Wankstas, wigsters and wannabes?

Being that ego trip’s White Rapper Show is the show to watch right now, it makes sense that the issue of white folks in hip-hop would be a hot topic. In the blogosphere, there’s been a lot of debate about what it means to be white in hip-hop. And now some dude named Jamie Tanz has released a book on that very subject, which I’m going to have check out. [1]

I haven’t read Tanz’s Other People’s Property: A Shadow History of Hip-Hop in White America yet [2], but from the Unmasked One’s review, I gather that in it he chronicles white people’s participation in hip-hop culture, and goes on some sort of white pilgrimage to examine what hip-hop looks like outside of the inner city—in the process characterizing white fans as cultural tourists that fetishize black people.

Tom Breihan from Status Ain’t Hood recently weighed in on the book in the Village Voice, arguing that hip-hop music is now the “default pop music,” and that white kids have just as much of a right to it as anyone else. He dismisses the notion white kids have a tenuous bond with the culture—pointing to the fact that they buy CDs by black artists (as opposed to needing an Elvis figure to translate the music for them) as a sign of progress in race relations. “Could it be that the people who buy music aren’t necessarily buying it because they want to identify with the people making that music?” he asks. “Maybe white listeners are learning that they don’t need white performers to reinterpret black music for them.”

It doesn’t seem to occur to him that some white kids identify with the people making the music—that some white kids actually feel an affinity with black artists.

Hip-hop, after all, isn’t just a genre of pop music. It’s a culture. And it’s a black culture. Being a white person in hip-hop is essentially being a white person in black culture, and that’s a complex experience.

I don’t think that white people’s involvement in hip-hop can be reduced to the stereotypes of the clueless suburban rap fan, the superior white backpack rapper, or the smug white hipster—although these figures certainly exist. I think there’s a lot of white folks out there that genuinely love hip-hop, and have a range of reasons for feeling such an affinity with it.

Being that I’m white, Canadian and female—the antithesis of black, American and male—I obviously have a few thoughts on all of this. But it’s a tough thing to unpack. Nothing I write ever seems to really capture why I feel such a strong connection to hip-hop.

I could say that I took dance classes for ten years, and that hip-hop was the backdrop for the pleasure and abandon that I achieved through dance—the beats and rhymes interwoven with moments of utter joy. But that’s not enough, not by a long shot.

I could tell you that I grew up broke, with a dad that wasn’t around, a single mom that worked her ass off, and a brother that was always getting into trouble, in a subsidized housing complex bang smack in the middle of a wealthy neighborhood. I could tell you that I grew up ashamed of where I lived, of our ugly thrift store furniture, of never having the right clothes, of working shit jobs, yearning for a different life. I could tell you that hip-hop made my life make sense to me, that it fed my aspirations, my ambition—that it gave me hope. But that sounds a little dramatic, even if it’s the truth.

I could tell you that I watched the guys I grew up with drift into the arms of trouble, and how much that hurt—and still hurts. I could tell you about trying to come to terms with the cycle of violence, and how that has a way of eating away at your soul, and how sometimes you need to hear from people who you don’t have to explain all that to—who just know. But that winds up being stereotypical, since obviously not all black people have had those experiences.

I could tell you that the more involved I got with hip-hop, the more I saw people I care about harassed by police, held up at borders, unable to get cabs, disrespected, passed over for jobs, beaten and imprisoned, and that it deeply affected me. But that sounds like I’m reducing hip-hop to the soundtrack to pain and suffering, and I don’t want to do that.

I could tell you that perpetually being the only white person in the room, I heard a lot, and what I heard opened my eyes to some things. I started to notice the subtle (and not so subtle) ways that white people talk about black people, and that it disturbed me. But that sounds like white guilt and self-hatred.

I could tell you that I have been to hip-hop shows all over the world and I’ve seen how the spirit of hip-hop can be a healing, unifying force, that sometimes the music is pure magic and just makes you feel plain old happy to be alive. But that sounds corny to me. And lord knows us white folks hate looking corny.

_____________________________________________________________________

[1] He’s not the first. Upski’s Bomb the Suburbs looked at white people’s relationship to hip-hop back in the day, and more recently, novelist Adam Mansbach published Angry Black White Boy, and former Source editor Bakari Kitwana published Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop.

[2] For all I go on about books, no publicist thought to mail me a copy?

  • P

    amen

  • Combat Jack

    kewl

  • Belize

    “…sometimes you need to hear from people who you don’t have to explain all that to—who just know”

    ^ I feel u shorty, I feel u…

  • Moe Real

    I think you’re falling into the trap here. Why should anyone have to prove their attraction to music, culture or anything?

    The RZA always talks about feeling a connection with Asian culture, and Lil Weezy (among every other rapper) has an affinity for Italian American culture (via Scarface, anyway)…But there’s no Other People’s Property: A Shadow History of Asian/Italian Culture in Black America, is there?

    As you’ve pointed out, there are white people who fetishize hip-hop and gawk at blacks through the music. In my experience, these are suburban frat types, not hipsters. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you SO obvioiusly aren’t one of them. So why are you on the defensive?

  • EReal

    Pretty much wusup Tara-Squad.
    I applaud you for sharing personal experiences and information like that to put across your point, instead of just dropping an ignorant question with no real points or answers thereto, ala Jabba the Bol.
    Basicly the same points I was trying to make when Jabba blogged about this yesterday, except way more personally explained and heartfelt.
    Theres tons of reasons that white people listen to hiphop and Im sure whites share alot of those reasons with every other culture that enjoys hiphop. I mean, lets get real, its not just blacks and whites who love hiphop, its cultures and races all over the world.
    I agree that sometimes if not alot of times people have a hard time understanding that not all white people are privaleged and rich. Theres whites out there suffering just like every other race in this country and world. That maybe we have alot more in common than racial fears will let us notice.
    Now, Im not saying that a white kid from a trailer park in rural florida knows about keys opening doors and people bucked in the street and killed by cops. But, they can certinly identify with poverty, with not having food, or having a mother or father drug addicted or not being there, with violence, ect.
    Theres lots of different sub-genre’s within hiphop and lots of reasons to love it, which is why I had said in Jabba’s post “IMO, you would be closed minded not to think this was a retorical question” Because, it can be answered in so many ways and soo many variations of ways that it’s literally unanswerable from a one answer standpoint, if you get my meaning.
    Tara-Squad, you continue to impress.

    Tara-Squad’s why whites love hiphop > Jabba the Bol’s.

    1 hunned.

  • Lo-D

    every culture can identify with violence and losing loved ones be it to jail, death, or just being so drugged outta their mind that you cant even remember their real identity….so instead of trying to talk to people about it and having to explain everything you can just put on the music and hear it from a person that has been there and done that and can just say it so much more clear than you could and you just identify with them…

  • DJ Lucky Luke

    Dance class for 10 years? With utmost respect, Tara, “Girl, shake that ass…” Okay, now that that is over. I think I was drawn to hip-hop because I was sheltered from it as a younger child. My parents famously told me that I could NOT buy the MC Hammer CD at the store. Once, on the way to church, my dad demands to hear what I’m listening to on my Walkman. He asked who the artist was. I said “House of Pain.” He then quips, “So you’re going to the house of God, listening to the House of Pain?” Then he told me not to listen to that anymore. Hip-hop was my form of rebellion against the way I was being raised by my parents, peers, and religion. The baggy pants, big-t shirts, and Nikes came with the territory I guess. I’ve since withdrawn from being a wigga-type and focused more on just enjoying the music. I got a lot of love for our music, and I don’t mind anyone of any race or color listening to it, but I hate it when these fags head straight for the stereotypical shit and start acting like something that they aren’t. I guess it all boils down to insecurity and how one might look up to hip-hop and rapping as a way to be more outspoken, more extroverted. I dunno…

  • P-Matik

    Tom Breihan is the default clown of music critics.

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    Hip-hop, after all, isn’t just a genre of pop music. It’s a culture. AND IT’S A BLACK CULTURE. Being a white person in hip-hop is essentially being a white person in black culture, and that’s a complex experience.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    TY FOR SAYING THAT…TARA READ THE COMMENTS I AND SOME WHITES MADE IN BOLS POST…TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OF THAT…

  • http://Aphenomenonalwaysarisesfromtheinteractionofcomplementaries.Ifyouwantsomethinglookforthecomplementthatwillelicitit.SetcausesHorus.HorusredeemsSet. The Inspiration

    Tara, you’re meant to help Horus redeem Seth… if you don’t understand what I mean, well, maybe you will WHEN IT IS TIME. PEACE, Sister.

    “A phenomenon always arises from the interaction of complementaries. If you want something look for the complement that will elicit it. Set causes Horus. Horus redeems Set.”

