Thursday, February 28, 2013

On Outsiders

As a Public Figure I've learned alot and continue to learn alot when it comes to effective public speaking and basic public relationship skills. One of the things I've definately learned about this platform is how to choose battles. A few years back I had an incident where I gave people alittle too much credit by even mentioning their name and putting to rest their accusations against me. It's a situation I could have ignored like it was pork yet I chose to take it on. A couple years after that another incident occurred and I took the "ignore it like it's pork" approach instead. It was pretty difficult going through it without giving any time, attention or energy into it. Although I took two different approaches, the results of both incidents are exactly the same; I continue to add-on and remain a relevant contributor to the growth and development of people throughtout the World. With the worldwide web there's many opportunities for people to put on facades, front, create illusions and manipulate others into buying into their BS. So one of the reasons I've consistently operated this A.S.I.A. Journal is to remain a beacon of light for those who're seeking real growth and development, not facades, fronting, illusions and manipulation.

The last Article I wrote, HipHop Culture 101: in Defense of Lord Jamar elaborated on various attacks on Lord Jamar's position in regards to his reasoning for his song "Lift Up Your Skirt". Lord Jamar, one of the group members of Brand Nubian; contributing architects of Golden Era Conscious HipHop, were very inspirational in my growth and development. So I was motivated to clarify some of the stances he took and to also address some of the criticisms he received from "outsiders" of that Culture. One of these outsiders and main criticizers is also an outsider of the primary Culture/Society that Lord Jamar, myself and others subscribe to and are active Citizens of.

One of the things you'll notice in all of this, whether we're dealing with HipHop or the Nation of Gods and Earths (The NGE/Five Percenters), is outside opinions. A few years back I posted a video on A.S.I.A. entitled "Nuuwabians, Hebrews, Muslims, Khemetians, etc..?" The purpose of this was to emphasize that if anyone wants to know what these groups teach then go directly to them to learn. It seems simple enough b.u.t. time and time again people choose to get their information from "outsiders" instead of going directly to the source. This isn't to say that an outsider doesn't know anything, they may, in theory. Yet if you want to know about some of the ins and outs of prison doesn't it make sense to learn directly from someone who's been a career criminal and incarcerated in 5 or 6 different medium/maximum facilities? Or would you rather your primary source be someone who's only gotten a jaywalking ticket in their life and has a DVD collection of Gangland? Again, this is not to say you can't learn ANYTHING from the later person; most times you'll learn that this person can tell you some things about the map yet is completely oblivious to the terrain because they never actually been there...

Because we, as Black and Brown People, are the minority group here in the wilderness of North America, everything we do is going to be critiqued from the outside Society we live in. That's a given. The various different Cultural Societies that further makes a minority further compounds this critique. That's also a given. So in considering this, we can either obsess over what outsiders think or we can continue to do what we've been doing knowing that outsiders are going to think what they want anyway. It;s all about choosing our battles; sometimes issues need to be addressed directly and other times we need to ignore it like it's pork. This incident has been a wake up call for many of us who have sat by and not taken the necessary measures to preserve and protect our Culture, whether that's HipHop or the Nation of Gods and Earths. So today I want to share a couple key points in regards to that preservation and protection.

There was never a time in our Nation's chronology where our general consensus towards teaching others was, "Who wants to be a Five Percenter raise their hand?" People had to earn the right to be trusted with our brother/sisterhood and these teachings we hold as sacred. Nowadays people are handing out Lessons like they're pitchin' mollies from the corner and we wonder why people can claim to be The God or Earth so and so yet doing THIS the other days of the week. In the early days of our Nation (circa the 1960's to the 1980's), we didn't allow outsiders to just come amongst us nor did we give outsiders the symbolic authority to move the furniture around in our house. We didn't allow people to audio/video record our Rallies, Parliaments or Events. We didn't publish books and only wrote our understanding concerning our Lessons/Mathematics in Plus Degrees that we internally circulate(d) amongst ourselves. These protocols kept many people from infiltrating us. Although the growth of the internet and social networking may give outsiders the impression that The NGE and learning our Culture is easily accessible and one or two videos, downloads, amazon purchases and google searches away from being a Five Percenter, that is absolutely untrue. With the exception of audio/video recording some of our Rallies, Parliaments or Events and publishing some books, many of us still adhere to many of these standards we practiced in the early days concerning outsiders and the outside World.

