Friday, February 27, 2009

Daggerin' Controversy

Props to the amazing Raquel Rivera for putting me up on this story...

What a real nightmare, on Friday the 13th the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica banned all songs from the public media (so that means videos and as well as sound recordings) that reference Daggerin'/Daggering (JA slang for sex) or that show the popular dance. Songs with sexually explicit and violent lyrics are considered a violation of a new set of standards that broadcasters now have to follow in order to keep their licensing.

The Commission also extended the ban to include the "bleeping'' and "beeping'' editing used to "clean" up songs that are considered in appropriate or unsuitable for public consumption. I would imagine that means that artist would not have to record clean versions in order to get played on the radio/TV. So more artist would have to follow Mr. Vegas' lead and have "Hot Wuk" on the radio and "Hot Fuck" on the album.

Supposedly this whole controversy was started over the wide spread popularly of Spice and Vybz Kartel's "Rampin Shop."

Dancehall artists are rightfully pointing out that these measures unfairly target the genre which has been emeshed in debates about "slackness" since the 1990s.

Mr Vegas issued a statement that said "I think the Broadcasting Commission has nothing better to do with their time. More than 50 per cent of the songs which are played on radio have some form of editing. So what is radio gonna sound like? Maybe we should just get one national station and call it Love 102."

He continued: "What they are doing is killing the creativity. It's no different when a R&B song says 'I'll make love to you like you want me to', than when a Jamaican says 'bend ova'; it's just the way we speak...talking about sex doesn't mean it has to be lewd and so many of our artistes have proven that. And simply because something is edited doesn't mean a curse word was there. Sometimes as artistes we realise the word may be too coarse for radio, but fit for the dance, so the word is edited." (Mr. Vegas quotes courtesy of The Jamaica Star)

Ian Boyne from the Jamaica Gleaner News had this to say in response to accusations of class-based bias and censorship:

What might really shock many people, particularly from the middle class, is that Rampin' Shop is mild - yes, mild - compared to other songs in the dancehall. And, if you ever hear what the sound system selectors say over the mike, that is what would give Esther Tyson a heart attack! Thank God, Sister Esther knows nothing of those songs.

I hear Kartel and his lawyer talking nonsense about free speech being jeopardised. But what about the freedom of decent ghetto people who want the right to rear their children without those children being assaulted by the filth and nastiness coming from the sound systems in their communities? What about their rights?

Uncritical dancehall defenders talk about parents' protecting their own children from the filth dancehall artistes spew out, but how can they do so when they are prisoners of their poverty in the ghetto, and can't afford to migrate to middle-class communities where they can escape the tyranny of all-day, all-night nasty music?

Decent people can't entertain friends in their homes or even have Bible study in peace because of others exercising their freedom to play filth and garbage.

If these people confined their nastiness and filth to Sting and Sumfest, that's OK with me. We know what dancehall night at Sumfest is about and what Sting is. If people want to have their X-rated dancehall events where they are not disturbing decent people in their homes, I am not for censorship.

The question of the division between private and public is at the fore of these debates. Basically the daggerin' critics are saying that people can do whatever they want in their homes but that once it leaves that space of sanctioned domesticity and intimacy then sexual desires and practices are then subject to different standards of conduct and even government intervention.

The slackness debates are very similar to debates about hip hop and reggaeton in terms of blaming all of societies problems on a dearth of sexually explicit lyrics and images. To me the daggerin' dance looks very similar to perreo, so I'm not surprised that both dances have received such scrutiny and become strawmen for concerns over female virtue and the nuclear family.

As far as I'm concerned the ban is absurd, and I think all you'll hear on the radio is like one pop song and two commercials if the Commission is as stringent as it says it will be. The ban is untenable.

In "Rampin' Shop" Spice lyrically gives it like she gets it in terms of talking about punishing Vybz sexually so how does that complicate the claims that Dancehall is dangerous because its all male aggression towards seemingly passive women. The song complicates the idea that egalitarian sexual practices is always a desirable form of sexual play which is interesting. Unfortunately, the sexuality and sexual practices detailed in "Rampin' Shop" are used to prop up heterosexist and homophobic sexual norms -- "man to man, girl to girl thats wrong."

