This week, we lost two legends, “Smokin” Joe Frazier and the “Overweight lover” Heavy D.  This show is dedicated to both.
We will talk with Dave Zirin about Joe Frazier’s legacy.  Then we will switch gears to talk Hip Hop’s 99%.  Hip Hop artists have always had 99 problems that have made them the voice of the 99%.  We will talk to Daniel Barajas about one of those 99 problems and chat it up with Rebel Diaz about how they occupied the airwaves.  But we will also be joined in the studio by our main fam, La Guardia, Devin Arne, and Fernando Castro-the ones that brought us Miami’s 99% anthem, to talk about Hip Hop, Hip Rock, and what occupies the mind of Hip Hop’s 99%.
You don’t wanna miss this show.   But we will all miss Joe Frazier and Heavy D.
Tune in! Call in! Let’s Talk About It!

An open letter in response to James C. McKinley Jr.’s NY Times article, “At the Protests, the Message Lacks a Melody,” insisting #Occupy lacks an anthem
by La Guardia and Subhash Kateel

Once again, the New York Times takes it upon itself to be the gatekeeper of social movements. The paper that has really good articles until it doesn’t, first reduced the Occupy movement to “pantomiming progressivism” right before embracing it. Now it unilaterally declares that the movement lacks an anthem. For James C. McKinley Jr., the article’s author, his evidence is the lack of Bob Dylan-esque tunes flowing out of the lips of Occupy protestors.

Maybe McKinley wrote his article before searching YouTube, or reading other news sites like CBS or the Miami New Times (twice). Because we can count at least 4 anthems off the top of our heads. We should know, we wrote one of them. But so did Rebel Diaz, a group called Occupy Freedom, Ground Zero and the Global Block Collective and a group out west called The Roaring.

Each of the anthems hail from a different region but speak to our common struggles. When we sing or rap or whatever we do, we do it based on what we see in real communities. And we see a lot of people that are tired of an unbalanced system. Our anthems aren’t lazy, complaining, we don’t wanna work, somebody hold our hands, rich bad/poor good songs. They are honest looks at struggles facing the 99% that we know and see everyday, while making a public decree that there WILL be changes.

As for our anthem, (“We Are The 99%), we aren’t Bob Dylan, or a group of billboard chart topping international recording artists. We’re a community organizer turned radio show host, temporarily unemployed rapper, music teacher/producer, and a vocalist…But we are also the 99%…

If James C. McKinley wanted to truly write an article that broke new ground about Occupy anthems, he could write about what makes this generation of anthem artists different.

The singers, producers, and thought creators behind most Occupy anthems are, no doubt, musicians and music lovers; but also more. In the case of Rebel Diaz, they run a community organization in the Bronx, the Rebel Diaz Art Collective. And while other folks were complaining about the lack of melanin at Occupy Wall Street, they did something about it by bringing their members out from the Bronx to Wall Street.

The people that put together “We Are The 99%” in Miami have been part of organizations like Seed305, Families For Freedom, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Catalyst Hip Hop, PATH to Hip Hop and Amnesty International as organizers, directors, community workers and participants for over a decade.

In other words, the creators of Occupy anthems don’t just sing for a better world, we try our hardest to practice what we sing. But make no mistake, we will sing and chant, organize and mobilize until we really see a change that benefits the communities we love.

