Thursday, May 21, 2009

The More Things Change.....

French Directive

[The following directive was published without comment in The Crisis]

[To the] French Military Mission. stationed with the American Army. August 7, 1918. Secret information concerning the Black American Troops.

It is important for French officers who have been called upon to exercise command over black American troops, or to live in close contact with them, to have an exact idea of the position occupied by Negroes in the United States. The information set forth in the following communication ought to be given to these officers and it is to their interest to have these matters known and widely. disseminated. It will devolve likewise on the French Military Authorities, through the medium of the Civil Authorities, to give information on this subject to the French population residing in the cantonments occupied by American colored troops.

1. The American attitude upon the Negro question may seem a matter for discussion to many French minds. But we French are not in our province if we undertake to discuss what some call "prejudice." [recognize that] American opinion is unanimous on the "color question," and does not admit of any discussion.

The increasing number of Negroes in the United States (about 15,000,000) would create for the white race in the Republic a menace of degeneracy were it not that an impassable gulf has been made between them.

As this danger does not exist for the French race, the French public has become accustomed to treating the Negro with familiarity and indulgence.

This indulgence and this familiarity [These] are matters of grievous concern to the Americans. They consider them an affront to their national policy. They are afraid that contact with the French will inspire in black Americans aspirations which to them (the whites) appear intolerable. It is of the utmost importance that every effort be made to avoid profoundly estranging American opinion.

Although a citizen of the United States, the black man is regarded by the white American as an inferior being with whom relations of business or service only are possible. The black is constantly being censured for his want of intelligence and discretion, his lack of civic and professional conscience, and for his tendency toward undue familiarity.

The vices of the Negro are a constant menace to the American who has to repress them sternly. For instance, the black American troops in France have, by themselves, given rise to as many complaints for attempted rape as all the rest of the army. And yet the (black American) soldiers sent us have been the choicest with respect to physique and morals, for the number disqualified at the time of mobilization was enormous.


1. We must prevent the rise of any pronounced degree of intimacy between French officers and black officers. We may be courteous and amiable with these last, but we cannot deal with them on the same plane as with the white American officers without deeply wounding the latter. We must not eat with [the blacks] them, must not shake hands or seek to talk or meet with them outside of the requirements of military service.

2. We must not commend too highly the black American troops, particularly in the presence of (white) Americans. It is all right to recognize their good qualities and their services, but only in moderate terms strictly in keeping with the truth.

3. Make a point of keeping the native cantonment population from "spoiling" the Negroes. (White) Americans become greatly incensed at any public expression of intimacy between white women with black men. They have recently uttered violent protests against a picture in the "Vie Parisienne" entitled "The Child of the Desert" which shows a (white) woman in a "cabinet particulier" with a Negro. Familiarity on the part of white women with black men is furthermore a source of profound regret to our experienced colonials who see in it an overweening menace to the prestige of the white race.

Military authority cannot intervene directly in this question, but it can through the civil authorities exercise some influence on the population.

[Signed] LINARD

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Washington Redskins???

Last Friday, in a judicial decision that hinged on a legal technicality, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld the right of the local pro football team to keep its unconscionable nickname.

Gloated team attorney Bob Raskopf, “It’s a great day for the Redskins and their fans and their owner, Dan Snyder.”

Alas, it was another shameful day for America.

In clinging to the most racially offensive moniker held by a major U.S. professional sports team since the Emancipation Proclamation – yes, I know, since forever – the franchise continues to offend some Native Americans and assault the sensibilities of a citizenry that should be long past such insensitive and shallow depictions.

How can a large majority of us not be offended? Imagine trying to explain “Redskins” to a foreign visitor or a time-traveler from the future? Every time I say the word, I throw up in my mouth a little and wonder why there is no widespread outrage.

I’ve heard all the arguments about why this name should be allowed to exist, and they move me about as much as Jim Zorn’s red-zone offense in a tight game against a strong opponent. (Sorry – I realize that was a cheap shot. Besides, I wouldn’t want to get ‘Skins fans ticked off at me or anything.)

