Friday, January 28th, 2005

Wave Of Mutilation: A Belated 2 Cents on Hot 97

Sorry for being quiet this whole week, especially with the tsunami fiasco going down. I’ve been doing set-up work for the book and a bunch of meetings around hip-hop activism.

First I just want to send a shout out to our tireless and indefatigable man, Jay Smooth. He’s the one who first alerted all of us via email, and blog, weeks ago about Miss Jones’ idiocy. And he’s taken it to them, again and again.

Now, I’m gonna say this and please don’t be mad or take it out of context. People, the level of heat that yall brought to Hot 97 is wonderful.

But now can we talk about who is making your shoes and your sweats? Can we close down hip-hop fashion sweatshops?

Can we channel this energy toward an honest dialogue about how racism in the media and the country affects Asians and Blacks?

Can we move on the post-Powell FCC and force them to demonopolize the media so we don’t have be hearing dumb shit across the board?

Can we stand up to the folks who are just hankering for a way to launch a backlash against hip-hop radio?

Can we get together to shut down the real assholes who are sending us back decades in time–Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, Gonzales?

Look I realize I might sound like a gotdam hippie saying all this, but yo, I for one worry that a lot of this rage is just pure bloodlust, some old let’s-go-see-the-5pm-execution-in-the-town-square, while all the real criminals are still out there.

Tell me I’m wrong. Or better yet, tell me how we now get to the real criminals. Alright?

posted by @ 11:24 pm | 11 Comments

11 Responses to “Wave Of Mutilation: A Belated 2 Cents on Hot 97”

  1. Hashim says:

    it’s small victories like this that seem to spark the heart of young revolutionaries. I know I’m inspired.

    As Jay said on one of those posts:
    “So keep watching and keep working, and don’t ever doubt that your voice can be heard. (and I don’t just mean this for the particular battle we are fighting today)”

  2. toothpick says:

    good points, but hard to hear. one step at a time, I guess…

  3. Jay Smooth says:

    The new developments are keeping me from posting my convo with Immortal Technique, but we were on most of these same pages, pretty much

  4. Anonymous says:

    i hear you, jeff. but the answer’s no to all of your questions. i wish it wasn’t, but maybe we just need to come up with new ways of asking them. you and i have seen it a bazillion times over the year, just the nature of how this thing called “asian american consciousness” or “identity politics” has learned to fight its battles over the years. people say some dumb shit about asians, everyone gets mad, they stage a boycott, a few people get fired or a business gets chastised, and the machines keep on churning. miss saigon, urban outfitters, details magazine, the last samurai, john mccain, charlie’s angels…the list goes on and on and on. and the asian and black kids i teach still resent each other, the media consolidates like mad, people die of racism, and everyone i know is flat-ass broke with no fucking health insurance and a brother in jail.

    “small victories” are nice only if they add up, snowball into big victories at some point. calling out racist representations is important, but we have to figure out a way to move beyond constantly reacting to shit in the same exact way every single time. the message has to begin with how everything is rooted in something else and that everyone better dig real deep to figure out what.


  5. Jeff says:

    there it is. thank you. you said it better than i ever could. the thing about representations is how slippery they are. you tackle them but they pop up somewhere else. i’m gonna be out on tour talking more about this stuff, and hopefully trying to challenge people to up the ante. when richie perez came back from being underground in the late 70s, he organized folks against the movie “fort apache: the bronx”. he knew from all his years of struggle that a movie wasn’t the real target in the end, but he recognized too that that’s where the people were at. they were able to launch two decades of anti-racist fights around the media and representation, which eventually led to michael jackson and spike lee and hip-hop’s breakthrough. feel me? so these days i feel like we’ve come full circle in some ways, and that we may even be going backwards. i wish richie was still here to tell us how to do what we need to do next, but we’re gonna have to move through with his example.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lifestyle, baby.

    The real challenge is to revolutionize one’s self. In order for humanity to survive… literally, we ALL need to change our lifestyles and our outlook on the world. I’m sorry to say racism is just the tip of the iceberg. Racism is but a symptom.

    In order for humanity to survive, people will need to learn how to do without all these luxuries and illusions, such as HOT 97 and racism.

    People are busy changing others. Yet the greater power comes from mastering one’s self. That’s Lao Tzu.

    Don’t teat symptoms, exercise preventitive medicine.


  7. exo says:

    My question around this, or any other issue of protest is: What are you really accomplishing? Sure you can get people fired–but that’s punishment, not education. And I don’t see how such a strategy differs much from W’s approach to spreading democracy. Of course, you can gain a temporary illusion of control /power by getting a few people off the radio. But you haven’t done much to change their attitudes, or the values of the people who cosigned their actions in the first place. Does a criminal get caught and automatically decide, “I won’t steal anymore”? No. He becomes a better criminal. Maybe I read too much MLK and Gandhi last month, but I think the only thing that can change any situation is education and love. You don’t fight fire with fire; you fight fire with water. You can ask “How do we stop this?” but a better and more fruitful question is “How do we get people to respect each other?” It’s the longer journey on the road less traveled, but it’s the one that’s going to foster true peace and security. To get superconscious on everyone, no one’s fighting Hot 97–they’re fighting themselves. We all are. Always. Seriously. There is no spoon.