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    I don’t think that white people’s involvement in hip-hop can be reduced to the stereotypes of the clueless suburban rap fan, the superior white backpack rapper, or the smug white hipster—although these figures certainly exist.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    MORE THAN YOU THINK
    I think there’s a lot of white folks out there that genuinely love hip-hop, and have a range of reasons for feeling such an affinity with it.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS IS BECAUSE WHITES HAVE NO CULTURE AND THEY TAKE BITS AND PEICES FROM EVERY OTHER RACE…AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT OUR CULTURE IS RICH AND THAT IS THE REASON…

    THERE ARE WHITES WHO ARE POOR BUT THEY CANT IN ANY FASHION FATHOM WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE BLACK IN AMERICA…LET ALONE RELATE TO IT…IF YOU NOT BLACK YOU CANT ‘FULLY’ RELATE…AM I WRONG FOR SAYING THIS..

    I could tell you that the more involved I got with hip-hop, the more I saw people I care about harassed by police, held up at borders, unable to get cabs, disrespected, passed over for jobs, beaten and imprisoned, and that it deeply affected me. But that sounds like I’m reducing hip-hop to the soundtrack to pain and suffering, and I don’t want to do that.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    THAT WOULD BE MAINLY BLACKS RIGHT OR WRONG…

    I started to notice the subtle (and not so subtle) ways that white people talk about black people, and that it disturbed me
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    ITS CALLED A SUPERIORITY COMPLEX…THEY THINK THEY ARENT WRONG WITH THE THINGS THEY SAY BECAUSE IN SOME SICK TWISTED WAY THEY BELIEVE THE NONSENSE

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    White Like Me is an examination of what it means to be white, particularly, though not solely in the United States, using personal stories as opposed to statistics and heavy academic analysis to look at the issue of racism in this country.
    It’s sort of a memoir really, which explores six major themes: first, the way that whiteness confers a legacy of advantage built up over generations; secondly, the way that being white still today pays dividends, in the justice system, housing, education and elsewhere; third, the idea that whites can choose to resist racism and privilege, but doing so takes practice; fourth, that even progressive whites often inadvertently collaborate with racist structures, and that we have to be mindful of how easy it is to do so, so as to be on guard against perpetuating injustice; fifth, that racial privilege, while benefiting whites in relative terms, actually makes most whites worse off in absolute terms: culturally, materially, and in other ways; and finally, that in struggling for justice alongside people of color, whites can begin to regain a part of our humanity compromised by unjust social systems.
    I’m hoping to communicate that whiteness bestows advantage as well as responsibility for addressing those privileges, both individually and collectively. The purpose is not to feel guilty but to recognize the way in which our(white) racial elevation in this society has really weakened the social support structures and systems of mutuality upon which we all depend…

  • jacquez
  • derfla the hus’la

    hiphop is still too young(not Small) to start to evaluate the love a white hiphoper has for it.majority of white people started to listen to hiphop prolly in the early 90′s so it’s realy hard to determine their love for hiphop is it because it was appealing to the eye?

    where they relating to the strories of violence and poverty rappers rapped about? or was it becoming a new pop sensation to them.

    either way let hiphop grow first, black people have contributed a lot to hiphop I think it’s time the other people do the same if it’s white people ,chinese, native people let everyone bring something to the table before we can actually say other cultures have played a big part in hiphop.

    and being part of a culture like hiphop doe’s not mean that everyone who loves it has to start rapping, and it doe’s not stop at jus listening to it, evereyone can play he’s/her part in hiphop jus come up with a way of getting involved with it

    Tara did it she didn’t have to grab the mic to prove she loves hiphop she simply got a pen (or a laptop in this case) and started wrighting about it.

  • Boner Jams 03

    I could tell u that white people smell like wet dogs when they sweat…

    I could tell u that white people love to eat yogurt , string cheese and trail mix….

    I could tell u that for some reason that cant be explained white people have adopted the golden retreiver as the official dog of the white race….

  • http://www.myspace.com/16kingz da’realestwritin’

    ain’t none of dat important don’t justify your love for nobody.not all hip-hop love comes from being broke, people from the burbs to the bricks feel it cuz’ it’s good not cuz’ they had bad upbringin’s.black,white,yellow,bol..whatever, none of it matters as long as you respect the art.and thats my 5 minutes of non-ignorance I now tune you into to your regulary scheduled hate blog! ooowwwwwww!!!

  • wax

    “I think you’re falling into the trap here. Why should anyone have to prove their attraction to music, culture or anything?”

    co-sign. I also listen to classical music. I have nothing in relation to the dead dudes from 19th, 18th and 17th centuries who created it, I’m not a society person who fits in with the concert attendee’s, but I sure do enjoy the music and I dont have to justify to anybody why this is so.

    same thing goes for any other genre. I dont understand this whole deal with white people and hip hop – hip hop is a music, the culture aspect of it died a long time ago. this happens any time a music gets popular and “blows up”.

  • sknight

    please never use the phrase “being that” again.

  • http://www.jimiizrael.com the izza

    yeah… white folks in hip-hop culture is a slippery slope rife with pitfalls. I find myself wondering what white people heard early-on in rap music that attracted them. And then I remember Vanilla Ice, Fresh Prince and MC Hammer and remind myself that most white people’s entree into the culture wasn’t through the political conciousness, social commentary door, but through the “rap coon” door, which eventually became more pervasive and ultimately more profitable. Rap music and hip-hop culture, despite Bakari’s limp hypothesis, hasn’t acted as a bridge between the races. Arguably, it has made young whites even more racist than thier parents and grandparents before them, because whereas thier forebears could plainly see injustice and put lyrics in context, young white kids only know of raps cartoonish ability to entertain, and feel enough ownership of the music and culture to boker in it and devalue it. In the end–and I mean this–most white people have no clue about hip-hop culture. Not even a litttle. And the few that do can’t articulate what they know, like you’ve managed to do here. But it doesn’t matter. In ten years, rap music will be pop music, and hip-hop culture will look completely different. Rap music is truly dead, if hip-hop is alive and well. if you don’t know the difference, then frankly, you shouldn’t.

  • blaQ

    Why cant we also discuss how blacks have been locked out of the rock scene? why cant we have a black rock eminem.they took over rock in the 60s and refused to give anyone else a chance(and dont tell me prince wasrcok-he was funk) white people shouldnt claim blacks are locking them out of rap then they refuse to accept black rockers. stop the hypocrisy!

  • blaQ

    if white people want to enjoy rap…so what?? music is there to be enjoyed…no one has a lock down on music. they but most rap CD’s anyway. if it wasnt for white people, your favorite rapper would be going wood today.

  • PAYNE

    yo tara lets hook up! I want to date a chic from canada. Most girls here are obese.(no lie check the internets) its a sad statistic. ones that are attrative, think they know everything.

  • EReal

    da’realestwritin’ Says:

    February 7th, 2007 at 1:11 pm
    ain’t none of dat important don’t justify your love for nobody.not all hip-hop love comes from being broke, people from the burbs to the bricks feel it cuz’ it’s good not cuz’ they had bad upbringin’s.black,white,yellow,bol..whatever, none of it matters as long as you respect the art.and thats my 5 minutes of non-ignorance I now tune you into to your regulary scheduled hate blog! ooowwwwwww!!!
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Co-Sign and LMFAO.

    1 hunned.

  • content

    Good post Tara.

    If you do have a chance to read N-Creds comments don’t be too hard on him.

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    content Says:

    February 7th, 2007 at 3:27 pm
    Good post Tara.

    If you do have a chance to read N-Creds comments don’t be too hard on him.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    gayest statement of the day

  • Jason Tanz

    Hi, Tara. I appreciate your mention of my book, Other People’s Property, and apologies for not getting you a copy yet. We’re on it.

    I don’t want to weigh in with too many comments; I generally prefer to let people interpret this book as they will. But for my own peace of mind, I just wanted to respond to your notion that I characterize “white fans as cultural tourists that fetishize black people.” This is a sensitive topic, so I can understand why people may get defensive when they read OPP. But I in no way mean to reduce, criticize, or take away from anybody’s love for hip-hop. And I certainly don’t wish to paint all white fans as tourists with race issues. Obviously, the population we call “white people” is just as varied in background and experience as those we refer to as “black people”. My point wasn’t to categorize or define all white hip-hop fans as one thing or another. It was to look at the process through which hip-hop — which in the popular imagination once seemed so alien and threatening and, yes, black — has been consumed and adopted by (choose your insufficient adjective) “mainstream” or “suburban” or “white” America. That is, how our mass culture now looks at race, and how that has been impacted by — and impacted — hip-hop’s course.

    So yes, I tend to focus on those people a bit outside the hip-hop inner circle, because I think they best demonstrate what happens to hip-hop as it goes out into the world. Again, I’m writing about a process here, not individuals — “white America,” not “white Americans”. So even if you don’t relate to the individuals I write about, I think you have to agree that they represent an important aspect of the incredibly complicated and multi-layered subject that is hip-hop.

    Basically, Tara, I agree with you: “Being a white person in hip-hop is essentially being a white person in black culture, and that’s a complex experience.” I tried to write about those complexities as honestly as I could. Hope you like the book when you read it, but would be interested to hear your thoughts in any case. And now, I go back underground.

