July 11, 2013
By Truth Minista Paul Scott
Special to the NNPA from The Dallas Weekly
‘There’s a chain of command/I’m the missing link” – God Bless Amerika – Lil Wayne
Back in 1969, Jimi Hendrix outraged some folks when he pulled out his guitar and rocked out on The Star Spangled Banner, during Woodstock. Forty -some years later, the drama continues as Lil Wayne is in the center of a storm of controversy for wipin’ his Spectre sneakers on the American flag at a video shot. From Woodstock to Hood -stock, the game remains the same…
When Lil Weezy shot the video for his new song , “God Bless Amerika , recently and stepped on Old Glory, immediately, there were calls for the rapper’s dread-locked head to be served on a platter. Even though he came back less than 24 hours later and claimed that he didn’t mean to diss the flag, the damage had already been done. Also the fact that the event happened while the artist was gettin’ his Rev. Jeremiah Wright on, did not escape millions of outraged ultra-patriots. But just like when Jimi Hendrix pulled out his six string in the 60’s, the question remains, what was Weezy, exactly trying to say ? And more importantly what song best represents the true mentality of the real Boyz in the Hood in 2013, Karate Chop or God Bless Amerika.
For most of his career, Dwayne Carter has been the poster boy for political apathy. Besides brief moments of social sobriety , such as his guest verse on Nas and Damian Marley ‘s song ,My Generation, his motto seems to have been “when life throws you a lemon throw some codeine in a cup and make Sizzurp.” But times are changing fast and like Bob Dylan said “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
For the last few years, commercial Hip Hop artists have been fightin’ a losing battle to prove that they can stay, artistically, relevant ,yet, totally detached from what is going on politically across the planet. Even though rap music was being used as a soundtrack for rebellions in other countries, in the USA, the art form was still trapped in a netherworld of bottle poppin’ and booty shakin’.
But since Occupy Wall Street captured the imaginations of millions of suffering Americans about to lose their unemployment checks and scared the hell outta the fat cat exploiters of the poor who began to believe that the world wide revolution against global gluttony was gonna come knockin’ at the their front doors, Hip Hop has found it difficult to ignore the two ton ragin’ elephant in the room.
And Lil Wayne is not the only one feelin’ the heat.
While Jay Z’s “Open Letter” response to his trip to Cuba was definitely not the most politically charged song ever recorded, it is ,undoubtedly, his most politically charged recording.
Also, Jay’s homie, Kanye West’s, admission in a recent New York Times article that he was influenced by the political rap group ,Dead Prez, has to be seen as a sign of the times. Because if DP influenced Kanye West, the question is , who influenced Dead Prez? That is when names like Fred Hampton Jr. and Omali Yeshitela come into the picture. So, by inference, Kanye West admitted to the world that he is being influenced by the teachings of “ Black militants” whom they fear more than the most gangsta-est gangsta rappers.
“We need a cultural awakening,” says Hip Hop artist and Militant Minded Mess-Age Music affiliate, Extra Midwest. “We need something that hits us and makes us recognize… like a “Rodney King moment.”
Hollywood is also reading the writing on the wall as the commercial breaks during the customary, weekly TV airings of Juice and Menace II Society are now featuring clips from the upcoming film, “Fruitvale Station,” about the murder of Oscar Grant at the hands of a Bay Area Rapid Transit cop back in 2009.
Is it a coincidence that all of this is happening while America is bracing itself for the George Zimmerman trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin ? Of course not.
The entertainment industry execs ain’t stupid. They know that race and violence are going to be “the” hot topics of the summer. And since they pledge allegiance to nuthin’ but the almighty dollar, they are not beyond making a little bit of change from some rapper steppin’ on a flag or even civil unrest.
They have done it before.
In his book, “There’s a Riot Going On,” Peter Doggett wrote of a meeting of advertising agencies and entertainment conglomerates that was held in October of 1968 called “Selling the American Youth Market,” which was followed two months later by a Columbia Records marketing campaign called, “The Revolutionaries are on Columbia.” Thus, the revolutionary energy of the time was quickly co-opted and transformed into a capitalist marketing scheme.
Perhaps, Hip Hop artists are just overcoming their fears that if they speak truth to power they are gonna wind up floatin’ face down in a river.
While this may be true of Civil Rights leaders and members of the Black Power Movement, this really has never applied to rappers with large fan bases. Too many people are watching.
When was the last time that you heard of a political rapper being assassinated? However, there are frequent stories of non-political gangsta rappers being shot dead in the streets over some hood stuff.
Even though numerous conspiracy theories surround the death of Tupac Shakur, it wasn’t the revolutionary “Holla If Ya Hear Me” 2 Pac that was shot on the Las Vegas strip but the “Hit em Up“ Tupac.
Thus, turning a potential legendary act of musical martyrdom into just another case of perceived justifiable homicide.
I predict that if George Zimmerman walks, “God Bless Amerika” will become the official hood anthem of the summer.
Now, whether all this furor will result in a permanent change in the consciousness of Hip Hop remains to be seen.
But as of right now, one thing is certain.