Ironically, Vybz has a line of condoms called Daggering in an effort to promote safe (rough) sex.

The tag line says on the condom says: "Playsafe Ramp Rufff till game ova."

Complicated. Any thoughts.

Lil Wayne "Prom Queen" Teaser

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's Back. A-rab Money Remix Video

You thought this A-rab Money nonsense was over, but you were wrong! Here comes what looks to be the cheapest remix video ever made. Is it just me or is it incredibly ironic to have a video talking about how you have enough money to purchase Saudi Arabia, but it looks like it was edited by a 15 year old on final cut pro in between history and geometry class?


For the most part the lyrics are similar except they took out the few Arabic/Arabic sound-a-like words that appeared in the original version of the remix. So no more Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem at the start of every verse. Also, the girl feeding Swizz Beats linguini is no longer calling him her habibi, rather he is now her genie (um?). Although changes were made to obviously make the song more sensitive to criticism, it's telling that the song still willfully mispronounces Arab using A-rab thoughtout.

If anything this whole Arab Money exercise at least shows us that certain rappers are willing to change up their lyrics in response to community concern and opposition.

Oh, yeah, and Lil Wayne topless in a video full of men wearing shiny bubble coats....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I heart Majora Carter!

Did people peep Majora Carter's commercial during the Oscars? Check it...

Sustainable South Bronx is a fantastic environmental justice organization that has been instrumental in developing green jobs, planting, trees, and developing community green spaces for the Bronx. Additionally, they have been at the fore of raising awareness about the horrifically high rates of asthma in the South Bronx as a result of the lack green space and the truck exhaust from the Cross Bronx.

check out more at Sustainable South Bronx

*tip of the fitted to Race Wire*

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day N Nite

Friday, February 20, 2009

Puerto Rican Freedom Project Fundraiser: Saturday, Feb. 21st


On Saturday, Feb 21st 2009 at 6:30pm, at the 1199 MLK, JR Union Center in NYC: 310 West 43rd St., between 8th & 9th Ave, The Puerto Rican Freedom Project will be throwing their fourth fund raiser. All proceeds will go towards the creation of "The Freedom Album," a dual CD featuring Puerto Rican artists from the island and beyond, due out early this Spring 2009. The musical compilation is being created to raise funds for the Puerto Rican political prisoners and their families. The current Puerto Rican political prisoners are Oscar Lopez, Carlos Alberto Torres, Haydee Beltran and Avelino Gonzlez Claudio.

Suggested donation for the event: $10-$15

Performing live will be: Ilu Aye with their blend of Afro-Caribbean traditions from Puerto Rico,Cuba and the Dominican Republic; Bryan Vargas y Ya Esta with their unique interpretation of Afro-Latin-Soul using rhumba, mambo, and other old-school latin sounds; La Bruja, the multi-talented, Puerto Rican actress, singer, Hip Hop and Reggaeton artist has been a purveyor of Nuyroican culture for years; Maria Isa -- this Twin City Boricua emcee and singer will be displaying her songs of protests from the Mid-west; Pumpkinhead, the long-time Puerto Rican Hip Hop veteran from the famed Brooklyn Academy Crew will also be sharing his talents; Homeboy Sandman – one of the newest Hip Hop sensation in the NY scene. This Puerto Rican/Dominican emcee was recently written up in Source Magazine in their prestigious "Unsigned Hype" page; and topping off the night will be DJ Disco Wiz spinning, Hip Hop first Latino DJ of the famed Mighty Force Crew. So be sure to join us for a night of Hip Hop with traditional Afro-Caribbean rhythms and touch of Latin Jazz with a mix of Afro-beat.

For more information about this project, go to or

Footage from the occupation

As you can see, this was a much larger protest and moment of civil unrest than the media made it out to be. While they attempted to paint us as entitled whiny college kids in an attempt to detract from our important call for accountability, responsibility, and the rights to organizing and collective bargaining, their attempt to discredit could not stop the swell of people fed up with a system that ignores them and profiteers of off violence and injustice.

See for yourself the strength of the student movement...

There were instances of abuse on the part of both NYU Security and NYPD. SHAME!

