Hard Knock Radio (02-18-14) We speak w/ Kali Akuno, special projects director for Mayor Chokwe Lumumba in Jackson, Mississippi and member of Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. Our conversation starts off with reaction to the Michael Dunn/ Jordan Davis trial verdict and its larger implications.
We spoke with Kali about connecting the dots and looking at the larger issues connected with what seems to be an uptick in vigilante style killings of Black people at the hands of ‘scared’ white folks who than try to hide behind Stand Your Ground laws that now exists in 26 states.
Kali had unique perspective to this incident because he did organizing work in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina where there were a number vigilante killings involving mobs of white folks literally hunting Black people. Ground zero was the Algiers section of New Orleans, but there were also disturbing incidents on the Gretna and Dezanger Bridge where Black people seeking fry ground were shot at and killed. In the last couple of years we’ve seen high profile cases with the murders of Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride and Jordan Davis..
In our conversation Akuno noted that many of these incidents seem to borrow from the same play book with vigilantes claiming they were frightened and felt threatened to death. The same excuse is used by police who have been gunned down unarmed and innocent Black people.
Kali pointed out this history of fear is rooted white supremacy and the notion that the Black people who have been killed were somehow not in the ‘right place’. Their presence is deemed out of the ordinary which leads to folks becoming suspicious and acting with malice..
We talked about ways in which people are organizing to combat this and what organizing will look like ideally as more people step up and push back.
We also asked Kali to put on his other hat as Special Projects and External Funding Director for Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and give us some insight as to how people in his city of Jackson are organizing and protecting themselves given the sordid history of Mississippi and that it too is a Stand Your Ground state.
Kali noted that is organization has gotten a number of calls to investigate troubling incidents that have gone down in the state, primarily in rural areas. With respect to whats going on in Jackson, the Lumumba administration has been carefully laying down groundwork to enact bold, progressive initiatives that has gotten many people excited and simultaneously gotten many in power upset.
He noted that the state legislature is one of the most reactionary in the country and have put forth a bill similar to Michigan where the governor can arbitrarily appoint an Emergency Manager. Dubbed the ‘Takeover Jackson Bill‘, this would allow one individual appointed by the governor to come in and usurp the power of the Mayor, City council and other local elected officials. The Emergency Manager would have the power to set budgets, oversee the police, hire and fire administrators as they saw fit etc.
Kali noted that such moves were to be expected and that their response as an administration is not be shocked and surprised but instead apply their skill sets and years of fighting in the trenches to organize and employ strategies and counter measures of their own.
Kali noted one of the first steps is to raise awareness and make sure folks are in the loop as to whats happening. The second step is to organize folks on the ground and get them prepared for the latest attack and attempts to oppress folks..
As Shamako Noble of Hip Hop Congress recently noted whats taking place is that many of these new laws are being put in place with Black People being used as training ground.. Once the proverbial kinks are out they are then applied to everyone else who is deemed a threat or ‘the other’.
Far too often everyone ignores these laws when its hitting the Black community and literally sweep it under the rug until it’s too late.. That’s one hard lesson folks should’ve learned with the fight around mass surveillance. It was ignored when it was being used in the Black community for a couple of decades under the banner War on Drugs..
The Emergency Manager tactic was ignored and even justified by some who should know better when it was impacting cities like Detroit and Flint. Some rationalized that such places were run down and needed a change..Now they are directing it at Jackson, Ms toward a progressive Mayor who hasn’t even been in office 6 months.. Who will be next and how are we prepared to fight?
Later on in the show, we hear excerpts from an hear a panel discussion featuring author/scholar Rickey Vincent and members of the Black Panthers Funk band The Lumpen…William Calhoun, Clark Bailey and James Mott speak about their experiences as revolutionary rank and file members of the panthers and what led to them forming a band. They note that its important to keep in mind they were Panthers first before ‘rock stars’..
Hard Knock Radio (Feb 20 2014) We sit down w/ M1 of dead prez who has just returned from overseas. We talk to him about artist responsibility and commitment to social justice movements. We also talk to him about the legacy of mass surveillance and how its always been present in Black and Brown communities and was ignored and dismissed by the mainstream. M1 notes now that mass surveillance is everywhere what was once a they problem is now a we problem..