In The NGE there are certain customs, traditions, principles, values, protocols, rules and regulations we strive to collectively adhere to. 75%, 6/8th's or the majority of these customs, traditions, principles, values, protocols, rules and regulations are directly derived from our knowledge, wisdom and understanding of 120 Lessons, regardless if we're male or female; a Five Percenter is non-gender specific. These protocols are in place as a system of checks and balances to maintain the order of our Society. An example of this is a conversation I had with a female who defined herself as "The Earth" for years yet when asked 'What is the Duty of a Civilized Person?' (18/1-40) she didn't even know -just like the average scantly clad, pork eating, 85 female doesn't know that this female often took pride in criticizing: the irony of Knowledge Build or Destroy... It's a problem when the only real difference between people on the so-called inside and outsiders is what they chose to wear and take instagram pictures of that day... If appearance is the face value standard and lackadaisical posture we're using to determine who's who in the zoo, then we will continue to compromise our ability to preserve and protect our Culture. Yet if we continue to adhere to the customs, traditions, principles, values, protocols, rules and regulations of our Nation such as asking people "How do you cee Today's Mathematics?", "How do you cee Today's Degree?", "Do you Knowledge 120?", "What Degrees are you dealing with?", "How long have you had Knowledge of Self?", "Who is your Enlightener/Educator?", "Where did you get Knowledge of Self?" and etc.. everything will come out in the wash. And even if someone answered "The 8th Degree in the 1-40's" when asked, "What Degrees are you dealing with?" TAKE TIME TO QUIZ THEM SO THEY CAN SHOW AND PROVE IT! They may be honest and sincere. You may also find out that they didn't anticipate you quizzing them and once you start questioning them you'll cee they were either telling a boldface lie or exaggerating what they knew, could accurately recite and actually understood about our Culture. This examination process isn't personal and never was personal; it's Nation Business. And this examination process extends equally to both males and females; the corresponding, foundational units of our Nation, Gods (males) and Earths (females). This is the approach we've always taken to ensure that those who are around us are actually us! This is the approach we've always taken to ensure that our families (especially our children) are protected from outsiders who don't advocate our common cause. This is the approach we've always taken to ensure that you or I can't just say or do anything and think it's acceptable to our group's Culture! Unfortunately many people aren't honorable and will try to fake it until they make it so the customs, traditions, principles, values, protocols, rules and regulations of our Nation serve IMPARTIAL STANDARDS to ensure our Culture is preserved and protected from anyone mixing, diluting and tamering with what What We Teach and What We Will Achieve. USE THESE IMPARTIAL STANDARDS by requiring that people know, can articulate and understand these standards or you'll loose it (cultural integrity) -and possibly your life behind claiming outsiders as the same as you. Require that others also hold you to these IMPARTIAL STANDARDS!

People, outsiders, are going to say what they're going to say about us on "the outside". They often do this to lure us into their arena so they can have their way with us on their terms and in their arena; sort of like inviting you on their Show so they can make a Show out of you... Reminds me of the scene in The Wire when Avon Barksdale was schoolin' Stringer about "playing them away games" when he got beat by Senator Clay Davis. When these outsiders come on the inside and feel as though they have some sense of entitlement and authority to say what they want about us it's because we Deputized them. Bottom line is we need to tighten up our ranks and stop being so lax about our examination process, internally and with obvious outsiders.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

HipHop Culture 101
-In Defense of Lord Jamar-

I recently read an Article by Michael Muhammad Knight entitled "Kanye West in a Kilt Has Lord Jamar So Hard Right Now" that was in response to Lord Jamar's recent Tweets, Vlad TV Interview and New Song entitled "Lift Up Your Skirt". Lift Up Your Skirt was inspired by Lord Jamar's stance on the Skirt/Kilt Kanye West -in particular- has recently worn, skinny jeans and ultimately the effeminization of males in HipHop Culture. After reading Knight's Article I was compelled to further add-on about what I understand this issue to be. 
One of the things that many people need to first consider about HipHop is that it's a Culture, meaning "a way of life". This way of living is comprised of various elements such as Breakin (Dance), Emceein, Graffiti Art, Deejayin, Beatboxin, Fashion, Language, Knowledge, Entrepreneurialism and any other components that make it a Culture. These elements were first forged and defined as a Culture by Black/Brown youth within the inner cities of New York, beginning in The Bronx. This definition did not come from thin air or a position of privilege or entitlement; it arose out of a position/condition of making a way out of no way. The founders of HipHop Culture were Black/Brown youth; the children of the Segregation/Civil Rights/Black Power Movement and Oppressed/Colonized people from the Islands. As the children of these conditions, our goal was never Cultural Assimilation or seeking acceptance/validation from a Western Society that rejected us; we created our own way of life. (Basic HipHop Timeline) So this way of life or Culture we call HipHop was born out of the socioeconomic, cultural and geopolitical considerations (and influences) of our fore parents, our chronology and our environment. This is one reason "sampling" has always been a  part of HipHop Culture; it demonstrates that connection to the chronology, cultural roots and musical contributions of our fore parents. This does not mean that there were NO Caucasians present because some did participate. This only means that we, Black/Brown people, were and still are the First World (Indigenous) People of HipHop Culture; not the minority, second class citizens or Third World people. The only reason HipHop is present today is because it was passed on from one generation to the next. It was this form of cultural propagation that made this reproduction possible. So from a Cultural perspective, there have always been principles and core values to ensure the birth of HipHop's future "offspring". There  have also been foreign values outside of HipHop that were never advocated because they would not ensure the birth of HipHop's future "offspring".  So HipHop today, in 2013, is now a Global Phenomenon and this is because of its Cultural virility (power to procreate) and fertility (power to produce).

