WHAT IT IS...

Hip Hop is how I define myself. Hip Hop did not start in the late 70's. It started long ago, undefined, from several points around the globe culminating into what we now call Hip Hop. Hip Hop is a way, a feeling, a thought. This blog reflects my Hip Hop.

Thank you for paying attention.



Thursday, February 19, 2009

I don't even know where to begin...


Oh, wait...yes I do. Monkey Lady from Connecticut. This is the part where people usually say, "I don't mean to sound rude..." Well, I do MEAN to sound rude. Monkey Lady is an idiot. Wait...don't brutalize me just yet. I'm literally VERY sorry for her friend, as I too have hands and can't think of life without them, but... it was a monkey. An ADULT monkey. Human beings have trouble controlling terrible two's. Hell, we can't control adult human beings! What made her, or her husband, think she could control a grown ass monkey? Las Vegas showmen have already shown us that even the most pampered and affluent of tigers can't be controlled. This monkey didn't even have a stage or Bedazzled cape & crown combo.

Monkey Lady and friends continue to ask (and I paraphrase), "We just don't know why he would act this way? It doesn't make sense!" Wow. Whenever a snake too large for its Brooklyn confines decides to suffocate it's owner, that's always the first question anyone asks. Whenever a horse decides he really doesn't like you riding on him, that's always the first thing the trainer asks. Whenever some pit bull mauls some poor soul simply because they got too close, people always ask, "Why?"

Now, I'm no scientist but I'm gonna give this one a shot. Let's see...maybe...it's because... THEY'RE ANIMALS! It's their God given right to act straight FOOL whenever they feel like it. Period. Who are we to question why? Sure, we can get all philosophical with the shit, "Why did he feel like wilding out on that particular woman on that particular day at that particular hour and so on and so on and..." What would be the point of that though? We'd be wasting our time on trying to find answers to questions we know are impossible to answer when we should be educating people that most...MOST...animals simply cannot be, or shouldn't be, domesticated. Especially for the purpose of raising them like children. Zoos are here and populated with certain species for a reason.
I remember Paul Mooney mentioning something about this:
video


*Sigh...*

There's just no proper way to segue into what happened with the NY Post. If you don't know the story by now, well maybe ignorance truly is bliss. For the rest of us, this is just beyond weird. Let me start by saying the depiction is wrong...VERY WRONG...but I just didn't find myself so riled up that I wanted to go and boycott the NY Post. Why? Because, well...it's the NY Post. Honestly, anyone, including the Good Rev'um Alfred Charles Sharpton, Jr., who has read the NY Post for anything that remotely resembles informative news reporting is fooling themselves. When I first caught whiff of the cartoon and the publication for which it hailed, it almost made perfect sense. The suits at the Post, and it's bosses over at Fox (Hello?!) have been, are and will always be about selling papers or causing controversy...whichever may come first.

I remember when my step-father used to purchase all three major NY newspapers religiously, Times, Daily News and Post. He told me he read the Times for serious, international and financial information. He told me he purchased the Daily News for serious, national and local information. He told me he purchased the Post for the sports section. He wasn't lying either. I'd watch him comb through the other papers like someone searching for treasure at Jones Beach. He'd reach for the Post and immediately turn it over and start reading about his beloved Knicks, Yankees and whichever boxer he admired at the moment.

A number of staff changes over the decades hasn't changed the Post. It's the same crappy newspaper it's always been. Incidentally, it's gotten worse as it tries desperately to keep up with the internet. You watch Smallville? You know that crappy school newspaper that Chloe Sullivan used to work for, the Torch? Well, that's what The Post is to me, The Torch. Except it's not located in Kansas and instead of covering stories about meteor freaks and weird phenomenon it covers steroid freaks and weirder phenomenon. The Post is barely worth any one's energy save for the people who work there and make a living. They don't represent me nor do they represent most intelligent NY'ers who should be able to shrug this one off their shoulders. The Post CLEARLY doesn't represent minorities so why are minorities really so upset? Honestly, had BET or Noticias or BlackVoices.com ran the cartoon, then I would've sincerely raised both eyebrows.

Listen, some fights are worth fighting and some aren't. I'm in no way saying that nothing should be said with regards to this extremely poor lack of judgment. I'm just sayin', it's not really worth anything to boycott a newspaper that's worth nothing to begin with. If the Post were to close down tomorrow, who'd notice besides Rupert Murdoch and the janitorial crew?

All that being written, what I find most interesting is the focus of most people's anger or disdain. From what I've read or been told, most people are upset because the cartoon disses President Obama. Bump all that. He knew what he was getting himself into when he campaigned for the position. It's just getting started for him (as I bow my head in prayer for his family). What I'm most disturbed at is the NY Post's obvious lack of disrespect for the already tense issues between the average male of color in America and those people sworn to protect its citizens. With the recent police-driven murders plaguing this country, the NY Post should've given just a little...well, a lot more thought about running this now infamous cartoon.

Here's something ironic. As this very recent study claims, it's not uncommon for most Americans to subconsciously associate Black people with apes. Here's an excerpt:

"In addition, the findings show that society is more likely to condone violence against black criminal suspects as a result of its broader inability to accept African Americans as fully human, according to the researchers."