You can spare me the protestations about how the name is actually a tribute to Native Americans, or how other allegedly similar groups (Vikings? Really?) are also consigned to mascot status. You can skip the talk about the importance of the team name to its fans or the tradition that would be compromised were it to be changed.

I’m not hearing it, because if I close my eyes and think about where we are as a society and the fact that this name still exists, it’s a complete travesty on both visceral and logical levels.

Would we “honor,” say, Chicago’s African-American population by calling its NFL team the Brownskins?

If the NBA placed a franchise in Hawaii, would it consider paying homage to the islands’ Asian influences by competing as the Yellowskins?

And while I’m sure we could all come up with some Jewish slurs to continue the analogy, I submit that an anti-Semitic major league owner like Marge Schott might’ve been quite comfortable fielding a team known as the Foreskins.

Ridiculous? Absolutely. And Redskin is just as absurd, whether you’ve been conditioned to regard it as normal or not.

Worse, it’s blatantly offensive, and don’t bother trotting out the examples of certain Native Americans who regard it as a sign of great respect. The fact that even a handful of them were upset enough to sue to stop the name from existing, a legal fight that has gone on for 17 years and counting, should be enough to let decency prevail. And if you’re angrily composing an email telling me how the name’s meaning to you and your fellow fans supersedes the desires of these people not to be publicly lampooned, I’m going to bet my last Abe Lincoln note that you’re not a member of a traditionally oppressed minority group.

If changing the name of the established team in the nation’s capital seems so unthinkable, you might be forgetting about the Washington Wizards, who from 1963-1997 were known as the Bullets. Two years earlier owner Abe Pollin had announced that, because he had grown uncomfortable with the nickname’s violent overtones, the NBA franchise would be rechristened, and a fan contest ensued.

So the Bullets became the Wizards, and guess what? The sun came up the next morning, the rivers continued to flow to the oceans, and Calbert Cheaney kept getting beat off the dribble. (OK, that was a cheap shot, too. Just making sure you’re still paying attention.)

Things change. Societies evolve. The improbable becomes reality. Remember, there’s a family that recently moved to a D.C. residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, and its presence there made a statement to the world about how far our country has come in terms of racial enlightenment.

Since the words “President” and “Obama” became Siamese twins (oops, another outdated term), it has never been so tough to make the argument that in the United States, a person’s skin color is a primary means by which he/she is judged.

Unless, of course, you’re part of that minuscule slice of the population that pays attention to pro football. Those of us, like our current commander in chief, who fall into that category need to think long and hard about our tolerance for such a preposterously backward name in such a conspicuous setting.

The Redskins may have had their day in court and prevailed, at least for the time being. It’s my sincere hope that before too long, the court of public opinion is far less forgiving.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

..From Chuck D.

The PE PErception; ...Pay Attention The Cheapest Price You Will Pay.

April 30, 2009

Waited till after Coachella to write this tdome . We had a great time playing the Nations set in front of a very large So-Cal crowd. I'd been reading about this festival the past 9 years in magazines like URB , and this year felt being part of their 10th year was officially dope as they used to say. Met some peeps like one of the promoters Mr Bill Folds who personally thanked me afterwards.

It's a trip because the USA media regards PE as this relic like anomaly, asking questions like" what do you think about playing this big festival?"

PE was the first fit for festival rap act sans RUN-DMC , Grandmaster Flash and the 5 and the Beastie Boys. Built for it, we were among the first rap squads to witness a "pit" playing them euro-Asian festivals in the late 80s early 90s. Before people assume they can now google or 'wik' whatever they want to know about us, Coachella was a piece of cake for us on stage at least... 22 years of this prepared us. A very organized, structured festival in SoCal close enough for Hollywood and Vegas types to get their Woodstock-Monterrey-Reading Fest on. Before all this talk last year about Jay-Z -Glastonbury in the UK, they coulda googled that PE smashed Reading in 1992 playing head to head with Nirvana and a shakey Kurt Cobain. But it's convenient that black groups stay silent and thus forgotten until called upon. Thats why they cannot stand Little Richard. You talk rock and roll , you gotta pay attention to him.

