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"Rap's Resonances Abroad "

  Rec. 10-14-05


1) 2:42 Mp3 radio essay

2) 4:10 Mp3 Radio essay

  RAP'S RESONANCES ABROAD
=========================
[Col. Writ. 10/13/05] Copyright '05 Mumia Abu-Jamal

   There are many who decry the materialism, sexism, and (for want of a better word) 'pimpism' that pervades the most commercially successful forms of rap today.

   Those images, and influences are powerful, and are consumed by millions everyday, all across the nation, and indeed, around the world.

   But, sometimes, images and sounds get transmuted and changed when they enter new countries and different cultures.  These art forms lend something to the new, but also take something in turn.   Sometimes, in the name of the old, something new is created.

   And sometimes, what ails the old, does not pass on to the new.

   Rap is today, an international form of music and expression.  It is heard in Central and Latin America, in Asia, in Africa.

   In Colombia today, in the city of Cali, th district of Aguablanca, there is a rap crew which calls itself Ashanty.

   If this name was mentioned among rap/hip-hop heads in the US, images of a buxom, big-butt beauty would arise, but although the name hails from a proud West African tribe that fought the British in colonial Ghana, nothing in her music, nor her visuals gives one an inkling of this link.

   In Colombia, where there are many Afro-Latinos, who recall their West African origins, the name, Ashanty, is part of its proud, now-globalized Black identity that draws from Bob Marley, as well as Nelson Mandela.  Their music is part of a project of proud Black identity, and anti-racism in Colombia.

   Of course, as in every country, there are various forms of music, in Colombia, as in other Latin countries, Afro-Latinos use music as a form of identity, and often that music has strong African roots; and this music is looked down on by the middle-classes.

   Part of this, of course, is the power of African-American culture, sold through American global corporate networks, all around the world.

   Part of it, also, is the ability of music to permeate different cultures and classes, to create new ways of seeing and being in the world.

   What is seen as outre today, becomes mainstream tomorrow.

   This happened to salsa, and a form called vallenato in Colombia.  It began on the Pacific coasts, where, for centuries Blacks made music that traveled with them when they went into the cities in search of jobs.

   Rap, begun in the Bronx and Brooklyn by Black and Puerto Rican kids decades ago, was derided as 'ghetto' music; 'street' music; indeed, not "real" music by the brains of the time.

   Who can deny that it is a world music today?

   That's, in part, because there are ghettos virtually everywhere.  The *favelas* on the outskirts of Rio de Janiero in Brazil.  The Alamar projects in suburban Havana.  "The world," the RnB group, War, sang, a generation ago, "is a ghetto."

   Blacks are also an international people, of millions.

   The great-grandchildren of the Ashantis, the Fon, the Fula, the Yorubas, and the Mandingos live in countries spread across the Americas.

   These people brought with them, the music of their memory, and using new and old instruments, made new music, in different tongues, of different tempos.

   Is it surprising that an international people would create a world music?

   And as their music moved around the world, it transformed, and will be transformed.  As it changes, it will be changed.

   There are changes to come, as it must be, and has been, in every successive generation.

   May they come quickly.


Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal

  

[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
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#1-800-533-8478.] 

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The Power of Truth is Final — Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa