Sunday, September 02, 2007

CNN - Read A Book: Satire or Disgrace?

Myself, Bomani Armah, and Paul Porter were live on CNN last night with news anchor, Tony Harris.

I thank CNN for the opportunity to speak. I am also extremely happy that Bomani was able to defend his song. I also want to make it clear that the artists don't determine when videos/content is played on networks.

My time was limited and my mic was on the verge of being, I thought I'd post an e-mail response I gave to someone who lodged a complaint to me personally, as well as Bomani and BET. I wasn't ever going to post this, because it was really just for the person who "attacked" me. But, now, after all this public attention, and a "parent" saying on national television that i should be killing myself for producing art...this one's for anybody that doesn't understand what it means to instigate CHANGE. If this is what it be it.

" enter name here"

I appreciate and respect your opinion. After reading your comments on my work and Bomani's, you'd be surprised to know we echo your sentiments.

I'm going to take the time to answer this e-mail in full because you're the first person to address me personally. So, I thank you for this opportunity to open up and talk candidly with me for this brief exchange.

As we all know, HIP HOP, the predominant voice of black culture, has been long overdue for a makeover. We can credit Nas for sparking the "movement" when he said the now infamous: HIP HOP IS DEAD. In saying that, a firestorm of heated debates swept the nation and the world, inside and outside of the hip hop community. So the question needed consideration: IS hip hop dead?

Currently, Rap Music is dominated by the South. They are what's hot. They're music is fun, energetic, full of raw energy. But, namely FUN...honest to god...FUN. However, with any cycle of trends...other forms of music tend to get left out. And to take Lupe Fiascoe's metaphor of FOOD and music...we were getting a whole lotta LIQUOR...but, not damn near ENOUGH FOOD!

In steps Bomani Armah. The song: READ A BOOK. The music: CRUNK.
As soon as the beat drops, I'm expecting LIQUOR.

But, Bomani pulled a fast one on me and gives me FOOD!

And, me as the director, I wanted to inject some more LIQUOR...SO MUCH LIQUOR that you actually want to THROW UP. Why?

Because, while you're getting drunk off the cartooned images,
the reflection of what you see on TV everyday
and getting drunk off the beats
another reflection of what you hear on the radio EVERYDAY,


He gave you so much FOOD, that you and I both are chewing on it right now. The fact that I'm even answering this e-mail, the fact that it incensed you so much to e-mail me and everybody else responsible is proof.

If you don't want to hear and see messages presented in this aggressive way,
I'll give you some advice:
don't fight messages like this or be anti-towards them...because, honestly, you can't stop'll only make them bigger. That's why it's on 106 and Park right now.

No one said this thing was going to encourage literacy. It was made to encourage debate. It was going to evoke an emotional charge. It was going to open up the talks on how to improve as a people.

Why did we do it like this?
I'm going to let you in on a secret:

Subtlety falls on def ears. People do not hear quiet messages. The world today isn't going to regress and return to the 1930s when things were hush-hush and taboo. We know too much so to really get people emotionally charged...well,
you make a song and video like "READ A BOOK."

If you don't like what we're doing...
are you being pro-active in increasing literacy in schools?
are you a rapper that has a song or is the process of producing a song that gives a more "positive" message?
are you doing anything on the black struggle that provides observable solutions to the current state of emergency we're in?

If you are doing these things...MUCH RESPECT
keep giving your positive energy towards them...
because for our people,
positive pro-active things are far more powerful than an electronic complaint.

Peace and Blessings to you,



Blogger Unknown said...

I absolutely love all the different interpretations of this video. Folks don't take it for what it is. How DARE anyone question rap music, and the culture surrounding it. Maybe all those parents ARE correct. This video should not be throw into the mix amongst the other "greats" - like Hurricane Chris and The Game.

It should have it's own dedicated hour.


