The Last Poets: Responding to the Response.
By Khalil Amani
Let’s get one thang straight! Unless you’re Jesus, Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King (and maybe a few others), no one is above getting put on blast in my book! That includes old-ass revolutionaries who talk that slick s#*t out the corner of their moufs or old-ass actors that would rather put someone on blast instead of picking up the phone and mentoring that person into action. Indeed, I am “thee” C.O.O.N.—“Consciously Optimistic, yet Overtly Nihilistic.” I’ll take it all! But I ain’t gonna let you run rough-shod over Jay Z and hip-hop just because you birthed hip-hop! Sometimes (grown) children have to put their parents in place, ya dig?
RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: The Last Poets’ Abiodun Oyewole Responds To Dahveed Nelson Calling Jay Z A “Coon”
Your (old) age does not give you a license to air younger people out because you don’t like how they move. I hear you; “How dare Khalil Amani call Dahveed Nelson a ‘coon’!” And I say, “How dare Dahveed Nelson call Jay Z a coon!” What? You think Dahveed’s s#*t don’t stink? You think because he’s old (74) and a legend and one of the eponymous and patriarchal fathers of hip-hop—he’s immune from getting name called himself? Hell! I’m old enough to be most of your daddies, yet, you “go in” on me with reckless abandon! LOL. So hush yo’ mouf!
The problem with me is that I’m just old enough to stand down and absorb correction, yet still young enough to go off on some reactionary ignorance (or, as we say in hood-speak, “get ig-nant.”)
Erry’body grown up in cheah!
For a minute there, I thought I was gonna have to make The Last Poets’ classic album a weed plate and I don’t even smoke weed! But Alas! Another Last Poet has made a statement in support of dialogue and distancing himself from his comrade’s “coon” name-calling.
Yes! I’m an apologist for hip-hop—like many of you Negroes are an apologist for an institution that enslaved millions of people and annihilated a whole population—an apologist for a religion, which was used as the moral pretext for keeping Africans under foot. (I’m talking about Christianity for you numb-nuts! Oops! There I go name-calling!) I don’t apologize for defending the culture of hip-hop! Yes! Hip-hop needs critiquing. Yes! Hip-hop is full of coonery, fuckery and fooGAYziness (and I ain’t talking about my gay/lesbian brothers & sisters, because, like the Honorable Huey P. Newton, they are my comrades in the struggle for the total liberation of all people!)
But anyone who dares to put a blanket over the whole culture of hip-hop is waaaaaay out of line! Your argument that gangsterism in rap music perpetuates white fear is without foundation. The history of black people in America is rent with over 400 years of horror, yet, in this modern age of hip-hop you say wearing a hoodie and gangster rap has caused white folk to become trigger-happy? This insinuation is as silly as TMZ claiming that hip-hop is responsible for the Boston Bombing! It takes a certain amount of sociological gymnastics to come to such conclusions about hip-hop as a culture and rap as a musical genre.
Let’s kick da ballistics! Who are you citing as your “source of authority?” What sociological study are you getting your facts from? Are you spouting Jungian philosophy? Or might it be B.F. Skinner, Naim Akbar or Francis Cress-Welsing? Blaming hip-hop for Trayvon Martin’s death is “theory,” “hypothesis” and “ignorance!”
Age does not give you carte blanche to just run amok with your “opinions” and ideas without being challenged. Your (Dahveed Nelson’s) views on Jay Z, Russell Simmons and hip-hop are not from a constructive place! Nay! Rather, they are one of two things; an infantile bromide, which is devoid of any substantive sociological rigor or the lunatic rantings of an old black man!
Contrary to belief, I’m in no man’s (or Internet site’s) back pocket! I say (and write) what the f#*k I want! If they publish me, they publish me! If they don’t, they don’t! I’m not here to keep the hip-hop machine running smoothly. Anyone who believes this hasn’t read the full body of Khalil Amani—from airing out many of your favorite rappers to cosigning the inclusion of the LGBT (lesbian, gay BI, Trans) community in the body of hip-hop/rap music.
In the words of rapper Mysonne, “F#*k with me, but don’t f#*k with me!”
Our “shit-uation” here in America—one, where a dog’s life seems to be more important than black life is rooted in systemic racism. It’s easy to point fingers and say, “Ah ha! Hip-hop is the culprit!” No matter how we act, no matter what a black man wears, systemic racism will make reactionary whites pull the trigger on a black man without thinking, even though hip-hop has been the greatest race relations tool since never!
Enter another member of The Last Poets— Abiodun Oyewole. He has put out a statement to let us know that The Last Poets aren’t a monolithic (one-minded) machine and takes exception to Dahveed Nelson’s strong and disrespectful words against Jay Z.
Here’s Abiodun Oyewole’s response to Jason Whitlock’s interview with Dahveed calling Jay-Z a Coon.
(Abiodun Oyewole, member of The Last Poets and one of the Godfathers of Rap Music)
“It is unnecessary to refer to Jay-Z or any other Hip Hop artist as a “coon”. Hip Hop was created on the foundation of The Last Poets. The Last Poets are a group of African-American men who use poetry to address issues concerning Black people. We considered ourselves to be the final word in bringing about unity within the race. We often speak about the white man “divides and conquers”. He does nothing of the sort. He conquers the divided. He has been doing this for centuries. Dahveed Nelson an original member and co-founder of the group made remarks during an interview that were very divisive and not helpful to the cause of Black Unity. The Last Poets are the fathers of all the Jay-Zs in the world. We must take our role as father seriously and not “throw the children out with the bath water.” Jay-Z and Beyonce have made quite a few positive contributions to the Black community. This should not be ignored. Because I am one of The Last Poets I am concerned about the social and political circumstances my people are dealing with. This does not mean that other wordsmiths have to echo my sentiments. On the other hand, I would love to hear more positive messages, educational and historical information as well as stories about our victories in a world where we were designed to self-destruct. In the advent of the Trayvon Martin verdict, and all the Trayvons that we know and don’t know about, it is important that we come together and stop throwing stones at each other. The only answer to the countless injustices we are faced with daily is to be even stronger and more deliberate in our love for each other. We need to share good thoughts, be encouraging, be supportive and criticize each other constructively. When we work together we can do anything and we have proven that already. We have great power backed up by our ancestors, but we need to unify in order to receive the benefits of our great power. We must show a unified force so strong until no one white or other would even imagine assaulting us, insulting us, or killing us. I think most of us know that racism is very much alive in America. Because there is a Black president many of us thought that things would change. The fact is racism has become even more rampant. Racism is a disease just like cancer and no cure has been found for either. The elders need to reach out to the youth and pass the torch honorably. We should help them find their way and make their mark. There are some elements and styles of Hip Hop that I too find distasteful, but it is a genre that should not be demonized. And if that be the case then we created this devil. I hope and pray that the future will afford us time to have healthy dialogue that will turn into significant actions using all of our wonderful art forms for the purpose of liberation and Black Unity. The elder wordsmiths must talk to and listen to the younger wordsmiths. Name calling is unnecessary and unacceptable.”
Abiodun of The Last Poets 7-18-13
Khalil Amani is a blogger for AllHipHop. He also writes for DJ Kay Slay’s Originators Magazine & Straight Stuntin Magazine. Amani also writes for Hoodgrown, Maybach and Sext Magazines. He is the author of six books, including the ground-breaking book, “Hip-Hop Homophobes…” iuniverse.com 07). Amani is gay hip-hop’s self-proclaimed straight advocate. Visit The Coonerific One at http://www.khalilamani.ning.com Follow on Facebook/Twitter @khalilamani. Youtube @ yahweh 12