  • JAGUAR_PAW

    UH SON!
    THATS HOW U WRITE A BLOG.

  • derfla the hus’la

    the izza Says:

    February 7th, 2007 at 1:49 pm
    yeah… white folks in hip-hop culture is a slippery slope rife with pitfalls. I find myself wondering what white people heard early-on in rap music that attracted them. And then I remember Vanilla Ice, Fresh Prince and MC Hammer and remind myself that most white people’s entree into the culture wasn’t through the political conciousness, social commentary door, but through the “rap coon” door, which eventually became more pervasive and ultimately more profitable. Rap music and hip-hop culture, despite Bakari’s limp hypothesis, hasn’t acted as a bridge between the races. Arguably, it has made young whites even more racist than thier parents and grandparents before them, because whereas thier forebears could plainly see injustice and put lyrics in context, young white kids only know of raps cartoonish ability to entertain, and feel enough ownership of the music and culture to boker in it and devalue it. In the end–and I mean this–most white people have no clue about hip-hop culture. Not even a litttle. And the few that do can’t articulate what they know, like you’ve managed to do here. But it doesn’t matter. In ten years, rap music will be pop music, and hip-hop culture will look completely different. Rap music is truly dead, if hip-hop is alive and well. if you don’t know the difference, then frankly, you shouldn’t.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    co-shizzle son….. nobody can argue with that!!!!!

  • the truth

    Great post and in response to Moe Real and his comments… Scarface was a dipiction of a Cuban – American not Italian…

  • 1 Mic

    There are obviously alotta white kids here, cuz yall be writin some paragraphs in these coments

  • http://www.myspace.com/goodassrap Rey

    That was beautiful, T. I definitely feel you on that. You’re the heart of this site. UNO!

  • Ace

    The white issue is hip-hop is huge because Black people don’t want another rock music, a form of music co-opted by white America. Hip-hop is the last form of Black American music. We’ve lost jazz and the blues to white America. Hip-hop is our formation. And it comes from a special place, one that I think that Tara (fine post by the way) can relate to immensely b/c she grew up on the block. You don’t necessarily have to be poor to relate to hip-hop, but, let’s be clear, hip-hop is a music of struggle. I was middle class, but I grew up struggling on the block surrounded by the shit that I heard in rap music. That’s why I related to rap music. I didn’t have to imagine that position, that space because it was my day to day reality. Rap doesn’t serve its informational message as it used to. Rap Music is already pop music, devoid of its cultural strength. The talent’s fine, but the message is gone and I’m not going to pull some underground shit either because 90% of the cats down there aren’t doing any better in this respect.

  • tha baddest rasta in the U.S.OF A

    To me hip hop is the last form of black music that’s still alive and is a window into the love,hate,joy and pain of black culture. Jazz, rock & roll and the blues was what hip-hop is today back then, but the white race fell in love with that part of black culture and in my opinion, tried to study it and destroyed it. If white people destroyed jazz and rock and roll what makes u think they won’t destroy hip-hop. I don’t care what no one says… black people this is a big part of our culture today. Imagine if black people held on to jazz and rock & roll and started our own jazz and rock & roll record labels like we r holding down hip hop. Imagine what music today would be like….. Hold down the block

  • Hannah Smith

    Do you blogger bots have to mention that flop of a TV show by contract in every post you make?

  • tha baddest rasta in the U.S.OF A

    gotta love hip hop culture all eye on
    us.

  • tha baddest rasta in the U.S.OF A

    To me hip hop is the last form of black music that’s still alive and is a window into the love,hate,joy and pain of black culture. Jazz, rock & roll and the blues was what hip-hop is today back then, but the white race fell in love with that part of black culture and in my opinion, tried to study it and destroyed it. If white people destroyed jazz and rock and roll what makes u think they won’t destroy hip-hop. I don’t care what no one says… black people this is a big part of our culture today. Imagine if black people held on to jazz and rock & roll and started our own jazz and rock & roll record labels like we r holding down hip hop. Imagine what music today would be like….. Hold down the block.

  • BUCKUALL

    To me hip hop is music, a commodity that I buy because I love it, it is entertaiment. To me it is one of the things that makes this life worth while.

    PEOPLE PLEASE STOP THAT BLACK & WHITE B.S, COME ON GUYS ITS SO PATHETIC, THE GREAT MAJORITY OF EVERYBODY IN THE FREAKING PLANET IS ASIAN.

    P.S I am not black, am not white, and definetly not asian

    “I AM FROM WHERE AM FROM”

    MY TRUE HOMEBOYS AND MY FAMILY THATS MY PEOPLES.

  • Whiteman

    First of all Scarface is Cuban not a fucking wop you dumbass mother fucker. I’m sure you have been to a rap concert which unifies and turns everyone into loving hippies.(What wait at a rap concert?) Can I ask you another question you ever been to a rap concert which ends in a hail of bullets and mutiple black people usually laying on the concrete bleeding like stuffed pigs? I love how you always can mention the nice lovely shit about black people and culture but some how always seem to miss the part about how one in 3 american black males is in jail out on parole bail or some other form of legal heckling. Have you seemed to forget about how despite being not even a quarter of the people in my home city (Toronto) They make up a good 90% of all shooters and drug dealers in the city. Have you seemed to forget that at least a large part of the black male popluation(if not more than half) abandon their daughters and sons leaving their women and a sad number of white women on there own to raise crazy little demon seeds. One last question do you really think that these same rappers and black people who you always jump to defend would treat you like anything other than a two cent hoe who they can fuck and dump like a box of McNuggets? Don’t lie to yourself don’t defend people who choose to live as they do…

  • thatwhitedude

    N-Cred, you seriously have some crazy ass opinions on things and i feel sorry for you and whoever raised you to think these crazy thoughts…just by going by your responses to tara’s post (which by the way was a GREAT post, although i felt it was lacking an ending, a way to sum it all up, but then again i guess that was sorta her point, that there is no way to sum it all up and give one big all-encompassing reason)…

    “MORE THAN YOU THINK”
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    that’s just plain outright ignorace, stop acting like you know all about white people and the identity of those whites who listen to hip-hop, its not like you got a frickin piechart breakdown in front of you, right off the bat you show your bias to hate on white people more than they deserve(this would be defined as prejudice, something i feel everyone has and it can’t be escaped so i’m not really bringing up your “prejudice” as a fault…just pointing out that even YOU have it, so stop getting pissed at whites for having it as well)…

    AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS IS BECAUSE WHITES HAVE NO CULTURE AND THEY TAKE BITS AND PEICES FROM EVERY OTHER RACE…AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT OUR CULTURE IS RICH AND THAT IS THE REASON…
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    yes you are wrong, but then again i assume this was a rhetorical question, for which you knew the answer, either that or you are insane for thinking its not wrong to say that black culture is rich (it is…) while white culture is just empty and poor, if you weren’t prejudice, which you proved at the beginning, and basically prove again here, you would realize that ALL cultures have some sort of value to society (italians, irish, german, etc. are great examples of valuable cultures to the world) and to say that all white culture is stolen from another race is just beyond rediculous…

    THERE ARE WHITES WHO ARE POOR BUT THEY CANT IN ANY FASHION FATHOM WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE BLACK IN AMERICA…LET ALONE RELATE TO IT…IF YOU NOT BLACK YOU CANT ‘FULLY’ RELATE…AM I WRONG FOR SAYING THIS..
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    this is where black people mess up the most i feel, and what certain black leaders such as bill cosby get pissed about, black people sometimes fall back on the whole “i’m black” excuse and use it as the reason for ALL their problems in life, you’re right in saying i and other whites have no idea what its like to be “black in america”, but at the same time, you and other blacks have NO FUCKIN idea what its like to be white in america either, sure you have your perception of what its like to be white, but who knows if its right, so using this logic then i guess its impossible for someone to know what its like to be any other race other than the one they are, so how about people just accept the race they are and live with it and move on, and stop using it as an excuse for everything and blaming all their problems in life on it and other races…

    THAT WOULD BE MAINLY BLACKS RIGHT OR WRONG…
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    uhhh sorta but not really, you also forgot anyone who is a “minority” in society, this would include women, gays, lesbians, asians, latinos, etc. etc., shit in other countries white people can even be a minority, so once again you make the mistake of assuming that blacks are the only people that ever are treated unfairly, it seems from all this examination of your statements that you are definately a very BIASED person huh?

    ITS CALLED A SUPERIORITY COMPLEX…THEY THINK THEY ARENT WRONG WITH THE THINGS THEY SAY BECAUSE IN SOME SICK TWISTED WAY THEY BELIEVE THE NONSENSE
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    WOW!!!! way to generalize once again (i believe generalizing is one of the main cornerstones of prejudice and racism btw…), sure some whites believe that there is no unfairness towards other races, including blacks, but you are way off and wrong in thinking that all whites think there is no unfairness in the treatment of different races…

    in conclusion, you got messed up views and opinions on races, no matter how one looks at it and in my opinion are as bad as kkkramer, mel gibson, or any other person who is labeled by the mainstream as prejudice, racist, and racially biased…ps. stop using that lame ass “let it burn” line, its so fuckin weezy f. baby its not even funny.