Like Lil Wayne would say “the block is hot…”
After months of development, ReTake Artist and Music Listing and Promotion Service just unveiled its new website — a dedicated listing service for bands, singers, songwriters and musicians. While announcing the company’s commitment to signing former television talent show contestants of shows like American Idol and The Voice, president Kenneth Schwartz emphasized that the company also handles established talent — as evidenced by the endorsement of Michael Jackson’s beautiful niece, Tanay Jackson!
ReTake provides innovative marketing solutions to help artists promote and grow their business. “The website offers far more exposure than other popular platforms that typically handle millions of participants and whose artists tend to get lost in the confusion,” says Schwartz. “Instead, ReTake understands it is fans that drive popularity and success, so fans are free on our platform. As the fans discover new music or find out more about favorite artists, this will increase the popularity of the artist’s profile.” The company has made it easier for fans to follow their favorite artist and have likewise simplified the process for artists to keep fans informed about new music, releases, promotions, concerts and shows.
ReTake will be bringing in talent from all corners of the world. They offer unique features and their packages will be customized to the individual artist to have the maximum affect on their marketing and promotional success.
Tanesha Jonelle ‘Tanay’ Rodney-Jackson is the only daughter of Tito Jackson. The new up and coming Pop R&B artist and niece of world famous Michael Jackson started off as a Theatrical Dancer and accredited Songwriter and is now the new delight springing out on her own. Her sound is fun, emotional, and sexy.
LAWT News Service
TV One, which entertains, informs and inspires Black adult viewers, has announced the creation of News One Now, a live one-hour, weekday morning news program slated to premiere September 2013. Roland S. Martin, national award-winning journalist, will serve as host and managing editor of the program that will be a multi-platform experience on radio, television, and online.
News One Now, culled from the third hour of a three-hour radio program to be syndicated on Radio One network stations, will provide viewers with a morning news program that for the first time in history, will offer news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports and culture, from an African American perspective. The morning show, based in Washington, D.C., will feature a broad spectrum of experts, newsmakers and celebrities who will share their insights on current affairs with Martin. Additionally, the program will implement a “Skype Net” component giving various Radio One hosts a platform to provide daily weigh-ins on News One Now content, as well as inform the audience on hot topics in their respective regions.
News One Now will be a three-screen experience, allowing viewers and listeners to experience the show on radio, TV and through NewsOne.com, a website from Radio One’s web division, Interactive One. Various studies show that African Americans have a high usage of social media, and News One Now will heavily incorporate social media throughout the show (#NewsOneNow), allowing for a truly interactive experience with our audience.
Martin, the 2013 National Association of Black Journalists’ Journalist of the Year, most recently served as the host of TV One’s long-running, award-winning weekly news program, Washington Watch with Roland Martin, which concluded its four-year series run in May. Parallel to the creation of News One Now, TV One has signed an agreement with Martin's media company, Nu Vision Media, Inc.
“We are delighted to announce the launch of News One Now, which continues Radio One and TV One’s pledge to serving our audience with compelling, quality coverage of current news events, issues and trends affecting the Black community,” said Alfred Liggins, chairman of TV One and CEO and president of Radio One.
“African Americans are some of the most highly engaged cable news consumers, and it’s vital that we meet that thirst with a daily morning show that speaks to our issues, our concerns, from our perspective,” said Martin. “News One Now will launch as the pre-eminent destination for the pulse of Black America.”
Craig Henry (Washington Watch, Parole Diaries) will be the executive in charge of News One Now on behalf of TV One.
By Courtney Jacobs
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
A Utah substance abuse treatment center has reportedly refused to accept Paris Jackson, the 15-year-old daughter of pop music icon Michael Jackson, for treatment of behavior disorders, according to news reports.
According the website TMZ, a rehabilitation center in Utah that has not been identified, rejected the request of the Jackson girl’s mother for admission, citing the prospects of disruptive attention from media, especially paparazzi, on the treatment facility.
Jackson has been hospitalized since June 5 after what California first responders described as an apparent suicide attempt. She was treated for what appeared to be self-inflicted cuts on her wrists and for ingestion of a possible hazardous amount of pain-killers at UCLA Medical Center, the same place where her father was pronounced dead four years ago.
Jackson’s mother Debbie Rowe, in a Twitter post, said, “My daughter has asked that I extend a huge thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers and support. She is strong like her father.”
By Chelsea Lenora White
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times
Pharrell seems to have carried the BET Awards 2013 theme of “Anything Can Happen” with him from that Sunday evening to Monday morning. Just one day after he offered arguably some of the best performances of the night at the BET Awards in LA, which featured heavy hitters such as: TI, Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg (I refuse to call him Snoop Lion) and trailblazer Charlie Wilson, he filed legal papers in federal court in Manhattan seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement on Will.i.am’s “I AM” trademark.
The two artists have been in dispute for the past several months over the infringement issue. Will.i.am has owned the “I AM” trademark since 2001 and he filed objections in March and May against Pharrell Williams’ company, “i am OTHER,’ which launched in 2010.
Will.i.am uses “I AM” for his businesses, including his charity foundation “I AM ANGEL.” Pharrell’s “i am OTHER” produces web series, including hit web series and my absolute favorite webisode, “Awkward Black Girl.”
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