12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I'm a bit behind everyone else since I live in the UK and we don't get B.E.T. but I've just watched your 'Read A Book' video and I've gotta say, awesome stuff. It's a beautifully designed video and despite all the criticism you seem to be getting you should be very proud of this piece of work. I look forward to seeing what else you have in store.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Stephen James. said...

Wow Tyree you've gotten all controversial and what not!

I hve mixed feelings about the video, but it's wonderful that it's stirred up a good bit of debate. It's like Johnathan Swift's Modest proposal back in the day.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Stephen James. said...

Here's a better written expression of my thoughts. Tyree, the people who don't get it aren't going to get it.

This things been on my mind for a while now and it’s really making me think. When Tyree showed me the video in class last Spring it made me think.

“That was the most offensively pro-social thing I had ever seen.”

That’s what I told him, and with the recent controversy it’s made me think about one of my favorite essays of all time…

Jonathan Swift, most famously known as the author of Gulliver’s travels, was an Irish writer who lived in the eighteenth century. In his time orphans littered the streets, and very little was done to help them, they were a big strain on the society. So Jonathan Swift wrote an essay called “A Modest proposal.” In it he suggests that all of the small children living in the streets be rounded up and cooked. Then they were to be served as food to people in any number of delicious ways. When the essay was published it created a great deal of outrage, and many people felt that it was an affront to human decency. People who had apathetically ignored the problem of children living in poverty suddenly turned their attention to a social ill that was hurting their society. In other words Mr. Swift hit his target dead center. He was never seriously arguing for cannibalism but was shouting at people to pay attention to what was happening in society. Social justice was his goal, and if he had to be upset to get his message across than he is willing to do it.

Sometimes the only way to break through the apathy of society is to do it in such a loud, offensive way that people are forced to pay attention and really address a serious issue. In other words sometimes you need a sledgehammer instead of a pick axe to get a message through. That being said I think that the Read-a-Book music video is very much in the spirit of Mr. Swift’s work. A much needed, if offensively worded, sledgehammer. Let’s be honest, if the creators of this video had sent out his message in a polite town hall meeting or in an eloquent written letter few people would have cared, and even fewer people would have heard the message. By inviting the controversy we also invite the debate that we (and unfortunately this applies to many in the black community) desperately need. There may be the concern about airing our dirty laundry in the public, outside of the community, but it’s stuff that needs to be said and apparently loudly. I speak as a 22 years old African-American man when I say that it’s GOOD we’re getting offended by these things. Don’t be offended by the people who are pointing out these things, be offended by the fact that in some parts of our community ignorance is celebrated.

I think much of the controversy also comes from the still firmly implanted idea that because something is animated it must be for kids. It’s something that many fans of animation and those of us trying to get into the industry (or already there) have been fighting for a long time. Let’s not mistake the medium for the intended audience. Animation, like live action, can be made for any age group and should not be the exclusive property of kid’s programming.

Anyway Tyree put up a CNN segment on it right here from Sept. 1st. Feel free to click on the link.

Wow I had a teacher on CNN!!!

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You and Bomani are helping to spark discussion and changes that are absolutely necessary. Will everyone "get it"? No, they won't. There are far more people who would rather put their brains on cruise control than sit down and take the time to form an educated opinion.

The host on the CNN obviously has not done any type of research or he wouldn't have been baffled by where you could find the video to "A Bay Bay" or any of the other songs mentioned. Comparing your video to Sesame Street and The Electric Company (do they even show that anymore???) was just asinine. When compared in the proper context, it is obvious what your video is trying to do.

If we don't tell ourselves about ourselves then we don't have much of a right to get mad when others see us in a negative light.

Keep up the good work.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Rob Bodnar said...

REE, keep on keepin' on!

8:22 PM  
Blogger who me? said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:07 AM  
Blogger who me? said...


This should be standard fare in every class that would purport to teach SATIRE.

You young men should be EXTREMELY proud.

It was like School House Rock meets 106 & Park meets The Onion- and it was perfect:

1. Read a Book
2. Raise Your Kids
3. Drink Water
4. Buy Some Land
5. Brush Your Teeth
6. Wear Deodorant

Very practical advice- even if they don't quite appear in order of importance...

