating of white truck driver Reginald Denny by for Black men was proof of Black racism.

These two events have sparked hundreds of conversations about race over the 20 years since the LA Rebellions with most of them ending in the compromise that there are Black racists as well as White racists.

This conclusion is patently false. There ain't no such thing as a "Black racist."

African Americans can be many things: thugs, gangsta's, Republicans, etc. But the one thing that we cannot be is racist. Although most people define racism as hatred for people of a different race, a more functional definition would be having the power to enforce that hatred socially, politically and economically. And last time I checked, Black people did not posses that kind of juice.

In his work, "The United Independent Compensatory Code," Neely Fuller argued that "the only form of functional racism that exists among the people of the known universe is white supremacy." But that minor detail has not stopped folks from engaging in the never ending hunt for the nonexistent Black supremacist.

In his book, The Ice Man Inheritance, Michael Bradley traced the foundation of the myth of black racism back centuries ago when the Bantu-speaking people "enslaved" the "Hottentots" (Khoikhoi) and the "Bushmen" (San) . Because anthropologist CS Coon divided the Africans into two separate races, some have used this as evidence of "Black supremacy."

Just as many people used the beating of Denny as the quintessential example of Black racism , even today, any time Black folks start marching and yellin' "No Justice No Peace" you can bet that Fox News and others won't rest until they finally capture a Black supremacist.

This is how it has always been.

In 1915, during the height of outrage over the lynching of African Americans, the movie "Birth of a Nation" was used to justify the activities of the Ku Klux Klan by portraying Black men as rapists.

During the mid 50's when Black people were being attacked by police dogs for fighting for their rights, Mike Wallace produced an expose on the Nation of Islam called, The Hate that Hate Produced.

More recently, November 2006 after Michael Richards, aka Kramer from Seinfield, dropped multiple N-bombs, the argument quickly became "well, black comedians use the word all the time."

Who can forget , April 2007, when after Don Imus called the Rutgers University Women's B-Ball Team "nappy headed hoes," civil rights leaders and right wing talking heads found a slick way to blame it all on Hip Hop.

Recently, after the Trayvon Martin murder, Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera blamed the incident on kids wearing hoodies. And Bill O'Reilly sent his top notch producer to gang infested Chicago to promote the idea that we should be focused on Black on Black violence instead of the
Martin murder. Now, with the shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma of five African Americans, allegedly, by two White men, look for Fox to do a series of stories on the history of driveby's in the 'hood.

The purpose here is not to suggest that all White people are racists. However, without a doubt , the small group of ultra-rich people who control the resources of the planet don't live in Compton. The ones behind the curtains pulling the strings are wealthy White men.

In Dr. WEB DuBois's classic work "Black Reconstruction" it is reported that, during slavery, only 7% of the southern population owned slaves. According to DuBois, "the masses of poor whites were economic outcasts." All they had going for them was a false sense of racial superiority. In reality, Blacks and poor Whites were being manipulated by greedy Northern industrialists and the southern planter class.

Not much has changed. Perhaps there is some truth in the linefrom Goodie Mob's, Cell Therapy that warned that one day trained assassins would be coming for " n**** like me/poor white trash like they..."

Ironically, conversations have taken place between those who advocated Black Pride and proponents of White Power.

According to Dr. Tony Martin in his book, Race First, in 1922, Marcus Garvey had an Atlanta meeting with "Edward Young Clarke, acting imperial wizard of the Klan." In, A Life of Reinvention Malcolm X, Manning Marable said that Malcolm X was involved in a 1961 meeting with the KKK also in the ATL. Also, the man credited with popularizing the term "Black Power"
Kwame Ture (then Stokely Carmichael) once had a cordial debate with George Lincoln Rockwell, a major advocate of White Power.

Like EPMD would say racism is "Business Never Personal."

Hip Hop has attempted to address racism over the years from relatively light hearted songs like Kool G Rap's Erase Racism to the more militant works of Paris and early Ice Cube (before he became a movie star.) However, I think that The Lox summed it up best; it's all about "Money, Power, Respect."

The major crime of white supremacy is the hording of the planet's wealth, leaving the masses to fight over crumbs.

The solution to this country's "race problem" may have been best articulated by the late Black Panther, Fred Hampton, when he said "Power to the People." That means Black Power to Black people, White Power to White People, Brown Power to Brown people, etc.

When this is achieved maybe we can finally answer the question that Rodney King asked the world 20 years ago:

"Can we all get along?"

Not yet Rodney, not yet.