    GO BACK TO THINKING YOUR LIFE ONLY SUCKS BECAUSE OF YOUR SKIN COLOR AND NOT YOUR ATTITUDE ON LIFE AND OTHERS!

  • thoreauly77

    @ n-cred- why does it seem to me that you have one of the biggest superiority complexes out of everyone on here. its always either excuses or lame quotes that you use (and i can tell they are quotes even without the quotation marks because the words are actually spelled correctly by the way)? word-count does not equal legitimacy; opinion does not equal legitimacy. you present your opinions as fact rather than merely your subjective opinion, which makes you seem like a one-dimensional jack-ass. i dont think you are a one-dimensional jack-ass, but please, prove me right one of these days by not presenting yourself as so binary and obtuse.

  • LBz

    good post tara

  • mike murder

    Moe Real Says:
    February 7th, 2007 at 11:50 am
    Lil Weezy (among every other rapper) has an affinity for Italian American culture (via Scarface, anyway)

    Scarface is cuban… someone needs to put the chainsaw to your fingers before you flood the web with anymore dumbass

  • NickeNitro

    You don’t have to twist your head in knots trying to explain yourself. A simple “I like hip-hop music because it’s great music” is enough, really. You shouldn’t let other people make it complicated for you to do what you feel like doing.

    Hip-hop was created by black people. Nearly all of the people who have made hip-hop music are black. There are a lot of references to the black experience in the music. Traditionally, the audience has been primarily black. But that doesn’t mean white people can’t rap, and it’s absurd (and segregationist) to say that white people can’t listen to hip-hop or that white people are trying to be something they’re not when they do.

    The reason more white people don’t make rap music, and the reason a lot of them sound like crap when they do, is because they haven’t been around other people making rap music. They haven’t had anyone who’s done it there to teach and show them how it’s done. So they’re attempts sound like the uneducated mimicking and emulating that it is.

    Hip-hop music is radically different than other genres. You can’t just figure out how it’s done from listening to CDs and watching videos.

    For example, Tom Briehan once commented that rapping was “basically talking” and then was surprised in an interview with Prodigy that he didn’t sound the same in a conversation as he does in the booth. It apparently had never occurred to him that Prodigy had taken the time to develop his flow similarly to how a singer develops a voice. This misperception is probably a big reason why so many white people make the same stupid-sounding “I’m rapping” voice and have trouble taking themselves seriously when they try to rap.

    In regard to comments made in the review, it’s not about “having a right” or stake/claim/whatever to the music, Elvis probably sold more simply because he was being promoted FAR more heavily than the black musicians then, hip-hop was and still is an important avenue for social change, and it’s really cheap and trivial to call hip-hop “a genre of pop music” (really, you could even almost say that today’s pop music is a genre of hip-hop).

  • SilverBack Gorilla

    Tara, thanks for keepin’ the topics fresh & thought provoking. I like the way you detailed your background on this one.

  • Bang

    kill them fuckers

  • asd

    N-cred you sound like you are fuckin nazi, What ever was invented from black should stay for black and no one has the right for it. Ok so we shouldnt drive BMW since even the simbol on the car has so much history about BMW and the design of the car is always reflecting something from the past, like the air vents, they are always the same and represent the same wents that BMW was puting on there planes back in WW2 for the nazi, o shit thats not black so im not alowed to like it. Scarface he is from cuba whatever he did was because of what cuba made him, but once again he aint black i shouldn like him or act like him, and than there comes the Godfather, thats clearly italian, why the fuck did 2pac in the video gangsta party impersonated scarface and a some other italian gangstas, he is fuckin traitor thats why, wait i shouldnt watch that video since is byproduct of black and other cultures. What im trying to say is you dont have to be black white asian albino or whatever in order enjoy something. Nowadays our culture is not only black, but rather is combination of many, you can find many things that hip hop was influenced from italian, portorican even ooo shit even stuff from the white devil. We might have invented rock mucis but without the help of white artists like Roling Stones, The Beatles, Queen, it would have never evolved on such a level that is today. Than there is basketball, it was invented from white for white, but shit NBA would never evolved into what it is today without the help of black basketball players, black basketball players were playing in the hood with more dunks and style than white people which were more of three point shoters. You see we can co-exist without one another, but we would not evolve into what we are today. If you still think hip hop is only for black people think again how much hip hop was influenced from everything not black. Than again we should go to bosnia and tell them they can not understand hip hop since they are white and we can because we are black, Yeah right they will hip hop our ass back to africa, im sure they will make there ass to look better than our face. So next time before you say something retarded like “AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS IS BECAUSE WHITES HAVE NO CULTURE AND THEY TAKE BITS AND PEICES FROM EVERY OTHER RACE…AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT OUR CULTURE IS RICH AND THAT IS THE REASON…” think again since we have no culture and have to take some bits from italians portoricans and whites.

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    ..LMAO@thatwhitedude and his sorry attempt…

    …i said everything i needed to on the subject…accept the truth…or live in denial…

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    the comments whites made proves my point even more so

  • EReal

    ^ You are a true douche bag.

    Dude just broke you the fuck down, and these are your informative rebuttles to his argument.
    *SMH*

    1 hunned.

  • http://brandonsoderberg.blogspot.com brandonsoderberg

    I’m not really sure that Canada is the “antithesis” of America, Henley. They’re pretty much the same place, only Canada has way less black people.

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    EReal Says:

    February 8th, 2007 at 11:48 am
    ^ You are a true douche bag.

    Dude just broke you the fuck down, and these are your informative rebuttles to his argument.
    *SMH*

    1 hunned.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    are you serious…broke me down…

    *shakes head and is done with the subject*

    …whatever gets you sleep at night…go for it…im not here to convince anyone…i supply the truth…take it or leave it…

  • WestCoastBoss

    Having had our culture stripped from us forcefully years ago, us so called “black” have struggled to redefine ourselves culturally and socially in america, we’ve always been a musical people and our expressions over the years eventually evolved into this hip hop culture which was originally embraced by whites when it became profitable to make money off of the broke cats rappin, so naturally most “blacks” are gonna be real possesive of rap, in truth it is our culture specifically because we created the music, but it is American culture also, and we all american, it is disrespectful though, to say hip hop is not a “black” culture….

    aside from that though i think in general the younger american culture likes to party and go clubbin and get drunk or high, listen to loud music, watch girls shake they ass, girls like to shake they ass,live fast, have sex, and basically have an i don’t give a fuck type attitude, sounds like hip hop nowadays would be a great soundtrack to that lifestyle or mentality, so white folks is into rap more, it’s that simple, not to mention the fact that us so called “blacks” have been entertainin white people since we came here, whether dancing a jig or spittin a rap or being superior athletes, least we can get rich off of it now, keep lovin our shit white folks! it will actually make a good impact some generations down the line…….

  • WestCoastG

    bitches like to go to the club or parties and shake they ass, men like to go to the club or parties and get bitches, rap is played in the club, club rap is the most popular rap with white folks…its cuz of the bitches mainly…

    other white folks tend to like “lyrical” rap, metaphors wordplay, that more original “hip hop” sound,, most white rappers try to rap in that style so their actual lyrics are decent sometimes but theres no soul or feeling in the delivery, just big words that rhyme, if you can’t make people “feel” what you sayin its not good music, hence the lack of good white rappers….

  • r

    AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS IS BECAUSE WHITES HAVE NO CULTURE AND THEY TAKE BITS AND PEICES FROM EVERY OTHER RACE…AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT OUR CULTURE IS RICH AND THAT IS THE REASON…

    um..computers, tvs, radios, steroes, technology, films,moviees,music – thats white culture

  • r

    to Blaq -
    one of the biggest rockers out there is Keke Okereke, frontman of Bloc Party-an english rock band

  • KRITIQ

    r Says:

    February 8th, 2007 at 2:46 pm
    AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS IS BECAUSE WHITES HAVE NO CULTURE AND THEY TAKE BITS AND PEICES FROM EVERY OTHER RACE…AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT OUR CULTURE IS RICH AND THAT IS THE REASON…

    um..computers, tvs, radios, steroes, technology, films,moviees,music – thats white culture
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    dude you don’t seem to know the meaning of culture…….lol tv,stereos….. lol and you forgot mp3′s

  • KRITIQ

    r Says:

    February 8th, 2007 at 2:49 pm
    to Blaq -
    one of the biggest rockers out there is Keke Okereke, frontman of Bloc Party-an english rock band
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    dude if this guy is so big how come I never heard of him.