We round up our show with more interviews from the floor of the Families USA convention in Washington DC regarding the Affordable Care Act
Hip Hop Pioneer DJ Hollywood speaks about his career and the him being labeled a Disco DJ
This is our recent interview with soul music legend Lee Fields. With a career spanning 43 years, releases on twelve different record labels, and having toured the world over with his raucous-yet-tender voice, it’s mind-blowing that the music he’s making today with Brooklyn’s own Truth & Soul Records is the best of his career.He’s been described as a ‘Throwback done right’.. Here’s a brief run down via his bio…
There aren’t too many artists making soul music today who had a release in 1969, back when R&B was first beginning to give the drummer some. Lee Fields, however, is one such artist–or maybe he’s better labeled a phenomenon. Since the late sixties, the North Carolina native has amassed a prolific catalog of albums and has toured and played with such legends as Kool and the Gang, Sammy Gordon and the Hip-Huggers, O.V Wright, Darrell Banks, and Little Royal.
“In a curious case of musical evolution, the older Fields becomes, the closer he gets to perfecting the sound of soul that he grew up with as a young man,” so said music writer, scholar, and DJ Oliver Wang about Fields in a piece for NPR in July 2009. The latest LP from Lee Fields and The Expressions, titled Faithful Man, is the next step towards this perfection. A step that may find Fields, The Expressions, and Truth & Soul as a label, finally being bestowed the contemporary soul music crown.
Oct 22 2013 On today’s Hard Knock Radio Show, we caught up with two individuals who belong to organizations that are on the front lines of dealing with police brutality. E Da Ref of the Black Riders Liberation Party and Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party.. Both gentlemen detail the work they are doing from community patrols to education workshops to directly confronting the onslaught of police terrorism.. There’s an excellent in-depth article on the BRLP in a recent edition of the SF Bayview.. You can read about them HERE.
Carl Dix who is in the forefront of the fight to end Stop and Frisk toured the country with Dr Cornel West as part of his efforts.. Here’s some information about those efforts HERE
During our interview both talked about the need to take down the current system and replace it with one that is more accountable. They were realistic that such actions will not happen overnight , so they detailed the steps folks can take to help achieve that end.. E da Ref talked at length about an array of strategies including Confrontation Politics.
Later in the show we spoke with long time union member and activist John Reimann who talked about the larger implications that will soon unfold as result of the recent BART strike. He laid out key steps unions must take in the future and urged them to take time to connect labor struggles with the struggles everyday people are enduring.
Although the BART strike was settled Reimann felt the unions missed some key opportunities. He also talked about how the unions were forced to strike by BART management who waged unyielding campaign to ‘race to the bottom’. He also addressed the accidental killing of two BART workers who were killed by a trainee who BART management were hoping to have as replacement for striking riders..
You can get more information about John Riemann at http://oaklandsocialist.com/
We caught up with long time journalist turned rapper Rocky Rivera and talked to her about her sophomore album ‘Gangster of Love‘. For those who haven’t heard it.. Its incredible…straight rewind material. Nice beats and searing lyrics. Rocky has definitely stepped up her game..
She explained the album builds off the concepts of her first one with an emphasis on War and Love. She noted that she wanted to take time and really explore those concepts from a variety of angles.. Stand out cuts that underscore her desires are ‘Wake Up‘, ‘Call to Arms‘ and ‘Fallen Soldier‘ which is ode to 2Pac and features vocals from his mother Afeni Shakur.
Rocky noted that her journalism roots are still in tact and manifested themselves in the fact that each song there’s a sense of urgency to speak on social-political situations impacting the community…She noted that she feels like a reporter delivering important information or giving voice to points of view that are often marginalized. Once a journalist always a journalist..
During our interview we talked about her recent headlining performance in Brooklyn at Rock the Belles which was a play on the popular Rock the Bells concert. At this show there was an all female line up. Rocky talked about the importance of deejays and promoters making space to include more women. She also talked about her appreciation for the love she was shown in the East Coast.
