Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Spike Lee's artistic genius exploded onto the screen in 1992 as he released the life of revolutionary hero Malcolm X. Lee's script was based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X and although Lee's interpretation tweaks a few details in the life of Malcolm his greatness was represented to the tee. The unique aspect of Lee's film is its vast coverage of all of the stages of Malcolm's life from his days as Detroit Red, as Malcolm X, and as El Haaj Malik El Shabazz. To tell the story of Malcolm X is to tell a story of transformation, for as Malcolm was changing the country he was to changing himself. This is the real attribute that Lee's film stresses, Malcolm the man. For even if you do not agree with Malcolm's political and world views it is undeniable the way Malcolm the person affected everyone around him. Malcolm inspired a nation to rise up and demand equality "by any means necessary." Even today Malcolm brings the best out of individuals who make a true effort to examine and study his life. As people study the life of Malcolm they find courage and wisdom in themselves that they never knew they had; that is certainly the case for this writer. I feel I am doing a disservice even writing this entry trying to tell the glory of Lee's vision of X for it may very well be the greatest motion picture in the history of cinema. Spike Lee's Malcolm X has given a rebirth to an almost mythical figure who made the dreams of millions a reality.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Dead Prez's debut studio album Let's Get Free stresses exactly that: Freedom. Freedom from the powers of imperialism, freedom from gang violence, freedom from police brutality, and even freedom the poisons we put into our body on a daily basis. Their style, with a fusion of history and the realities of today brings a new mix and flava to a Hip-Hop game thirsting for knowledge. In today's world of intelligent hits like "Crank That" and "Yaaah Bitch Yaaah" being blasted on the radio it's a rare thing to find the work of sophisticated black men that are aware of and trying to reform the problems of America. At one point on this album a member of Dead Prez states that he is "steady headin for one conclusion, niggas aint ready for revolution." On the contrary though it seems as though through this album they have proved this; We know at least a few "niggas" that are indeed ready for anything. During the course of this album you will definitely find yourself deviating from the usual "throw ya hands in the air, and wave em like ya just don't care;" because you will surely find after a few tracks the only thing of yours remaining in the air will be a fist for revolution.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
This film is an excellent snapshot into the life of a revolutionary who will live on forever. Fred Hampton was the Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. His work on the streets of Illinois directly influenced the lives of hundreds but his voice was heard around the world. The first half of the film deals with Hampton's political views and has a vast array of footage that documents his superior ability to move crowds with his words of action. His true goal was change not just for blacks but all people at the hands of the oppressor including blacks, browns, reds, yellows, and whites. The second half of the film dives into the events surrounding the Chairman's death at the hands of Illinois Police Department. It is plain to see that after the evidence is shown Hampton did not die after a long stand off with police but was instead shot in the head as he lay asleep. This injustice stems far beyond the unjust murder of a party member but the indifference exhibited towards the extinguishing of black life by the government that is still evident today. Some of Hampton's famous words are that "You can jail the revolutionary but you cannot jail the revolution." Today it is evident through the current struggle for equality that you can kill the revolutionary, as they did with Fred Hampton, but you can't kill the revolution.
This Film is available in a four part video series on Youtube (My Youtube Page). Props to the uploader.
The Murder of Fred Hampton Part 1 of 4
The Murder of Fred Hampton Part 2 of 4
The Murder of Fred Hampton Part 3 of 4
The Murder of Fred Hampton Part 4 of 4
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Aaron Mcgruder's brain child The Boondocks chronicles the life of 10 year old revolutionary Huey Freeman. Huey has to deal with racist neighbors, American governmental officials, imperialist schemes, and the 5th grade. Mcgruder has turned his newspaper comic into a anime series on Cartoon Network as well as over 5 collective books. The Boondocks addresses governmental corruption as well as the habits that his people have accumulated over the years. The Boondocks uses its satirical means to illustrate hypocrisies and faults not only within the system and the black community as well. At times it is hards to decide whether The Boondocks is a piece of revolutionary study material or just funny as hell. I'll let you decide.
All episodes streaming - Boondockseries.com
Immortal Technique's Revolutionary Volume 2 is one of the rawest displays of the frustration with the Racist American Capitalist system in the history of music. Technique breaks down problems with the governmental system, demonization of minorities in the media as well as media's corruption and government influence. He even breaks down the corruption and "sell out" mentality of the music industry in not endorsing and supporting any rap talent that has an overly political message. Technique's rhymes reach beyond the speakers and not only bob your head but smash a message into your ears that hopefully hits hope. He goes beyond just raw lyrical flow for the sake of being raw but to illustrate the direction the movement needs to travel soon. Radicals make change, not choir boys.
Birth of a Nation is not your usual selection of revolutionary literature. This piece of satire depicts the events of the 2000 presidential heist and President Bush's rise to power. However with a clever twist of fate instead of just accepting another blow from the white man's arsenal of injustices the people of East Saint Louis (Florida) secede from the union to create their own nation. At first the government has no objection with the political move because they assume the town will return after a few weeks on their own. With brilliant strategizing in preparation for the break from the US the people of East Saint Louis create a bank which holds many offshore accounts of wealthy dignitaries from far off lands. With there influx of cash from this offshore bank (that happens to sit within the borders of the US) the people of East Saint Louis are a formidable foe to America and all hell breaks loose. The beauty of Birth of a Nation is that it combines the ideas of a social and national revolution with facets and benefits of satirical comedy. Creator Aaron Mcgruder's (Creator of newspaper comic and television show The Boondocks) use of satire and imitation as well as general observations about life for minorities in America makes Birth of a Nation a must read for the revolutionary with a sense of humor.
This book contains a series of letters from political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. Mumia speaks out about the injustices one faces in prison from being experimented on with medications to being beaten mercilessly beaten by guards. Aside from the expected harsh treatments of people facing death by capital punishment Mumia speaks of the subtle but cruel dehumanization of people through various demoralizing tactics. He talked of this treatment as killing the mind before killing the body. These types of mind games are what make our "correctional" facilities a facade. Without educational programs and actual human reform all we do is break the minds and spirits of our societies illicit citizens creating a race of people with nothing to strive for and ultimately a mass of reoffenders. The powerful aspect of this book is that it is written by a man who is apart of and was raped by the corruption of the system. Mumia has been imprisoned physically for over a decade for a crime he did not commit. Although most would buckle under the very thought of this grave injustice he continues to write and speak for revolution. Mumia's determination and courage in a place of so much hoplessness and destruction alone is a model for the revolutionary in America. The system will never succeed in imprisoning his mind. It is time to FREE MUMIA!
KEY TO THE PRISON OF YOUR MIND
Possibly the most important book one could read in search for truth and courage in fighting oppression, not only in America but across the world. This book covers the life of civil rights hero Malcolm X later known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. Malcolm was born a small town country boy who elevated himself from a street hustler to maybe the most important figure in the civil rights movement. The words of this book flow from the pages as if Malcolm is in the room with you telling his story of transformation and faith. His life may very well chronicle every stage of the Black man's oppression in this land of America, from the harassment of the Klan, to the hells of prison, to media demonization of any thing of color with intelligence, and finally an unjust murder. Malcolm's story reaches across cultural and racial bounds to the heart of every reader in one way or another. For Malcolm was seeking what all people of this world desire, Justice.