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By Subhash Kateel
On Monday, Chicago-based Hip Hop artist Lupe Fiasco went toe-to-toe with Bill O’Reilly in a debate about President Obama (you can see the whole clip here or below). This time, Bill O’Reilly played the unusual role of the President’s defender against a no-liquor-drinking, skateboarding, devout Muslim, son of a Green Beret who many have called the second coming of Tribe Called Quest (sorry I got carried away thinking about Midnight Marauders).  O’Reilly tried to take Lupe to task for his characterization of Obama as a terrorist in the song “Words I Never Said.”
For starters, Lupe’s song was about a lot of things, not just Obama.  For example, Lupe chastised those that claim to be Muslims but misuse the word Jihad (a term that means “struggle” in Arabic).  He also went after people that complain about this country’s problems but don’t do anything about them.  But predictably, the statements he made about Obama have caused the most controversy.  
One obvious question is: Why should anyone give a damn what any celebrity says? And I only sometimes give a damn about what Lupe says. But even the things he says that I don’t give a damn about are worth hearing out.
Considering that many of O’Reilly’s right-wing talking-head colleagues have called Obama everything from a Marxist (despite his economic team representing the Dream Team of corporate capitalism), a radical Muslim (despite criticizing him for attending Reverend Wright’s church), to just not being American, O’Reilly’s defense of Obama is ironic. 
But if you actually listen to the debate, Lupe asks a question the media repeatedly fails to ask and our government fails to answer: “Is the war on terror addressing the root causes of terrorism?” 

It’s a point that O’Reilly dismisses as stupid. And media outlets from left to right ignore it too much to consider dismissing it. I mean what is so freaking important about getting to the bottom of what will keep a bunch of people alive and safe without having to fight three freaking wars, right?  RIGHT?
The problem is that question is bigger than O’Reilly and Lupe, and it needs an answer. And while Lupe calling Obama a terrorist invokes that question in a way that makes it easy to evade,  it also invokes a truism in contemporary U.S. foreign policy that folks keep wanting to ignore as well:  the U.S. Government has been the biggest single supporter of individuals and institutions that it would eventually call terrorists. 
This history is so obvious and in our faces that we pretend that it is no big deal.  People generally now know that the U.S. government supported folks that would eventually form the Taliban and Al Qaeda back when we thought giving those crazy mf’s guns was cool as long as they were aimed at Soviets. People sort of know that the U.S. government supported Saddam Hussein as long as he was killing Iranians. People may or may not know that the CIA had Manuel Noriega on its payroll for years before U.S. forces invaded Panama or that the CIA was complicit in a plot to topple a democratically elected Iranian government decades before Iran joined Bush’s “axis of evil.” 
Every time this truism gets brought to light, people do what O’Reilly did in the debate with Lupe, start waving the flag and saying we have to support the troops and love our country.  Leave the troops out of it.  They didn’t make the foreign policy decisions that would create Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  In fact, leave everyday Americans out of this, they didn’t ask Bush’s Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to lie about the reasons to attack Iraq two decades after he shook Saddam’s hand. Even Obama himself was only 22 years old when Reagan called Afghan freedom fighters “patriots.” 
But alas there is this verse in the Bible (John 9:41) that says, “If you were blind you would have no sin, but since you claim “we see” your sin remains.” Personally, I voted for the dude and I find a lot to admire about him and a lot to…eh.  But as I said before, considering all of the potential he came into office with, he is blowing that potential faster than Earl “the Goat” Manigault blew his basketball career on…blow.
During the Presidential debates, Obama decried support for Pakistan’s old president Musharraf saying the US government shouldn’t support a dictator just because he is “our dictator.”  To me this means that the President understands the truism that feeds bad foreign policy. But the wisdom and desire to change that truism seems to have long faded…and we continue to pour billions of dollars into buying guns in regions where sooner or later they will be pointed at innocents and Americans. It is an open question whether or not Lupe calling Obama a terrorist was productive in getting to the “root cause of terrorism.”  But the truth is, we won’t know for sure if Obama’s administration is supporting people that our sons and daughters will be forced to fight against until they grow old. Whether you like Lupe Fiasco or not, he asks a couple questions we should all be demanding answers to.  
Don’t forget to check Let’s Talk About It! radio when we start our our second season on July 6th.  If you are in Miami, check out our fundraiser on July 3rd. Remember, if you like this article you will really like the second season of our radio show. If you don’t like this article, you’ll still like our show! In the meantime, check out the Lupe vs. O’ Reilly debate and Lupe’s video that started it all.

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