Rocky talked about her recent move from her native San Francisco to Oakland and how gentrification has uprooted many communities, in particular communities of color. She noted that she’s happy to be in Oakland and that the energy here is good, but gentrification is still an issue that must be addressed. It reflects income disparity and a continued pattern of mass displacement. ‘That has got to change’ she noted.
We conclude our conversation by talking about her relationship with her partner Bambu who is a dope emcee in his own right.. She assured us the pair do not walk around the house battling or trading barbs with each other, but if we’re lucky they may get together and do an album called Drunken Freestyles.. With a smile, she cautioned that we should not hold our breath…
This weekend the Black Panther Party is celebrating its 47th anniversary.. We caught up with one of its original members Elbert Big Man Howard to talk about the Panther’s legacy and why after 47 years we still have the US Government hunting Panthers down..
We talked to Big man about the recent passing of fellow Panther Herman Wallace who was a member of the Angola 3 and locked away in solitary confinement for over 40 years.. We talked about Wallace’s legacy and what the mood was like within the Panther community..
We talked to Big Man about the image of the Panthers and why so many focus on the Panthers holding guns and not them feeding school kids, running schools and putting together free health clinics..
Big Man noted that there were all out attempts to try and undermine the community work Panthers were doing. It was what made them most threatening..
Lastly we talked to Big Man about the workshops, panels and other activities going on this weekend at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa. One of the big highlights will be Rickey Vincent keynoting about his new book Party Music which talks about the Panther’s soul band the Lumpen
Former Black Panther and political prisoner, Herman Wallace of the Angola 3 was buried yesterday. His funeral coincidently took place one week before the 47th anniversary of the Black Panther Party. There is no doubt his legacy, his death, the plight of political prisoners and the torture behind solitary confinement will cast a shadow and be addressed at the Panther Reunion (Oct 17-19) at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa..Get more info on that HERE.
With respect to Wallace’s funeral KPFA News Reporter Ann Garrison covered it and spoke with Angola 3 member Robert King who is now free.. (Albert Woodfox is still locked up ) and Malik Rahim former Black Panther and founder of Common ground Collective in New Orleans.
Here’s what Ann wrote and her conversation:
Friends and supporters of Herman Wallace held a memorial service and buried him in New Orleans, the city where he was born, on Saturday, October 12th. Wallace was one of the Angola 3 who were convicted of killing a guard at Angola State Prison in 1972.
They have always maintained their innocence and said that they were actually convicted for organizing a chapter of the Black Panther Party in Angola Prison, to push for an end to brutal and inhumane prison conditions.
Robert King was held in solitary confinement for 29 years before his conviction was overturned and he was released; Herman Wallace was held in solitary for 41 years, as was Albert Woodfox, who remains in solitary confinement.
Wallace was released in an ambulance, dying of cancer, on October 2nd, after a federal judge ruled that his indictment had been un-Constitutional. He died three days later on October 4th.
Angola 3 member Robert King and Malik Rahim, former Black Panther and founder of the Common Ground Collective, attended the memorial service and helped bury their lifelong friend. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to them the next day.
Last week we got a chance to peep the new movie ‘Let the Fire Burn‘ which chronicles the MOVE Organization out of Philadelphia and the set of tragic events that took place on Osage Avenue May 13th 1985 when the City’s first African-American Mayor Wilson Goode allowed a bomb to be dropped on their headquarters.. The end result was 11 people killed including 5 children..
The movie gives a run down of some of the conflicts in the 1970s between MOVE members and the Philly’s notorious police department and former police commissioner turned Mayor Frank Rizzo who was a tyrant of a man. The film shows the infamous confrontation in 1978 which left one police officer named James Ramp, dead. MOVE members maintained it was ‘friendly fire‘ by the police who killed the officer, Philly police saw it differently.. A brutal beating of MOVE member Delbert Africa was caught on film as he surrendered himself to police with his hands up. 9 MOVE members were convicted for the killing of Ramp and given long prison sentences which continue to this day..
That conflict cemented the turbulent relationship between MOVE members and police which came to boiling point in 1985..Let the Fire Burn shows in grisly detail what went down that day including the Mayor ordering the fire department to let the fire burn resulting in 61 Non Move houses burn to the ground..
The movie also shows the community commission hearings that were held after the bombing whose members were hand-picked by Mayor Goode. They concluded, the Mayor, the City and the police were negligent..