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    KRITIQ Says:

    February 8th, 2007 at 3:45 pm
    r Says:

    February 8th, 2007 at 2:46 pm
    AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS IS BECAUSE WHITES HAVE NO CULTURE AND THEY TAKE BITS AND PEICES FROM EVERY OTHER RACE…AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT OUR CULTURE IS RICH AND THAT IS THE REASON…

    um..computers, tvs, radios, steroes, technology, films,moviees,music – thats white culture
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    dude you don’t seem to know the meaning of culture…….lol tv,stereos….. lol and you forgot mp3’s
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    it just proves my point…they probably sit and think…then the epiphany comes…

  • LL

    personally ime italian and i like rap hiphop and r&b. i dont no how to explain why i do but i just do adn i think that anyone shud be able to listen to it. The hip hop culture is not only music but the attitude clothing and other activites that comes along witit. Personally i don’t wear phat farm or sean john clothing but white people if they wanted, should be aloud to. Let’s say you see a white person wearing phat farm or something like that and u wanna beat em just remember alota black rappers and black people wear lacoste polo’s.lacoste is ascociated wit white tennis people so then if white people cnt wear phat farm or sumthin then black people cant wear lacoste? thats not rite so n e 1 shud b abl to enjoy any thing they want

  • Megs

    “Why cant we also discuss how blacks have been locked out of the rock scene? why cant we have a black rock eminem.they took over rock in the 60s and refused to give anyone else a chance(and dont tell me prince wasrcok-he was funk) white people shouldnt claim blacks are locking them out of rap then they refuse to accept black rockers. stop the hypocrisy!”

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Blaq,
    Did you forget about Hendrix, or Kravitz? Have you heard of Bloc Party? or Fishbone?
    No one is blocking Black people from playing rock and roll. With that attitude, you’re only blocking yourself!

  • tha baddest rasta in the U.S.OF A

    r Says:

    February 8th, 2007 at 2:46 pm
    AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS IS BECAUSE WHITES HAVE NO CULTURE AND THEY TAKE BITS AND PEICES FROM EVERY OTHER RACE…AM I WRONG WITH SAYING THAT OUR CULTURE IS RICH AND THAT IS THE REASON…

    um..computers, tvs, radios, steroes, technology, films,moviees,music – thats white culture
    ——————————
    haahaahahahahahahahhahaha….lol
    dude just shut up and plz dont write nothing else. lol

  • tha baddest rasta in the U.S.OF A

    Hip hop = BLACK CULTURE

    BLACK CULTURE = HIP HOP

    PERIOD .

  • tha baddest rasta in the U.S.OF A

    Blaq,
    Did you forget about Hendrix, or Kravitz? Have you heard of Bloc Party? or Fishbone?
    No one is blocking Black people from playing rock and roll. With that attitude, you’re only blocking yourself!
    ————————————
    BULLSHIT.. STRAGHT UP, WHITE PEOPLE TOOK THE MUSIC (FROM BLACKS) AND RAN WITH IT. EVEN NAMED A WHITE MAN ELVIS THE KING OF ROCK & ROLL AND HE TURNS AROUND AND SAYS THE BLACK MAN CAN SHINE HIS SHOES, ONLY AFTER HE LEARNS TO DANCE LIKE A BLACK MAN. THE DAY WHEN WHITE PEOPLE TAKE OVER HIP HOP THEY WILL DO IT THE SAME WAY THEY DID
    JAZZ, ROCK AND ROLL AND THE BLUES, IT WILL BE DEAD. HISTORY IS THE BEST TEACHER

  • thatwhitedude

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^
    somethin tells me you failed math class in school huh “tha baddest rasta in the u.s. of a”

  • Boner Jams 03

    huh>?

  • tha baddest rasta in the U.S.OF A

    thatwhitedude
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    AND something tells me that ur AZZ FAIL AT LIFE WONT U GO GET A GIRL FRIEND OR TAKE UR AZZ TO THE COUNTY CLUB, I know you do have girl friend u just wrote a whole fukin book up there.
    *USING BLOG TO PRATICE UR BEING A AUTHOR CARIER, YEAH UR SMART*
    GET UR ASS OFF THE COMPUTER AND GO FIND A WIFE OR GIRL, PATHETIC

  • tha baddest rasta in the U.S.OF A

    thatwhitedude
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    AND something tells me that ur AZZ FAIL AT LIFE WONT U GO GET A GIRL FRIEND OR TAKE UR AZZ TO THE COUNTRY CLUB, I know you don’t have a girl friend u just wrote a whole fukin book up there.
    *USING BLOG TO PRATICE UR BEING A AUTHOR CARIER, YEAH UR SMART*
    GET UR ASS OFF THE COMPUTER AND GO FIND A WIFE OR GIRL, PATHETIC

  • tha baddest rasta in the U.S.OF A

    thatwhitedude
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    AND something tells me that ur AZZ FAIL AT LIFE WONT U GO GET A GIRL FRIEND OR TAKE UR AZZ TO THE COUNTRY CLUB, I know you don’t have a girl friend u just wrote a whole fukin book up there.
    *USING BLOG TO PRATICE UR BEING A AUTHOR CARIER, YEAH UR SMART*
    GET UR ASS OFF THE COMPUTER AND GO FIND A WIFE OR GIRL, PATHETIC..

  • tha baddest rasta in the U.S.OF A

    thatwhitedude
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    AND something tells me that ur AZZ FAIL AT LIFE WONT U GO GET A GIRL FRIEND OR TAKE UR AZZ TO THE COUNTRY CLUB, I know you don’t have a girl friend u just wrote a whole fukin book up there.
    *USING BLOG TO PRATICE UR BEING A AUTHOR CARIER, YEAH UR SMART*
    GET UR ASS OFF THE COMPUTER AND GO FIND A WIFE OR GIRL, PATHETIC.

  • let the game begin

    the only culture white kids can relate to is pop culture and thats gayest culture in the world daim even white kids don’t want it……. why the fuck you think thatwhite dude is in here.

  • tha baddest rasta in the U.S.OF A

    thatwhitedude
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    AND something tells me that ur AZZ FAILED AT LIFE, WONT U GO GET A GIRL FRIEND OR TAKE UR AZZ TO THE COUNTRY CLUB, I know you dont have a girl friend, u just wrote a whole fukin book up there.
    *USING BLOG TO PRATICE UR BEING A AUTHOR CARIER, YEAH UR SMART*
    GET UR ASS OFF THE COMPUTER AND GO FIND A WIFE OR GIRL, PATHETIC….
    uuugghhhh

  • D

    Tara – good post. I mean, how can you hate on that?

  • legendary

    I see a lot of y’all that be saying that blacks are racist. Well I can say that some white are even worst. Check these comments in here about a black U.S olympic skater in the squad. They be saying it belongs to us blah blah.

    http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives/2006/03/black_skater_in.php

  • who killed him?

    Jack Johnson, the first Black heavyweight boxing champion, patented a wrench (U.S. patent #1,413,121) on April 18, 1922. His patent was not the first for a wrench. Solymon Merrick of Springfield, Massachusetts, patented the first wrench in 1835. Charles Moncky, a Baltimore mechanic, invented the monkey wrench around 1858. Moncky’s wrench was named using a purposeful misspelling of his name. On September 9, 1913, Robert Owen Jr, of Shawnee, Ohio, received a patent for the “Double Acting Wrench” (ratchet wrench), arguably the most important advancement in wrench technology. Daniel C. Stillson, a steamboat firefighter, received a patented on September 13, 1870 for an invention later known as the Stillson pipe wrench.

    Jack Johnson, the inventor, represents little more than an interesting historical footnote. He owes his fame and infamy to his boxing exploits and his violation of social norms. Born John Arthur Johnson (1878) in Galveston, Texas, Johnson fought as a youth in battle royals (public fights between 4-12 Blacks for the amusement of White patrons). As a teenager he worked on boats and on Galveston’s docks. Johnson began boxing in 1897 and quickly became a skilled fighter. On February 3, 1903 Johnson won the Colored Heavyweight Championship of the World title with a 20-round decision over Denver Ed Martin. This title did not satisfy Johnson; he wanted to become champion of the entire world.

    Johnson was an imposing and frightening figure in the ring. His body was chiseled: 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. He was a skilled counter puncher with devastating punching power. Moreover, he rightly considered himself the world’s best boxer and when he was able to fight White fighters he “punished” them. At the beginning of the 20th century most Americans believed that Whites were physically superior to Blacks and the heavyweight champion of the boxing world was considered the epitome of physical strength. Johnson defeated White fighters, taunting them in front of mostly-White audiences. On July 17, 1907 he knocked out former world champion Bob Fitzsimmons in the 2nd round. Tommy Burns, the White champion, tried to avoid fighting Johnson, but the American public demanded that Burns put Johnson “in his place.” Burns’ reluctance to fight Johnson was eased by a guarantee of a $30,000 paycheck. On December 26, 1908, Johnson and Burns fought in Australia. Johnson severely beat Burns until a police inspector stopped the fight in the fourteenth round.

