Friday, October 31st, 2003

Here’s Mike Davis’ take on the fires…AlterNet: The Perfect Firestorm

posted by @ 9:55 am | 0 Comments

Friday, October 31st, 2003

Here’s an alternative take on the fires raging across SoCali. Homes ‘Should Never Have Been Built’. A more elaborate development of this very argument is in Mike Davis’ brilliant book, The Ecology of Fear, in an essay provocatively titled “The Case For Letting Malibu Burn”. Fires are as often as not, he argues, are man-made disasters.

posted by @ 8:33 am | 0 Comments

Thursday, October 30th, 2003

Whoa! The LA Weekly finally gets down and does a Dub cover story. Sure the piece (by Greg Burk) is coming years after I did all my shit for the Bay Guardian, and while he talks about dub and Rastafari being political, he doesn’t really go there (which may have a lot to do with his quaint, outmoded white-boy old-line notions of race and class, hmmm?) and I admit I feel some professional jealousy (which hey, I understand is NOT cool), but it’s mainly because this is a such a good piece. Definitely read it and tell all your friends. I am.

posted by @ 11:38 am | 0 Comments

Tuesday, October 28th, 2003


This story, A Hip-Hop Star’s Fashion Line Is Tagged With a Sweatshop Label, should be huge news in the hip-hop community. We could speculate why it hasn’t yet taken hold…for now, here’s hoping that at the least, it’ll shake some folks up. At best, I’d like to see a hip-hop fashion designer’s code of ethics, and Sweatshop-Free labels on all hip-hop wear ads and clothes.

posted by @ 7:52 pm | 0 Comments

Monday, October 27th, 2003

Great event for a great organization for those of yall in the Bay Area…


“Elections and the Media: From Florida to The Recall…

and on to 2004″

Thursday, November 6th at 7 p.m., Doors open 6:30 p.m.

King Middle School, 1781 Rose Street, Berkeley

Tickets are $10, *Advance Purchase Highly Recommended*

Students are $5 at door with valid ID

Buy tickets at or

Call (415) 546-6334 x300

Greg Palast is a BBC commentator and Author of The New

York Times Best-seller “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy”.

He is generally recognized as one of the most important

investigative reporters working today and has uncovered

numerous scandals including the Florida purge of African-

American voters during the 2000 presidential election and

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s collusion with Enron’s Ken Lay

around California’s energy debts.

This event co-sponsored by KPFA 94.1 FM, The SF Bay Guardian,

New College’s Media Studies Department, and Working Assets

posted by @ 8:28 pm | 0 Comments

Thursday, October 23rd, 2003


This month’s Harper’s Magazine features an article called “Turn On Tune In: Toward A Progressive Talk Show” by Thomas de Zengotita (which I can’t link to because these geezers are Luddites). But hey, it’s an interesting read–one dude’s take on how liberals can take back talk radio from the Rushes of the world (while championing the word ‘progressive’, natch).

de Zengotita argues that a progressive needs to be angry, caustic, ironic, and truthful. It needs to call right-wing liars on their lying lies and do it with glee. It needs to be hip (we’ll get to the hip-hop part below), interdisciplinary, and nobrow. I found myself agreeing with a lot of the points–even if the guy’s humor was a little too, uh, ah hell let’s say it, tea-and-crackers-at-the-Club for me.

Of course, there are issues. There are always issues.

de Zengotita is, like a lot of them are, another frustrated white boomer with white boomer frustrations. Like so many other heart-broken white boomers once did, he believes the future of progressivism lies with us, the young people of the world. (He’s a professor too, so there you go.) But, alas, like so many other frustrated white boomers, he is mainly looking for another young frustrated white post-boomer to take up his generation’s torch. Like Souls of Mischief liked to say, that’s when ya lost!

He’s ignoring the realities of the hip-hop generation: polycultural, post-white, and proud.

As usual, boomer liberals are looking for love in all the wrong places. They are searching for the next generation folks that look and think like them to tell them what they wanted to say anyway. Doesn’t that sound a little self-defeating and Gitlinesque?

Here are just a few of the shows led by non-white post-boomers that already fit de Zengotita’s proposal:

Davey D and Weyland Southon–Hard Knock Radio, KPFA (Berkeley)

Cedric Muhammad–Sirius Internet and Radio One (Washington DC)

Adisa Banjoko–Sirius and KNEW (San Francisco)

The Poetess–Reality Talk, KKBT (Los Angeles)

Fidel Rodriguez–Divine Radio KPFK (Los Angeles)

Harry Allen and Rosa Clemente–WBAI (New York City)

Frank Red–The Dungeon (Sacramento)

There are many more.