We spoke with Ramona who is the only surviving member of that bombing who gave us an in-depth, insightful break down about MOVE, how and why they were founded by John Africa who was killed in the 85 bombing. She talked at length about the organization’s philosophies and what she experienced the day of the bombing..
Let the Fire Burn leaves one with many questions that needed to be answered and thankfully Ramona was able to fill in all the crucial gaps and then some.. She also talked about the recent passing of Birdie Africa (Michael Ward) who was prominently featured in the documentary. He was the only other survivor and was around 13 at the time of the bombing. His mom died in the fire.
Ramona also talks about a crucial part in the documentary where questions were raised as to why MOVE members would turn around and run back into a burning home. She talks at length about how the police had fired over 10 rounds and as MOVE members attempted to leave the burning building, police began firing on them forcing many to retreat..
During our conversation with Roman Africa we talked about how the bombing on Osage Avenue had been literally written out of history books along with another tragic bombing of African American homes which took place in 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma which was then called Black Wall street.
Ramona Africa concluded by alerting us to a media smear campaign that is currently going on with local media in Philadelphia designed to takeaway from many of important questions raised in the movie..You can check out film’s trailer and the interview we did with Ramona Africa at the links below…
Folks were first introduced to YoYo when she got down with Ice Cube on a song called ‘It’s A Man’s World‘. It was featured on the classic album ‘Amerikkka’s Most Wanted‘. To say the least people were blown away with this sister who could trade lyrical barbs with Cube and as a result they eagerly awaited for more material..
Since then YoYo he went on to give us 4 albums including; ‘Make Way for the Motherlode‘, ‘Black Pearl’, ‘You Better Ask Somebody‘ and ‘Total Control’ , She’s given us a number of hit songs including the classic; ‘Can’t Play With My Yoyo‘, ‘Girl Don’t Be No Fool‘ and ‘Bonnie and Clyde Theme‘ .
Yo Yo was a breath of fresh air when she hit the scene because she was so outspoken and a strong advocate for women’s empowerment. She also introduced us to the IBWC (Intelligent Black Woman’s Coalition), wrote a number of advise columns and ran a number of Youth programs..
YoYo took a break from the music for a while to pursue acting. She appeared in a number of films including; Boys in the Hood, Menace to Society and New York Undercover. She also had a reoccurring role on Martin Lawrence‘s hit TV show. and is now back on the scene ready to blow up..we caught up with her in Los Angeles where she opened up and spoke to us about her relationship with Ice Cube, her trials and tribulations in the industry, her special friendship with 2Pac and where she expects to be in 2005..
Below are the links to our 2 part 2005 interview
Angela grew up in Birmingham when it was called Bombingham. This was due to the fact the Ku Klux Klan conducted a terror campaign on Black people and frequently firebombed people’s homes. The 16th Street Baptist Church had become a symbol of Black Resistance and was a key organizing center for the Civil Rights Movement.
After the huge and very successful March on Washington a few weeks earlier the historic church became even more of thorn in the side for white supremacists and was eventually targeted with fatal results.
on the morning of September 15th 1963, a bomb was placed in the basement of the church. Denise McNair, who was 11 along with Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley who were all 14, were killed when that bomb went off. Davis who was friends with two of the girls, noting that one lived two houses down from hers, said in our interview this was turning point in the Civil Rights Movement.
She also noted that on that day two other Black people, both males were also killed. One by the Klan the other by police who sadly had a working relationship with the KKK. She also noted that there was a rebellion , the largest of its kind in Birmingham, which has been erased from the history books. She also noted that because of all the bombings , her father and numerous other men in the community began patrolling their neighborhoods armed with guns.. That helped turn the tide on bombings in her neighborhood which was known as Dynamite Hill, but sadly it didn’t prevent the bombing of the 16th street Baptist church…
Below is our interview with Angela Davis
Mumia Abu Jamal speaks about death row inmate James “Shorty” Dennis
HKR Aug 24 2013: Today in Washington DC tens of thousands of folks will converge upon the nation’s capitol in front of the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the 50th anniversary of historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The actual anniversary is August 28th, but everything will go down today since the 28th falls on a weekday.