The behavior of the administration is completely reprehensible. Please contact NYU and let your voices be heard.

This is only part of a larger struggle across the globe of students, we are not alone. This was not the first occupation and this sure won't be the last.

In Solidarity!

NYU Occupation Ended, but Student Struggles Continue


At around 2pm today, members of Take Back NYU! left the Kimmel Center for University Life, ending a 40 hour+ occupation. Their action made national and international news, and showcased the real power of the new student movement sweeping the globe.

No doubt NYU will begin attempting disciplinary action, but no suspensions, expulsions or arrests can contain what began in the last two days. This fight will carry on in the hands of the dozens of people who made it inside, and the hundreds more who came out to support the occupation. NYU showed it’s irrational need to defend secrecy and its exclusive hold on power, and that alone will drive this movement forward.

For everyone showing support: the real lesson here is that you can act and you can make a difference. Take the lessons from the occupation on to your own struggle, and begin to act yourself. Onward.

NYU did not negotiate in good faith, tricked students


Near the end of the occupation NYU put some of its dishonesty on wide display. 5 students occupying the building were told they would be offered negotiations with Lynne Brown, and willingly passed their barricades to begin serious talks. As soon as they left, a cadre of NYU security guards swept them away and served them with papers saying they would be expelled. No negotiations ever took place.

To the end, NYU showed just why we need more actions like this occupation: to hold NYU to its word, and to put students first.

NYU Protesters being evicted from dorms!


NYU is taking immediate steps against protesters, at risk of its public image and the well being of its students. Right now, several protesters in university housing are being evicted from their residences. This is not OK. Dissent should never make someone homeless.

Please contact NYU Housing to insist they allow students to stay in their dorm:

Phone: 212-998-4600


UPDATE: Occupants Suspended, Non-NYU Students Considered Trespassers


From the outset, the University made clear to the protesters that they were violating the University rules and engaging in improper activity. Nonetheless, we offered to sit down and have a dialogue with the students if they left the cafeteria; the students rejected our offer of a dialogue.

Yesterday afternoon, the University directed the protesters to leave the building, telling them that the building closes at 1:00 a.m., and after that they would be considered trespassers and would have to bear the consequences.

A number of students left during the night. This morning the University summarily suspended the remaining students. Any non-NYU students will be turned over to the police for arrest as trespassers; we will notify their schools of the participation in improper activity. Any students who refuse to identify themselves will be assumed to be non-NYU students.

Despite the protesters’ stated principles that the protest was to be non-destructive and non-violent, the protesters broke the lock on a balcony door despite specific warnings to stay off the balcony, and protesters injured an NYU security officer during a tussle last night. These actions dishonor NYU’s commitment to free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate, and legitimate forms of protest. We have some information on the students involved in those activities; they will be summarily suspended as well.

In an effort to bring this episode to a conclusion, last night the University gave the students an opportunity to sign an agreement stating that discipline charges stemming from the protest would be held in abeyance, but would be fully activated if there were any further disciplinary charges during their time at NYU; this would not apply to those students identified in breaking the lock or injuring the officer. One student signed the agreement.

Others who were in the room who have not signed the agreement will continue to have an opportunity to do so for a short while; after that, we will pursue discipline against any of the others. We have some information on who was in the room and will pursue those students, but we urge all the protesters, as self-described people of conscience who wish to demonstrate the courage of their convictions, to either come forward to sign the agreement or acknowledge their role in the protest and make themselves available for discipline.

N.Y.U. Students Continue Occupation to Press Demands

From the New York Times...

N.Y.U. Students Continue Occupation to Press Demands

It was not quite a campus uprising. For most of the thousands of students at New York University, Thursday was a normal day of studying and lectures.

But outside the Kimmel student center on Washington Square South, more than a dozen New York City police officers stood watch with campus security officers.

Inside the building, students who had barricaded themselves in a third-floor cafeteria on Wednesday night vowed on Thursday to continue their occupation until they were able to present a list of demands to school administrators.

A surge of new protesters pushed their way past security guards and into the cafeteria about 9 p.m., according to students who were contacted on their cellphones.

