Amoeblog

Saul Williams on his new book "Chorus," the Shit we Dance to, Obama ain't Jesus, & More

Posted by Billyjam, September 6, 2012 10:25pm | Post a Comment
In celebration of Saul Williams' new book Chorus, a collection of the work of 100 poets joining Williams in his "literary mixtape," the poet/actor/activist/musician launched a tour (also dubbed Chorus) a week ago with dates over the long Labor Day weekend in Baltimore, DC, and New York City. On Monday (Sept 3) night, I met up with the New York-born Williams, who currently lives in Paris, backstage at Joe's Pub before he went onstage alongside ten contributors to his new book.

Considering our interview was on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama's run for a second term was foremost on his mind, as it was on mine so I was curious to know the outspoken artist's views on the upcoming election. "To me this upcoming election is super clear because the policies are so, for lack of better words, so black and white," he said. "The policies are so clear just in terms of women and what I believe in progressiveness. I mean, the past two thousand years in a nutshell have everything to do with controlling women and enforcing cheap labor; that's what Christianity, all this shit boils down to in my perspective." Williams minced no words when he said, "I would hate to see Romney win. I hate the idea of taking a few steps forward only to get pushed back. It's like the weed fight in California. All of this progress and then all of a sudden it's like people get scared." 

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Ron English Showcases His Abraham Obama Image Via Electric Illuminati's "The Obama Song" Video

Posted by Billyjam, May 29, 2012 06:03pm | Post a Comment

Electric Illuminati "The Obama Song" (2012)

The ever-active, longtime street artist Ron English has just released the politically fueled new music video for "The Obama Song" by his rock side project the Electric Illuminati from their recently released Songs In English album. The video (above), which pays homage to a famous Dylan clip, showcases the "popaganda" artist's work - most notably his famous Abraham Obama piece which melded the two presidents images into one. Previous Amoeblogs on the artist and his guerrilla art style include Ron English's Brand New Homo Hunk Art Celebrates End of US Military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy (Sept 2011), and Ron English's Pop Art  (Nov 2007). For more visit his website/blog The Art and Crimes of Ron English

Bay Area Homo-Hop Artist/Activist Juba Kalamka on Obama's Historic Endorsement of Gay Marriage

Posted by Billyjam, May 10, 2012 09:03pm | Post a Comment
                   
Since President Barack Obama made his historic endorsement of gay marriage yesterday, everyone has been weighing in on the hot topic from all angles. In an article posted a couple of hours ago under the heading "President Obama's influence on gay marriage will be tested," the LA Times wrote how "Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state are expected to vote in November on allowing same-sex marriage. Proponents hope he'll help change minds; opponents say he won't."  A little earlier today I ran into one of Obama's proponents, Juba Kalamka - the talented East Bay based homo-hop /queer rap artist who is a longtime friend of Amoeba Music.

A decade ago Juba and his pioneering, now-defunct homo-hop crew Deep Dickollective appeared on the Independent Sounds Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. III, and three years ago Juba was one of the artists to perform at the Amoeba Music San Francisco in-store Pride '09 Celebration, which was also a DVD release party for the seminal "homohop" documentary Pick Up The Mic. I interviewed the artist/activist for the Amoeblog at that time.

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Talib Kweli on Gutter Rainbows, Kanye, Prisoner of Conscious, Obama's Raw Deal, Illegal Downloading, Black Star Sequel + More

Posted by Billyjam, December 22, 2010 07:55pm | Post a Comment

I have long been a fan of Talib Kweli's -- his music (both his solo work & collaborations with Mos Def, Hi-Tek, and Madlib) and his consistent & refreshingly uplifting & positive outlook. His unwavering commitment to thought-provoking, conscious, non misogynist hip-hop in an era when that approach to the genre doesn't generally fit the criteria for lucrative success is admirable. Talib Kweli is a truly unique artist and as a high-profile hip-hop act he is an anomaly in that he safely walks that line between mainstream (including his work with Kanye West -- an artist that once opened for him) and independent hip-hop; he is well known above the radar while still maintaining the respect of the ever discerning underground hip-hop world. So when I had an opportunity to attend a listening party in New York last night for Kweli's January 2011 release, Gutter Rainbows, and to also sit down and talk with him a bit for the Amoeblog, I jumped at the chance.

Of course, Talib Kweli is no stranger to Amoeba Music. Not only has his music long been a favorite of staffers and customers alike, but he has also had some very well received Amoeba instores, including at Amoeba San Francisco along with Hi-Tek back in May of this year just as the duo (aka Reflection Eternal) was dropping the highly recommended (but generally slept on) Revolutions Per Minute. And back in August 2007 in support of his last solo album Ear Drum, he had an instore that was streamed live. Kweli put on one of the best ever live sets I've seen at Amoeba Hollywood -- as witnessed in the video below. Last year at SXSW in Austin, TX, when he was performing a showcase with Hi-Tek, Amoeblogger Smiles Davis sat down with the artist to ask him ten questions about hip-hop and his take on the genre.
  
Talib Kweli live @ Amoeba Hollywood, August 2007

Last night (December 21st) was the listening party at the bar Snap on West 14th Street in Manhattan for Gutter Rainbows (Javotti Media/3D), which will be a digital only release. The night was unlike most listening parties in that it was a more intimate event and also was technically a semi-performance for Kweli, who mingled throughout the night with fans and media folk. He Talib Kweli + Hi Tekspent the entire preview playing time of his new album, which drops January 25th, up in the DJ booth rapping along on the mic to many of the new release's 14 songs, and introducing each track, big upping its producer and giving some background history. He also fielded questions from the invited partiers (many longtime friends from Brooklyn) who packed the club and gave an update on what he's been up to.

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2010 11:34am | Post a Comment
Dr Carter G Woodson
Since a lot is being blogged about Black History Month both here at the Amoeblog and in the blogosphere in general this month, I thought it might be worthwhile to take a moment to briefly examine the history of Black History Month itself, as well as present a general timeline of black history. One thing that amazes me is the short time span that Black History Month has been around, especially considering that African Americans have been a part of the American fabric dating back to the colonial times. Black History Month only officially started a short 34 years ago, even if the practice of observing black history dates back to the 1920's, which is still not that long ago in a historical context.

Originally known as Negro History Week, it was created in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a scholar with a Ph. D from Harvard who was the son of parents who were both formerly slaves. Woodson was so incensed that there was little or no proper written documented history of blacks in this country that he fought hard to initiate change. Up until that point on the rare occasion in which blacks were included in the American history books it was in a negative light -- they were typically portrayed as inferior human beings to the white ruling class.

A decade before initiating Negro History Week, Woodson laid the foundation by establishing the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History which began with careful documenting and writing the history of blacks in this country. The formation of that association led to the creation of the Journal of Negro History which, in turn, led to the launching of Negro History Week 84 years ago for which the second week in February was designated. Black History Week officially began in 1972, and four years later (in 1976) it became Black History Month. Below are a few random select key dates (by no means fully comprehensive) in American black history -- many officially documented by Woodson.

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