[eDebate] fw from max schnurer re katrina
Fri Sep 2 21:19:44 CDT 2005
Would you do me a favor? I want to post this to edebate, but I'm not subbed
w/ my new addy.
Despite the lagging help of the policy debate community, it seems like some
hip hop stars have something to say about Katrina.
A Few Things to Ponder: Hip Hoppers Step Up Despite Losses A Few Things to
Ponder: Hip Hoppers Step It Up Despite Huge Losses
by Davey D
Friday Sept 2 2005-Yesterday in New York BET, The National Urban League,
Russell Simmons, Ben Chavis and the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, Chris
Rock, Juvenile and Master P held a press conference and spoke to the
devastation in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina
Juvenile who has already started relief efforts informed the audience that
he has lost his home, but is determined to see New Orleans rebuilt. He also
came armed with information and statistics to back up his points about the
US being able to do all sorts of things all over the world including being
over in Iraq but not doing as much as they could and should in impoverished
communities here at home. Many folks were impressed that Juv was able to
come off with well-researched information and that he was willing to throw
down in spite of his losses.
Master P who also lost many of his homes and businesses also spoke and told
the audience that he's always dreamed of being able to leave New Orleans to
travel the world as a rapper and basketball player, but he never thought
he's see a day when he could not come back home?
Sadly, Juvenile and Master P were not the only New Orleans based rappers to
suffer major losses from Hurricane Katrina. We learned that Baby and his
Cash Money Clique lost just about everything-from homes to studios. We heard
that Baby managed to escape to Miami. We hope and pray that their families
We offer up our heartfelt condolences to former No Limit rapper Mia X. Long
time Yo-Yo hit me up the other day to let me know that a devastated Mia was
trying to reach out to folks because she may have lost more then half her
family to this tragedy. I'm not up on all the details, but the loss of life
for even one loved one is heartbreaking. One can only imagine what Mia must
be going through if she lost many more. Again our hearts and prayers go out
to her for her losses.
BET President Deborah Lee said that BET is putting together a huge telethon
in conjunction with the Red Cross and The National Urban League on September
9th. Scores of artists and celebs are expected to take part as music mogul
Russell Simmons promised to help deliver as many artists as he can to the
Chris Rock kicked off his remarks by talking about how places like Biloxi,
Mississippi needed our help like 3 weeks ago. He joked about the challenge
people had when they got into the airport and tried to hail a cab to get
somewhere. He then honed in on the serious nature behind his humorous
remarks which basically centered around how our collective neglect for these
poor areas are now manifesting in what we are seeing today in new Orleans
Although not in attendance at the New York press conference, we have to
acknowledge the relief efforts and losses of other Hip Hop icons. First up
we have Mississippi's prodigal son, David Banner who has sparked off relief
and repair efforts in his home state. He is currently planning to put
together some sort of benefit concert when the time is right.He also has a
Heal the Hood Foundation and last I heard he was trucking bottled water into
impoverished areas in Mississippi
Jay-Z and P-Diddy have stepped up and have each donated one million dollars
to the Red Cross. They have also donated large amounts of clothing from
their companies Roc-a-Wear and Sean John.
Ludacris has stepped it up and his using funds from his Ludacris Foundation
to help in the relief efforts.
James Prince who is the CEO of Rap-A-Lot records has done what most of these
major labels have yet to do. He's stepped up and he opened up a shelter in
Houston for refugees coming in from New Orleans and Mississippi. It's hard
to believe that in the most affluent and technologically advanced nation on
the planet that in 2005 we have refugees from this country. Say what you
will, but in a country that has thousands of hotels, closed down army bases
and other underused and unused facilities why do we have what we have in the
wake of Katrina?
What also struck me about Prince, the CEO of Rap-A-Lot Records is how he as
a label owner stepped up to contribute. He clearly recognizes that a good
part of his label's success is because of the talent that has merged from
many of those poor impoverished neighborhoods in the Gulf States. What I'm
surprised to NOT hear are words from all those multi-national corporate
owned major labels who have been relatively silent. One would think that
when you consider the huge jazz and blues catalogues owned by some of these
major label groups that they would be among the first to be helping out and
making public declarations to help bring relief to this area that has made
them billions not millions.
What we've gotten from these major record labels in the form of their public
representative the RIAA is an announcement in the mists of all this
devastation, that they intend to sue 754 more 'illegal' music down-loaders.