University officials, who had allowed the students to spend one night in the cafeteria, told them they would not be welcome to stay a second night, although it was not clear whether the students would be removed by force.

About 11:30 p.m., one of the protesters, Banu Quadir, 21, a senior at the university, said the group would soon begin negotiations with the administration.

Earlier, a university spokesman said the two sides had been unable to arrange a meeting. John Beckman, the spokesman, said, “Regrettably, the students rejected our offer of dialogue, insisting on remaining in the room and setting a number of preconditions.”

The N.Y.U. students created a Web site ( where they published their demands, including thorough annual reporting of the university’s operating budget, expenditures and endowment. They also want the university to provide 13 scholarships a year to students from the Gaza Strip and give surplus supplies to the Islamic University of Gaza.

The students also called on the school to allow graduate teaching assistants to unionize and to freeze tuition.

The occupation was peaceful, though some tensions surfaced at least twice, first when more students forced their way past campus guards and joined the others in the cafeteria, and later when the protesters defied officials by using a balcony near the cafeteria to address students outside the center.

The occupation, organized by a student group called Take Back NYU!, began just before 10 p.m. on Wednesday when about 70 students took over the dining room in the Kimmel Center, a modern building that is a hub of student activities and includes administration offices and a theater.

The protest was similar to one in December at the New School a few blocks away, and some of those at N.Y.U. said they found inspiration in the New School occupation, which also took place in a cafeteria.

Not all those in the dining room were N.Y.U. students. Saher Almaita, 22, a senior philosophy major at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., said curiosity and sympathy led him to join the protest.

“We’re so alienated from each other that the opportunity to do something together is a rush,” he said, then added with a smile, “I want to experience humanity to its fullest.”

The students passed their first night chatting, reading and playing cards. They ate food they had brought, including apples, oranges, hummus and peanut butter. Some joined in an exercise session they called the “calisthenic dialectic workout,” stretching and jumping in place before adjourning for a discussion of Hegel’s philosophy that lasted nearly until daybreak.

The students’ numbers dropped briefly on Thursday when some left to go to classes. School officials had sought to keep others from joining.

At one point, students removed a cylinder lock from a door that led to a balcony above Washington Square, then used a megaphone to address students below with speeches and slogans.

Opinion on the sidewalk was divided; some denounced the occupation as disruptive and others were more encouraging. “I don’t support all of what they’re doing,” said Adrian Untermyer, 19, a freshman, “but I support the fact that they’re asserting themselves.

Jason Grant contributed reporting.

A version of this article appeared in print on February 20, 2009, on page A26 of the New York edition.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I am blogging from the Take Back NYU occupation.

After a two-year campaign of letter-writing, tabling, flyering, educational events, and even electing a member onto the Student Senate, Take Back NYU! decided to occupy the 3rd floor dining hall in Kimmel.

I rushed the barricades with a group of American Studies students and other concerned graduate students at roughly 8pm to show solidarity and support the occupation.

Here are the demands of the occupation:

  1. Amnesty for all parties involved.
  2. Full compensation for all employees whose jobs were disrupted during the course of the occupation.
  3. Public release of NYU’s annual budget and endowment.
  4. Allow student workers (including T.A.’s) to collectively bargain.
  5. A fair labor contract for all NYU employees at home and abroad.
  6. A Socially Responsible Finance Committee that will immediately investigate war profiteers and the lifting of the Coke ban.
  7. Annual scholarships be provided for thirteen Palestinian students.
  8. That the university donates all excess supplies and materials in an effort to rebuild the University of Gaza.
  9. Tuition stabilization for all students, beginning with the class of 2012. Tuition rates for each successive year will not exceed the rate of inflation. The university shall meet 100% of government-calculated student financial need.
  10. That student groups have priority when reserving space in the buildings owned or leased by New York University, including, and especially, the Kimmel Center.
  11. That the general public have access to Bobst Library.
What you can do:
  • Come support the occupation, inside or outside! We’ll be inside all night.
  • Send a letter to the administration in solidarity!
  • Tell the world! Send an e-mail to your professors, peers, listservs, facebook groups, etc! Talk to your friends!
Please support our movement!