    Johnson’s victory was a major blow to Jim Crow. A White champion had been defeated by a so-called Negro. The Jim Crow system was, in effect, a racial hierarchy with Whites at the top and Blacks at the bottom; Whites were considered superior to Blacks in all important ways, including but not limited to intelligence, morality, courage, civilized behavior, and physical strength. Johnson’s victory over Burns led many Whites to physically assault innocent Blacks on America’s streets. Johnson lived as if the Jim Crow system did not exist. During the Jim Crow period Blacks were sometimes beaten for “talking back” to Whites; yet, Johnson spoke to Whites as if he were an equal — or a superior. He reveled in his riches and fame. And, at a time when Blacks were imprisoned, even lynched, for flirting with White women, Johnson openly dated White women and married three White women. In 1908 and for at least another decade, Jack Johnson was one of the most hated men in America. He was White America’s worse nightmare: a menacing black “brute,” profligate, arrogant, immoral, a threat to everything white. Thus, began the search for a “Great White Hope,” a White man to defeat the Black menace. James J. Jeffries, a former champion, came out of retirement to fight Johnson, but the fight was a mismatch. Johnson beat him easily on July 4, 1910. Nineteen people were killed in race riots after the fight.

    In 1912 Johnson was arrested for violation of the Mann Act, a law often used to prevent Black men from traveling with White women. During the Jim Crow period sexual relations between Black men and White women violated one of the nation’s most important taboos. Johnson was charged with transporting Lucille Cameron, his White girlfriend, across state lines for “immoral purposes.” Although the two married later that year, he was convicted of violating the Mann Act, a federal offense. The Judge was Kenesaw Mountain Landis who later became famous as a Commissioner of Major League Baseball. While his conviction was being appealed, Johnson fled to Europe to avoid incarceration. Lucille went with him. He remained a champion in exile until he lost on April 5, 1915 to Jess Willard in the 26th round in Havana, Cuba. Johnson claimed in his autobiography that he was promised a pardon if he “threw” the fight. There is a famous photograph of him laying on the mat having been “knocked out” by Willard. Johnson has one arm raised, apparently shielding his eyes from the sun’s rays.

    Johnson lived on the lam in Spain and Mexico until 1920. Tiring of living abroad, often alone in shanties, he returned to the United States and was sent to Leavenworth Federal Prison in Kansas. While in prison, Johnson conceptualized and diagrammed a tool to help tighten loosening fastening devices. This is the wrench that he patented on April 18, 1922.

    Johnson boxed professionally from 1897 to 1928, and boxed in exhibition matches until 1945. During his boxing career, Jack Johnson fought 114 fights, winning 80 matches, 45 by knockouts. He was killed in a car crash while driving to see the Joe Louis-Billy Conn championship fight.

  • free yah mind

    Open Letter from Assata Shakur
    Assata Shakur

    My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.

    I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.

    In 1978, my case was one of many cases bought before the United Nations Organization in a petition filed by the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, exposing the existence of political prisoners in the United States, their political persecution, and the cruel and inhuman treatment they receive in US prisons. According to the report:

    The FBI and the New York Police Department in particular, charged and accused Assata Shakur of participating in attacks on law enforcement personnel and widely circulated such charges and accusations among police agencies and units. The FBI and the NYPD further charged her as being a leader of the Black Liberation Army which the government and its respective agencies described as an organization engaged in the shooting of police officers. This description of the Black Liberation Army and the accusation of Assata Shakur’s relationship to it was widely circulated by government agents among police agencies and units. As a result of these activities by the government, Ms. Shakur became a hunted person; posters in police precincts and banks described her as being involved in serious criminal activities; she was highlighted on the FBI’s most wanted list; and to police at all levels she became a ‘shoot-to-kill’ target.”

    I was falsely accused in six different “criminal cases” and in all six of these cases I was eventually acquitted or the charges were dismissed. The fact that I was acquitted or that the charges were dismissed, did not mean that I received justice in the courts, that was certainly not the case. It only meant that the “evidence” presented against me was so flimsy and false that my innocence became evident. This political persecution was part and parcel of the government’s policy of eliminating political opponents by charging them with crimes and arresting them with no regard to the factual basis of such charges.

    On May 2, 1973 I, along with Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike, supposedly for a “faulty tail light.” Sundiata Acoli got out of the car to determine why we were stopped. Zayd and I remained in the car. State trooper Harper then came to the car, opened the door and began to question us. Because we were black, and riding in a car with Vermont license plates, he claimed he became “suspicious.” He then drew his gun, pointed it at us, and told us to put our hands up in the air, in front of us, where he could see them. I complied and in a split second, there was a sound that came from outside the car, there was a sudden movement, and I was shot once with my arms held up in the air, and then once again from the back.

    Zayd Malik Shakur was later killed, trooper Werner Foerster was killed, and even though trooper Harper admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik Shakur, under the New Jersey felony murder law, I was charged with killing both Zayd Malik Shakur, who was my closest friend and comrade, and charged in the death of trooper Forester. Never in my life have I felt such grief. Zayd had vowed to protect me, and to help me to get to a safe place, and it was clear that he had lost his life, trying to protect both me and Sundiata. Although he was also unarmed, and the gun that killed trooper Foerster was found under Zayd’s leg, Sundiata Acoli, who was captured later, was also charged with both deaths. Neither Sundiata Acoli nor I ever received a fair trial We were both convicted in the news media way before our trials. No news media was ever permitted to interview us, although the New Jersey police and the FBI fed stories to the press on a daily basis. In 1977, I was convicted by an all- white jury and sentenced to life plus 33 years in prison. In 1979, fearing that I would be murdered in prison, and knowing that I would never receive any justice, I was liberated from prison, aided by committed comrades who understood the depths of the injustices in my case, and who were also extremely fearful for my life.

    The U.S. Senate’s 1976 Church Commission report on intelligence operations inside the USA, revealed that “The FBI has attempted covertly to influence the public’s perception of persons and organizations by disseminating derogatory information to the press, either anonymously or through “friendly” news contacts.” This same policy is evidently still very much in effect today.

    On December 24, 1997, The New Jersey State called a press conference to announce that New Jersey State Police had written a letter to Pope John Paul II asking him to intervene on their behalf and to aid in having me extradited back to New Jersey prisons. The New Jersey State Police refused to make their letter public. Knowing that they had probably totally distort the facts, and attempted to get the Pope to do the devils work in the name of religion, I decided to write the Pope to inform him about the reality of’ “justice” for black people in the State of New Jersey and in the United States. (See attached Letter to the Pope).

    In January of 1998, during the pope’s visit to Cuba, I agreed to do an interview with NBC journalist Ralph Penza around my letter to the Pope, about my experiences in New Jersey court system, and about the changes I saw in the United States and it’s treatment of Black people in the last 25 years. I agreed to do this interview because I saw this secret letter to the Pope as a vicious, vulgar, publicity maneuver on the part of the New Jersey State Police, and as a cynical attempt to manipulate Pope John Paul II. I have lived in Cuba for many years, and was completely out of touch with the sensationalist, dishonest, nature of the establishment media today. It is worse today than it was 30 years ago. After years of being victimized by the “establishment” media it was naive of me to hope that I might finally get the opportunity to tell “my side of the story.” Instead of an interview with me, what took place was a “staged media event” in three parts, full of distortions, inaccuracies and outright lies. NBC purposely misrepresented the facts. Not only did NBC spend thousands of dollars promoting this “exclusive interview series” on NBC, they also spent a great deal of money advertising this “exclusive interview” on black radio stations and also placed notices in local newspapers.
    DISTORTIONS AND LIES IN THE NBC SERIES

    In an NBC interview Gov. Whitman was quoted as saying that “this has nothing to do with race, this had everything to do with crime.” Either Gov. Whitman is completely unfamiliar with the facts in my case, or her sensitivity to racism and to the plight of black people and other people of color in the United States is at a sub-zero level. In 1973 the trial in Middlesex County had to be stopped because of the overwhelming racism expressed in the jury room. The court was finally forced to rule that the entire jury panel had been contaminated by racist comments like “If she’s black, she’s guilty.” In an obvious effort to prevent us from being tried by “a jury of our peers the New Jersey courts ordered that a jury be selected from Morris County, New Jersey where only 2.2 percent of the population was black and 97.5 percent of potential jurors were white. In a study done in Morris County, one of the wealthiest counties in the country, 92 percent of the registered voters said that they were familiar with the case through the news media, and 72 percent believed we were guilty based on pretrial publicity. During the jury selection process in Morris County, white supremacists from the National Social White People’s Party, wearing Swastikas, demonstrated carrying signs reading “SUPPORT WHITE POLICE.” The trial was later moved back to Middlesex County where 70 percent thought I was guilty based on pretrial publicity I was tried by an all-white jury, where the presumption of innocence was not the criteria for jury selection. Potential jurors were merely asked if they could “put their prejudices aside, and “render a fair verdict.” The basic reality in the United States is that being black is a crime and black people are always “suspects” and an accusation is usually a conviction. Most white people still think that being a “black militant” or a “black revolutionary” is tantamount to being guilty of some kind of crime. The current situation in New Jersey’s prisons, underlines the racism that dominates the politics of the state of New Jersey, in particular and in the U.S. as a whole. Although the population of New Jersey is approximately 78 percent white, more than 75 percent of New Jersey’s prison population is made up of blacks and Latinos. 80 percent of the women in Jersey prisons are people of color. That may not seem like racism to Gov. Whitman, but it reeks of of racism to us.