This is the second part of the month long series "Rap, Race and Riots: Hip Hop 20 Years After the LA Rebellion"

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott's weekly column is "This Ain't Hip Hop," a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. He can be reached at website or Twitter @truthminista

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Politics of Protest

The Politics of Protest:
Rap, Race and Riots
                 TRUTH Minista Paul Scott
Only in Cali where we riot/ not rally
                          California Love-Dr Dre and 2Pac
Recently, in Memphis, the shooting of  African American teenager, Thomas Martin King Jr, by George Earl Koontz,  a white, off duty security guard at the Loraine Hotel, sparked waves of protests. King was shot while returning from the grocery store with a small bag of Marvin's Mini Marshmallows, which Koontz thought was crack. Days later, civil rights leaders held voter registration and fish fry rallies calling for the prosecution of Koontz and people across the country sent used marshmallow bags to the Memphis Police Department, in protest. Thirty days later, the murder is a distant memory and Koontz has still not been charged with murder. However, the local civil rights organization has new office furniture and the stock of Marvin's Marshmallows has risen 100%. Sadly, the King family is without a son or Justice...
Although it is said that "April showers bring May flowers," this month also seems to rain revolution. Forty-four years ago, America went up in flames following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr (April 4, 1968) . Twenty years ago, LA was almost burned to the ground following the acquittal of the four police officers who, unmercifully, beat Rodney King (April 29, 1992). And 11 years ago a rebellion broke out in Cincinnati  following the murder of Timothy Thomas at the hands of a cop (April 9, 2001) . Fast forward to April, 2012 and people across the country are protesting the murder of Trayvon Martin at the hands of a self-proclaimed neighborhood watch captain.
Anybody else see a pattern here?
While people often get caught up in the emotionalism of tragic events, it is critical for us to study how they are, continuously, able to pull off these acts without causing a Revolutionary War.  
To remix that Jay Z line from 30 Something, " we respect the one who got shot/ they respect the shooter."
While heavy handed government suppression of "militants" is often seen as the ideal way of countering urban unrest, the most strategic methods are done more subtly.
The blueprint  on how to, tactfully,  handle racial disorder in America, the Kerner Commision Report,  was  released February 29, 1968, ironically, six weeks before the King assassination. The report dealt with various strategies on how to prevent urban unrest in America.
A generation later , Dr Brenda Wall in her book, The Rodney King Rebellion, stated that the day of the rebellion the judge in the trial of the LAPD officers gave police officials a two hour notice, "realizing the tension that the verdict might unleash." She also wrote that the LAPD also had a million dollar contingency plan for civil disturbance.
It's no wonder that the Trayvon Martin murder took so long to gain public attention. Somebody must have needed a head start.
According to Kalonji Jama Changa, founder/national coordinator of The FTP Movement and author of the book, How to Build a People’s Army, "The state has definitely adopted improved methods to keep the people in check. They have recruited more buffers between the people and the state to keep the flames low." Perhaps that's why we don't see "militant" rappers and "intelligent hoodlums"  addressing social issues like we did in the early 90's.
Back during the Rodney King Era we had Sister Souljah to speak for the 'hood now we only have Sista Soledad O'Brien.
Big difference.
Another tactic that has been used is turning public outrage into a business. Peter Dogget in his work, There's a Riot Going On, wrote about an October, 1968 meeting held by "advertising agencies and entertainment conglomerates," called, Selling the American Youth Market, where attendees learned how to capitalize off the Vietnam War/Civil Rights protests.
Following the LA Rebellion, you could hardly keep track of the videos, books and talk shows that tried to hip a horrified, middle class, white America to the plight of young "urban" males.
In a recent Associated Press article called "Trayvon, Inc," Curt Anderson reported how some people are using the tragedy to hawk t-shirts, bumper stickers, hoodies, posters, etc and are how "pass the hat rallies" are raking in thousands of dollars.
What must be remembered is that the periods of racial turmoil of '68, '92 and 2012, have something in common; they all happened during election years. And in an election year, everything is political. The Republicans need another "black boogey man" in order to push their " blame the victim/get tough on crime" agenda. And the Democrats desperately, need a quick way to energize a disenchanted Black base who are asking themselves " are we really better off now than we were four years ago?" Already, we have seen civil rights leaders and media celebrities try to turn the Trayvon tragedy into a glorified "register to vote rally."
The pimpin' of the people continues, which is easy when the masses don't know what to do when the racial emergency alarm goes off. Do you fill out a voter's registration form?  Buy a bag of Skittles?  Or do you find the nearest window and throw a brick through it?
A wise man once said that "voting is a Democracy's alternative to rioting in the streets." So it is always in the state's best interest to "keep hope alive" and preach the gospel of "Change." However, history seems to suggest that America won't budge until she smells smoke; as fire has served to be very motivational.
During the turbulent 60's, according to Herbert Hains in his book , Black Radicals and the Civil Rights Movement,  the Feds, corporations and philanthropic organizations shelled out major dollars in order to keep the peace.
Lou Cannon wrote in his book,  Official Negligence, that after the looting of businesses during the LA Rebellion  "RLA (Rebuild LA) promoted perhaps 500 million dollars of development in the riot area."
As of this writing, all of the singin' and marchin' for Justice for Trayvon hasn't gotten us anything but sore throats and calluses.
Apparently, sometimes  crime does pay.
How the powers- that- be can successfully contain public outrage in a post Occupy Wall Street Era of Twitter generated flash mob protests and when more young people are getting their news from YouTube and Facebook than CNN and MSNBC remains to be seen.
However, no matter how one chooses to express his sense of moral outrage,one thing is certain. This April you better get your umbrella.
Like Arrested Development once sang:
"It's raining revolution/ It's raining solutions."
This concludes Part 1 of the month long series ,  Rap, Race and Riots: Hip Hop 20 Years after the LA Rebellion.
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott's weekly column is "This Ain't Hip Hop," a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. He can be reached at . His website is  Follow on Twitter @truthminista