See live stream of the occupation:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shake Your Nalgas for Jesus

Check out this Daily News piece about Hector El Father and Reggaeton Cristiano...

Read: Perreo for Jesus: Reggaetoneros Also Pray

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kanye on Gay Rumors

Kanye holds is down for the sartorial men and gay "aliens"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I've been seeing more and more posters around the city. I am glad that legal battles didn't bury this! MARCH 6, 2009!! I'm SOOO geeking right now!

I Kinda Wish M.I.A. Was My Mom!

I'm on a boat b*tch!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pharrell on the Cover of NYLON

I'm really feeling the punk retro 'fit!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jesse Lee Peterson on Hannity

This clip is crazy. Jesse Lee Peterson says “I think we all agree that Barack Obama was elected by, mostly by black racists and white guilty people. Most black Americans, 96 percent of them, are racist toward white Americans. And white folks feel guilty and they are afraid of being called racists."


Peterson then goes on to say how the Black community is an example of a "socialist mentality", citing high crime rates, out of wedlock births and dependence on welfare. I wasn't aware that those were characteristic features of socialist society, or Black communities for that matter, but hey what do I know I'm a commie-pinko after all.

I just love how they bring on the Black neo-con to say the most racist outlandish stuff he can come up with. Best line..."You cannot believe in god and vote for a man like Barack Obama"

Tip of the fitted to RaceWire

"I'm a Gangsta Miss Katie"

Monday, February 2, 2009

When Xenophobia Meets Homophobia

Feb 2 2009
Marisol LeBrón
Originally published at North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA)

An ugly blame game ensued after the passing of California’s Proposition 8, which restricted the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. With exit polls reporting 70 percent of Blacks and 53 percent of Latinos/as supporting the ban on gay marriage, many white members of the LGBT community blamed people of color for the ban’s success.

The December issue of gay news magazine The Advocate stepped into the fray. The cover of the issue provocatively announced, “Gay is the New Black.” Although the cover story's author, Michael Joseph Gross, dismissed blaming Black voters as a "false conclusion" and a "terrible mistake," comments posted to the site took him to task for other reasons. Most comments strongly disagreed with Gross' Black/gay comparison, but many others asked why communities of color and queer communities are still considered mutually exclusive in the mainstream LGBT rights movement.

A comment posted by "Greg J," pointedly charged, "Gays of color, transgender, and yes, even lesbians are missing from the larger discourse of the gay rights struggle – primarily the gay marriage issue. The gay right's movement was and remains the 'gay, white, middle class' movement!"

The Prop 8 fallout shows how much work remains to be done to connect the LGBT rights movement with other struggles for social justice across a spectrum of issues. Unfortunately, it may have taken the brutal murder of Ecuadoran immigrant Jose Oswaldo Sucuzhañay to highlight the invisibility of queer people of color – particularly queer immigrants – in LGBT rights discourse. His murder will hopefully provide an impetus for coalition building.

Jose Sucuzhañay and his brother Romel were attending a Sunday evening church party on December 7, 2008. They later decided to end the night with some drinks at a local bar in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. The two brothers left the bar at 3:30 a.m. and walked home arm-in-arm to support each other. Three men drove up to the Sucuzhañay brothers, one man got out of the car and began to shout anti-gay and anti-Latino slurs at them.

The man then attacked Jose Sucuzhañay and broke a bottled over the back of his head causing him to fall to the ground. His brother Romel ran to call the police. Romel saw the attackers kick his brother’s prone body and beat him with an aluminum baseball bat. The beating stopped when Romel returned and told the attackers that he had called the police. Jose was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital and remained in critical condition until he passed away five days later. He was 31 and left behind two children.

Sucuzhañay's killing comes a month after a group of Long Island teens fatally stabbed Ecuadoran immigrant Marcelo Lucero; it also follows the murder of Luis Ramirez, who was beaten to death last July in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.

The increased violence and surveillance against immigrant communities has coincided with violence against queers of color, including the murder of Duanna Johnson, a Black transgender woman. Johnson was beaten by two Memphis police officers last February. Nine months later, she was found shot to death in North Memphis.