Dozens of people spoke on that historic day, but what is most remembered is Dr Martin Luther King’s iconic ‘I Have A Dream‘ speech. It’s become a defining moment for the Civil Rights Movement and 50 years later its still highlighted as a major theme for us and many other people to circle around.
There are far too many conferences, rallies and political gatherings to name off where the theme has been some variation of MLK’s Dream… A few years ago in Memphis, Tennessee there was a Dream Reborn Conference which was supposed to signify the mantle of the Civil Rights Movement being handed off to a younger generation. There have been a number of Conferences that have focused on ‘Is the Dream Still Alive’..
Our guest, veteran journalist, historian and author Gary Younge, pointed out the irony to all this is that Dr King had no intention of using the phrase I Have a Dream when he took to the podium that afternoon. In fact he was told by some of his closest aides who had heard a variation of that theme the week before, not to use it because it was kind of corny.
King was also told several times that he only had 5 minutes to speak. If that’s not enough, King was the last speaker to what was along day and as he took the stage, many in the crowd had already started to leave.. The main emphasis on King’s speech was on economic injustice with he key points raised around a bounced check that America had given Black people. He contrast the conditions of the day with the Emancipation Proclamation which had occurred 100 years earlier.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’
Younge notes that King literally freestyles the I Have a Dream portion of his speech after his good friend, singer Mahalia Jackson who was standing behind him, did a call and response thing where she shouts ‘Tell em about the Dream Martin‘. That’s when King switched up.
In our interview Younge provides us with an array of political gems around this Speech and the day in general. For example, many do not know that Malcolm X who was highly critical of the organizers leading up to the event was actually in DC that day and had communicated to organizers he was there if needed. Malcolm felt that the essence of the march was going to be compromised.
Many also don’t know that women weren’t allowed to speak that day which underscored a major flaw in the Civil Rights Movement.
Many do not know the federal government fearing there would be some who took to the stage and called for militant action, had a secret kill switch. If anything inflammatory was said, they could remotely turn off the mic and replace it with song from Mahalia Jackson.
At the beginning of the march, the press rolled up on organizer Bayard Rustin and started badgering him about the number of people who were expected to show up. The press was hell-bent on shrinking the numbers.. Sounds familiar?
Many forget that no politician spoke that day. Today President Obama will speak, which raises a number of issues including how his policies are direct opposition to what King was fighting for. As many have pointed out 50 years ago all the main organizers were under surveillance by the federal government via Cointel-Pro. Today president Obama presides over a government that is literally spying on everybody at the march. Author/ scholar Jelani Cobb lays this irony out in his excellent essay; Obama, Surveillance and the Legacy of the March on Washington.
Also when King finished his speech, most folks including himself thought it was just ok.. Many did not see King hitting a home run out the park. In fact there were some who were critical, saying that King was Dreaming vs fighting for specific rights.. Younge explains in great detail how and why that speech was elevated to the status it has today, as one of the greatest speeches ever delivered..
Check out our interview below with Gary Younge and get the full behind the scenes story of Martin Luther King’s ‘Greatest Speech’.
As you listen to the interview we encourage folks to peep the text and listen to the actual interview..
“I HAVE A DREAM” SPEECH The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr August 28, 1963
“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
The Negro still is not free.
But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
Time to rise from the dark valley of segregation.
And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.
Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.
Nineteen sixty-three is not an end but a beginning.
Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
Let us not drink from the cup of bitterness and hatred
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.
We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone.
We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, ‘When will you be satisfied?’
We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.
We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.
We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.”
We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.
You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends – so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
We hold these truths to be self-evident
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification – one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning ‘My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!’
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi – from every mountainside.
Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring – when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children – black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics – will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
HKR: August 21 2013: Today on Hard Knock Radio Anita Johnson sits down with long time community activist and former Black Panther Mama Ayanna to discuss the meaning of Black August. They focus on the life and political philosophy of prison movement founder George Jackson who was assassinated that day back in 1971. They also talk about the Haitian Revolution.
They also discusses the slave revolt led by Nat Turner in Virginia in 1831. 55 whites were killed as whites retaliated and killed 200 Blacks hanging 56 who they believed involved with the resurrection.
