Tuesday, June 22, 2004
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Hip Hop Convention in the News
Sources: NJ.com , BlackElectorate.com
Hip-hop convention delegates approve political agenda
Improving education, criminal justice and access to health care are among the priorities
Sunday, June 20, 2004
BY JEFFERY C. MAYS AND KASI ADDISON
Reforming public education and the criminal justice system, improved access to health care and an end to economic disparities were among issues that topped the agenda created by members of the first National Hip-Hop Political Convention in Newark yesterday.
Reparations for black Americans, statehood for Washington, D.C., federal legislation mandating free, universal and "holistic" health care and a truth-and-reconciliation commission to examine human rights abuses by the United States are of the utmost importance to the hip-hop generation. That's what more than 500 delegates from 17 states, including California, Oregon, Nebraska and Alabama, decided. To become a delegate, a person had to register 50 voters.
People didn't believe you were going to come here today and make something serious," convention co-chairman Ras Baraka said to cheers of the crowd gathered in the gymnasium of Essex County Community College.
"There are people who said: 'We don't want a hip-hop convention in Newark because we don't want a freak fest on Broad Street,'" Baraka added.
There was dancing during the convention. Traditional African drummers signaled the start of the agenda voting and several women were inspired to dance in the aisles, including artist and activist Amina Baraka.
The vote drew Baraka's husband Amiri, along with pioneering rap artist Chuck D. of the group Public Enemy, often credited with reviving conscious rap. A performance from revolutionary rap group Dead Prez made the delegates rush the stage.
Organizers say the plan is for convention delegates and participants to take the agenda back to their communities and use it in the upcoming presidential election as well as in local and statewide races.
"You have to take what you learn here and do something with it," said Angela Woodson, of Cleveland, a co-national coordinator of the convention.
While organizers say they want the Republican and Democratic parties to listen to their agenda, the mere mention of President Bush's name at the convention sparked debate, sneers and sighs of disgust from delegates.
"The Democrats are having a convention in July. Unless they embody the national hip-hop political agenda, then we should withhold our vote," said New York City Councilman Charles Barron, a mayoral candidate.
The hip-hop generation is usually defined as 18- to 35-year-olds and multiethnic but mostly African-American and Latino.
During the last presidential election, the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds voting was lower than the percentage of other age groups, according to David Bositis, a senior analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington think-tank that focuses on black issues.
Unlike the civil rights and post-civil rights generations before them that believed in the power of organizing tools such as unions, Bositis said members of the hip-hop generation are much more individualistic.
But the convention could be the start of something interesting with several years of work, he said, adding that Democrats will probably be most interested in listening right away.
"If you want to change policy or change the agenda, it's not like you snap your fingers and it happens. It takes time, energy and commitment. If they get a hearing with the Democrats, it's not like they'll get everything they want, but over time you'll build support for your agenda," said Bositis.
The lengthy process of adopting an agenda looked more like the creation of a national constitution. Starting off with a base document outlining five major issues: education, human rights, economic justice, health and the criminal justice system, state delegations met Friday night to decide what they thought should be added or deleted from the agenda.
Yesterday, delegates submitted 45 requests for changes to the national agenda. Each delegate would suggest the topic followed by a vote on whether to discuss the issue. After discussion, delegates voted on whether or not to adopt the changes.
The delegation from Florida was interested in voter disenfranchisement because of the ballot dispute of the last presidential election, said state chairwoman Alison Wiley, 21, of Miami. Dwight Wilson, 36, from Trenton, said the New Jersey delegation was concerned about the impact of drug sentencing laws.
Juan Saenz, 27, a delegate from Chicago, made a motion to amend the education agenda to include support of the Development, Relief and Education for Minors Act, pending before Congress. If approved, the legislation would allow undocumented youths to apply for residency if they graduate high school, are attending college or honorably discharged from military service.
The addition was approved after discussion.
"I believe this message of social justice needs to be opened up to other races and cultures," said Saenz who is Mexican. "Hip-hop is a byproduct of the black experience, but is now a molecule in everyone's soul."
Both M-1 and Sticman of the rap duo Dead Prez say they question the power of electoral politics to make change in this country. But the National Hip-Hop Political Convention also was about creating leaders and introducing new ideas and ways of doing things, they said.
"What's happening here is about change, viable options," said M-1.
"It's the quality of the vote that counts," said Sticman. "People always say others died for the vote, so why give it away?"
