It’s our anniversary
2006 may not be a great year for rap music, but it's shaping up to be one hell of a year for anniversaries. The next few weeks alone will mark the 30th anniversary of the self-titled debut album by Boston (don't front), the 10th anniversary of the alleged assassination of 2Pac, the fifth anniverary of Jay-Z's alleged classic album the Blueprint, the fifth anniversary of 9/11, and the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
I should do posts on all of these, but today I thought it'd be interesting to take a look at those last two. While the attacks of 9/11 were aguably more tragic than Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding of New Orleans (3,000 > 2,000), it would seem as if the latter has resonated a lot more with the hip-hop community than the former. I wonder why this is so. Is Hurricane Katrina more hip-hop than 9/11?
In case you have heard, what's left of the X-Clan has reformed both to help try to pay down Brother J's AmEx and to urge people not to see Oliver Stone's new 9/11 movie World Trade Center. According to someone presumably associated with X-Clan, the film is racist because a black marine who helped rescue the two police officers from the rubble between the collapsed towers is portrayed by a white man.
Which is obviously just wrong. That said, I wonder how many in the hip-hop community would even be interested in a movie about 9/11 anyway, regardless of the fact that it's directed by the same guy who wrote the god-awful Scarface. A fellow named Terrence went to see World Trade Center recently and reports that there was hardly a jig to be found in the theater.
I applaud the activism, but I personally don't think too many blacks are interested in 9-11 movies anyway. When I went to see United 93, I don't recall seeing any blacks there - and if there were - not enough to take notice. Same with Oliver Stone's revisionist trash, World Trade Center. I was the only Negro up in that movie theatre, so honestly, I don't think blacks, in general, are too interested in seeing 9-11 cinema.
Which is about consistent with the time I saw United 93 (more so because it was a Paul Greengrass film than a 9/11 film) earlier this year. Not that attendance at 9/11 films is an accurate measure of a group's relative interest in the event, but I think it's pretty safe to say that black people in general care less about 9/11 than white people.
The truth of the matter is that there weren't very many black people either on the planes or in the towers themselves. KRS-One made a similar point a couple of years ago while serving on a panel for the New Yorker Festival and actually went so far as to say that he cheered the attacks.
KRS-One's comments came during an October 2 discussion panel at The New Yorker Festival. He ignited heated reactions when he stated that security guards at the Twin Towers did not let blacks enter because of their manner of speech and dress, and that because of that discrimination, "when the planes hit the building, we were like, 'Mmmm ... justice.' "
Or as they say in Oxford, that's what you get. In fact, it's worth noting that some in the academic field, perhaps most notably insane fake-Indian Ward Churchill have suggested that the attacks were warranted, since the crack-ass crackas who worked in the towers essentially functioned as the "little Eichmanns" of American empire.
Meanwhile, I would imagine quite a few in the hip-hop community, at least those of us who have cable, will be tuning in for Spike Lee's Hurricane Katrina documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, which airs in two parts tonight and tomorrow night on HBO and in one four hour block on Tuesday August 29th, the first anniversary of Katrina.
Indeed it can be argued that Hurricane Katrina is more authentically hip-hop than 9/11, since the former disproportionately affected the disenfranchised in general and poor black people in particular while the latter tended to affect wealthier white people more so than anyone else.
It's no coincidence that we were affected by the one so much more than the other, and I think it's only right that we care more about the one that affected us than the one that affected them.