    The NBC story implied that Governor Christie Whitman raised the reward for my capture based on my interview with NBC. The fact of the matter is that she has been campaigning since she was elected into office to double the reward for my capture. In 1994, she appointed Col. Carl Williams who immediately vowed to make my capture a priority. In 1995, Gov. Whitman sought to “match a $25,000 departmental appropriation sponsored by an “unidentified legislator.” I watched a tape of Gov. Whitman’s “testimony” in her interview with NBC. She gave a very dramatic, exaggerated version of what happened, but there is no evidence whatsoever to support her claim that Trooper Foerster had “four bullets in him at least, and then they got up and with his own gun, fired two bullets into his head.” She claimed that she was writing Janet Reno for federal assistance in my capture, based on what she saw in the NBC interview. If this is the kind of “information” that is being passed on to Janet Reno and the Pope, it is clear that the facts have been totally distorted. Whitman also claimed that my return to prison should be a condition for “normalizing relations with Cuba”. How did I get so important that my life can determine the foreign relations between two governments? Anybody who knows anything about New Jersey politics can be certain that her motives are purely political. She, like Torrecelli and several other opportunistic politicians in New Jersey came to power, as part- time lobbyists for the Batistia faction – soliciting votes from right wing Cubans. They want to use my case as a barrier for normalizing relations with Cuba, and as a pretext for maintaining the immoral blockade against the Cuban people.

    In what can only be called deliberate deception and slander NBC aired a photograph of a woman with a gun in her hand implying that the woman in the photograph was me. I was not, in fact, the woman in the photograph. The photograph was taken from a highly publicized case where I was accused of bank robbery. Not only did I voluntarily insist on participating in a lineup, during which witnesses selected another woman, but during the trial, several witnesses, including the manager of the bank, testified that the woman in that photograph was not me. I was acquitted of that bank robbery. NBC aired that photograph on at least 5 different occasions, representing the woman in the photograph as me. How is it possible, that the New Jersey State Police, who claim to have a detective working full time on my case, Governor of New Jersey Christine Whitman, who claimed she reviewed all the “evidence,” or NBC, which has an extensive research department, did not know that the photograph was false? It was a vile, fraudulent attempt to make me look guilty. NBC deliberately misrepresented the truth. Even after many people had called in, and there was massive fax, and e-mail campaign protesting NBC’s mutilation of the facts, Ralph Penza and NBC continued to broadcast that photograph, representing it as me. Not once have the New Jersey State Police, Governor Christine Whitman, or NBC come forth and stated that I was not the woman in the photograph, or that I had been acquitted of that charge.

    Another major lie and distortion was that we had left trooper Werner Foerster on the roadside to die. The truth is that there was a major cover-up as to what happened on May 2, 1973. Trooper Harper, the same man who shot me with my arms raised in the air, testified that he returned to the State Police Headquarters which was less than 200 yards away, “To seek aid.” However, tape recordings and police reports made on May 2, 1973 prove that not only did Trooper Harper give several conflicting statements about what happened on the turnpike, but he never once mentioned the name of Werner Foerster, or the fact that the incident took place right in front of the Trooper Headquarters. In an effort to hide his tracks and cover his guilt he said nothing whatsoever about Foerster to his superiors or to his fellow officers.

    In a clear attempt to discredit me, Col. Carl Williams of the New Jersey State Police was allowed to give blow by blow distortions of my interview. In my interview I stated that on the night of May 2, 1973 I was shot with my arms in the air, then shot again in the back. Williams stated “that is absolutely false. Our records show that she reached in her pocketbook, pulled out a nine millimeter weapon and started firing.” However, the claim that I reached into my pocketbook and pulled out a gun, while inside the car was even contested by trooper Harper. Although on three official reports, and when he testified before the grand jury he stated that he saw me take a gun out of my pocketbook, he finally admitted under cross-examination that he never saw me with my hands in a pocketbook, never saw me with a weapon inside the car, and that he did not see me shoot him.

    The truth is that I was examined by 3 medical specialists:

    (1) A Neurologist who testified that I was immediately paralyzed immediately after the being shot.
    (2) A Surgeon who testified that “It was absolutely anatomically necessary that both arms be in the air for Mrs. Chesimard to receive the wounds.” The same surgeon also testified that the claim by Trooper Harper that I had been crouching in a firing position when I was shot was “totally anatomically impossible.”
    (3) A Pathologist who testified that “There is no conceivable way that it [the bullet] could have traveled over to hit the clavicle if her arm was down.” he said “It was impossible to have that trajectory”

    The prosecutors presented no medical testimony whatsoever to refute the above medical evidence.

    No evidence whatsoever was ever presented that I had a 9-millimeter weapon, in fact New Jersey State Police testified that the 9-millimeter weapon belonged to Zayd Malik Shakur based on a holster fitting the weapon that they was recovered from his body.

    There were no fingerprints, or any other evidence whatsoever that linked me to any guns or ammunition.

    The results of the Neutron Activation test to determine whether or not I had fired a weapon were negative.

    Although Col. Williams refers to us as the “criminal element” neither Zayd, or Sundiata Acoli or I were criminals, we were political activists. I was a college student until the police kicked down my door in an effort to force me to “cooperate” with them and Sundiata Acoli was a computer expert who had worked for NASA, before he joined the Black Panther Party and was targeted by COINTELPRO.

    In an obvious maneuver to provoke sympathy for the police, the NBC series juxtaposed my interview with the weeping widow of Werner Foerster. While I can sympathize with her grief, I believe that her appearance was deliberately included to appeal to people’s emotions, to blur the facts, to make me look like a villain, and to create the kind of lynch mob mentality that has historically been associated with white women portrayed as victims of black people. In essence the supposed interview with me became a forum for the New State Police, Foerster’s widow, and the obviously hostile commentary of Ralph Penza. The two initial programs together lasted 3.5 minutes – me – 59 seconds, the widow 50 seconds, the state police 38 seconds, and Penza – 68 seconds. Not once in the interview was I ever asked about Zayd, Sundiata or their families. As the interview went on, it was painfully evident that Ralph Penza would never see me as a human being. Although I tried to talk about racism and about the victims of government and police repression, it was clear that he was totally uninterested.

    I have stated publicly on various occasions that I was ashamed of participating in my trial in New Jersey trial because it was so racist, but I did testify. Even though I was extremely limited by the judge, as to what I could testfy about, I testified as clearly as I could about what happened that night. After being almost fatally wounded I managed to climb in the back seat of the car to get away from the shooting. Sundiata drove the car five miles down the road carried me into a grassy area because he was afraid that the police would see the car parked on the side of the road and just start shooting into it again. Yes, it was five miles down the highway where I was captured, dragged out of the car, stomped and then left on the ground. Although I drifted in and out of consciousness I remember clearly that both while I was lying on the ground, and while I was in the ambulance, I kept hearing the State troopers ask “is she dead yet?” Because of my condition I have no independent recollection of how long I was on the ground, or how long it was before the ambulance was allowed to leave for the hospital, but in the trial transcript trooper Harper stated that it was while he was being questioned, some time after 2:00 am that a detective told him that I had just been brought into the hospital. I was the only live “suspect” in custody, and prior to that time Harper, had never told anyone that a woman had shot him.

    As I watched Governor Whitman’s interview the one thing that struck me was her “outrage” at my joy about being a grandmother, and my “quite nice life” as she put it here in Cuba. While I love the Cuban people and the solidarity they have shown me, the pain of being torn away from everybody I love has been intense. I have never had the opportunity to see or to hold my grandchild. If Gov. Whitman thinks that my life has been so nice, that 50 years of dealing with racism, poverty, persecution, brutality, prison, underground, exile and blatant lies has been so nice, then I’d be more than happy to let her walk in my shoes for a while so she can get a taste of how it feels. I am a proud black woman, and I’m not about to get on the television and cry for Ralph Penza or any other journalist, but the way I have suffered in my lifetime, and the way my people have suffered, only god can bear witness to.