Music label mergers: consolidation continues
Text source: Guardian
Whether British music group EMI and Warner Music become one hinges on the detail of the ruling regarding the proposed merger between their bitter rivals.
Sony and BMG have been waiting since late last year for European regulators to decide whether they can merge recorded music arms. Competition commissioner Mario Monti finally told them last week he had decided to clear the merger after the commission concluded that there was not sufficient evidence of "tacit collusion". An announcement is expected by July 22.
The ruling on the Sony BMG merger is expected to cut the five big recorded music groups to four, but the question for EMI and Warner is whether four will be allowed to become three. Universal Music is the largest firm in the quintet, so it will be left out of the game.
Text source: Reuters
With the record industry soon to be fronted by a quartet, the backstage chatter has started about whether a trio might not make sweeter music.
BMG and Sony Music are poised to merge with the blessing of antitrust regulators, creating a clear number two to Universal in a four-horse field, leaving rivals EMI and Warner Music at about half the size and leading to fresh speculation among industry executives that they will renew talks to combine.
Merged Sony-BMG would be world's No. 1
BEIJING, June 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Universal Music maintained its status as the world's market leader in 2003, but a combined Sony and BMG would have challenged its dominance, reported CRIENGLISH.com. The Sony-BMG merger plan cleared a major hurdle June 17 when European competition commissioner gave his approval to the deal.A music industry trade group released market share figures that show BMG and Sony had an aggregate share of 25.1% in 2003.
Picture of the day
I just had to post this picture because Amerie is hot!
Today in Hip Hop/Urban History: Artists who had an influence on hip hop
1976 - "Godspell" opens at Broadhurst Theater NYC for 527 performances
1963 - "Little" Stevie Wonder (13) releases "Fingertips"
Text source: History of rock
Check out Stevie Wonder
Born Steveland Morris May 13, in Saginaw, Michigan. Stevie Wonder was placed in an incubator and given too much oxygen, causing permanent sight loss. Playing the harmonica at five, he started piano lessons at six and took up the drums at eight. Lula Mae Hardaway Wonder's mother was afraid to let the young boy out of house. Thus a brilliant musical career was launched. To pass the time of day, Wonder would beat on pot, pans,and any other surface that helped him keep rhythm with the tunes he heard on the radio. As he became proficient on various real instruments, he started playing at the local church and soon grew to be something of a neighborhood sensation. A child prodigy at an early age, Steveland sang like a seasoned veteran. After the family moved to Detroit word spread of the gifted Wonder. It would be only a matter of time until someone from Motown caught wind of this talented youngster.
Writing his first song at the age of ten, his musical talents were first recognized by Ronnie White of the Miracles, hear him at that age old playing harmonica for his children in 1961. White took him to Brian Holland who arranged an audition with Motown Records' Berry Gordy Jr., who quickly signed him to the Tamla label and named him "Little" Stevie Wonder. His first album, Little Stevie Wonder the 12 Year Old Genius made the child a huge star, and gave Stevie a number one hit with single "Fingertips," #1 pop and R&B hit. The following year he enrolled in the Michigan School for the Blind where he studied classical piano.
1959-“Along Came Jones” by Coasters peaks at #9
Text source: Wikepedia
The Coasters were an American doo wop and early rock and roll group, evolving from The Robins, a Los Angeles based doo wop group. After The Robins signed with Atlantic Records (1955, after the massive chart success of "Smokey Joe's Cafe"), the group split up. Carl Gardner (tenor) and Bobby Nunn (bass) formed The Coasters.
The Coasters continued their association with the Robins' legendary songwriters, Leiber & Stoller. They soon added Billy Guy (baritone), Leon Hughes (tenor) and Adolph Jacobs (guitar), releasing their first single "Down in Mexico", a major R&B hit in 1956. In 1957, The Coasters crossed over with "Young Blood"/"Searchin'". This was followed by a dry period, and the group relocated to New York City. Nunne and Hughes left, replaced by Dub Jones (bass, of The Cadets) and Obie Jessie. Jessie was soon replaced by Cornell Gunter (The Flairs). This new line-up released "Yakety-Yak", which included King Curtis on tenor saxophone. The song was a huge mainstream hit, as was the follow-up "Charlie Brown". This was followed by "Along Came Jones", "Poison Ivy", "Shoppin' for Clothes" and "Little Egypt".
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