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robertogreco : jamaica   6

Akala on Twitter: "So this has trended again this week i'd like to add some further thoughts from practical work in the streets/prisons https://t.co/jyySfaGZdK"
"So this has trended again this week i'd like to add some further thoughts from practical work in the streets/prisons ["Akala on N word" https://twitter.com/Dan_Soff/status/922544678909640704 ]

[See also (another): Akala on the N word https://twitter.com/Dan_Soff/status/922736966210383872 ]

I am not judging anyone because as you all know I used to use nigga every 4th work practically but just wana highlight some things...

Lots of young black men in particular will claim that 'nigga' is now a term of endearment but they/we do not truly believe this.. example..

I do lots of writing workshops in prisons here (invariably filled with young black men) and I do a social experiment with them..

When they finish writing their raps about how many niggas they will shoot I don't judge them I just ask the following question/scenario

I tell them 'my mums white scottish, Glasgow/Belfast both more violent than London what would u think if I rapped about killing honkies?'

Without exception every young black man I've posed this question to has either laughed at the absurdity of said 'nah fam that's racist'

The inference is clear that we - like racists - value white life more than black life, no matter how we dress it up/deny it.

What's more if the biggest black rappers on earth started rapping about killing 'racist cracker cops' instead of other niggas we know result

Remember when Ice T made 'cop killer' and the US govt stepped in?

So while I obviously don't subscribe to the idea that music causes violence it's also a cop out to say culture is not massively important

And I am also a hypocrite because I still love my Mobb Deep, DMX, Lox etc so again no judgement but we have to be honest it's problematic

if you are black and having a convo with a brother trying to tell you nigga is positive ask him if his gran is a nigga he'll get offended

It's revealing that forms of black music made in Africa & the Caribbean do use the word at all unless consciously adopting a US influence

The Richard prior talk highlighted in this thread is brilliant on this. However we try2 dress it up nigga is intrinsically de-humanising

Obviously stopping from addressing eachother as such will not overthrow shit material conditions either but these are my thoughts.

I personally stopped using the word also because it made me uncomfortable having white kids shout it back to me at shows

The truth is no truly self respecting people promote and sell their own death, let alone to those that benefit from it most.

Those of us that are not black Americans and thus did not live through Jim Crow, spectacle lynchings etc can't really explain why we use it

Other than cos we like US rap music. The most oppressive decade in British racial history (80's) produced Lovers Rock and Rare Groove

The trench town of the 70's produced us Roots Reggae, Apartheid SA Hugh Masakela & Miriam, Nigeria gave us Fela

So it's not hardship but rather an admission of defeat and desperation imo. End of thread. Safe

Again not judging any1 I used to use it all the time and was a very naughty/violent/angry man at one time in my life, I get it.

Actually I would like to add to this thread with a couple points about blackness and violence, which I'm writing about a lot at the mo...

In both Britain & American popular culture and law enforcement the idea of 'black on black' violence has become a 'credible' idea...

The phrase suggests that whole other humans are violent for real material/historical/political reasons black ppl r violent cos black..

This idea is rooted in 19th century pseudo science but it has. it stopped some, even some self hating folks from asking basic questions like

When 'black on black' violence became a buzz word in U.K. media Northern Ireland was still a war zone and Glasgow more violent than London

Even from tridents own reports we see that vast majority of the 'black on black' shootings were by British Caribbeans or Jamaican nationals

So how did it make sense that British Ghanaians and Zimbabweans get included racial osmosis for something they not part of?

But if we admit that the problem was mostly British Caribbeans - including mixed race - more so than Africans obvious questions arise

Like how come the black group that's been in Britain the longest is doing by far the worst of all the black groups?

How come Jamaica is about 30x more violent than Ghana even though half of JA is Ghanaian in origin?

How come that outside of South Africa there is never usually a single African city in world top 50 for murder rate? (US usually has 3/4)

Additionally in a U.K. context violent working class youth gangs have been a constant for well over a century but if u know no history...

See: Hooligans Or Rebels by Humphries

The worst hoods in the UK have historically been in Glasgow, some having life expectancy as low as mid 50's until recently...

Accra by contrast has many many many challenges but kids stabbing eachother over iPhones and postcodes is not one of them.

But by focusing on visible black boys in London rather than what is a UK wide problem the state can pretend teenage violence was imported

explaining why so many American hoods are so much more violent than than African ones is not something eugenics explanations can help with

Black Americans literally 'less Black' (one drop rule) than continental Africans so by eugenics logic Accra should be worse than Chicago

And if the Nigerian civil war was 'black on black' why was the Japanese rape on Nanking not 'yellow on yellow'?