What's the objection here- that the ass was animated instead of live, that her pants said "BOOK" across her cheeks instead of "SEXY"? So he loads the gun with a book instead of a clip- and?

My son will absolutely be able to see this. We talk a lot about the fact that words are powerless without intent, and that some vulgar words are appropriate in context. In this context, I find "nigga", "mf" etc all to be completely appropriate- and hilarious at that.

Despite the fact that there is no radio (other than NPR/BBC) and no MTV/BET allowed in this house, invariably the less than desirable aspects of hip hop culture (ie the misogyny, language, materialism) will creep in to him from other sources- school, friends etc.

So I would much rather be proactive in guarding his points of reference- and this is one that is to be cherished for some time to come.

Although this may not have been intended for children as the audience, my son is very precocious, very worldly, and I think this is actually wonderful tool to use to discuss and see what reactions it provokes in him- and other young teens who revel in the genre of which this short pokes fun.

As an adult- I can appreciate it on so many other levels, but above all else- this was brilliant.

I'm disappointed in CNN; I wish I'd been one of the parents interviewed.

They were "afraid for their child"? They didn't think "our community would see this as satire"?

They couldn't find not ONE parent who- like me- appreciates the satirical brilliance of this piece?

THIS is not the "garbage", THIS is not the "farce"-- everything ELSE on BET is!

8:14 AM  
Blogger Mr.Magoo said...

Be encouraged from all this controversy. These are just the birth pangs of the unfolding of social consciousness. I got it, great work!

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What offends ME is that everyone seems to think that the message of the video only applies to African-Americans! lol

You could re-draw the whole damned thing and replace all the characters with ignorant white-trash types and it would be just as funny.

And, frankly, I think the whole world could benefit from being told "Hey! Don't be a bunch of ignorant slobs!"

I dunno... maybe I'm insensitive, but I thought it was a funny video.

I think we could all do well to laugh at ourselves a little more freely in this life.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Stuart Livingston said...


All of my life I have sought to be an artist back as far as i can remember. As the years passed and my mind matured, it took 21 years, up until the past semester in fact, that the mere "frivolousness" of art became apparent to me, particularly in our current state of the world in which change is necessary and our effect on the world as human beings (mere animals!) has been so great to have necessitate such change - in our cultures, society, and nature at large. It became such a serious issue, the thought of leaving my passion for something more urgent such as environmental preservation, or biology became potential options.

Yet I continued doing art. I have grown tremendously as a person, I believe, since you taught our class and I came to believe that I need to take my art and apply it as an inspiration and a support for the causes which I believe in. Ever since Read A Book, I now know that it's possible. You have no idea how proud you've made this student for the work you've put into this piece.


12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally like the video. It was funny and it also sends a message. If rappers can rap about how they got 28 inch rims, how they got they rims, how much money they got in the bank. What’s wrong with rapping about reading, hygiene and taking care of they kids. Now, they trip off of 12 year olds children will get the wrong message. Peep game though; those same 12 year olds image DMX, Lil Wayne and other host of rappers who discuss sex, violence and money negatively. What I see here is the opposite. Yes, I feel the video is suppose to direct to the 18-34 year olds and I give you guys the up most respect because it’s told how it is. What everybody is scared of is reality. Hip-hop is dying and I think the message like this will bring some kind of life back.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Overvision said...

Steven James,

Thanks for the Jonathan Swift story. That was a perfect analogy for Read a Book.
Also, lets not forget the infamous underground cartoonist Robert Crumb, who spoofed American culture so much that he can only live peacefully in France.

I once asked funk overlord George Clinton if he wasn't afraid someone might get the wrong ideas from his controversial and ambiguous music. What about the people that don't 'get' it??

He said his mother told him a long time ago, when it comes to 'getting' ANYTHANG,
"Some do, some don't - Some will, some won't".

That simple philosophy has got to be one of the most profound statements ever uttered.