Later in the show Davey D sits down and talks with award-winning journalist Mona Eltahawy who is based in Cairo about the ongoing conflict and the roots to it.. They discuss the conditions that led up to what is called the ‘Arab Spring‘ and why Eltahawy saw it as a Revolution. We also talk to her about the Muslim brotherhood and the Military and what those two organizations/ institutions mean to the country. This pt 1 of a two-part interview
HKR August 19 2013: As we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the First Jam thrown by Hip Hop pioneer Kool Herc, we’ve been reaching out and talking with a number of other fore-fathers and fore-mothers to this vibrant culture we call Hip Hop. One of the people we got to build with is Bronx legend DJ Disco Wiz who many consider to be Hip Hop’s first Latino DJ.
Wiz back in the mid 70s teamed up with his best friend Grandmaster Caz to form the Mighty Force Crew.. Caz would evolve that crew to become the Cold Crush Brothers. In the early days Wiz and Caz would go to battle the man who inspired them.. DJ Kool Herc.. They would later go on to battle the man who nurtured and mentored them Afrika Bambaataa.
Wiz chronicles much of went down in those early years in a book called ‘Its Just Begun The Epic Journey of DJ Disco Wiz Hip Hop’s First Latino DJ.. To say the least the book is incredible and is basically written in 3 parts. One talks about the early days of Hip Hop. Two talks about the rough and tumble street culture that gave birth to Hip Hop and how Disco Wiz was involved.
As we noted in our interview, Hip Hop was not born in a vacuum. It was born out of the pain and hardships many were enduring at the time. The triumph people had in the backdrop of that hardship and Hip Hop flourishing as a culture is what makes it so special
Wiz’s take no prisoners honesty about his involvement in the street hustles, his eventual incarceration, his battles inside prison and the long road to overcoming bad habits, shaking an addiction to cocaine both as a user and seller and two bouts with cancer, is what makes him remarkable and his book an absolute must read.
We cover that and so much other ground in our compelling Hard Knock Radio interview with DJ Disco Wiz
HKR August 15 2013: Today on Hard Knock Radio Anita Johnson sits down with John M. Phillips the attorney for the Jordan Davis family. For those who don’t recall last year Florida had two Black teens who were killed by racist individuals using Stand Your Ground Laws. We all know about the murder of Trayvon Martin and how he was profiled, followed and killed by George Zimmerman but not too many know about Jordan Davis.
Several months after the Trayvon slaying in November 2012, a white man named Michael Dunn saw some Black teenagers in a car and felt he they were playing their music too loud. He confronted them, according to him, words were exchanged. Dunn said he felt threatened and thus emptied his gun into the car containing 6-8 unarmed teenagers. When the gun smoke cleared 17-year-old Jordan Davis laid dead.
We discuss the particulars of the case, what steps are being taken to bring about justice and how they compare to the Trayvon case.
Later in the show we hear a commentary from political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal and a riveting speech from Michelle Alexander the author of the book ‘The New Jim Crow‘.
HKR 08-07-2013: Ras Kass is one of the dopest lyricist to ever bless the mic and sadly he’s way underrated and not fully appreciated. His first two albums ‘Soul on Ice’ and ‘Rasassination‘ are considered underground classics. Later Ras went on to make a name for himself as being part of two super groups, one being the 4 Hrsemen featuring him, Kurupt, Killah Priest and Canibus. The other was the Golden State Warriors featuring him, Xzibit and Saafir.. Both projects looked promising but didn’t really take off the ground.
While Ras was generating major buzz as being a rhyme spitter not to test, he was sadly generating a lot of noise around record label politics. In fact the drama around his 3rd album Van Gogh seemed to overshadow his accomplishments. For the most part Ras was at war with his record label which was Capitol Records who basically refused to release the album, even as it was generating buzz because it was leaked and folks got hold of a few singles.
After Ras revamped the album and came up with a new joint called Goldyn Chlyd he got into with the label over what single to release. If there was any artist to be held back because of label politics it’s Ras Kass.
Adding insult to injury while Ras was battling his label, he got hit up on a drunk driving charge and had to spend 19 months in jail.
