The death of Matthew
Hall has been widely publicized lately by the media circuits here in New York
and there have been numerous despicable assertions, which are trying tarnish
his legacy. He was a good friend to me so please read this first if you will
write a news article about him. If you are not planning to write one, I encourage
you to because the media has been portraying Hiphop, the followers of Hiphop,
and progressive elements (particularly the Zulu Nation) as negative influences
to society in this incident.
Matthew Hall is known as Optimus Rhyme in the underground Hiphop scene here
in New York. As you may probably have heard, he was a member of the Zulu Nation
founded by Afrika Bambaata. He was also a member of the
amazing break dancing crew Motion Sickness. Although he performed poetry numerous
times, he was more known in the New York open mic scene for his freestyles.
As a matter of fact, he was 2nd runner-up on the freestyle competition at the
first ever Hip-Hop Summit of Russell Simmons when it was held at Riverside Church,
Recently, the NYPD has been implicating his Zulu brethrens as his shooter. The
Zulu Nation is a movement that promotes peace, equality, spirituality and justice
and in no way did advocate violence or racism which the media has been implying.
I have talked with his Zulu brothers and they have informed me about the disgusting
strategies the NYPD has been imposing on them such as coercing them to give
false testimonies. His Zulu brothers are greatly devastated and are mentally
and emotionally tortured because aside from Matt’s departure, they have
now become suspects (because they would not oblige to the demands of NYPD like
lying). Although I am not a Zulu, I can personally attest that it was not a
Zulu who was behind Matt’s death—Matt was even wearing an “I
LOVE ZULU” shirt when he was shot. The NY Post particularly has been spreading
atrocious lies suggesting that Matt provoked a physical altercation that led
to the shooting. But anybody and I mean ANYBODY THAT KNEW MATT knows that he
would not instigate such incident. In my years of knowing him, I have never
even seen him close to getting mad even during the time when he was harassed
by security personnel at Hunter College when he organized a free show.
Matt was also politically active. He was involved with the political organizations
Refuse and Resist (www.refuseandresist.org) and Not in Our Name (www.notinourname.net).
He was a strong advocate for the
liberation of Palestine and the elimination of the oppressive social system.
Matt played critical roles on the October 6, 2002 rally in Central Park (which
was attended by 30,000 people), November 20, 2002 student walk out converging
at Union Square and the February 15, 2003 rally in New York City where conservative
estimates was at 500,000 but perhaps had 2 million people. He lived what he
preached. In my recent visit to his building after he passed away, a worker
in his building showed me a book by Gore Vidal Matt gave him to clarify the
disillusioned thoughts on American politics.
Events have been organized to commemorate his legacy. On Tuesday, September
30, students of Hunter College are having a memorial (6pm @ Room 105 Thomas
Hunter Bldg.). October 7, Guerilla Words (a monthly open mic which Optimus used
to help promote, 213 2nd Ave corner 13th St.-8pm) will dedicate the October
open mic to Optimus Rhyme. Cajo Communications is organizing a October 29th
show with numerous artists (Immortal Technique, C-Rayz Walz, L.I.F.E. Long,
Oktober and possibly dead prez to name a few) at Lion’s Den (214 Sullivan
St.) for him.
Act Your Rage, a defunct monthly open mic Optimus hosted twice (he hosted the
last one), will be revived to be held outdoors but specific information are
not yet available. 99.5 Pacifica Radio and End of the Weak’s radio show
gave tribute to Optimus.
Once again, the NYPD has shown incompetence and impatience to the point that
they are ruining the lives of Matthew’s friends. Once again, corporate
media’s thirst for profit (by writing burlesque articles to draw readers
and viewers) is damaging an innocent man’s name.
To describe Matt is beyond adjectives so I guess when people ask me to describe
him; I always have a hard time to. To name a few descriptions fitting to him,
he was definitely smart (reflected by his GPA) he was definitely caring (proven
by his works) and he was definitely responsible (balancing his studies and school
activities, work, healthy
social life and political involvement). I am not just saying this because he
passed away; I am saying this because it is the truth.
On behalf of the mourners of Matt who wish the truth to be known, thank you
for reading this letter.