Like you said Tyree, you've given us more than enough food for thought.
Keep givin' up da' Funk!


2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just another voice of support. The film was fun, obviously a satire, and obviously not aimed at children. It is so effective because it so accurately mimics and mocks the original source, to remove the context would remove the point.

You held yourself with grace and poise on that interview where the Interviewer was obviously just looking to stir up some ratings instead of some thought. I keep forgetting how unimaginative and just plain dumb people can be.

Keep it up. Keep making fun work, especially if it raises good issues.

-west coast game animator

2:16 PM  
Blogger libra bear said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:23 PM  
Blogger libra bear said...

From an artistic point of view I want to congratulate you on a terrific piece of work, Love the animation and masterful direction. As for the loud noise you made with the message, mission accomplished. Whether commended or ridiculed, this short piece of film is sparking debates and re-establishing awareness. I think people need to stop being so sensitive, and actually address what the film is trying to say. It's ridiculously obvious!! As for 12 year olds not understanding, I find it strange that people think kids are that dumb. We give them little credit. They're a lot more worldly today than when I was 12. Once again man, congrats. I commend you for using your skills and position to fight this fight.

3:27 PM  
Blogger DeJarnette Designs said...


I agree with you totally about your definition of satire. I myself grew up reading Mad magazine and worked with many famous comedians as a book illustrator, illustrating several satirical images. Satire can be used to poke fun of something, be used as a mirror to reflect sociological views or it can a used as a device to provoke thought.

I think that some people are missing the whole point of the true meaning and intent of the song and video. Maybe some minds might be too young to understand parody but I think that the video could provoke thoughts about change, literacy, and spark many other discussions.


4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got to give you your props for making Read a Book. I think that this was a wake up call to the black community. Nowadays everything that the truth is controversial and even if it funny it gets a lot of criticism, (example: Boondocks). Hip-Hop is dead and going be for a long time because rappers are full of themselves and money blinds people and everybody want to be a wannabe rapper, which in my point of view is getting old especially if the song about yourself, about people you don’t know or about materialistic things which you see on BET all the frigging time. The Art of the cartoon was amazing for it to be made in Flash cuz I’m an artist too.

Here are some examples of songs why hip hop is officially dead:

Kia Shine-Krispy :

Lil Mamma-Lip Gloss:

50 cent-I get money:

Soulja Boy- Crank That

Young Joc- I know you see

And that not even the tip of the iceberg from the songs they play on BET around the time kids are at home because I hear them all the time from television to radio. To a certain extent, R&B is starting to die out because everybody can be a singer and not going by talent and lyrics but just going by a another pretty face and what being consider a media to a demographic to 12 and 18 year olds. Even the old school people, are losing themselves to materialistic things and talking about how great they are which is sad.

Tony Harris is clams he watch BET but never even heard these songs, like A Bay Bay, which I think that he a culturally challenge and need to get his facts right instead of trying false statements to make a show. I’m glad that you and Bomani told him about satire which I think the video was positive, and 2 messages was pointed out: Read a mf book and rappers need to talk about important things.

I can go on with this but for the closing statement: Keep doing what you doing by telling it like it is.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the problem? I really don't understand anyone being upset or having a problem with reading a book and hygeine! This is ridiculous! All he did was use the same concept that it is in almost every video and music today, rergardless of what type of music it is! This guy didn't say one negative thing! The negative things some people are contesting the director twisted that positive! For Example, the word book on the booty bouncing and the guns shooting the books, those things children see in the raw everyday on television and hear in music, whats wrong with what he did? I dont believe that his intent was toward children just like most music that is played on the radio an tv today are not for children, but they hear it and listen to it. Would you rather hear your teens bouncing to "read a book, read a book, read a m*#thaf*#@ing book!" or "I hustle day in and day out moving rocks out the fiends house, hit to da club later pick up a b*#ch and f**k her brains out" Think about it, dont let the image over power the message. This is a common problem in a lot of music today and this read a book song is just one of the victims.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Ryan Kramer said...