Lord Jamar

Lord Jamar spoke clearly on how the effeminization of males within HipHop in particular (via skinny jeans, skirts/kilts and etc.) is the result of foreign values being injected into this Culture that is altering its course and potential to reproduce. In other words, he was pointing out the cross-pollination of values going on between HipHop Culture and Western Society. He argued that this effeminization is a  process and practice that is causing a HipHop Cultural Genocide. He also pointed out that effeminization has never been a part of core values of HipHop Culture, nor has it ever been reflected in the social norms/more of those who live this way of life. However, we do cee this process and practice as an acceptable "lifestyle" norm within Western Society at large. For example: Homosexuality, as a practice, is no longer defined as a mental disorder (per the DSM-IV) but a lifestyle that Western Society openly embraces; although this style, defined as life, does not actually propagate life. In other words, if all of us chose to practice Homosexuality right now, there would not be another generation of human beings on the Planet once we die. All opinions and feelings about Homosexuality aside, that is the genealogical reality; this practice violates the first law of nature: Self Preservation. The only option for those who do choose to practice Homosexuality is to manufacture artificial means to propagate life such as: the building of sperm banks, in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, human cloning and etc. As Western Society continues to inject it's values within HipHop, also consider what artificial means (people, places and things) it likewise employs to propagate it's life.

Some people feel and/or think Lord Jamar's stance was a personal attack against Homosexuals. No, his stance was  for the conservation, production and perpetuation of a Culture he and other Black/Brown people created -that has now gotten into the hands of cultural bandits. Kanye West and various other Entertainers are the ambassadors of these bandits and use their status within Western Society to primarily reinforce its values, not the Cultural principles and core values of HipHop's First World (Indigenous) People. I know the difference because I am the younger sibling of the youth who created HipHop Culture. Yet what about the youth of today? Would they know the difference between HipHop's core values and Western Society's foreign values being injected in our Culture? Those who know our chronology probably do. Those who don't know this chronology typically look at Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, P-Diddy and other Entertainers choices as a simple fashion statement, not a Declaration of Independence from an Indigenous HipHop Nation. Lord Jamar was not the first person to raise the issue against Cultural Assimilation; this stance was present in HipHop's inception and was always reflected in it's various "counter-culture" elements -as Western Society deemed them. It was only when Western Corporate Interests saw that they could make money from HipHop that they eventually began separating Emceein & Deejayin (Rap) from the other elements in order to get paid. And if the Rap didn't coincide with those Interests they either didn't promote it, undermined it or simply paid "Sellouts" (as we called them) to do it. This is still the Corporate formula of today and even though the term Sellout has become archaic amongst the present generation, Sellouts still functionally exist.

In closing, keep in mind that HipHop as a Culture is now becoming a Global Phenomenon that is primarily in the hands of Western Corporate Interests. These Interests primarily reflect the core values of the West yet many of HipHop's Indigenous People (and progeny) have bought into these values and dance to the tune these Corporate Pipers are playing. The euro-centered materialism, objectification of women, effeminization of males, rugged individualism and etc. are all examples of Acultural elements that never represented the roots of HipHop Culture. Within this Culture we always had proverbial wisdom, colloquialisms and slang that reinforced our core values. "Biting" meant to be original and not copy. "Crossover" meant to keep our Culture originally HipHop, not assimilate or become Pop (Popular Culture). These, and various other  terms/phrases, reflect core values a lot of the present generation is no longer aware of and do not advocate. These, and various other  terms/phrases, are not reflected in alot of the mainstream Rap Music or advocated by many Entertainers that are supported by Western Corporate Interests. An example of this is how this Society originally declared the HipHop elements Emceein & Deejayin (Rap) as "Jungle Music" and refused to play it on the radio. Michael Muhammad Knight's Article clearly reflects a lack of awareness/connection with the chronology of HipHop Culture and the social norms/mores that helped transmit this way of life from one generation to the next. While many of these social norms/mores were overt, much of the Culture was covert and transmitted non-verbally; unspoken rules and regulations the Indigenous People of HipHop forged and understood amongst ourselves. Those on the outside looking in aren't privy to this Culture's social norms/mores, especially the unspoken rules and regulations. Therefore, they tend to categorize HipHop not as a Culture but as an 'Art' that simply promotes 'Freedom of Expression'; a common phrase and buzzword associated with the LGBT Community. To the contrary, HipHop has only supported Freedom within the context of our Cultural Worldview; a view that was rarely advocated or reflected in the Western Society around us. Anything we considered Culturally 'out of bounds' was considered "Wack", meaning corny or not legit, and those who were saying/doing wack stuff were strait "Buggin"! Again, many of these, and various other  terms/phrases, are not reflected in a lot of the mainstream Rap Music today. So obviously many of the concepts and core values that reinforce this language aren't present. Lord Jamar's stance and many others within our HipHop Community is much more insightful than "policing fabric" as Knight stated, nor does it have anything to do with Prophet Muhammad sitting down to use the bathroom or being, as Western Society has coined, "homophobic". In plain ole HipHop language, Lord Jamar was just reiterating the same sentiments HipHop Culture has always held since it's inception: Kanye West and various other Entertainers are Biting Western Society and that Crossover stuff  is Wack! They may be talented Artists but they're Buggin because their choices are clearly leading our present generation and our future generations down a path of HipHop Cultural Genocide.