By Biba Adams
(AllHipHop Features) In 1968, Brooklyn-born Shirley Chisholm became the first African-American woman elected to Congress. Four years later, she became the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Chisholm was known for being, unapologetically, for the people. Unbought and Unbossed was her autobiography published in 1970. It became her slogan and is engraved on her tombstone.
Chisholm once said, “I am not the candidate of Black America, although I am Black and proud. I'm not the candidate of the women's movement of this country, although I am a woman and I'm equally proud of that. I'm not the candidate of any political bosses or fat cats or special interests. I am the candidate of the people. And my presence before you now symbolizes a new era in American political history.”
As I read Damon Dash’s new book, Culture Vultures: Conversations with Damon Dash, I was reminded of Shirley Chisholm and “unbought and unbossed.” Dash sees himself as a defender of his culture and people, and he is definitely his own boss. His message is about financial independence, collective economics, and pride in one’s culture. And isn’t that what we’ve all been saying? #WakandaForever
Isn’t that what 4:44 was about too?
Roc-A-Fella Records was a co-venture with Def Jam. Dash, with Biggs Burke, and Jay-Z, created of one of the greatest Hip-Hop dynasties of all time and the incubator of one of the greatest rappers of all time. The producers, other artists, and staff. Roc-A-Wear. The historic (self-funded) Hard Knock Life Tour. Paid in Full. And on and on. And Dash has dozens of his own businesses. We all know the stats and you can read more about most of that in the book. This is a review. Besides, some of us OG's still do that dance when “Big Pimpin” comes on.
The challenge with Dame is the delivery. Because it is kinda harsh to hear someone be called a “vulture,” it makes me cringe. That’s a pretty f##king gross bird. And it’s a little unnerving to see him call music executives out by name. Because most people don’t. But, that’s Damon Dash.
Plus, he has a point.
plural noun: culture vultures
a person who is very interested in the arts, especially to an obsessive degree.
Dash defines a Culture Vulture as “someone who will exploit a life and culture they don’t abide by, making money from it, while completely disrespecting it.” -p. 1
For example, Dash is adamantly against the 360-deal.
“Yeah, But, that’s why I don’t like the 360 for a creative because then corporate takes some of your show and merchandise revenue. They take your merch, your show, and they also take your endorsements,” Dame said, “That shit is crazy. Lyor invented that bullshit. That’s why it was better before the 360 deals hit the game.” -p. 195
Culture Vultures: Conversations with Damon Dash came about through his friend and barber, Kenyatta Griggs. Having been cutting Dame’s hair for over a decade, Griggs is also a successful salon owner, author, and speaker with Hip Hop Motivation, a personal development company. He creates self-help entertainment like the film and book series, The Secret to Ballin: Journey.
It is primarily a business book. A manifesto of the urgency of financial independence. Culture Vultures was self-published by Poppington and Hip Hop Motivation. Released on February 13th, the book is about so much more than his relationship with the music industry, which is the least of his concerns and interests. It’s about his passion for business, his love of his children and his #wifeyforlifey, Raquel M. Horn as well as his fervent belief in investing in women. He talks about spirituality, diabetes, the internet.
He talks about Aaliyah. The chapter is only three pages long. But they are three very sad pages.
“I would have to say it was ‘the’ worst pain I had ever felt.” -p. 218
I thought Culture Vultures: Conversations with Damon Dash was a great book. It could be a little shorter and it uses bold text a lot, which got a little distracting. Still, it’s good. Redman drops by and is in the book for a couple chapters, which is fun. It’s very visual full of photos largely of Dash at his home in Malibu where a lot of the interviews and filming/recording for the documentary and audiobook took place.
Of course, there’s also a documentary and an audiobook… it’s Damon Dash.
Culture Vultures: Conversations with Damon Dash is available now. Follow Damon Dash (@duskopoppinton) and Kenyatta Griggs (@hip_hop_motivator) on Instagram.