[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eclyw_D154I[/youtube]

On a recent Brooklyn bound A-train ride, Geko and I were feverishly brainstorming places to host a New York performance for Titica, once we found out she wouldn’t be able to stay in town for Que Bajo next Thursday. Feeling like now is a crucial time for LGBTQ issues in Africa, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity for Titica to gain some visibility outside of her home context, and help open up the dialogue in regards to what is permissible in the realm of “African values.” While that will perhaps be a longer fight, the “Space” problem was quickly resolved when our traveling companion Thanu Yakupitiyage offered her iBomba party at Bembe on Monday night. Thanu’s work and focus made for quite the serendipitous pairing, perfect to host Titica in NY, thus initiating a kind of an informal inaugural collaboration between Thanu and Dutty Artz, the collective of cultural agitators with its spiritual heart in the county of Kings, New York.

On the eve of that event, it is my pleasure to introduce Thanu as the collective’s newest official member (something we’ve been planning before that fateful train ride)! While we’ve been bringing you blog posts, music, parties and merchandise of various sorts for a few years now, Dutty Artz has been steadily heading in a direction in which we’re trying to find ways to expand beyond music and the limitations of the Internet. It has always been our desire to facilitate ways to nurture a creative community across social and cultural borders. Adding Thanu to the lineup is a key part of us manifesting that intention in the real world!

Thanu traverses the lines between immigrant rights activist, media  producer, researcher, and political/cultural organizer. Reppin’ Sri Lanka via Thailand and Massachusetts she’s now based in Brooklyn, and has been in New York since 2007 where she has worked for organizations highlighting youth media, racial justice, and immigrant rights. When Occupy Wall Street kicked into gear in the Fall of 2011, Thanu was part of a crew of organizers of color who started the People of Color Caucus in order to highlight and organize around issues faced by communities of color that were being ignored by the larger OWS movement. She also helped lead the Immigrant Worker Justice working group in the Fall, and put together the December 18th International Migrants’ Day march. She is on the editorial team and blogs for, In Front and Center: Critical Voices in the 99%, and is one of the new culture editors for Organizing Upgrade, which is re-launching this month.

While those experiences will definitely add a new dimension to the aims of Dutty Artz, it is her interests and passions in the role of global music and dance in the creation of transformative political and cultural spaces that dovetail nicely with the work we’ve already been doing. For her, politics, music, and dance are intricately linked. She is an aspiring DJ and late last year, joined forces with DJs Beto and Mios Dio to organize and bring new acts and guest DJs to iBomba. We think that Thanu is a perfect fit and welcome addition to the family.

Check out a sample of her bad gyal writing on politics and pop culture here:

M.I.A and the Real Bad Girls, Hyphen Magazine

Dispatches from Indigenous Peoples Day, In Front and Center

OWS and Immigration, In Front and Center

Drop the I-Word feature: “I am home both here and there”, Colorlines

A Conscious Travel Guide to Sri Lanka, Global Post

And check her out this Monday as she hosts iBomba alongside DJ Beto and Mios Dio, with guests DJ Ripley and Angolan Kuduro star Titica! Look out for more from Thanu soon!

We are kicking off (B)Lack History Month in style:


On Wednesday February 1st, at 7pm, DJ Rupture and Lamin Fofana will host a special 2-hour live radio show from south Williambsburg’s Spectacle Theater, with Chief Boima (new jams on the way!), Old Money, and a our favorite African video shopowner.

Following the live WFMU broadcast — built primarily from African music videos purchased in the cornerstores of NYC — we will screen God’s Own Country by director Femi Agbayewa. GOC presents the story of a young Nigeria lawyer who immigrates to NYC to discover that life in America is not like he hoped… As Boima explains, “It’s firmly in the Nollywood tradition. The story line is a New York story, and I think it’s the perfect context for the non-Nollywood initiated to get introduced to the industry. . . it is also referencing the tradition of the American hood gangster flick like Belly. Almost an amalgamation of the two.”

Palm wine and kola nuts are included with the $5 admission. Space is limited, so come early!


It’s gonna be good: DAS RACIST has put together an amazing playlist of music from South Asia & diaspora for today’s special edition of MuddUp with DJ Rupture on WFMU 91.1fm. It starts with Queen! So tonight’s show is already next-level. Tune in live from 7-8pm EST, streaming worldwide via wfmu.org. (if this DR reminder is news to you, check this post).

And I’m very pleased to announce that my next radio guest wil be the always-inspiring writer / editor / superhero JULIANNE ESCOBEDO SHEPHERD (with a 78% chance of Dapwell)! She’ll be joining us on Monday November 8th. Keywords: DANCE MUSIC.

(I’m blogging this on a phone on BoltBus. Now I’m bus-sick. Dedication vs stupidity).

I actually LOLed at this one, posted by Eddie Stats over at Okayplayer’s new(?) Large Up blog. The last and first of his Toppa Top 10 fake reggae songs are the picks for me. Eddie Murphy taking a polished and very funny dig at Bob Marley (seems pretty clearly aimed, I could be wrong) and then some youtube guys hilariously misinterpreted transcription of Busy Signal (with jpegs!).