Blogger Angry Brown Butch reflected on Johnson’s murder: “Just to be trans, just to be a woman, just to be a person of color in this country is enough to drastically increase one’s exposure to hatred and violence; when oppressions overlap, violence tends to multiply.”

Although Sucuzhañay was not gay, his murder represents the danger and uncertainty facing queers, people of color, immigrants, and other marginalized communities. For the most part, however, both mainstream LGBT rights groups and immigrant rights groups have failed to recognize the potential for collaboration and coalition, even in the wake of Sucuzhañay's murder.

Immediately after the attack, media outlets discussed the homophobic and xenophobic nature of the attack against the Sucuzhañay brothers. But as time went on, reports began to only highlight either the anti-gay or the anti-Latino/a nature of the attack rather than seeing the two as joint-causes.

“I have seen some members of the Latino community express indignation at some outside the Latino community using the attack for political gain," notes Andrés Duque of the Latino/a LGBT site Blabbeando. "I have also seen a Queens-based Ecuadorian community organization put out a call for a vigil highlighting the xenophobic nature of the crime while not mentioning that it might have also been a homophobic crime.”

Indeed, rather than illuminating the vulnerability that both Latino/a and LGBT communities face and interrogating the systemic inequalities that enable that marginalization, some are more concerned with shaping how the incident is described and remembered in the media. One example of this is Diego Sucuzhañay’s denial that the attack on his brothers was homophobic in nature. Although Romel told the police that anti-gay and anti-Latino slurs were shouted at them as they were assaulted, Diego denies that homophobia was an aspect of his brothers’ attack.

Diego told New York’s El Diario/La Prensa that, “My brother Romel told me that they shouted insults against Latinos, that they shouted 'Hispanic sons of bitches,' but not anti-gay insults.” But Romel has not publicly retracted his statement regarding anti-gay slurs. And other family members have spoken about the murder in terms of homophobia also being a motivating factor. So some observers following the case wonder whether Diego’s statements to the press are an attempt to disassociate his brother's murder from any implications of queerness.

Still, many others are people speaking out against Sucuzhañay’s murder by clearly connecting issues of racism, homophobia, and xenophobia. At his brother’s funeral in Cuenca, Ecuador, German Sucuzhañay told the Associated Press, “The brutal killing of my brother Oswaldo is the result of xenophobia, of homophobia and racism that our compatriots are experiencing in these times.”

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa condemned the xenophobia and homophobia behind Sucuzhañay’s tragic death. Correa told the press that Sucuzhañay was “vilely murdered because of xenophobia and homophobia. They confused him for a homosexual..." The President called on the public to fight against "xenophobia, homophobia and all types of phobia, all types of discrimination, all types of violence.”

While a number of U.S.-based organizations including Bienestar, The Audre Lorde Project, People of Color in Crisis (POCC), and Incite! have all been working to address the intersections between multiple forms of oppression, both the mainstream LGBT and Latino/a rights movements remain remarkably single issue oriented.

The killing of Jose Sucuzhañay, however, challenges Latino/a and LGBT leaders to build a broad-based vision for social justice that acknowledges the linkages between various communities and struggles. Hopefully, both immigrant rights group and LGBT rights groups will begin to see the parallels between a number of these ballot initiatives sponsored by right-wing groups – whether they are anti-immigrant, anti-choice, or anti-gay.

The fight in 1994 to repeal California’s Proposition 187, which sought to prevent undocumented immigrants from accessing state benefits, can perhaps serve as inspiration for those working to overturn Prop 8 and provide an in-road for collaboration between these intersecting struggles. Though not identical, these grassroots struggles provide a crucial space for collaboration between marginalized communities.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

M.I.A. on Tavis Smiley

I enjoyed M.I.A.'s interview with Tavis (although Tavis is snoozy as always). I was very impressed with M.I.A speaking on the Tamil genocide in Sri Lanka, whether you agree with her or not, one thing you gotta say is that she doesn't back down from speaking her mind and that's a very powerful thing.

Oh, yeah, and what was up with Tavis saying "with those negros anything can happen," when M.I.A. was talking about performing with Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Kanye, and T.I. at the Grammys? How did he get a show on PBS?