Well said man...The best thing I got from this whole thing is "People do not hear quiet messages."
You knew what would get attention and you pursued it with full force. It looks like people are hearing you loud and clear!

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I generally love classic cartoons and think rap sucks compared to music with a melody. I also think it's impossible to put all blacks into one demographic.

Read a Book KICKS ASS!!!! Funny cartoon, with an entirely relevant message. Obviously language inappropriate for kids. Teens: listen up!!!!


Joe Schmoe white guy.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm so glad that as I mature, I become wiser. When I was first sent the link to the video, I was Oh, Heck NO! This can't be happening. My husband I watched it together and usually he's really good at breaking things down but we had no words.

One thing I have to say is before we overreact as a people behind this, we must look at all view points to have a better understanding. And I thank you so much for sharing your email.

People need to check out the movie Bamboozle by Spike Lee...


2:32 PM  
Blogger Hans said...

Hey REE,

I knew it!!!! The first time I saw "Read a Book" I was 100% sure that you were somehow part of it and I think it's genius! Both artistically and message wise. I don't know why people always put on their blinders and focus on ridiculous details, when there's obviously much bigger issues. Tony Harris did a piss poor job too by the way!!! Interrupting constantly and didn't let anyone but himself speak. His job as an anchorman is to stay neutral and make sure both sides get a chance to express them selves. Here he is, comparing the video to shows that has absolutely NOTHING in common with "Read a Book". He might as well have compared it to a Russian documentary about shoe making or something. It's typical of narrow minded people unable to see the bigger picture, to turn everything into a "race thing" any chance they get, in an attempt to be righteous.

Well, I'm glad it stirred up a debate, cause I'm sure that's exactly what was the idea behind it.

Anyway, I'm still in FL working freelance, while I'm looking for work in Cali. I'm hoping to get back in the blog game soon, but first I have a few weeks vacation back in Denmark, starting this monday.

Hope everything's good over there. I'll be following the "Read a Book" controversy closely;)

Take care,


7:38 PM  
Blogger Young Author said...

I completely understand the intent behind the "Read a Book" video. True, all things mentioned in the video are issues that plague our community and culture. At first viewing of the video I was absolutely astonished at the harshness of the language as I am with most of the "popular" hip hop songs today.
Mixed feelings come over me, though, and I'm not exactly sure if the intended message will become diluted with this in-your-face attempt to wake people up.
My sentiments do mirror those of yourself and others in terms of the lack of balance that is in not only music but entertainment as well. The next issue is that although we are saying read, buy land, etc., what do we read? How do we go about purchasing? How do we break the curse of the single parent household and the fallacy of masculinity that is embedded in so many black men who feel that the more kids they have or the more women they have makes or defines their manhood?
READ A BOOK - Right now there is a real popular trend called "street lit." Street lit is basically hip hop videos in book format which alot of young people are reading right now. "Well, at least they are reading," is the current attitude. I am a writer of literature geared towards youth but have constantly been pushed to the side because the writing or the story doesn't fall under the guise of the typical "street lit" genre. I've been told that maybe I should "ghetto" the story up a little so people could relate more. I've been fighting for the past four years to show that the inner city is not the "hood" look that is constantly perpetuated in the media. Inner city youth are far more dimensional than they are portrayed.
One question I have is that how do we rightfully condemn Michael Richards and Don Imus when we continue to do the same things to ourselves?

8:48 AM  
Blogger Hans said...


....ooooh shit, that Boon Doc guy is rockin' that MPC like crazy!!! I'm inspired no doubt.

6:29 PM  
Blogger shannon said...

Hey Tyree,

I want to thank you for representing the artistic community so well. It was great to see (in the little time you guys were actually allowed to speak) how well you and Bomani carried yourselves.

Any time I see a new piece of art I try and ask myself what the artist's intent was. I believe that if the artist achieves his/her intent, than the piece is successful. You guys were VERY successful!

Like you said, if the message is a whisper, especially in the public forum, people just don't seem to get it.