Lately I’ve been having fun typing things into Google’s little search box at the top right of my browser and seeing what comes up as suggestions. Today I was reading about the Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux Reservation on Wikipedia and there was a mention of Caucasian people, who have a wikipedia entry too. This however lead me to see what google had to say about white people so I tried my friend the search box. Hilariously the first result was ‘white people stole my car’. What? Needless to say I clicked through. Turns out that a while back if you typed ‘white people stole my car’ into Google, the helpful googleoids would ask “did you mean black people stole my car?” Screenshot below. I can’t vouch for the veracity of the screenshot but I did find it very funny.

wayneandwax gates

[‘wheatpaste mugshot’ from Wayne & Wax’s flickr]

riffing on Lamin’s last post, I feel compelled to quote the most salient, on-point appraisal of the Skipgate affair I’ve seen. From Adam Serwer:

Gates isn’t being invited to the White House because he’s black and Ivy League. Gates is being invited to the White House because Sgt. James Crowley has become the latest totem of burgeoning white resentment against the president, which happens to be a matter so urgent that Obama felt obligated to make a dramatic gesture of reconciliation — lest racial resentment swallow his presidency. . . This is an example of white privilege — and how even a country that elects a black man president still demands that he assuage feelings of white resentment when they grow strong enough. Totems of black resentment, which Gates is not, get called racists and race hustlers. They do not get invited to the White House.


As I write, the beers are in the presidential fridge. After their drink, Gates will go back to Harvard, Crowley will return to the force, Obama will stay in the White House. Nothing about law or race, not even the national conversation, will have changed. And Troy Davis will remain on death row. For now the only beer he can expect will be with his last meal. And he will be drinking alone.
READ MORE of Beer and Sympathy by Gary Younge @ The Nation


The Gates arrest gave the president ample opportunity to stimulate a broad national discussion about police and community relations and the role of race and ethnicity when these relations become contentious. Such a conversation would have been a politically risky endeavor, no doubt. But discussion would have been far more valuable than a brewski photo-op, which is how the Gates case will likely be remembered.
READ MORE of Obama flunks his “teachable moment” by Mark Anthony Neal @ The Grio

Extra props to MAN and his particularly interesting and essential blog.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yazG1hKuCww[/youtube]If you live in a major metropolitan area, you’ve probably seen these shirts, with the big STOP SNITCHING graphic on them. In the video above, taken from the Criminals Gone Wild DVD series, we hear a masked self-professed criminal commenting on Dipset rapper Cam’ron’s interview with Anderson Cooper where they discuss the subject of police cooperation and whether Cam would snitch on a serial killer next door. Saying he would move and not tell anyone Cam seems to be taking the whole stop snitching ethos to a ridiculous extreme.

The moral code of not snitching arose as a response to the divide and conquer techniques of white slave holders. By rewarding slaves for snitching on one another the masters were able to ensure that slaves remained divided from one another and would never be able to trust one another enough to organize and revolt. If you can’t tell your fellow oppressed people about your plan to overthrow the bosses for fear that they’ll tell on you then you will never be able to build a group insurrection to overthrow them or take revenge.

Katt William’s in a fairly recent comedy routine decried Lil’ Kim’s going to prison for as he says “NOT snitching, something your MAMA ALWAYS TOLD YOU TO DO!” The fact that a culture of not-informing arose in response to a coordinated program of divide and conquer, setting the oppressed against one another is completely un-surprising and makes perfect sense.

That that would be incorporated into a criminal code also makes very obvious sense. Criminals do not have recourse to the law to settle their disputes and therefore often need to police themselves and those around them, often through violence. Indeed, as the masked man in the video points out, if you are not going to snitch on the serial killer then you have a moral responsibility to as he says “get your boys and go deal with him”. But as he also points out, if you are not a criminal, this shit does not apply to you.

Taken to the furthest extremes, basically, of never cooperating with the police for any reason, as Cam’ron seems to propose with his serial killer comments, reflects a completely amoral view, basically that none of us have any responsibility to anyone but ourselves. In truth, this is not at all surprising considering Cam’ron is one of the major proponents of crack rap, a genre that unrepentantly glamorizes selling drugs in your community and basically reflects a sociopathic and completely self-involved ‘everyone for himself’ attitude. The fact that Cam’ron is being given a lesson on ethics by a masked, self-professed violent criminal on a DVD that advertises among it’s features “assaults, shootings, drivebys, rape, getaways, carjackings, setups, drug spot robberies, home invasions, deadly retaliations, interviews, and more!!!” (from their youtube description) should give all his fans and knee-jerk “stop snitching” advocates something to think about.


Yes we did. Oh yes we did America.

I was riding over the bridge this morning on the subway and saw the American flag on top of the Brooklyn Bridge and felt different.

