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 silenced....so, 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 takes...so 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 LIQUOR...in 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,
AT THE END OF THE DAY
YOU COULD NEVER SAY THE ARTIST DIDN'T GIVE YOU FOOD.
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 them...you'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...
WHAT ARE YOU 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,