When I got a forwarded email late yesterday about the vandalizing of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation for the Arts this past weekend, I immediately replied to the sender asking them to call me with more info. When the sender hit me back with “who is this? what did you want to talk about?”, I realized that I had acted on impulse and had absolutely no clue who sent the email. All I knew was that I was appauled and felt the need to get to the bottom of the situation and spread the word, because at that point, the news of this happenning was only available through loose emails and instant messengers.
Since I don’t live too far from the TASF, I figured I’d go down there to see what happened for myself. I also wanted to speak to someone there and get some information so that I could share it through the various mediums I have access to, including this blog. When I arrived, I could see that the noose had been removed from the Tupac statue’s neck. As I circled around the parking lot a TASF employee came out and pretty much told me that all of the vandalism had been cleaned up, that it was closing time (5Pm) and that he was going home for the day. In essence, they kept it moving.
In that little span of time, I realized that I acted on impulse, with no concrete plan of action, just an idea. I was going off emotion. Most likely, if I were able to get some information, I would have written an emotionally charged blog, possibly passing whatever anger I felt on to a reader, possibly leading them to either do something productive or counter-productive.
Then I thought to myself, I wonder what some of my favorite, and un-favorite, rappers are feeling like right now, or if any of them had heard about this yet?
Were they angry like how I was?
Did they feel attacked like I did?
Did they get the urge to want to drive down to the TASF to check up on things or hop on the phone and call around for more information?
Did they feel like they needed to record a song, the same way I felt compelled to write a blog?
Were they going to hop on the internet and radio to respond to this with the same speed that they do when a silly rumor is getting spread about them?
Not saying that I would really expect alot of rappers to do that. I mean, like so many of them remind us time and time again, they are just “rappers” who “entertain” and “reflect America’s harsh realities”…like candy paint, scandalous hoes, hatin’ ass niggas and ounces of dat kush. I was just thinking those things for the simple fact that so many rappers claim to be “real” like ‘Pac and crown him as their favorite rapper. I wondered what they was thinking since ‘Pac is considered to be the benchmark for “real niggas” everywhere.
But yeah, now that I’ve had a chance to calm down and digest the information I’ve gotten from both people close to the situation, the news and what the notorious Dekalb County Police Department is choosing to share (they’re not telling you that the vandalism was seen by staff members who were planning on meeting at the TASF to organize an anti-police brutality rally the day of) I see it for what it is–an invitation to fight.
As if killing Sean Bell wasn’t enough. As if the Jena 6 situation wasn’t enough. As if blaming young Blacks and rappers for some shit that old White men say isn’t enough. As if the nooses at Columbia University, Ozone Park, Brooklyn, Atlanta and Connecticut weren’t enough. Finally, someone just said fuck it and attacked something and someone that, whether you like it or not, is one of the most prominent figures in Hip Hop and the African diaspora.
Its a slap in the face. I’m asking, what can we do to slap back? Can’t grab any pistols, you know what they do to you if you have one too many guns. Plus, like ‘Dre 3000 said: “nigga they made them gats, that got some shit that will blow out our backs, from where they stay at.” Maybe we should use our brains like how that voice at the beginning of “White Manz World” from the Makaveli album suggessted and push our local and government officials to create laws such as this. That could be a start.
To quote KRS at the BET Hip Hop awards (again), Hip Hop is being asked to step up and speak on issues that aren’t even ours. Well, I think its safe to say that Hip Hop has officially been invited to the party. We kicked and fought not to get involved in anything too heavy. But now, someone has litterally and figuratively took us by a rope and drug us into some shit. What now?