In the day where acts say "nothing" and get talked about PE will bring noise without really trying. Professor Griff was mentioning the upcoming Alex Jones film documentary he and KRS are featured in called the Obama Deception. He mentioned it several times. The press seemed to jump all over it. Coupled with the press continuing to pin "reality TV star all over Flav , some media are foaming at the mouth to position this on Public Enemy 20 years after the PE-Griff-semetic scandal of 89. Flavor and Griff are the energy of Public Enemy like it or this juncture I could care less about what opinion thinks of the "PE Perception, on stage myself, DJ Lord, the banned, S1Ws gotta play our zone. The energy Griff and Flav bring has never been duplicated by any other rap act to this very day because they're beyond definition. The press has really very little to say beyond the music of many acts today and their transparent 'opinions'. Thus they've welcomed the rap worlds tendency of crime and the brush with law to be the biggest reason to cover a 'rap' act . Not their music nor their show.

While I detest reality shows and am a President Obama supporter, the theme I stuck to that came out my grill was to tell all to 'pay attention'. Pay attention is what we all could afford to pay, if we take the time to comprehend what we see and hear. Sht, the coachella crowd couldn't really take it all in what they've heard about good or bad all these years, by watching and hearing the stage. Many were too young or media be it radio- viacom chased them away with their perception of us. Too deep.

Cool, my take on the Obama Perception in one big swoop. We been saying the New World Order has been taking place the entire span of our beats and rhymes. The governments responsible is underlined on Yo Bum Rush The Show. The presidential position has been a glorified showcase seat for over 50 years. The world is run by banks and bankers who stir the masses into them asses having people believe false gods, borders , orders, philosophies, controversies and conspiracies. There's political 'duct tape' on the wrists and grill of the USA President that will make the position support Israel not Palestine, not attend the Racism Conference in Durban South Africa, and have tentative discussion with Cuba and Chavez in Venezuela while having both the Prison and Military Industrial Complexes respectively swell on his watch.

But those of us that 'know' knew this coming in. Looking realistically at 'hourglass' change, not some on off switch effect here. Cool then ..I say 'pay attention" regardless... to the planet as well as the beat of your inner self. I have already stated my reasons why I like this man Obama as president knowing damn well that his job is 'Posiition Impossible'. Beyond this perception being a weapon of mass distraction, there is always the chance of some good coming out of it via some default. As with the Flav situation some blackfolk woke up in anger but never knew Viacom existed or the New Whirl Odor. They asked silly questions about Flavs character which many knew was crazy from minute one while clueless on how media, government, and technology worked, while being consumers to the end for each respectively never respectfully.

Truth is truth it belongs to everybody. Recognition of it is the task. It falls like rain on all below it. The perception of effect is the trip, some gonna think the god for the blessing of the water, others gonna complain about getting wet. Some gonna protect their head yet enjoy being within the element, while others will tell all the worry of drowning in it.

Pay attention. .. It's the cheapest price to pay. Pay attention beyond your nose. The people mad at Griff probably believe Lincoln freed the slaves. After 3 years of handling Flav-Viacom , I welcome Griffs' controversy on his opinion. Although I don't necessarily agree on all points personally about the President here, the job and position still has rust from the black blood left on the blade, and this always leaves room for commentary. Bring it On.


Coachella we played on the third night. Paul McCartney played the first. Tired of hearing about if PE is relevant , then wondering why don't they ask white rockers the same sht. Sir Paul was making music before 95% of that concertgoers births, yet the media had no other choice to submit and committ. Much of this is hip hops infrastructureless fault. Dumbasses at the wheel. I been screaming at this niglect for years... This past month hot me hard again. I couldn't make it to Clrveland for Run-Dmcs induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, as I was speaking in Indiana.

The collective black urban media attention to this was bullsht as it was with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five 2 years ago. Run and D requested I perform but I was booked and couldn't. Sent then each a congratulations text and mail, and I thought Eminem did a , and great 'real' speech. Again the hop hop worlds silence was defening. No big pun intended. Reducing the music to ringtones, Tune adjuster choruses, and r&b claimjumpers is one thing... But not exalting it's high accomplishment is yet another diss arrow is another.....sht Raheim of the Furious 5 complained to me last year at a ZULU anniversary he didn't even have a jacket.


