Krip-Hop Nation Mini-Concert Honoring Blind Joe, The Joe Capers Legacy in Black History Month And Beyond by Leroy Moore

Posted by Billyjam, February 12, 2013 06:02pm | Post a Comment
Leroy Moore (left), friend of Amoeba and the Amoeblog, returns to do another guest Amoeblog. The New York born, Berkeley, CA based artist/activist/educator, who is the founder of Krip-Hop Nation (the global collective for hip-hop artists with disabilities), has been featured several times here on the Amoeblog over the past five years for his work in Krip-Hop and also with Sins Invalid that he co-founded. In July 2008 he wrote an Amoeblog On Being Black and Disabled. Two years ago during Black History Month 2011 he was featured twice both here and here. Then last August he did a guest Amoeblog spot when he penned the popular critique on the Sundance Channel's Push Girls television show.

With a Bay Area Krip-Hop tour about to kick off later this week during Black History Month I thought that this was a good time to invite the self-described "Black, disabled, community activist, journalist and lover of disability and music history" back to pen another guest Ameoblog.  Leroy Moore's latest guest Amoeblog follows.  

It’s Black History Month 2013 and since the late 1980's I've tried to expand our knowledge of who and what we celebrate during the month of February, and all year around.  Sometimes I have the feeling that this country likes to stamp things; people, history, art, music and so forth. So every time these months - like Black History, Women, Pride months etc. - come along I pull my hair (I’m bald) out trying to decide should I participate or bury my head.  The flip side of this tug-of-war is growing up celebrating and studying the history, art, and culture of these months and never seeing myself as a whole, a Black disabled straight young man and now an adult traveling fast toward elder status.  I guess the old saying is right: if you want to see something done right then you have to do it yourself.

There are many Black disabled artists/activists putting on events and helping to diverse the month of February in the US.  Yes, Black History is every month however if this country wants to put a frame around our history then I want my history as a Black disabled man in that frame. 

Growing up in the late 70’s and 80’s I had people with Ph.Ds. telling me that there was no history of Black disabled people.  Because of the recent era, hard work of other Black disabled activists, community journalists, scholars, and artists etc. this belief no longer holds any weight.

Today  we, as Black disabled individuals, are playing, working, writing, singing in and out of this popular frame we call Black History Month.  So yes I will pick my times when I want to be in this popular frame in certain months as I and others continue to do our work, writings, music and art before, during, and after February (or other months) that we celebrate our identity.
Elissa Haney once wrote about Black History Month that, “Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926, first as "Negro History Week" and later as "Black History Month." What you might not know is that black history had barely begun to be studied-or even documented-when the tradition originated. Although blacks have been in America at least as far back as colonial times, it was not until the 20th century that they gained a respectable presence in the history books.” As we all know since that time we have been living with, write about, and celebrating intersectional identity that combines with being Black like Black women, Black LGBTQ and people with disabilities and many moore.  Today I see Black History Month’s events with the voices, art, music and lectures that is talking and displaying the diversity what makes up the Black history throughout the year.

For the past ten plus years I’ve tried to include the history, art, activism, music, struggles, writings and pride of Black disabled people where I lived first in CT and NY in the late 70’s and 80’s and 90’s and today in CA and other places I have traveled to with my lectures on race and disability, Krip-Hop Nation and Sins Invalid. 

Through my work I have found so much rich activism, cultural work, writings and parenting of Black people with disabilities that is continuing to overflow in all arenas we go in and out of from the family to education to the arts and, yes, in the media well at least activist/Black media and some liberal outlets.  There are other coalitions that are doing wonderful work to increase the awareness of Black disabled activism and culture like The National Black Disability Coalition (NBDC) and many Black scholars with and without disabilities who are writing about Black disability issues like Moya Bailey who wrote an essay on Hip-Hop entitled, “The Illest”: Disability as a Metaphor in Hip-Hop Music in the book, Blackness & Disability by the late Christopher Bell.