  8. ronnie brown says:

    has anyone noticed that the term “identity politics” is only used in reference to people of color?

    unless one is willing to face the reality that white anglo-saxon American nationalism is root of this so-called “hate speech”, rallying and protesting against “symptoms” is all ya got…

  9. Anonymous says:

    British MPs deplore Hot 97’s racist Tsunami Song

    British Parliamentarians have raised the issue of the racist Tsunami Song aired over Hot 97 the hip hop radio station. The song was blatantly racist and was a slur against Chinese people and other Asians.

    Hot 97’s Tsunami Song laughed at the deaths of tens of thousands of people who perished as a result of the terrible tsunami of 26th December 2004 which devastated Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South India, Thailand, Maldives, Andaman Islands and even affected Malasiya and Myanmar. It was the world’s worst natural disaster.

    The Chinese Community in the United Kingdom have joined with Asian Communities in the UK and Asian Americans in the USA in protesting against the racism of Hot 97.

    US President George Bush has been urged to take action against Emmis Radio and Hot 97 for bringing America into disrepute. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been given a copy of Hot 97’s racist lyrics and he has been asked to take the matter up with the President of the United States.

    Emmis Radio have only suspended Miss Jones for two weeks despite her racist outbursts and being a willing singer of the Tsunami Song. People in the UK are calling for the resignation of Miss Jones.

    Others have even called for the resignation of Richard Cummings, President of Emmis Radio for ignoring the cruel song which was aired for over a week on Hot 97 radio.

    Now British parliamentarians have deplored the Tsunami Song in an early day motion tabled in the House of Commons in the Palace of Westminster.

    EDM 638 states:


    ‘That this House deplores the racist Tsunami Song aired on Hot 97 radio station in New York; calls upon Richard Cummings, President of Emmis Radio, to take firm action against those who aired the song beyond the temporary suspension; and commends the heartfelt tsunami song composed by British Sri-Lankan Nimal Mendis….. ‘

    The Chinese Community in the UK have been urged to make the strongest protests against this song with their local members of parliament at the House of Commons London SW1A OAA in the UK and the American Embassy in London.

    They have also been requested to send their protests in writing to:

    Hot 97 WQHT-FM
    395 Hudson Street, 7th Floor
    New York, NY 10014
    Phone: 212-229-9797
    Fax: 212-929-8559

    Barry Mayo, General Manager, Hot 97 WQHT-FM
    John Dimick, Program Director, Hot 97 WQHT-FM

    Emmis Communications
    One Emmis Plaza
    40 Monument Circle, Suite 700
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
    Phone: 317-266-0100
    Fax: 317-631-3750

    Jeffrey H Smulyan, Chairman and CEO, Emmis Communications

    Federal Communications Commission
    Enforcement Bureau, Investigations and Hearings Division
    445 12th Street, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20554
    Phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC

    To listen to Hot 97’s Tsunami Song:

    U.S. Embassy, London
    24 Grosvenor Square
    London, W1A 1AE
    United Kingdom

    Switchboard: [44] (0)20 7499-9000

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Tsunami Song, Miss Jones, and Hot 97 are all disgraces
    Trying to divide two minority races
    Everyone knows that the song and skit was utterly tasteless
    Just some dumb promotion to try and get Miss jones famous
    But all it did was blow up in all your faces
    I heard Todd Lynn getting death threats on his cell
    If you believe in karma then you believe he’s going to hell
    Miss JOnes thinks she’s a diva like Janet but she’s not even no Blu Cantrell

    And who is Todd Lynn? Todd Who?
    Talkin about shooting asians shows that you are a fool
    It’s 2005 and we asians aren’t staying quiet
    I heard there’s a rally outside Hot 97 that could turn into a riot
    Miss Jones thinks she’s hot but she really needs to go on a diet
    You guys got 99 problems and a new job should be one
    How can you shoot anyone Todd without a gun?
    You no longer got a voice in New York and ran out of ammo
    And the backlash Hot 97 and everyone involved is something you guys won’t be able to handle

    Derek Wizzzle

  11. BlackPower says:

    This is REDICULOUS!!!

    The fact that Jones is not terminated is outrageous. That song perpetuates the hate, the racial inequality that our great Dr.King tried to stop. How can our black brothers and sisters demand justice and fair treatment when, we, ourselves, cannot offer that to others of the different races. Have our children forgotten the struggle, the torment, the humiliation that our ancestors endured? Our ancestors were mocked with the same use of language. Instead of ch**ks, replace that with n***er. That was the hate that caused our struggle so much pain. Have we forgotten all this? This is not just about fair treatment for all, because Hip Hop has crossed all racial boundaries and has been embraced by all. We should feel proud that what was once thought of as a language of animals, has become the voice of the disenfranchised and the powerless. Brothers and Sisters, can we put the hatred behind us, and move forward, hand in hand? Can we embrace all that is different in the world and learn to live with moral dignity? Can we heed the words of those before us: I have a dream, and turn that in to a reality?

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