Had a great time Jimmy Fallon Show. Of course turning around a email quickly to make it happen right after everyone was in town for Flavors 50th birthday celebration down the block at BB Kings. I remember the same format for the man he replaced CONAN O BRIEN at 50 Rockefeller Center. ?uestlove and the Roots are always accommodating and humble. We talked about some special projects and of course will be playing live in Philly JUNE 6th at their picnic event. Playing NATIONS as a celebration. The possible recording of the album caps a request by ?uest at 2008 ROCK THE BELLS in Cali where he wanted to remix the record and do something at DEF JAM/ Universal. Of course the company didn't give a fk. Now there are better ideas upcoming , stay tuned. Or 'tweet' him. I heard he's on it religiously.


It was raucous , and crazy and everything that goes with it. It was star studded. Iceberg T , Melle Mel, others made it happen at BB KINGS. SLAMjamz Artists Kyle Jason and Crew Grrl Order performed in front of the New York City crowd.

ATL Showcase and Stopping by Charles, Kenny and Ernie.

SLAMjamz subsidiary SuperNatural INC. had a showcase at Apache Cafe in Atlanta featuring KOFFEE , BIG V.E.L, and HUGGY. They got down well as well as the other acts on the bill. A woman named BOOGBROWN was amazing, as with another female rapper AYNJUL and her contingent from Oklahoma by way of ATL.

Afterwards myself and Brother James Norman stopped across the bridge to the TNT Studios to pay a visit to Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson Jr. Didn't wanna stay long and although I was invited for the playoffs 40 games 40 nights , I choose to not be on the tube or around come the playoffs, rather be just a fan. I can't stand seeing cats outside their element just to be on the tube. So I ain't gonna be the one , beside I been on TV before.


It seems that we are overdosed with social networking , but this Twittering takes the case. Seems that everybody wants to be a star with their own media center. Everybody wants to be the center of attention. So be it, but don't lose the ability to appreciate talking to or being talked to while being looked in the eye.


How was this so silent in the black community? Hall Of Fame induction in Cleveland. I could've made it up there on a drive from lower Ohio but had to get back down to INDIANA U the next day. EMINEM held it down with a solid speech. Kicking myself because I could've enjoyed Fridays activities.

Spoke at Dennison University near Columbus OHIO, with my wife Dr Gaye Theresa Johnson to help the students get clear on issues regarding race, gender, and imagery through mass media. It was a two day wonderful event in a small liberal arts school. I often wish the structural organization of schools and colleges can be replicated in the record industry. Wishful thinking as 'ghetto greed mentality made it go down, not downloading. Rather 'loading it down' with drama and in raps case 'Niglect'.

Indiana U was a special occasion indeed in Bloomington IN that very same day that RUN DMC was inducted in Cleveland. The Organization had me speak there on a conference on DR KING and the importance of the OBAMA nation........ Attended great panels at KENT STATE appeared with queen rapper YO YO , ...... the next day at the U of PENN at CALIFORNIA with COMMON, Dr Tricia Rose , Poetess Ursula Rucker all about rap, images, and Hip Hop. wonderful panels ........and wrapped up speaking at St BONAVENTURE in Olean, New York where I keynoted on diversity , then afterwards drove back to NYC. Along the drive ( route 17 along the PA-NY border ) it seemed longer than the drive I took earlier in the week with my wife after Coachella. We drove cross country from CALI to ATL stopping in Albuquerque NM, then OK City then ATL , whereas I found parts of I-40 were the old route 66. .....But the drive from Buffalo to NYC, was loooong and I was in traffic behind a Amish horse and carriage in the town of Jasper NY.

Ernie Barnes

R.I.P to the great artist painter of our time passed. His great art was the scence backdrop to the 'Good Times' TV show if you don't know. Also Marvin Gayes ' 'I Want You' and a take off of his famed 'Sugar Shack' painting by CAMP LO. What got me is that the owner of his pro football team ,New York Jets owner Sonny Werblin, offered to pay him $15,500 -- $1,000 more than Barnes had earned in his last season in football -- to develop his skills as a painter for a year. Werblin was so impressed with Barnes' work that he arranged a showing for critics at a New York gallery.


