“Why do I write? Cause I have to. Cause my voice, in all its dialects has been silenced too long. Cause women are still abused as naturally as breath. Peoples are still without land. Slavery exists, hunger persists and mothers cry. My mother cries. Those are reasons enough, but there are so many more.”—
Suheir Hammad, author’s preface “Born Palestinian, Born Black”
one of the most beautifully said explanations for the power/ use of writing
And if Michael Brown was not angelic, I was practically demonic. I had my first drink when I was 11. I once brawled in the cafeteria after getting hit in the head with a steel trash can. In my junior year I failed five out of seven classes. By the time I graduated from high school, I had been arrested for assaulting a teacher and been kicked out of school (twice.) And yet no one who knew me thought I had the least bit of thug in me. That is because I also read a lot of books, loved my Commodore 64, and ghostwrote love notes for my friends. In other words, I was a human being. A large number of American teenagers live exactly like Michael Brown. Very few of them are shot in the head and left to bake on the pavement.
The “angelic” standard was not one created by the reporter. It was created by a society that cannot face itself, and thus must employ a dubious “morality” to hide its sins. It is reinforced by people who have embraced the notion of “twice as good” while avoiding the circumstances which gave that notion birth. Consider how easily living in a community “with rough patches” becomes part of a list of ostensible sins. Consider how easily “black-on-black crime” becomes not a marker of a shameful legacy of segregation but a moral failing.
There are only two weeks left to submit a proposal for panel or workshop presentation at the second biennial Hip-Hop conference, “Bridging the Gaps: Hip-Hop in the Age of Mass Incarceration and Deportation.”#hhtt2014
“Bridging the Gaps: Hip-Hop in the Age of Mass Incarceration and Deportations” examines the ways in which members of the Hip-Hop generation have responded to the issues of mass incarceration, deportation, and criminalization of communities of color. There…
The Hip-Hop Think Tank is currently seeking panels, workshops, and performances for our second bi-annual conference titled, “Bridging the Gaps: Hip-Hop in the Age of Mass Incarceration and Deportation,” scheduled Thursday and Friday, February 20-12, 2014 at California State University, Northridge. We intend to build upon the previous conference by exploring the various ways the Hip-Hop generation has responded to the rise of the prison industrial complex, anti-immigration legislation, and the criminalization of communities of color. Inspired by the 2010 TRiGGRing Change conference at Hampshire College, the Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) conference at Howard University in 2013, as well as the on-going undocumented and immigrant student activism and advocacy of “Dreams to be Heard" here at CSUN, our purpose for the conference is to highlight the social injustice of the growing carceral and surveillance state.
By illustrating the connections between “Stop and Frisk” in New York City, gang injunctions in Los Angeles, and the “Papers Please” provisions in Arizona, the conference will challenge the denial of human rights experienced by each of these diverse communities, utilizing Hip-Hop as our main language.
Panel/workshop subjects may include, but are not limited to: Hip-Hop in relationship to Mass Incarceration; Mass Deportation; the War on Drugs; School-to-Prison Pipelines; the Prison Industrial Complex; Political Prisoners; “Know Your Rights”; Immigrant Experiences; Intersectionality; Gender (In)Equality (Patriarchy); LGBTQ movements; Transnationalism; Diaspora; Alternatives to Capitalism, etc.
For many of us fighting the ravages of the prison industrial complex, George Jackson is a source of inspiration and discipline. Over forty years ago, George Jackson pleaded: Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already…
Bridging the Gaps: Hip-Hop’s Response to Mass Incarceration and Mass Deportation
November 7-9, 2013
California State University, Northridge
Call for Panels, Performances and Workshops
In 2011, the Hip-Hop Think Tank (HHTT) at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) organized the First Academic Hip-Hop Conference at CSUN. Entitled, “L.A. Hip-Hop Beyond Gangster Rap,” the conference provided a space for influential members of the Hip-Hop community to share their experiences and help foster a deeper understanding of Hip-Hop as a tool to advocate for social justice.