When I first saw the video, it grabbed me by the throat. Once I realized what your intent was, I was really glad that a network actually let you guys put it out there.

Unfortunately, in this country, animation is perceived as a medium for children and true debate is rare.

Even though the CNN debate was intentionally stacked in their favor, I agree with Bomani that it was great to see parents discussing the subject. I'm sure it wasn't easy to hear your piece referred to as "garbage", but I believe, even if they didn't realize it, the video will make them more cautious of what their children watch.

And as far as what time of the day the video aired, I think it was great. Maybe now parents won't trust a network to be the babysitter. Maybe they'll actually sit down with their kids and share some time instead of stepping out of the room and letting the TV act as mommy and daddy.

Anyway, it was a great video and it's good to see animation used to provoke discussion.



8:56 AM  
Blogger Troy Little said...

Well done sir. Very effective and nicely animated to boot. The only vocal item I've seen on the music video scene since Rage Against the Machine.

1:33 PM  
Blogger david said...

first off, awesome work on the video it kicks ass. secondly, its great to see idiots out there still thinking that cartoons are for kids, and the way the animation "industry" has totally perpetuated this horrible stigma attached to cartoons. we need to see more cartoons for adults, like how they used to be. No one wants to see lame ass kiddie shit all the time, and they dont want to see piss poor shitty family guys either. just quality intelligent cartooning. thirdly, the concept is great and even though that stupid cnn dude was trying to pin you guys with bullshit, the fact still holds up that there is no such thing as bad publicity, and if anything this will just help the cartoon gain more popularity and maybe get people to start thinking about shit. Its good to see cartoons that go beyond dumb one lines or kid scripts. keep up the great work. and keep kicking cartoon ass.

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just another example of mainstream media misinterpreting our culture. "Read the muh'fuckin context clues, CNN."

1:59 PM  
Blogger g1toons said...

wow this is u? i was was in the gym and i saw the cnn report but the volume was low so i was trying to find out what was going on, nuff respect, now i am not a BET fan so i would never had seen this but luckily i was blogging, this is a breath of fresh air, i don't listen to radio rap , because they are not talking about anything i am interested in, now i am not mad at them, i more disappointed at the people who but it, i live by this motto "it would not exist, if nobody wanted it" There is so much i wanna say, but i hate typing. But people need to realize there is more to the music and black people then just big booty, rims and the N word, this something i have struggled with since coming to this country, the way "some" black people think and how "some People see black people the image of black is wounded right now and it needs to be healed, but i dont see the cure.. the cure exists but it is lost in all this BS, anyway enuff rambling, again thank you not sure if this is enuff to wake people up but it helps. As for the CNN thing kids understand satire, the main reason i got into animation was because of Ralph bakshi's fritz the cat, and a commercial they played back home for a "kiora" orange juice, i knew the images were wrong
but parents need to start being parents and TV should not be teaching children about life especially BET and MTV aiight peace

2:21 PM  
Blogger joey said...

hey ree... so i'm telling people i know you and you know i have proof :)

keep doin the damn thang.

i suppose this is why we never got around to doing NeoSoul 2007 huh? Too busy getting shoved around for being the best n shit.

i guess you know bomani is a poet which makes him good in my book any day... posted a little sumpin about it and copied your response...hope youdon't mind.

much love and mad respect!

p.s. stop looking at those pictures and get to work!

2:29 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This video was absolutely awesome. Only a black individual with a brain would understand it. However, I believe it sends a strong message to the community. If the video stated all of the things that it did in a much less offensive way it would be ignored and BET would have never played. It has a bit of attraction to it with all the slang and urban ghetto jargon attached. More money wasting non reading young black men and boys have probably seen this video than bought the last positive message delivering rap album. It's an avenue to reach the young black. This video sends a message to stop wasting time, money and your life and to do something positive with it. It even gives suggestions. Read a Book, brush your teeth, take care of your children, stop wasting money, buy something to show with your money. There aren't too many things out there that give this message that actually receive air play.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Mark McDonnell said...

