Hip-Hop Converges With The News Headlines: Coronavirus & the 2020 Presidential Campaign

Posted by Billyjam, March 6, 2020 03:47pm | Post a Comment
                            Public Enemy  Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strikes Black 2LP (Def Jam)

In these challenging times with the daily news headlines typically troubling, be it the latest reports on the seemingly unstoppable coronavirus or the 2020 presidential campaign, for many hip-hop fans music offers a welcome escape from the stress-inducing reality of the increasingly scary world outside. However more and more it seems that hip-hop has become entangled with these news headlines, especially in this past week, when several news headlines have converged with hip-hop and thereby diminishing the music’s escapist/healing effects.

While on the more dorky end of the spectrum of political news and hip-hop colliding was former Democratic candidate Tom Steyer dancing with rapper Juvenile on stage a week ago, leading the political news meets hip-hop headlines was the story of dispute surrounding a Public Enemy supported Bernie Sanders rally in LA last Sunday that long-flakey PE member Flavor Flav wanted no part of, and resulted in the longtime revolutionary rap crew kicking him out of the group with the official statement that PE would be “moving forward without Flavor Flav.” Following the controversy of the ousting of Flav, PE main-man Chuck D took to social media this week to stress how it really had nothing to do with Bernie Sanders per se and that Flav’s decision to not perform (for no fee like all the other artists) was simply about money.

Money, Chuck D implied, was the same reason that Flav refused to be part of a Harry Belafonte benefit in Atlanta back in 2016 that PE performed at, and that from around that time Flav had been on a “suspension” from the group. For example last year he was not part of the Public Enemy Radio tour in Europe they co-headlined with Wu-Tang Clan. Another angle to this story that made headlines was the reported false rumor that Flav refused to play the Bernie rally because he is a Trump supporter. This Flav vehemently shut down in an interview with The Guardian UK a couple of days ago stating, “That’s not true. Fuck Trump!” 

Coronavirus, the main news story of today, has also been converging with hip-hop with such positive stories as rapper Lil Nas-X taking to Twitter to offer his help (see above) and such negative stories as hip-hop concerts and events being cancelled as a direct result of the COVID-19. Examples include the recent cancelation of the anticipated upcoming RedBull 3Style World Finals in Moscow with such showcase hip-hop DJs as Mix Master Mike and D-Styles. Originally scheduled for late April, issuing a statement as seen left that due to “concerns of health” the event will not happen “until a later date.”

Meanwhile back home in the States this afternoon officials of the big annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, TX where hip-hop acts among other genres are scheduled, announced that the 2020 event scheduled for March 13-22nd has been cancelled. The festival organizers called the last minute announcement, a medical and data-driven decision” with the City of Austin declaring coronavirus a "local disaster." This afternoon’s SXSW cancellation follows a week in which several major sponsors had already backed out and when 40,000 people had signed an online petition via urging the cancellation of the large scale event that typically attracts about 25% of its registrants from overseas.

Meanwhile another big event for this month, the Ultra Music Festival in Miami scheduled for March 20th to 22nd, has also been canceled due to the coronavirus calling it a "postponed until 2021." To date such other big upcoming festivals as the 2020 Coachella Festival in mid April, where scheduled acts include Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert and Run The Jewels, are so far on as planned. However on Tuesday via a new petition, similar to the SxSW one, was published under the heading “Cancellation of Coachella 2020 music festival due to COVID-19 Outbreak” and as of publishing of this Amoeblog on Friday afternoon had approx 5000 signatures.
                                                                           EDIT: March 10th 2020 update as anticipated, due to the fears surrounding the coronavirus, the Coachella Festival will not be happening as planned in April. However unlike many other events it has not been cancelled but postponed by six months and has been rescheduled for the two weekends of October 9/10/11 and October 16/27/18 2020.

Relevant Tags

Redbull 3style World Finals 2020 (1), Covid-19 (2), Coronavirus (4), Sxsw 2020 (1), Coachella 2020 (2), Ultra Music Festival 2020 (1)