In any case, check out the Harper’s piece and if you agree with me, hell even if you don’t, hit them at

Here’s the letter I sent today…


From: Jeff Chang


Re: “Turn On, Tune In”

As a loud and proud member of the hip-hop generation, who has spent years in activism and around community and commercial radio, actually subscribes to Harper’s, and has often admitted a throat-lumping nostalgia for the good old days of the anti-apartheid movement, I read “Turn On, Tune In” with great interest. I even agreed with most of Mr. de Zengotita’s points, especially his insight that progressivism can only be revived by my peers–the post-ironic, post-civil rights, post-political post-boomers.

So I found it amusing–in an Elvis Costello, “used to be disgusted” kind of way–that de Zengotita would, straight out the box, advocate for a SWM host, “an unmarked signifier”. Whoa. Doesn’t he realize that SWM-ness is just about the most *marked* signifier in the hip-hop generation? Do we need him to start picking up XXL along with his Harper’s down at the subway magazine kiosk? If he’s not proposing that Eminem be recruited, it certainly raises the question of who has any legitimacy with the hip-hop generation to step up to do this.

In fact, in the boomer liberal’s so-far-fruitless search to find someone just like them to say just what they want to say (inevitably, to people who look and think just like them), they’ve missed the fact that so-called urban radio is the dominant format for people under-30. Who does de Zengotita think young people are getting their cultural cues from? They’ve missed the fact that there are brilliant, witty, politically tough radio personalities like the Bay Area’s Davey D who already command passionately loyal young audiences. They’ve missed all the outrage young people have been directing towards ghettopoly radio–expressed, for example, in angry local boycotts of Clear Channel, and “Turn Off The Radio” campaigns led by hip-hoppers like Afrika Bambaataa and Dead Prez.

Same old same old.

Get with the program, yall. If you really want to get to us, you’ll have to get polycultural and post-white.



posted by @ 9:03 am | 0 Comments

Monday, October 20th, 2003

Check out this heartbreaking, amazing piece of journalism by Vince Beiser, late of, for the Los Angeles Times Magazine on Pelican Bay.

posted by @ 8:27 am | 0 Comments

Thursday, October 16th, 2003

Support this!



Oakland, CA – Hard Knock Records has just released the highly anticipated album “What About US”. The compilation is a critical response by the Hip Hop community to what has taken place since the tragedies of September 11th. “The concept behind the creation of the album is in the title “What About US?” states Executive Producer Nick Huff. “The media portrays the Hip Hop generation as apathetic and materialistic but never supports artist that have something to say about what is going on in their communities.”

When asked why most of the Hip Hop community is critical of the wars in the Middle East Nick responds: “Because we know that the majority of the consequences of the war will affect our communities the greatest. The Billions of dollars, possibly Trillions before it’s all over, that are being spent on the defense budgets are not coming from taxes to the rich or from corporations because they are getting their taxes cut to “Stimulate the Economy”. The bulk of that money is coming from programs that actually need the money the most like public education, after school programs, childcare for low income families, Medicare. These programs which our communities need the most are the ones taking the biggest cuts because we don’t have lobbyist to speak for US. Is this what president Bush meant when he promised to leave no child behind?”

Hip Hop Pioner and activist Davey D sets the tone for the compilation in the intro by stating, “When you listen to this album “What About US?” keep in mind that we finally get to put our perspectives out there. That’s the perspective of young people, the perspective of young people of color, all those individual folks who come from all different backgrounds who were absent at the table when they were calling all these experts to tell us why we need to go and engage in the different wars and pass various laws for the security of this country. The things that have been prescribed by the people in leadership are not the only solutions and so on this album you will hear the perspective and solutions offered from a whole lot of other people, who I think make the majority of this country.”


posted by @ 9:20 am | 0 Comments

Thursday, October 9th, 2003

More exit polling data, this time parsed by the San Francisco Chronicle, showing that even Latinos and women supported the recall in greater numbers than expected. The other piece that is interesting is that 25-29 year olds–the same cohort that came up during Prop 187, 209, 227 and 21–were defiantly against Arnie. Very interesting stuff.

posted by @ 9:01 am | 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 8th, 2003

Great albums demand great writing, for the latest evidence see this piece by OutKast Is Good – Sasha Frere-Jones on Outkast. Brilliant.

posted by @ 8:27 pm | 0 Comments

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