Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Is Hip-Hop Grown Up?

Where’s the Geritol swag bag, son?

The annual VH1 Hip-Hop Honors and this BBC article featuring my friends Joe Conzo and Nick Conway prompted’s editor Danyel Smith to ask some of us if we had any opinions on the topic.

The great Noz, of Cocaine Blunts fame, weighed in. And so did Jozen Cummings and I. Here’s an excerpt from that short piece…

Ten years ago, I wrote a piece on hip-hop nostalgia. I was against it.

(Hey I said it was a short piece!) To read the whole thing, click here.

posted by @ 9:56 am | 2 Comments

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Hip-Hop Theater Festival 2009 In Full Gear

For the fam in NYC, the Hip-Hop Theater Festival is already in full gear with its annual showcase of the best in hip-hop performing arts. In fact you already missed Sacha Jenkins’ collabo with Tommy Smith and the Beatnuts last weekend.

But not to fear, for this week, the fest will be showcasing fam-friendly Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip Hop Creation Myth, and the New York premiere of The Word Begins, written and performed by Steve Connell and Sekou (tha misfit).

Next week, there’s Radha Blank’s “Seed”, Shontina Verdon’s “Wanted”, and Betty Shamieh’s “The Alter Rgo Of An Arab-American Assimiliationist.” Plus, another opportunity to check one of my favorite pieces of all time by one of my favorite actors, Eisa Davis in her classic, autobiographical Angela’s Mixtape. Check the video below!

For all the details on the HHTF 2009 including tix and times, check here.

posted by @ 4:56 pm | 0 Comments

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Rest In Power, Gina Hotta

Let us now praise the great Gina Hotta. Gina passed of a heart attack suddenly Monday evening.

Gina was one of those activists who worked like a river. She never demanded the spotlight, never sought the glory. She was all about the work.

And what great work she did.

DJ Phatrick called her “the voice of Asian American Bay Area.” Her activism was never separate from her journalism, and in that way, she cast a light for many of us to follow.

She was an Asian American activist who seemed to have her mind and spirit in every major movement of the past three decades–from peace and disarmament work right up through the University walkout last Thursday, where I saw her last, working the picket lines and talking about the administration’s anti-union activities.

But most of all, Gina was a lover of beautiful sound. If hip-hop had come a decade or so earlier, I’m convinced she would have been one of the first Asian woman DJs. She carried her equipment everywhere, capturing the sounds of change, and brought her work back to the world weekly on Apex Express.

Her collection of Asian American music and interviews with musicians is probably one of the deepest in the world. We could talk for hours about this artist or that band. Music kept her young. She was as up on the latest Asian American poets and DJs as she could school you on the lost soul and funk bands of the 70s.

You know how people use the word visionary to describe those who cause you to see the world differently? I don’t know what the word is for Gina. She made you hear the world differently.

It’s been a terrible year for passings. Rest in power, Gina, we’ll miss you.

Tune in tonight to Apex Express on KPFA or on the web at 7pm to hear a community tribute to Gina.

+ Adriel Luis of Ill-Literacy’s tribute
+ Apex Express tribute
+ Hyphen Magazine tribute
+ Oliver Wang tribute

posted by @ 7:00 am | 1 Comment

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