He finally got everything together and has been back on the scene with a vengeance. His new album Barmageddon is a banger.. He also rocks with a full band…
He swung by our studios the other day and chopped it up with Anita about a host of issues ranging from his career to Trayvon Martin and the George Zimmerman verdict to the beef between Jay Z and Harry Belafonte. Ras noted that he once lived with Jay so his take on the supposed beef was interesting as he was able to offer some additional insight.
Ras also talked about his classic and most controversial record Nature of the Threat …
Later on we highlight a panel discussion for the movie Fruitvale Station which is the movie about Oscar Grant.. Our panel features film writer/ director Ryan Coogler and actors, Forest Whitaker, Michael B Jordan and Octavia Spencer.We cover everything from the scourge of police brutality to how and why it was important to highlight Oscar’s humanity
The prisoners have 5 main demands with the most pressing being to end solitary confinement. We talk to folks about what life is like inside the walls and why the prison admins will not negotiate with them..We play excerpts from the press conference..
Later in the show we listen to Mos Def , now known as Yasiin Bey demonstrate what its like for prison hunger strikers to be force-fed at Guantanamo Bay
07-05-2013: Today on Hard Knock Radio, Davey D speaks with rapper and writer Homeboy Sandman about major media outlets owning stock in private prisons. They include companies like Viacom (BET & MTV) and Time Warner.. We talk about what the Hip Hop community must do and how to organize..
Later on we hear from political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal discussing state secrets
07-04-2013 Today on Hard Knock Radio.. we give deeper meaning and perspectives on how many see the 4th of July. From Frederick Douglass‘ 1852 speech, The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro to Mumia Abu-Jamal on “Happy Independence” to Reverend Jeremiah Wright Ph.D on God Damn America .. we cover all the ground.. Not everyone will be busting fireworks.. That’ll come when everyone is free and justice has been obtained.
HKR Tues 07-02-2013: Today on Hard Knock Radio, we speak w/ Tiny and Maldonado of the Poor People’s News Network about the upcoming heal the Hood weekend.. They speak about the importance of returning to indigenous practices in medicine and food preparation as well as in economics and governing.. We talk about ways to combat gentrification and how to help move the community away from a culture of consumption to one of sharing.
Later we talk with musician Brian Jackson who was long time collaborator with Gil Scott-Heron.. He talks about a new project he is working on called Evolutionary Minded. The project is a collective celebration expanding upon the legendary Gil Scott-Heron’s music and includes a musical cross-section of like-minded souls: M1 (Dead Prez), Chuck D (Public Enemy), Martin Luther, Mike Clark (Headhunters), Gregory Porter, and core members of Gil’s Amnesia Express and Midnight Band.
The first single from the album, ‘Opponent’ (Feat. Dead Prez, Martin Luther) inspired by and including elements of ‘Angola’ by Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson is out today. The album drops in September
We end our show with a summary from Dr Goddess about the latest updates from the George Zimmerman Trial..We talk about the large number of right wing gun groups who are pouring lots of money into George Zimmerman’s campaign coffers.
HKR 07-01-2013: On today’s Hard Knock Radio show we cover the noon time rally at Oakland City Hall around the BART strike and the City workers strike. We let you hear excerpts from many of the speakers, we also talk with long time Civil Rights attorney Dan Siegel about the national and long-term implications of these strikes..
Later on in the show we speak with Bruce Dixon of the Black Agenda Report about President Obama’s recent trip to Africa and why that’s not exactly a positive thing for the average African in terms of the foreign policy he’s pushing..We go in-depth about programs like Africom and how the US’s policy toward Africa compares to the type of foreign policy being pushed by China.
We also talk to Bruce Dixon about what he calls the Black Mis-leadership class or the Black punditry who are hell-bent on condemning whistle-blower Edward Snowden and Wikileaks. He talks about the irony of prominent African-American pundits who are supporting President Obama’s domestic spying program and somehow dismissing history which was stained by the destructive forces of Cointel-pro.
Dixon bust up the myth of Dr Martin Luther King ‘facing the music for his crimes vs Eric Snowden who is in exile. We talk about the long history of whistle-blowers in the Black community who went into exile to escape the long reaches of American government.