Wait a minute here . . .who's that good looking dude in the middle?

Real good man. Rule #1 is to make a statement and touch people . . done. Pretty funny stuff my man.


12:47 AM  
Blogger Mark McDonnell said...

P.S. - Looks like we have another trouble maker here.

Nicely done!!!

12:48 AM  
Blogger Chris Battle said...

It never ceases to amaze me how many people just DON'T FUCKING GET THE JOKE! Sheesh. Anyways, all your fellow artists know the real deal, but you knew that.

You and Bomani came off rather well, at least when the anchor (who's obviously in love with the sound of his own voice) wasn't constantly trying to talk over you. So much for "reporting".

4:44 PM  
Blogger Art of Don Dixon said...

Do your thing, animation is art, and good art brings up controversy and questions, it holds up a mirror to society, the haters are just made at seeing the reflection, instead of getting upset over a damn cartoon, they need to take a lesson from it, educate and make a real change. I only wish I was the one that did the animation! Great work!


8:34 AM  
Blogger CA3 said...

I think that your "Read a Book" satirical music video was not only apt for our times, but very much overdue. It's helped to continue the debate on the issue of American Africans and how they allow themselves to portrayed in media, and how they handle themselves in society at large, a subject that should never be brushed aside.

I hope that you and Mr. Armah have both learned something beneficial from this experience, especially the fact that your two were on CNN, and BET saw no reason to be there at all to explain their actions. And furthermore, that it helps to make you both more vigilant in your dealings with particular journalist media outlets that would attack you personally, rather than conduct themselves professionally.

10:55 AM  
Blogger the clownninja said...

great video ree, you did a good job under the lights too.

1:14 PM  
Blogger jamdonaldson said...

hi, as creator of and "We Got To Do Better" I can absolutely relate to your experience. Just wanted to lend my support as Bomani did me when i was in the crosshairs of the black thought police.

I initially used "read a book" as the theme song on my website about a year ago and was so excited to see how you guys brought it to life visually.

I thought it was brilliant satire then and still do. This is a new generation. We are subversive, ironic, sarcastic and we express that through our crafts.

I wish the black community would, for once, get beyond these knee-jerk emotional reactions and teh hysteria to just listen....and think...and reflect as to what the artists are trying to say.

The fact that progressive, talented folks are being shut down is really scary and i hope it doesnt have a chilling effect on the next generation of creators.

Maybe its just me...Sometimes I feel like everyone has lost their minds. How better to diminish stereotypes than to confront and parody them and call them out for the nonsense they are?

I applaud you and hope maybe we can work together some time.

jam donaldson

1:05 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I just came across your work through process recess and think the work for "Read a Book" is a great visualization of the external perception of the African-American Lifestyle. To be intelligent is to know that what is shown on television is nowhere near the actualities people of color face. It's unfortunate that the media is looking in the wrong direction on this matter. Instead of looking at the infrastructure of the problem they attack the "provocatuer".

Artists are always easy targets because we refuse to accept that which is the norm. We will not accept the objectification of women. We will not accept lower standard of living based on colour, class or religion. We will not accept the downward spiral that our communities are being swallowed up by.

Also, does CNN really think the Huckstables would be watching BET? If the parents they had on the show were their interpretation of BET's target demographic someone needs to take a sociology class. Once again the media is trying to be too "PC" that they miss the point completely. I could go on for days but I think you've heard enough. My praise to you and I too was at the EAA presentation. Sorry it took so long to get to that point. Thank you.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Krittika said...

Hey Tyree,
My name is Krittika Chatterjee and I'm a broadcast journalism major in Kent State University, Ohio. I'm doing a research paper on "Read a Book." I was wondering if I could interview you via email or phone and get your side of the story for my paper. Do let me know and your help will be appreciated.
thank you,

3:08 PM  
Blogger TYREE DILLIHAY said...

thanks all a million times over.
send me an e-mail @

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