The Hip Hop Archive in Boston invited me up to do a panel At HARVARD where I spoke on a one on one panel and had a great time talking with Dr Marcelyina Morgan and witnessing such a gathered archive of such. Maybe the HIP HOP Museum if it doesn't get its act together SHOULD be elsewhere, if NYC and the Bronx can't happen. It's time ...infrastructure needs to happen in hip hop. Dr Dawn Elissa Fisher , Davey D, Brian Cross ( author of It's Not About a Salary... Rap, Race and Resistance in Los Angeles: Rap, Race, and Resistance in Los Angeles)


R.I.P. to my man Eric Breed who I remember as a nice , humble cat from Flint Michigan. When I first heard the track 'Aint No Future In Your Frontin', I was impressed with the innovative way that he and his guys put together the song. Myself and Daddy O from Stetsasonic always were searching the rap planet for regional brilliance. The midwest always was slept on and rappers who didn't come from NY were forced to say the most black offensive things just to get noticed. Breed kept it to the funk and later moved to ATL and hooked up with Pac making some records for John Abbey and Nina Eastons Ichiban Records , who I was also affiliated with.

Uriel JONES of The FUNK Brothers R.I.P

Man, I met this man recently during last years R&B Foundation. I was supposed to give Mr Al Bell his award but was instead hanging in the press room with the FUNK BROTHERS. Very pleased and honored to meet the man. On the film the Funk Bros best jokes seemed to emerge from Mr JONES and Capt. JACK ASFORD the great percussionist who I've also been in touch with. MR JONES will be missed as with some of the others we've lost these past few years since Standing In The Shaows of Motown award winning documentary. Have had a few great conversations with Capt JACK and will look to interview him on my AIR AMERICA ON THE REAL SHOW, as he has some great unheard -new tracks.


One of my Favorite baseball players ever. Known for pitching a no hitter on LSD , I just dug him because he was a black pitcher on an all black lineup while being a World Champion Pittsburgh Pirate in 1971. The Pirates hat I wear is in dedication to that all black team, Willie Stargell, Dock Ellis, Rennie Stennett, Gene Clines, Manny Sanguillen, Jackie Hernandez, Dave Cash, Al Oliver, and without a doubt the great Roberto Clemente.


Changes on some more sub-labels and further entertainment to download. SLAMradio will emerge in the same way that PE radio has happened. Hopefully PETV is coming very soon showing videos, TV shows , concerts and documentaries of Public Enemy, as well as SlamTV doing a similar thing with its artists. Other things like the SLAM Backboard will comment and be a place for other artists and labels to post.


Had the pleasure of hanging out with my favorite actor, Jeremy Piven who plays Ari Gold on my favorite show Entourage. He hit me up in LA and had tix to the WORLD SERIES of Baseball in Dodger Stadium. Sat down next to a guy who was silent for a while and later turned to me introducing himself as Paul Wall. Which he was. I said hello first, and he was so nice and humble as well. We linked text info....I said I'd pass on the grill....


By the way Japan was kicking the Stataes azzes, figuring that the USA and the Dominicans are so paid that they really don't compete with the same passion for the game . So it seemed. Piven had a special parking space and tix. Having been invited to a few other Dodger games in the past , I also had to pass on as well. First the baseball cat in me reveled in being there at the Chavez Ravine wonder. The other 2/3 of me thought about the black/brown neighborhood that was leveled to build the stadium for the LA Coliseum based former Brooknam team, and the remaining part of me recalled playing a music concert there with U2 in 1992 in front of 50,000 people. Yeah its been a long and whining road indeed.

Upcoming Public Enemy Performances: **06/06/2009 - The Roots Picnic, Philadelphia, PA **06/12/2009 - Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN **07/03/2009 - 80/35 Festival, Des Moines, IA **07/25/2009 - FujiFest, Tokyo

(This will mark the Final Nation of Millions performance in this formation completing the showcasing of this album LIVE on the continents of North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Upcoming tours in South America and Africa pending. )

Chuck D

Public Enemy