Black lives matter, movement and music in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Mall Of America Protests. Ferguson Black Lives Matter Arrests

20 December 2014

A protest in Bloomington Minnesota at the Mall of America MOA. It was a protest for Black Lives Matter protesting the death of Mike Brown and cop violence.

By Deonna N. Anderson in the USA:

How Music is Fueling the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

LONG BEACH — I still remember the first time I heard Lupe Fiasco’s “All Black Everything.” I was in my apartment in Davis, California where I attended college. When I heard the words, I was reminded of the history of Black people in America. It made me want to learn even more about my history. Everyone has a sphere of influence, and the music made me ask myself: “How am I using mine?”

Since August, when unarmed teenager Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., young people have rallied in the streets of Ferguson, New York, Oakland, Los Angeles and other towns across the nation and the world. In Long Beach, young people recently began organizing around the slogan #BlackLivesMatter, a campaign born in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime.

Throughout, music has been an undeniable part of the protests, the latest reminder that when used the right way, music can inspire social change.

“Music can be considered the heartbeat of social movements,” says Eric Tandoc, a DJ and a community organizer at the Filipino Migrant Center in Long Beach. Tandoc regularly uses art to inspire youth to take action on social and political issues.

“Not everyone is going to listen to a speech or read a book, but people will listen to a 3-minute song,” he says.

Nationally, respected musicians such as Questlove of the hip-hop group The Roots have urged musicians to create more protest songs, and artists are responding.

The truth of the matter is, musicians have more influence than I do, and even more influence than they had in the 1980s or 1960s. In the age of social media, the possibility of communication between musicians and their fans has been brought to an all time high. If young people see their favorite musician talking about social change, they might pay more attention to what is happening and be inclined to get involved in making a positive impact.

In his song “Hands Up,” north Long Beach native Vince Staples raps, “Raidin’ homes without a warrant/Shoot him first without a warning/And they expect respect and non-violence/I refuse the right to be silent.” Fellow Long Beach rapper Crooked I, recently going by Kxing Crooked, released “I Can’t Breathe” in which he raps, “So, no, I can’t buy that pellet gun/They might try to Tamir Rice you.” Tamir Rice was a 12-year old Black boy who was killed by a police officer last month in Cleveland, OH.

But lyrics about the current events aren’t just happening locally in Long Beach. Let’s go down the list:

• Six days after Brown’s death, hip-hop artist J. Cole recorded and released “Be Free.”
• Lauryn Hill belted out the lyrics, “Black rage is founded on two-thirds a person/Rapings and beatings and suffering that worsens,” on “Black Rage,” which she released a couple weeks after Brown’s death.
• The Game brought together over ten hip-hop and R&B artists including Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Wale, Swizz Beatz, Curren$y, and TGT to produce “Don’t Shoot.”
• Tink sang and rapped on “Tell the Children” a few days after the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson for the murder.
Rapper Dizzy Wright also released a song called “I Need Answers.”

These songs are the 21st century protest songs. While each of these songs were created as a response to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, they speak to an issue Black communities around the country have been dealing with for centuries. They are reminiscent of Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam,” Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.” The themes don’t seem to have changed much since the 1960s or 1980s.

When famous musicians don’t speak out, some are critical.

A few years ago, singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte called out two of today’s biggest musicians, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, saying that they “turned their back on social responsibility.” To Belafonte, those two megastars and other popular artists are at fault for not using their influence to have a positive impact on their fans.

As a young person, I agree with Belafonte: it’s a waste of influence when famous musicians don’t speak up. While it doesn’t necessarily affect whether or not I will continue listening to their music, I personally wish that they would speak at times when there needs to be some action.

Hip-hop artist Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, put it best in his monologue addressing the happenings in Ferguson: “I think many of us are becoming even more aware of where we are, and [there is] urgency to change this miserable condition on this Earth, [as] Malcolm X said.” (Listen to the full audio here.)

This video from the USA says about itself:

Yasiin Bey talks about Eric Garner, Ferguson, Worldstarhiphop, Malcolm X and more

5 December 2014

Artist and Stop Being Famous contributor Yasiin Bey had the following statement to share regarding the Eric Garner grand jury decision, ongoing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and around the world.

The Deonna N. Anderson article continues:

If all artists spoke up, I truly believe that it could wake up many more young people to demand change and join causes.

“I think music can play an important role in sparking the motivation in wanting to do something,” Tandoc said, while adding, “The long term organizing is where the true power is.”

Deonna N. Anderson writes for VoiceWaves, a youth-led community news website and trilingual print publication serving Long Beach, Calif., and founded by New America Media.

Young Ferguson Activists Take Black Celebrities To Task For Their Noninvolvement In the Protests: here.

From Essence magazine in the USA:

December 25, 2014 | 5:22 PM

Protesters Gather on Christmas Eve in Honor of Antonio Martin

By Dominique Hobdy

On the heels of the recent police shooting of Antonio Martin, protestors gathered outside the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis, Missouri to mourn his death.

According to the Huffington Post, the demonstrators lit candles and held posters in memory of Martin, the 18-year-old who was shot Tuesday evening by Berkeley, Missouri police.

“The intent is to gather people in honor of him and other people who have been slain by police,” Lydia Marie, 23, an intern for Amnesty International and coordinator for the demonstration. “This is another Christmas Eve a family is spending without their child who was lost to police violence.”

Keanna Brown, Martin’s girlfriend remarked on the events saying that he “didn’t deserve to die.” “I should’ve been there to protect him. That’s all I wanted,” said Brown.

Martin’s death took place just a few miles from where unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson, Missouri police Officer Darren Wilson.

On Tuesday evening, 18 year-old Antonio Martin was killed in an altercation with a police officer outside a Mobil gas station in the Missouri suburb of Berkeley, a working class area just northwest of St. Louis. The killing immediately sparked protests in the surrounding community as hundreds gathered to oppose another police homicide. The killing comes amid weeks of protests throughout the US in response to police violence: here.

At least a thousand students at the University of Virginia took part in a rally Wednesday night to protest the police attack on Martese Johnson, a 20 year-old African American honors student at the university. As many as several thousand took part in the protests, according to media reports: here.

A protest at the Mall of America last December against police violence was monitored by an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force cell in close collaboration with local police and mall security, emails obtained by the Intercept show. The protest, called by Black Lives Matter in response to the wave of police killings last year, drew 3,000 demonstrators to the second largest mall in the United States, located in Bloomington, Minnesota, near Minneapolis: here.

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