It isn’t often that a rap song changes my perspective. I’m admittedly not a great fan of rap music; if I want to be yelled at, I have people I work with for that. On the other hand it does throw in some off-the-wall references to kung fu, literary figures and historical events we don’t want to think about.
In 1985 Little Steven Van Zandt drew together a unique collective of musicians from across the spectrum, for the purpose of protesting against the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa. The project Sun City drew its name from the glittering resort in the so-called ‘homeland’ of Bophuthatswana, which was meant to showcase the ‘greatness’ of white South Africa, and which had already attracted prominent pop artists to perform at their casino.
Perhaps today it can be seen as an artifact of the late ’80’s; or, it may have a frightening relevance considering the exposure of the filthy underbelly of white supremacy here in our United States. What I referenced in the beginning of this piece was Sun City‘s rap track, “Let Me See Your I.D.”, meaning the passbooks all black South Africans over the age of 16 were required to carry on them at all times. If it was not produced on demand, black persons would be jailed and fined. As of 1985,13 million people had been jailed for pass law offenses.
It begins with a concept so obvious that it shouldn’t be so mind-blowing. Grandmaster Melle Mel chants, “Everybody uses black & white/ to draw the line between wrong & right/ but If you use your eyes you can really see”, that ‘white’ is really pink while skin that’s ‘black’ is really brown. Think about that; your skin is not white. Peach at best, maybe. And black, well, that covers a range of shades, none of them pure black.
Poet and novelist Gil Scott-Heron provides a running narration as subtle as the raps are not. “The word casualties comes up a lot…people are talking about isms…” But people are dying, he says, and there’s nothing casual about that. “Let Me See Your I.D.” showcases the talents of Grandmaster Melle Mel, Scorpio from Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Peter Wolf, Kurtis Blow, the Fat Boys, Gil Scott-Heron, Sonny Okosuns, The Malopoets form South Africa. Jimmy Cliff, Duke Bootee and more.
Sadly this track is unavailable for download and I could only find it online as a vinyl single. If you want to hear it today, ironically enough you’d have to find an unauthorized upload on YouTube and break the law.
‘Do Not Yield’. First of all, I’m an American & you don’t get to tell me what to do. EVER.
And if by Bible Law you mean the Ten Commandments, 99.98785 percent of you Nazi jerks don’t follow it already, so why should I follow you?
Lastly, the Christian ideal presented by Jesus is encapsulated in one simple phrase: “Love thy neighbor as I have loved you.” Might want to try that sometime.
I was a member of my church for 25 years and as far as I know I’m still an Elder there. Don’t throw your false Christian mumbo-jumbo down if you don’t want to be taken down.
The newest collection by Lagon Revue is now in print. This is their fifth outing. According to their website, Lagon is a prospective comic book magazine exploring new forms of graphic narration. It takes on a new name with each issue. Last year I was very pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation to submit one of my art sets to the latest issue, Marecage.
Marecage is bilingual, in French & English. The editorial team is Alexis Beauclair, Bettina Henni, Severine Bascouert, Sammy Stein & Jean-Phillipe Bretin.
I wanted my father to see this. We talked about it and he thought it was a good opportunity. He passed away in November. I would have liked to have seen his face when he saw what I was contributing. Miss you, Dad.
Freedom has been hard-fought in these United States, and never more so than for those who differ from a pale complexion. This simple drawing commemorates three honored African-Americans.
Left–Crispus Attucks, a free man, freed by his own hand, is considered the first man killed in the American Revolution, when he died at the hands of British soldiers in the Boston massacre.
The Boston Massacre, chromolithograph by William L. Champney, dated March 5, 1770, depicting Crispus Attucks prominently at the head of its victims.
Center–Phillis Wheatley, the first published African-American poet, indeed the first African poet in young America. It was a fact she was forced to attest to in court. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious & Moral was published in London in 1773 because Boston refused to do so. Her poem “To His Excellency, George Washington” earned her a meeting with the future President in March 1776, three months before the Declaration of Independence.
Right–Frederick Douglass, the greatest orator of the 19th Century and a fierce abolitionist. The first of five biographies, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, was published in 1850.
To all those who stared at their chains and said “No.” For all those who said, “no, I am NOT property, I am NOT your plaything. I am free and I will be respected.”
So, you don’t want to take your kids to have their vaccinations ’cause it isn’t in the Bible. That’s all right, there’s a lot of other useless items that are also NOT in the ‘Good Book.’ This should in no way be considered a comprehensive list; nonetheless here a few lacks I’d love to point out:
-Literacy, so you’ll actually know what’s in the f—kin’ book
-A uniform spelling system where we all agree on verb forms, spelling and grammar
-GUNS; that should please the NRA & all you supporters of the Second Amendment
-aspirin for when your kids get on your last nerve
-fresh running water
-refrigeration to preserve fresh food for days to come
-the most basic understanding of sanitation
–the most basic understanding of medicine
-Tolerance of your neighbors’ religion–oh wait, we don’t have that now, either. OK then, never mind…
-yoyos [I mean the toys, not our politicians]
-the most basic respect for your women-folk
-fire hoses, fire sprinklers or fire protection of any kind
-The Law of Gravity
-Newton’s Laws of Motion
-Einstein’s General & Special Theories of Relativity
-cell phones that allow you to nag your absent-minded children at school or from any part of the country whatsoever
Christopher f—kin’ Columbus
-George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson or any one of the Founding Fathers
-The Bill of Rights
-compasses to keep your sorry ass from being lost in the wilderness for 40 years like some people we know
-The Collected Works of William Shakespeare
-chocolate & candy
-latex stretch pants
-Bras, which depending on the person, may or may not be a blessing
I’m beginning to think this book may not have all the answers to life’s questions after all….
I’m going to try to say this as calmly and as rationally as I possibly can. You people are nuts.
By you I mean so-called evangelicals who believe or claim to believe that Donald J. Trump has been called of God, that he is a servant of God or worse, that he is in fact the risen Christ. I need to know where you’re getting your drugs, ‘cos it sounds like you’re on some powerful shit.
Chris Hedges says these people are not real evangelicals, that they are closer to being fascists. The distinction is of little importance since the people in question have the president’s ear.
Let’s be clear on one thing: Donald Trump was NOT ‘chosen of God’. He was chosen of by a Revolutionary War relic called the Electoral College. The sooner we’ve rid our Constitution of that foul institution, the better.
Honestly I don’t know what twisted form of illogic you’re teaching our children in your charter schools but plainly you don’t know Sacrilege when it passes your lips. i was a member of my church for 25 years. I have taught both Sunday School and Priesthood classes. I didn’t read the Bible–I studied the fuckin’ thing, so I can speak with absolute authority on the subject. And I’ll tell you, anyone associating Donald Trump with the Lord Jesus Christ has committed the greatest sacrilege.
Plainly you people have never read the Bible or you might just realize the folly you’ve been spouting. Now I may not worship Jesus, but I certainly admire him and I respect the message he tried to send into the world, a message 99.9837% of ‘American evangelicals’ have ignored in pursuit of one dumbass war in the Middle East after another. I know Jesus, my friends and I promise you, as a member of a sect that has suffered numerous vile pogroms throughout history, Jesus would never condemn an entire race as rapists and drug dealers.
There are limits to how much stupidity I am willing to tolerate, and you false evangelicals have exceeded them. I am disappointed that I live in a country incapable of differentiating between right and wrong and which refuses to accept the willful ignorance infesting religion and our body politic. I will not tolerate your hate or your sacrilege any longer.