    Col. Williams of the New Jersey State Police stated “we would do everything we could go get her off the island of Cuba and if that includes kidnaping, we would do it.” I guess the theory is that if they could kidnap millions of Africans from Africa 400 years ago, they should be able to kidnap one African woman today. It is nothing but an attempt to bring about the re-incarnation of the Fugitive Slave Act. All I represent is just another slave that they want to bring back to the plantation. Well, I might be a slave, but I will go to my grave a rebellious slave. I am and I feel like a maroon woman. I will never voluntarily accept the condition of slavery, whether it’s de-facto or ipso-facto, official, or unofficial. In another recent interview, Williams talked about asking the federal government to add to the $50,000 reward for my capture. He also talked about seeking “outside money, or something like that, a benefactor, whatever.” Now who is he looking to “contribute” to that “cause”? The Ku Klux Klan, the Neo Nazi Parties, the white militia organizations? But the plot gets even thicker. He says that the money might lure bounty hunters. “There are individuals out there, I guess they call themselves ‘soldiers of fortune’ who might be interested in doing something, in turning her over to us” Well, in the old days they used to call them slave-catchers, trackers, or patter-rollers, now they are called mercenaries. Neither the governor nor the state police say one word about “justice.” They have no moral authority to do so. The level of their moral and ethical bankruptcy is evident in their eagerness to not only break the law and hire hoodlums, all in the name of “law and order.” But you know what gets to me, what makes me truly indignant? With the schools in Paterson, N.J. falling down, with areas of Newark looking like a disaster area, with the crack epidemic, with the wide-spread poverty and unemployment in New Jersey, these depraved, decadent, would-be slave-masters want federal funds to help put this “nigger wench” back in her place. They call me the “most wanted woman” in Amerika. I find that ironic. I’ve never felt very “wanted” before. When it came to jobs, I was never the “most wanted,” when it came to “economic opportunities I was never the “most wanted, when it came to decent housing.” It seems like the only time Black people are on the “most wanted” list is when they want to put us in prison.

    But at this moment, I am not so concerned about myself. Everybody has to die sometime, and all I want is to go with dignity. I am more concerned about the growing poverty, the growing despair that is rife in Amerika. I am more concerned about our younger generations, who represent our future. I am more concerned that one-third of young black are either in prison or under the jurisdiction of the “criminal in-justice system.” I am more concerned about the rise of the prison-industrial complex that is turning our people into slaves again. I am more concerned about the repression, the police brutality, violence, the rising wave of racism that makes up the political landscape of the U.S. today. Our young people deserve a future, and I consider it the mandate of my ancestors to be part of the struggle to insure that they have one. They have the right to live free from political repression. The U.S. is becoming more and more of a police state and that fact compels us to fight against political repression. I urge you all, every single person who reads this statement, to fight to free all political prisoners. As the concentration camps in the U.S. turn into death camps, I urge you to fight to abolish the death penalty. I make a special, urgent appeal to you to fight to save the life of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the only political prisoner who is currently on death row.

    It has been a long time since I have lived inside the United States. But during my lifetime I have seen every prominent black leader, politician or activist come under attack by the establishment media. When African-Americans appear on news programs they are usually talking about sports, entertainment or they are in handcuffs. When we have a protest they ridicule it, minimized it, or cut the numbers of the people who attended in half. The news is big business and it is owned operated by affluent white men. Unfortunately, they shape the way that many people see the world, and even the way people see themselves. Too often black journalists, and other journalists of color mimic their white counterparts. They often gear their reports to reflect the foreign policies and the domestic policies of the same people who are oppressing their people. In the establishment media, the bombing and of murder of thousands of innocent women and children in Libya or Iraq or Panama is seen as “patriotic,” while those who fight for freedom, no matter where they are, are seen as “radicals,” “extremists,” or “terrorists.”

    Like most poor and oppressed people in the United States, I do not have a voice. Black people, poor people in the U.S. have no real freedom of speech, no real freedom of expression and very little freedom of the press. The black press and the progressive media has historically played an essential role in the struggle for social justice. We need to continue and to expand that tradition. We need to create media outlets that help to educate our people and our children, and not annihilate their minds. I am only one woman. I own no TV stations, or Radio Stations or Newspapers. But I feel that people need to be educated as to what is going on, and to understand the connection between the news media and the instruments of repression in Amerika. All I have is my voice, my spirit and the will to tell the truth. But I sincerely ask, those of you in the Black media, those of you in the progressive media, those of you who believe in truth freedom, To publish this statement and to let people know what is happening. We have no voice, so you must be the voice of the voiceless.

    Free all Political Prisoners,
    I send you Love and Revolutionary Greetings From Cuba, One of the Largest, Most Resistant and Most Courageous Palenques (Maroon Camps) That has ever existed on the Face of this Planet.

    Assata Shakur
    Havana, Cuba

  • http://NONE KILLA BLACK

    HipHop is a culture that organated from black people,but grew threw white people who felt and loved the music,remember alot of white people dont buy mix tapes,they buy albums, just read these comments on here, you can tell 90% of the people online dont have a real veiw of whats really real with what goes on or what real in hiphop. some are just dumb, and some just dont know what real hiphop is, lil wayne bin hot for two years now,taking another mans style saying its his, kiss another man on the mouth, hiphop is a way of life, its what you live, and your music give us a deeper look into the rappers mind on how he is, now is this guy real, the shit hes spitting doesnt go with how hes living, it dont match. So half the things rappers stay, they dont live, should they be called (HOT)no, cause it aint you, he felt he had to follow Jay cause his own life wouldnt have sold albums. REAL niggers know this, or a person who know whats really good with or culture, not saying all white people dont know, but by reading some of these comments, yall don know shit.WHATS REAL HIPHOP, GO LISTEN.
    (MYSPACE.COM/BLU-BLACK)
    (MYSPACE.COM/ATLAS) let me know what you think, maybe am wrong,NOT!

  • Phoenix

    Wow Tara, very moving post. I grew up white, male, and Canadian, so I definitely felt out of place listening to hip hop growing up (especially in the late 80s, when it wasn’t yet accepted for white people to listen to hip hop).

    Looking back, I often think about what attracted me to hip hop, why I related more to NWA than Def Leppard or whatever normal white kids were listening to back then. I guess that, even though I didn’t grow up poor, my life has been more about pain and suffering than happiness and a sense of belonging. I could relate to the sense of feeling neglected and forgotten that permeates through so much of hip hop. And I guess in the end people who are forgotten in society all share the same emotions, even though we might have different skin colours and come from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

  • real recognizes real

    “I could tell you that perpetually being the only white person in the room, I heard a lot, and what I heard opened my eyes to some things. I started to notice the subtle (and not so subtle) ways that white people talk about black people, and that it disturbed me. But that sounds like white guilt and self-hatred.”

    it also sounds a lot like the way canada uses mulitculturalism to gloss over historically racist policies and attitudes – i think it’s important for white people to acknowledge “white guilt” or whatever you wanna call it, or call someone else on what they’re sayin. how else are things gonna change?

    one thing i never really noticed while growing up as a white canadian female involved in hip hop culture is how easy it is to be placed into categories you don’t necessarily belong to, that is, until i started dating an american. maybe it’s the fact that difference isn’t as glossed over in the u.s. (and honestly, i don’t know if there’s a lesser of two evils here: blatant class/racial divides or “tolerance”), i’m not sure – but i do know that thinking about hip hop solely in terms of socioeconomic backgrounds and race tends to turn a blind eye to the (many) women involved. i dont think these categories can be seperated; they’re always playing off each other.

    maybe that’s not the point you were tryin to make with this post, but that’s just what came to mind..

  • Mokona

    okayyyyy, hold up
    da realestwrtitin is the most on point so far i think
    and wax wut da hell is u talkin bout??
    da culture dead?? fuck off
    anyways, lovin hip hop
    i’ve always had the opinion that u gotta live hip hop to be a part o the culture, whether black or white or whateva
    but u dont however need to prove dat love to nobody honey, if hip hop is part o u then it is part o u
    althoguh i will say as far as the art forms go if u wanna be a rappa or b-boy or sometin u DO have to prove ur way, but i think that applies to black people just as much
    there aint no problem wit white people havin love for da culture tho, just long as dat shit is real ya know
    shit power to u
    i think that shows just how much da hip hop culture is growin
    just make sure yall keep da heart of the culture alive, and dat inlcudes ALL da elements, rap, b-boy/b-girls, djs, and graf writas
    like mc juice said ‘without the elements that means rap aint stayin’
    so peace to all my otha brothas and sistas on he’ and all da rest o yall dat got love for our culture

  • http://www.sanzkdni59.org/libera libera

    i’am really impressed!!

  • http://www.sanzkdni59.org/formula-1 formula 1

    Chi ha fatto questo? E un buon posto per trovare le informazioni importanti!:)

  • K-Lillz

    Boner Jams what the hell you going on about. You’re probably a racist. White to say black isnt the only racism, its just as much if not more black to white. Gingas seem to be the main targets these days though.

  • J King

    Nice article. Although, I think that it’s missing an ending, your final opinion of hip hop. You keep writing about what you can tell us about how hip hop has an affiliation too your life but then you run away from it. So what is your opinion of hip-hop. Next, I don’t think you have anything to prove. Hip-hop may have been born in black culture but it’s universal. A lot of white people genuinely have a love for hip-hop and have contributed a lot to it whether they rappers like Em or Dj’s like Drama or whoever else. Anyways I hope you see this and give me your final opinion.