I checked the news clippings and even the RIAA website this Friday morning
(Sept 2) and saw no mention of them helping or even giving a link to the
Katrina relief efforts. (I took screen shots of all those websites if anyone
wishes to see them or thinks I am lying). That includes all the big wigs
like Interscope Records, which is home to 50 Cent and Eminem to J records,
which is home to Alicia Keyes to Sony records. These labels spin millions a
year for fancy parties and shindigs during the award shows. They spend lots
of dough on music convention-many of them held in New Orleans. We all know
that many of them spend crazy money on airplay and magazine ads. Will they
bring that sort of spending power to the relief efforts?
The only major label that I saw with any sort of acknowledgement was
Universal Records, which has a public service announcement from George Bush
and a list of charities and links so one can donate. You cannot even go to
the website without being asked to donate and learning about the disaster. I
am almost certain Universal will be following up with donations and
resources of their own, which is a good thing. Let us hope other major
labels will follow suit or at the very least instruct the RIAA to chill on
these ill-timed lawsuits.
Can you imagine how sad it would be if some of those RIAA lawsuits are for
people who have been left homeless and their lives destroyed in that region?
What would be good is they took the money from the 14 thousand they filed
and settled with for an average of 3 thousand bucks a piece and donate that
to the relief efforts.
Again my point is that while it's great that we can point to dozens of
artists stepping it up and donating time money and resources, where are the
real beneficiaries who have gleamed so much the people of that region? This
was a point that Juvenile and Master P made at the conference. They
emphasized how much the city of New Orleans alone has given to the world
both culturally and musically. New Orleans would be more than just missed if
it were not rebuilt. Maybe this will change in time, with respect to these
major labels, we'll just wait and see?
Relief efforts have been in full swing by Hip Hop activists throughout the
country since day one. Everyone from author/activist Kevin Powell to radio
host Rosa Clemente to Erica Ford have all been on the ground sparking off
organizing efforts from around the country. For example, next Thursday in
New York, Powell is spearheaded a fundraiser benefit that is the same vein
as his annual blanket relief events he does around the holidays.
Clemente was on air at WBAI in new York the other night banging the drums to
get more community folks active by donating to organizations and following
through to make sure that what they give goes directly to the communities in
need. Her along with organizations like the Malcolm X Grassroots Committee
are compiling a list of charities who have good reputations in the region.
What has been found in the past is that many charities do not always get
resources to the people who need them the most.
Erica Ford who works closely with Ja Rule and his grassroots organization is
getting a rally together where folks can donate this weekend in conjunction
with the Millions More Movement.
In Chicago, Hip Hop author Hadji Williams (Don't Knock the Hustle) has been
hard at work donating proceeds from his newly released book this weekend to
In Atlanta, Hip Hop publicist Shemia Miller who works with artist like Game,
Jermaine Dupri and Kam to name a few has been on the grind getting relief
underway in her neck of the woods.
Here in the Bay Area activists like Tony Colemen from Mindz Eye Collective
and All of Us or None are preparing some sort of relief efforts. Katrina
although was 3000 miles away, it really struck close to home because fellow
activist Mike Milloy (spelling may be off) has not been able to contact his
family who live in New Orleans. Everyone fears for the worse because of the
destruction in the area where they reside.
All that has been mentioned is just the tip of the iceberg. We asked the
hard question earlier this week where is Hip Hop? One thing for sure many of
the artists and their immediate associates are all stepping up and throwing
down. All this should be encouragement for others to do the same, if for any
reason because this is home and these are our people. Like I suggested
earlier take a few of those diamonds off that watch or out that grill and
help out. The other thing to keep in mind is that all this should be a
lesson for us to start preparing so we can survive any other tragedy. The
obvious poor planning and ill preparedness of the federal government has
shown that the only folks we can rely on in times like this is ourselves and
the strong networks of people we have built around us.
Susan Taylor of Essence Magazine spoke to the biased media coverage. She
asked the reporters that were on hand to go back to their newsrooms and
insist that they stop trying to show the people as animalistic criminals who
are looting. She talked about how many of the victims are getting what they
need to survive and in many places; there are no store clerks to take money.
