In August 2007 (Black August), I began a blog entitled Everything Is Hip Hop. I launched it with a post on graff, ” I bomb graffiti on the tomb of Nefertiti “. The line is a lyric from the popular Lauryn Hill song “Everything is Everything“.
I extended her image as the same fate, ultimately, of the modern citizen in this modern world. Certainly, Americans; but specifically, the living:
Everything is Hip Hop
Monday, August 13, 2007
I begin this blog with graffiti cuz i was thinkin about it today – so it gets to begin it.
We’ll get to all of it.
Graffiti i associate with
- the north direction.
- HH interacting with the physical world surrounding. painting on stuff, you get that.
see, cuz yes, it is even a “popularly held notion” that graff is,
a commentary on the blight of industrialization n shit.
most people already get that it is not some slapshot at self-aggrandizement. graff aint ego games. graff is the expression of a deep-seated (/seeded/ceded) spiritual esteem (/awareness/consciousness) – watch as it glides thru the city.
your community is treated like it’s a cemetery – but – oh! – someone’s alive, aint they? cuz look at what they did to the train.
but “all you see is crime in the city“.
but that’s what birthed graff.
however, it’s more.
it is ALSO the process of people modeling a way of seeing and a BETTER way of life.
it’s HH saying
” these structures we have, this cityscape – it needs beautification. it needs humanity invested in it. we will do what we can. ”
graff is not meant to demean – even if it used as medicine for psychic wounds (what someone might wanna call “defacing” or whatever, like if it’s just 400 throwups on 2 blocks),
that is in itself a political and social commentary.
it’s the cry for help as a social bookmark. it’s a kid up late alone at night just putting his name on shit.
isn’t the opportunity afforded him as within this or that part of our single gene pool challenging enough, rigorous enough, that he can be engaged in other ways? don’t he got an art class – prolly not. “baby, stop sellin crack! go home!” there is a pain, a uniquely “American” loneliness, isolation. it’s steinbeck, hemingway. probably faulkner or something.
art is a study of life, is visions. – and today it’s very obvious. we have not turned all of that limitless energy and attention to 3 fundamental problems: poverty, economic exploitation, and militarism .
that is just about a quote from dr. king. i read recently the nobel acceptance speech.
so, i been doing paintings. and one of the things i’ve told some people is that certain paintings i wish people would paint on – whoever has em.
n i was sayin how it’s like takin abstract art’s gift of the story to the viewer, and going beyond, to empowering/reminding as storyteller and storycreator.
the “you da god, god” principle. an exercise of our very real potential as 2007ites.
graff. it’s involvement. it’s a call to action. it’s creation right on death’s door – beauty on brawn. from communities largely ignored, while still being targeted for extinction.
so i urge you, paint on your Self.
paint on democracy.
paint on the trains.
paint on the page.
paint on ya face.
graff is more and less than this.
i’m just sayin.
The Universal Solution at 2:36 PM
I have, personally, slept in the streets of several American cities. In the winter of 2012 and during most of 2013, I was homeless in my hometown of New York City.
In tracking my self and thru reflection on my life, I realized it was only in New York where I would leave #mybedlastnight as a grisly testimony (sarcasm mine) of just where the fuck a New York City public school student can end up.
In the brief travels abroad I have made, a placard in London was revelatory. It said 95% or better of London youth made 18 without a criminal record. The Bobby Seale quote I included on “Win Win” wondered aloud if we’d find a better way to process American youth.
We will not be wasting this opportunity, folks. What we have got to do is create roles and paths for doing good.
Here is one easy way to look at it
Prison structure and systems do not even allow for a CO (correction officer) a role to do good.
Not only is the community member forced into a role of captor,
(rather than parent in the community OR parent to their own since they’re holding jail keys and handcuffs)
they are paid to stand across a wall from their neighbor and do little but limit someone’s freedom(?).
A counselor or a Big Brother or a coach can at least do a constructive activity;
a correction officer is equipped by the employer with a baton and riot gear.
What is it to be “free“?
Simply being free to push forward, to advance freely, to freely pursue what you desire to enjoy.
We can create that reality for ourselves again. Everywhere on this good ground we have risen from and rule in. Let’s do it!