Lastly roughly as many Russians alone died fighting Nazis ('white on white' crime) as all Africans in all wars on the continent since WW2

It's almost as if the violence of humans racialised as black needs a proper human explanation. Mad I know.

In truth 'gansta' rap and 'niggerisation' helps obscure all this and makes black death an attractive commodity.

If working class youth violence has been a constant in British history for 150 years it's really no surprise what's happening today...

And given that roughy 80% of black Brits live in the poorest wards of the county and middle class Zimbabweans not going going jail/killing🤔

By Zimbabweans I mean Zim immigrants to U.K. who we all know are mostly middle class professionals.

None of this is 'excusing' the youngers just as understanding 'The Troubles' is not excusing any killers there, it's just understanding.

For Americans and others that don't know in London we had a whole police department dedicated to 'black on black' crime until recently

Many of their most high profile cases where mixed heritage men (like Mark Duggan) showing the UK state also likes US1drop rule.

And in Tottenham (where Mark was from) everyone knows organised crime is as much British Turks as BritCaribbean but hey 'black on black'

But anyway. Have a good evening all. 👍🏾"
akala  language  history  race  racism  crime  data  bias  music  nword  rap  hiphop  uk  us  jamaica  caribbean  africa  ghana  glasgow  chicago  cities  violence  gangs  zimbabwe  belfast 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Rihanna's 'Work' Is Not Tropical House - YouTube
"SOURCES:

Harley Brown, "Rihanna Was Making ‘Tropical House’ Before Justin Bieber — It’s Called Dancehall" (via SPIN)
http://www.spin.com/2016/01/rihanna-t

Jesse Serwer, "Check It Deeply: Yes, Rihanna’s “Work” Is A Dancehall Song" (via LargeUp)
http://www.largeup.com/2016/01/27/check-it-deeply-yes-rihannas-work-is-a-dancehall-song/

The Genius.com entry for Rihanna's "Work"
http://genius.com/8589817

Zach Frydenlund, “How a Studio Session at Drake's House in Los Angeles Turned Into Rihanna's Next Big Hit (via Complex)
http://www.complex.com/music/2016/01/

Camille Augustin, “Rihanna Unearthed This 18 Year Old Riddim For Her Latest Single ‘Work’” (via VIBE)
http://www.vibe.com/2016/02/rihanna-sample-richie-stephens-work/.

Jemayel Khawaja, “Tropical House Hero Thomas Jack Doesn’t Even Like Tropical House Anymore” (via Noisey)
https://noisey.vice.com/blog/thomas-jack-tropical-house-interview-2015

Bianca Gracie, “Thomas Jack On The Tropical House Movement, His Album & Love For Disco: Idolator Interview” (via Idolator)
http://www.idolator.com/7613728/thomas-jack-tropical-house-album-interview

Rawiya Kameir, “Rihanna Has Been Reaching Out To Dancehall Artists For Her New Album” (via FADER)
http://www.thefader.com/2015/05/21/rihanna-new-album-dancehall

Isabelia Herrera, “America’s No. 1 Chambelan Justin Bieber Basically Just Dropped a Reggaeton Track” (via Remezcla)
http://remezcla.com/releases/music/juan-gabriel-creedence-clearwater-revival-cover/ "
rihanna  tropicalhouse  ska  history  jamaica  reggae  dancehall  dembow  2016  music 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Walking While Black | Literary Hub
"Within days I noticed that many people on the street seemed apprehensive of me: Some gave me a circumspect glance as they approached, and then crossed the street; others, ahead, would glance behind, register my presence, and then speed up; older white women clutched their bags; young white men nervously greeted me, as if exchanging a salutation for their safety: “What’s up, bro?” On one occasion, less than a month after my arrival, I tried to help a man whose wheelchair was stuck in the middle of a crosswalk; he threatened to shoot me in the face, then asked a white pedestrian for help.

I wasn’t prepared for any of this. I had come from a majority-black country in which no one was wary of me because of my skin color. Now I wasn’t sure who was afraid of me. I was especially unprepared for the cops. They regularly stopped and bullied me, asking questions that took my guilt for granted. I’d never received what many of my African-American friends call “The Talk”: No parents had told me how to behave when I was stopped by the police, how to be as polite and cooperative as possible, no matter what they said or did to me. So I had to cobble together my own rules of engagement. Thicken my Jamaican accent. Quickly mention my college. “Accidentally” pull out my college identification card when asked for my driver’s license.