At this year’s conference, we seek to build upon the previous event by considering the ways in which Hip-Hop (broadly defined) has responded to the issues of mass incarceration and mass deportations. Inspired by the 2010 TRiGGRing Change conference at Hampshire College, the Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) conference at Howard University, as well as the undocumented and immigrant student activism and advocacy of ‘Dreams to be Heard’ here at CSUN, our purpose for the conference is to highlight the social injustice of the growing carceral and surveillance state.
While numerous Hip-Hop artists have criticized police brutality, mass incarceration, and the prison industrial complex, there is also a growing list of rappers who have addressed the immigration debate. For example, after Arizona passed SB 1070 in 2010, rapper Talib Kweli released a track entitled “Papers Please,” condemning the anti-immigrant legislation. Also, Public Enemy recently released a song called “Ice Breaker” in 2012, which decried the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Moreover, there are Latina/o Hip-Hop artists, such as Rebel Diaz, Immortal Technique, and others who not only challenge anti-immigrant discourse in their music and performances, but also speak out against racial profiling and mass incarceration.
By illustrating the connections between “Stop and Frisk” in New York City, gang injunctions in Los Angeles, and the “Papers Please” provisions in Arizona and elsewhere, the conference will bring the denial of human rights to the forefront. Furthermore, through an intellectual cipher where Hip-Hop is utilized as the main language, the goal of the conference is to move beyond the rhetorical with the hope to break the chains and bridge the gaps between different communities.
We are currently accepting proposals for papers, panels, workshops, graffiti art exhibitions, and installations from individuals, groups, and community organizations for participation in the upcoming Hip-Hop Think Tank conference.
This year’s conference theme is “Bridging the Gaps: Hip-Hop’s Response to Mass Incarceration and Mass Deportation.” Subjects may include, but are not limited to: Hip-Hop in relationship to Mass Incarceration; Mass Deportation; the War on Drugs; School-to-Prison Pipelines; the Prison Industrial Complex; Political Prisoners; “Know Your Rights”; Immigrant Experiences; Intersectionality; Gender (In)Equality (Patriarchy); LGBTQ movements; Transnationalism; Diaspora; Alternatives to Capitalism, etc.
Along with your name, institutional/organizational affiliation, contact information and presentation title, please send a 150-300 word abstract for a panel (one for the panel subject and one for each panelist), and/or workshop (details below), individual paper, art exhibition, or performance by Friday, September 6, 2013 to email@example.com.
You will be notified of your acceptance by September 13, 2013. You should include any A/V equipment needs. Individual paper presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes per panelist and workshops should not exceed an hour and fifteen minutes. Email us any questions you may have.
Submitting a Workshop?
Here are some things to consider: We invite people to submit workshop proposals on any of the topics mentioned above or others related to Hip-Hop and social justice. While we want to give facilitators latitude in organizing their workshops, please inform us whether it will be geared toward youths, adults, or in collaboration between youth and adults. Please plan your workshop to fill 1 hour and 15 minutes and we recommend that all workshops be interactive and solutions-oriented.
Please include the following in your Workshop proposal:
Title of proposed workshop and a brief description/summary of the workshop. (Be sure to sound compelling! This information is what will be in the program.) Please give a brief overview of the workshop including areas to be covered, techniques used, materials, etc. Also, describe the goals and objectives of this workshop. Is this a youth only workshop?
There will also be tabling by various organizations. You may, in addition to or instead of presenting a workshop, set up a table with information about your organization or community resources that conference participants will be able to browse through during the conference. Please contact us for more information, if you are interested in tabling.
Proposals should be received by September 6, 2013. As we are on a tight timeline, proposals received after this deadline may not be considered.
“They attack the victim, and then the criminal who attacked the victim accuses the victim of attacking him. This is American justice. This is American democracy and those of you who are familiar with it know that in America democracy is hypocrisy. Now, if I’m wrong, put me in jail; but if you can’t prove that democracy is not hypocrisy, then don’t put your hands on me.”—