Thursday, April 29, 2010

Her Name is Fiyah: Self Promotion

One of my bff's Bella is a great writer and she's been so gracious to allow me to guest post on her blog. So check me(and her) out at You're welcome, you're all welcome.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Born Free

"Born Free" M.I.A.

This video(more mini movie at eight minutes) has some extremely violent and intense images, but I feel that it's relevant. While you watch picture people you look like you. More of my thoughts on it later, but please feel free to post any comments that you have. Let's start a conversation....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I Am HipHop: Reflections on Coming of Age During HipHop's Golden Era Pt. 1(I Fall In Love))

In 1981, eight years after DJ Kool Herc dj'ed a block party for his sister's birthday and Kevin Donovan changes his name to Afrika Bambaataa Aasim in honor of a Zulu chief and seven years after Grandmaster Caz, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa start playing at parties in the Bronx and DJ/MC Lovebug Starski starts referring to the emerging culture surrounding this new music as "hip-hop", I was born in the birthplace of Blues(the Mississippi Delta to be exact).

I spent a majority of my childhood in Ft. Riley, KS listening to one radio station and it most definatly wasn't a "black(I think the politicaly correct term is 'urban')radio station. Hence, my love of 80s rock and pop. By the time I was 11 I knew every song that came on the R'n'B oldies channel thanks to my dad, because in the late 80s and early 90s he classified most mainstream pop music and the emerging sounds of new jack swing and pretty much all hiphop as "mess" and "noise". So, while we rode around Post basking in the immaculate harmonies of the Impressions and Dellfonics and funk of George Clinton, I was secretly changing his station every time he got out to the car in search of LL Cool J, Guy and Run DMC. Looking back now, it wasn't that my dad didn't like the hiphop so much as he didn't understand it. My parents put me on to Elton John, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye and a host of others who in turned influcened my Salt-n-Pepa's, Snoop Dogg's, and Common's.

The start in many defining moments of my realization that I was hiphop came in the summer of between my 5th and 6th grade years. We moved to Atlanta. In 1992-93 Atlanta was becoming known as "The Spot" for black people on a come up. Overnight I went from "THE" black girl in class to "A" black girl in class. I had never been surrounded by so many black people who weren't family in one place at one time and it was a culture shock out the ass. Suddenly, my Vans and 5 million friendship bracelets weren't cool, but "white". I can't tell you how many times I was told I acted and sounded like a "white gurl" in the space of one school year. Several things saved me from being completely enveloped in pre-teen angst that year; my BFFs to this day Jennifer and Courtney, my journal, BET( I know, I know but I'm talking about Video Soul with Donnie Simpson and Rap City with Joe Claire BET) and V103 the People's Station. I literally spent hours immersing myself in a sea of James Brown samples, 808 beats, combat boot and baggy Cross Color images. For the first time in my young life I felt like the music I was hearing was speaking directly to me, not around me or over me but straight through me. Add Donald Goines(which I snuck and read behind my dad)and the Autobiography of Malcolm X to this and you have my longest, most tumultuous love affair that still continues to this day; Hiphop.
The more I heard, the more I wanted. Classic junkie behavior. I played "Oooooohhhhh, On The TLC Tip" some much the tape literally popped. I danced with abandon to Raheem the Dream and Kilo Ali and I recorded hours upon hours of VHS of Rap City and The Box. In 1993, when I started 7th grade lines were being drawn between "Up North" and "Down South" kids and their regional taste in music. Since I had moved from Kansas a year earlier I was given a pass. I could sit at the "New York" table at lunch and still Bankhead Bounce after school at the library. At this point in hiphop it was still pretty much New York and everybody else and I what realize now looking back on some heated debates with my friends from up top, is that I definitely got the better end of the stick as far as exposure. While my friends from "Up North" only heard people from New York,New Jersey and surrounding areas, we were listening to everything except "Up North" music. I can't remember how many times N.W.A, Ice Cube, 8Ball&MJG, UGK, Scarface, B.O.N.E Thugz in Harmony and Twista tapes were passed around and dubbed.
In the spring of 1994 I went from having a huge crush on hiphop to falling truly, madly and deeply in love with it, and it all started with a shared earphone from my best guy friend, Terry Neal, a sample of "Juicy Fruit" from MTume and a dedication to all the teachers who told him he'd amount to anything....

To be continued....