My survival tactics began well before I left my dorm. I got out of the shower with the police in my head, assembling a cop-proof wardrobe. Light-colored oxford shirt. V-neck sweater. Khaki pants. Chukkas. Sweatshirt or T-shirt with my university insignia. When I walked I regularly had my identity challenged, but I also found ways to assert it. (So I’d dress Ivy League style, but would, later on, add my Jamaican pedigree by wearing Clarks Desert Boots, the footwear of choice of Jamaican street culture.) Yet the all-American sartorial choice of white T-shirt and jeans, which many police officers see as the uniform of black troublemakers, was off-limits to me—at least, if I wanted to have the freedom of movement I desired.

In this city of exuberant streets, walking became a complex and often oppressive negotiation. I would see a white woman walking towards me at night and cross the street to reassure her that she was safe. I would forget something at home but not immediately turn around if someone was behind me, because I discovered that a sudden backtrack could cause alarm. (I had a cardinal rule: Keep a wide perimeter from people who might consider me a danger. If not, danger might visit me.) New Orleans suddenly felt more dangerous than Jamaica. The sidewalk was a minefield, and every hesitation and self-censored compensation reduced my dignity. Despite my best efforts, the streets never felt comfortably safe. Even a simple salutation was suspect.

One night, returning to the house that, eight years after my arrival, I thought I’d earned the right to call my home, I waved to a cop driving by. Moments later, I was against his car in handcuffs. When I later asked him—sheepishly, of course; any other way would have asked for bruises—why he had detained me, he said my greeting had aroused his suspicion. “No one waves to the police,” he explained. When I told friends of his response, it was my behavior, not his, that they saw as absurd. “Now why would you do a dumb thing like that?” said one. “You know better than to make nice with police.”"



"Walking had returned to me a greater set of possibilities. And why walk, if not to create a new set of possibilities? Following serendipity, I added new routes to the mental maps I had made from constant walking in that city from childhood to young adulthood, traced variations on the old pathways. Serendipity, a mentor once told me, is a secular way of speaking of grace; it’s unearned favor. Seen theologically, then, walking is an act of faith. Walking is, after all, interrupted falling. We see, we listen, we speak, and we trust that each step we take won’t be our last, but will lead us into a richer understanding of the self and the world.

In Jamaica, I felt once again as if the only identity that mattered was my own, not the constricted one that others had constructed for me. I strolled into my better self. I said, along with Kierkegaard, “I have walked myself into my best thoughts.”"



"Walking while black restricts the experience of walking, renders inaccessible the classic Romantic experience of walking alone. It forces me to be in constant relationship with others, unable to join the New York flaneurs I had read about and hoped to join. Instead of meandering aimlessly in the footsteps of Whitman, Melville, Kazin, and Vivian Gornick, more often, I felt that I was tiptoeing in Baldwin’s—the Baldwin who wrote, way back in 1960, “Rare, indeed, is the Harlem citizen, from the most circumspect church member to the most shiftless adolescent, who does not have a long tale to tell of police incompetence, injustice, or brutality. I myself have witnessed and endured it more than once.”

Walking as a black man has made me feel simultaneously more removed from the city, in my awareness that I am perceived as suspect, and more closely connected to it, in the full attentiveness demanded by my vigilance. It has made me walk more purposefully in the city, becoming part of its flow, rather than observing, standing apart.

* * * *

But it also means that I’m still trying to arrive in a city that isn’t quite mine. One definition of home is that it’s somewhere we can most be ourselves. And when are we more ourselves but when walking, that natural state in which we repeat one of the first actions we learned? Walking—the simple, monotonous act of placing one foot before the other to prevent falling—turns out not to be so simple if you’re black. Walking alone has been anything but monotonous for me; monotony is a luxury.

A foot leaves, a foot lands, and our longing gives it momentum from rest to rest. We long to look, to think, to talk, to get away. But more than anything else, we long to be free. We want the freedom and pleasure of walking without fear—without others’ fear—wherever we choose. I’ve lived in New York City for almost a decade and have not stopped walking its fascinating streets. And I have not stopped longing to find the solace that I found as a kid on the streets of Kingston. Much as coming to know New York City’s streets has made it closer to home to me, the city also withholds itself from me via those very streets. I walk them, alternately invisible and too prominent. So I walk caught between memory and forgetting, between memory and forgiveness."
garnettecadogan  racism  blackness  race  walking  nyc  neworleans  nola  serendipity  anonymity  fear  judgement  fatswaller  waltwhitman  kingston  jamaica  us  via:ayjay  racialprofiling  police  lawenforcement  possibility  possibilities  grace  favor  faith  hermanmelville  alfredkazin  elizabethhardwick  janejacobs  memory  forgiveness  forgetting  freedom 
july 2016 by robertogreco
From Jamaica to Minnesota to Myself - The New York Times
"One day I bought “Steppenwolf,” by Hermann Hesse, in a bookstore. Early in the book, an irrefutable argument for suicide jumped out and grabbed me by the neck: the scene in which the protagonist, having given himself his own expiration date, realizes that he can put up with anything, tolerate everything, suffer through all things because he knows when he’s going to check out. I hadn’t thought about killing myself since I was 16. But now there were nights when I woke up crying, or found myself out on the jail-terrace sunk so low into sadness that I had no memory of how I got there. I listened over and over again to lyrics from the song “I Found a Reason,” by the Velvet Underground: “I do believe/If you don’t like things you leave.” I cried for a sorrow that I did not know I had.

