Thursday, April 5th, 2007

Spring Again

Doing It At Duke: Mark Anthony Neal, your boy, Joan Morgan, Danny Hoch (l-r)

Spring again, right Biz Markie? Welcome to April, the month of my solar return and the official opening of protest season or panel season, depending on what mood your campus might be in this year. Some days I think back on days of burning tires and bandanna’d youth on Telegraph Avenue in my adopted homeplace Berkeley and I think we might be better served by more protests than panels.

Then there are days when people like Bakari Kitwana bring in other people like Joan Morgan, Davey D, Mark Anthony Neal, and Yo-Yo—yes, that Yo-Yo, now being heard on KDAY, yes, that KDAY—to your part of the world and you experience more bombs per minute than a gabba set.

The Hip-Hop Studies Working Group at Cal put together two days of events, the first being a screening of Byron Hurt’s by-now classic doc “Beyond Beats and Rhymes” and the second a Rap Sessions night curated by Bakari.

I missed the screening, although I have participated in others around the Bay and always been left amazed at how the movie is able to pry open minds and vocal chords on issues of gender and sexuality amongst crowds that would otherwise leave the elephant hanging around the room. I did catch the Rap Session and was impressed at how deep the discussion was able to get in just a 2-hour time.

With a panel as diverse as this, and an audience as sharp as this, the topics ranged widely: from Davey and Yo-Yo’s discussion of the way that management manages progressive voices in the radio and media industry (one way–by bouncing Yo-Yo to a weekend deadzone in favor of piped-in programming) to Mark’s incisive comments comparing how sexism and homophobia in the church is treated by the media as opposed to hip-hop to Joan’s discussion of how video programming and sexual relations. In other words, if videos are accurate visions of the way mean are imagining sex, then that’s some boring-ass sex folks are having.

We left later, after Joan’s massive fanbase had her sign the entire Bay Area stock of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost, and continued the conversation down on Telegraph. No burning cars, but a lot of burning minds.

Hey, if you’re in the Bay Area, come celebrate with all us Aries and Taurus April babies all day at Weyland Southon’s birthday bash on Saturday. I may even play some records…

posted by @ 11:43 am | 1 Comment

One Response to “Spring Again”

  1. Brother OMi says:

    isn’t Joan Morgan dreamy?

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