My sister quoted to me a great statement from President Elect Barack Hussein Obama, during the campaign. To paraphrase, she said that someone had asked him who Dr. King would have endorsed in this election. And he said that Dr. King wouldn’t have endorsed anyone, he would have put together a movement to pressure whoever took power. I agree. As Barack said, this is not the change that we have been waiting for, but an opportunity for it.

And yes I’m sure all my radical friends will have many things to say to deflate some of our euphoria at this. But to see Obama carry Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico… The southern states alone, for a black candidate for the most powerful office in the land to win in the former confederacy, with many individuals who sat in at lunch counters, rode buses and faced death against segregation and jim crow looking on, in their lifetimes, the mind just boggles. John Lewis was on MSNBC talking right after the win and he just looked, for lack of a better word, thunder-struck. Having not lived through those times I can only imagine what it must mean to have experienced the segregated south first hand, and then watch pieces of it vote for a black president.

“I just don’t know how to express myself.”


And make no mistake about it, it was NOT the black vote which elected President Elect Obama (I just love writing that). There are not enough black people in this country to do it. Millions of white voters looked at him and saw, if not themselves, someone they could trust with their security, prosperity and future. Even if we call it purely symbolic, it is a massive, awesome event.

And I’ll put on my critical hat, and watch every move he makes to see if he fulfills his tremendous promise, tomorrow. But today…. Man. I’m so happy.


Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO talking about racism in the context of this election. Just watch it.

This goes to a point that I don’t have time to talk about enough which I feel that a lot of people miss: a huge amount of the evil that is done and called racism is actually about class, rich people oppressing poor people and using any issue they can to keep people from recognizing that.

I feel like Race In America, as much as it shouldn’t be marginalized or ignored, is really a smoke screen for class warfare advocated for and perpetrated by people like the Republican party. I feel that the biggest differences are not between me and a black friend who grew up comfortable (aka rich in the eyes of 97% of the world), with two parents and access to education and resources, like me. I feel the gap is much greater between myself and someone who grew up in a much rougher situation, without all of those things and the outlook that arises out of that, whatever race they are.

Those gaps, the differences, are the cracks that racism grows in, along with the fear and resentment that arises when people fail to understand one another. When these differences are watered and fertilized and nursed and encouraged by people like Sarah Palin, trying to turn Barack into the ‘frightening other’ the ‘socialist’ the ‘muslim’ who ‘isn’t a real American’ all that she is trying to do is continue the familiar tactics of divide and conquer, to keep the have-nots at one another’s throats while the haves consolidate their wealth and power. The Republican’s are very, very explicit about this, with their policies of trickle down economics (table scraps anyone?) and belief that the free market will take care of everyone (everyone who matters anyway) and it is only through the use of things like racism that they are able to keep poor people divided enough to believe that someone like John McCain or Sarah Palin is on their side, one of them, with their best interests in mind.

We’re 32 hours out from the first polls closing. I’m confident but also deeply impatient. I was talking about some music business with someone on the phone last night and he said “We could meet Tuesday night?” I told him “I am not gonna be anywhere besides on the edge of my mom’s couch in front of the TV until Barack wins this fucking thing.”

It’s super-realness time America. God save us if he doesn’t win.

Did you notice how cool Barack was in the last debate? Have you notice how much gray hair has popped out of Barack’s head over the course of his campaign? Is Barack able to be himself? Can you really even get angry while in fear of being angry?

In that same/last debate, did you also notice how John McCain was blinking about a hundred thousand times a minute? Did you see the bulge in his neck? He was visibly upset, and you can tell by the way he was interrupting Barack and by his jagged responses.  Did you also notice in the second debate when McCain referred to Obama as “that one”? All Barack could do was just smile (and you know that somewhere in his bones, he would like to say that “this is some BS”.)

Anger is a natural emotion, but if you are black, Latino, a person of color, there’s no space in these United States for you to be angry.  It has taken me years to understand that as a black person, it is not acceptable to be angry in America.  People will be terrified of you, but this is not about me, (I am still angry and trying to realize the difference between proactive anger and reaction anger) this is about Brother Barack.

I pray that Our Beloved Brother Barack has some outlet.  I pray that he and Sister Michelle have some private conversations about black stress and internalized racism.  Black stress and internalized racism can lead to heart attacks and high blood pressure. I hear that he’s smoking again, that can only accelerate the process.

J. Edgar Hoover (FBI Director for a very long time) constantly referred to black people, specifically civil rights leaders (including MLK) as communists or socialists. In the last few days, McCain’s criticisms of Obama’s economic/tax policies of “spreading the wealth” as socialism echo those old attacks and accusations of black leaders.  That is racist and hypocritical, after McCain voted for the use of government funds to bail out Wall St.


Here’s what inspired this post… Brand new DB!

David Banner – When You Hear What I Got To Say

David Banner talks Election ’08 with DJ Hyphen from DJ Hyphen on Vimeo.


Tim Wise should not be one of the few white people in America who talk consistently about white privilege, but he is.