I was 28 years old, and I’d reached the end of myself. Electric words, “end of yourself” — I first heard them during a sermon in a Kingston church. The preacher was talking about when you reached the limits of your own wisdom and the only person left with any answers was God. A new friend in the office, who went to school in Canada and came in as my assistant, read my sarcasm as a defense tactic, though he didn’t know the reason, and said, “You should come to church this Sunday.” By then I was having panic attacks. I went to a doctor and asked, “Am I normal?” He said normal was a scale, with the left being normal and the right being abnormal, and I was somewhere on the left side of the middle. Then he gave me Xanax and asked if I wanted Prozac. Instead I got saved."



"I stepped off the 6 train at Spring Street. Black combat boots busting a move. The phrase is nearly 20 years old, true, but I claimed it because I needed it, never more than right then. Levi’s Offender jeans sausaging my legs skinny; hip hug, butt squeeze, flaring below the knee and over my boots. Blue Stereolab T-shirt that stopped above the belt, Calvin Klein shades bought cheap at Century 21. Stepping out of the subway, emerging crotch first, posture moving from a slump like a question mark to a buffalo stance, an exclamation point. Walking to where Spring hits Broadway, the sexiest junction in all America, I’d heard. Where modeling agencies look down on modeling hopefuls strutting like peacocks.

Anonymity was a sea to dive into. Stonewall was a club to pass by — I was years away from having the guts to go in. Besides, I had no friends. In store windows, I saw a person who took me by surprise at first. The Strand Book Store, Tower Records, Other Music, Shakespeare & Co.; each was a step further away from the self I had left behind in another country.

It was getting dark, though summer stretches daylight, and I needed to be back in the Bronx. My younger half brother and his mother lived there, on a street of Jamaican immigrants. I walked to Barnes & Noble in Union Square, to the bathroom. I closed the door of the special-needs toilet, the same stall I used seven hours before, pulled my normal clothes out of the backpack and peeled New York off my skin. Back to loose T-shirt. Baggy jeans. Sneakers on my feet, boots in the bag. I took the 5 train home to the Bronx.

In creative writing, I teach that characters arise out of our need for them. By now, the person I created in New York was the only one I wanted to be. Over the next two years, I came and left often, pushing the limits of a student visa. I’d make friends but never get close enough to have them ask me anything too deep, playing at being aloof when I was really just shy, and I’d walk past gay bars, turn and walk past again, but never go in. Back home I fell back into church, knowing I didn’t belong there anymore. Once I forgot to code-switch in time and dashed to the bathroom in J.F.K., minutes before my flight to Kingston, to change out of my skinny jeans and hoop earrings. Eight years after reaching the end of myself, I was on borrowed time. Whether it was in a plane or a coffin, I knew I had to get out of Jamaica."



"Three years later, my best friend, Ingrid, visited from Jamaica. She looked at my walls, covered with photos and posters, books all the way to the ceiling, four shelves of vinyl, copies of GQ, Bookforum and Out magazines scattered everywhere, my “simile is like a metaphor” T-shirt, then at my face and said: “This is so you, dude. I’ve never seen you as you before.” I didn’t even realize when it happened, when I stopped playing roles. I wore my New York clothes to class, on the street, to clubs. Nobody cared that my jeans had a nine-inch rise. I no longer looked over my shoulder in the dark."
marlonjames  2015  identity  jamaica  writing 
october 2015 by robertogreco
A Look Back at 40 Years of Reggae Hits
"Throughout its 40-year history, the U.K.-based Trojan Records released hundreds of titles and scored dozens of hits in Europe, Jamaica and North America. Here are some covers of classic albums from Trojan's massive back-catalog."
history  music  reggae  jamaica  trojanrecords 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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