I KNOW I'm not the only person who's looked at Patrick Ewing or Yaphet Kotto and thought silverback. I used to look at Frank Perdue and think, "He really does look like a chicken!" too. Does that make me wrong? Of course not. What would've made me wrong is if I depicted the slaughter of the Perdue family like chickens in a cartoon to prove some silly point. It's not about how you look at something. Eyes don't lie. It's about how you use what you see once you've seen it. The Post wanted to stir up controversy and they've done that. I applaud them on such a weak effort. At the end of the day, their newspaper still sucks, Obama is still the President, that misguided monkey is dead and cops will continue to shoot innocent Black/Afro/Negro/Colored-Americans under some veil of, "I was just doing my job." ... unless we speak out against it properly.

Boycott, my friends...but boycott with the proper focus. That's all I suggest.

As always, thanks for reading...

Bigg Russ

P.S. Someone let me know when the original drawing of that cartoon is placed on eBay. It's gonna worth a fortune one day!!

P.P.S. Thanks for the university study link, Michelle!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Abe Lincoln...the great racist emancipator?


So, was he racist or not? Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a well known African-American author and professor at Harvard, posted this same question on his blog recently. Here's an excerpt:

But my engagement with the great leader turned to confusion when I was a senior in high school. I stumbled upon an essay that Lerone Bennett Jr. published in EbonyThe Crisis magazine in May 1922. Du Bois wrote that Lincoln was one huge jumble of contradictions: “he was big enough to be inconsistent—cruel, merciful; peace-loving, a fighter; despising Negroes and letting them fight and vote; protecting slavery and freeing slaves. He was a man—a big, inconsistent, brave man.” magazine entitled “Was Abe Lincoln a White Supremacist?” A year later, as an undergraduate at Yale, I read an even more troubling essay that W.E.B. Du Bois had published in

So many hurt and angry readers flooded Du Bois’ mailbox that he wrote a second essay in the next issue of the magazine, in which he defended his position this way: “I love him not because he was perfect but because he was not and yet triumphed. ….”

To prove his point, Du Bois included this quote from a speech Lincoln delivered in 1858 in Charleston, Ill.:

“I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races—that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

Say what? The Lincoln of 1858 was a very long way from becoming the Great Emancipator!

So which was the real Lincoln, the benevolent countenance hanging on the walls of black people’s homes, the Man Who Freed the Slaves, or this man whom Du Bois was quoting, who seemed to hate black people?

You can read the entire blog for yourself, if you're interested, as he does have some interesting insight to this matter as well as links to further information. I only want to pose one question: Does this actually matter now? It's long been understood that more than a few or out nation's more prominent leaders have been prejudice, slave owners, etc. A lot of us, like Gates Jr., learn at an early age and it seems mind blowing...at first. It's always been my impression thought that once you've studied these people and their particular situations and environments you get an even better understanding of who and why they were.

Honest Abe was trying to unify a nation. Do you not have to speak the entire nation's language to unify it? You don't have to agree with many but you need to be able to converse with most. In the end, maybe Lincoln put on a good show for those who thought him nuts for trying to free the slaves. In the end, maybe he was a racist but realized that the nation couldn't move forward while living in a such an uncivilized manner. In the end, he did what most of us felt was the right thing to do...racist or not.

Once again, thanks for reading.

Bigg Russ

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Yet another 'senseless' shooting in Mt. Vernon, NY

This time on Prospect Avenue near Park Avenue. The incident seems to have occurred in front of the bodega located next to Panda Chinese Restaurant.

The facts:

  1. Drive by.
  2. Four shots.
  3. Some guy in the hospital fighting for his life.

The why:

  1. Your guess is as good as mine.

I was told by an officer not to take photos...yet. I suppose he wanted me to wait until they were all gone and nothing left to shoot. That being said, I took some shots regardless. I didn't use the flash for fear of being annoyed by the officer again so please excuse the blurriness. There really isn't much to see in these photos as I couldn't get anywhere near the scene. I'm simply putting this on display for all current and former Mt. Vernon, NY residents so that they may understand just how ridiculous this city has gotten. Four square miles of city...and most, if not all of the homicides/major crimes happen in two square miles of it.







I used to frequent Panda off and on and my son and I used to get our haircuts at (what is now) Famous Barbershop before they moved to 1st Street. Who's to say this won't happen during the daytime...and some unsuspecting bystander gets caught up in the nonsense? Always something to think about...

As usual, thanks for reading.

Bigg Russ

LOHUD.COM UPDATE:

February 5, 2009

Police release name of man gunned down on Mount Vernon street

Will David
The Journal News

MOUNT VERNON - Mount Vernon detectives are investigating the shooting death of a 31-year-old Mount Vernon man last night, police said.

Police identified the victim as Nassan Yitzchak Ben Israel, 31.

Mount Vernon police Commissioner David Chong said this morning that police responded to 118 E. Prospect St. at 10:20 p.m. on a report of shots fired and found the man lying in the street.

He sustained several gunshot wounds.

Ben Israel was taken to Mount Vernon Hospital where he died at 11:36 p.m., Chong said.

It is the third homicide this year in Mount Vernon.