Taylor's points were underscored by some news agencies that have actually
shown the coverage behind the looting, where you have people with babies who
have been left alone for 2or 3 days with no help at all. Fox News in LA has
been very good at bringing this point to light. In addition, while you do
have some lawlessness, it is in the minority compared to all those who have
been pulling together and trying to make it through one of the worst
disaster to ever hit the US.
xxFrommy own personal experience as a journalist, I too have seen how things
get twisted. There are two glaring cases that come to mind. The first was in
1989 after the devastating earthquake in San Francisco. The national media
went and tried to make the residents of West Oakland look like criminals who
were looting cars and people trapped under the Cypress Freeway. You had many
people doing the armchair thing about how terrible these people were until
it was realized that what they thought was looting was actually local
residents risking life and limb to try to rescue people still alive and
buried under the rubble. Some people were going back bringing trapped people
water and health supplies. Others were going back and grabbing pursues and
IDs for stricken and shocked family members. To this day people who saw the
initial coverage still saw West Oaklanders as looters and not heroes. In
addition, it was years after the earthquake before that, part of town were
The other incident was in London during the first bomb attacks. I was there
and actually covered it. I gathered many interviews and have on tape person
after person stating that the bombings were no big deal because they happen
all the time and that the latest incident was the result of Bush and Prime
Minister Tony Blair's foreign policies. I was there with other reporters and
I watched with my own eyes as some of my mainstream counterparts went out of
their way to try and find somebody who was panicked by the attacks and
willing to blame Al Queda. What was being aired on national news in no way
reflected what we all experienced at the bombing sites. In fact, we wound up
eating dinner at a packed restaurant right across the street from open of
the bombing sites and even took the subway home. More importantly, Londoners
were not running around panicked. I have all this on tape, which we aired.
These examples are cited to bring to light what we are seeing with some of
this coverage in New Orleans in terms of bias. For example, there are
hundreds of dead bodies floating in those floodwaters; they have not shown
that on TV. In those flood waters are alligators, they have not shown that.
There was one news report that I actually did see about an elderly couple
being trapped in their cars and 8 alligators swimming around them waiting to
eat them if they left the car.
In many places there are people who are without homes who have been outside
enduring the harsh elements for 2-3 days. That story has not been fully
told. People think that it was real easy for folks to bounce out of town
when they got the evacuation orders. We're now finding out such activities
were poorly executed and in many cases damn near impossible.
To underscore this point, folks may wanna check out a show they aired on the
Discovery Channel a few month's ago about changing weather conditions. They
focused on Hurricanes and described an impending scenario about Hurricane X
striking New York City. Scientist believe it's only a matter of time before
a catastrophic wind storm hits the big apple. During the show they showed
how hard it would be for New Yorkers to leave the area and get out of harms
way once the orders were given. The key words here are 'harm's way'.
What a lot of people fail to realize is that Katrina didn't directly hit New
Orleans. The direct hits took place outside the city itself. It struck in
many of the areas that people were running away to. Many of the homes
destroyed are outside of New Orleans as well. In other words, with a storm
this wide and so huge and planes grounded you were likely to get hit unless
you were able to get to the center of the state and even then it didn't mean
that you could do easily and quickly.
It's like telling folks in San Francisco to get out of town because an
Earthquake is coming and they rush across the Bridge to Oakland. That ain't
gonna do no good. During rush hour it takes 2 hours just to get 40 or 50
miles away from Frisco. Can you imagine what things would be like during an
ill planned evacuation Where you gonna run to when earthquakes and their
damage can be felt hundreds of miles away?
We also have to note that you have rampant price gauging and we're not
talking about gas only. That's another story that hasn't been fully
reported. Instead of giving supplies away you have people trying to charge
top dollar in the some of the nation's most impoverished communities for
badly needed supplies.
You have scenarios where the police themselves have been looting. Lastly you
don't see a lot of reports about George Bush refusing to tell his oil
buddies to sacrifice and lower gas prices. He was asked this by Diane Sawyer
This is not to say that everything is kosher and everyone is without fault
in New Orleans, but this is a life or death situation for a lot of folks. It
should also be a hard lesson for all of to learn from. Are we prepared for a
disaster when it strikes us. Can I really leave the bay if a massive
Earthquake hits? Do I have enough supplies on hand? What am I willing to do
if my house which is on solid ground is left standing while nearby house on
soft land are decimated? Having a 'tell them to go eat cake' attitude in the
face of disaster don't cut it especially when people feel their survival is
Quote from Afrika Bambaataa-November 2004
Well, I see that people have really disrespected Mother Earth which is a
living entity. If you disrespect Mother Earth, she will spit your ass out.
We have become a cancer to her and with all this bombing and chemical
warfare in different places and stuff like that; Mother Nature is going to
put it on human's butts all over the planet. That movie 'The Day After' was
a movie sent by the creator for all people to see, just like the Matrix. All
this is definitely going on. If you notice right after they released that
movie 'The Day After Tomorrow', it looked like some of the same stuff
(bizarre, destructive weather conditions) was happening right over Florida
and many other places. It's gonna get more serious as this millennium goes
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