One memorable Memphis tour

Memphis tour was a success. Great fun. Moments to cherish.

Civil Rights Museum. Blues of Handy and King. Neverland of Elvis. And most importantly, the railroad museum.

Very educational. Very insightful. Deeply disturbing. And plain delightful.

Well, the only thing that struck was that he hero-worshipping saga had left Robeson out. And the resentments against racism had simmered down.
Part of the larger reality, though.


Radical Alternative Media

My proposed syllabus for a class on Radical Alternative Media:

Media have often been depicted as part of the fourth estate in a democracy, the other three wings being the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. Role of the media, their representations of “social reality”, as well as biases in their reflections have often held center stage of public concern.

But, on counts of content and the context, the bouquet and the brickbats, and the cultural as well as political-economic approaches, it is often the mainstream media, which get the attention. Either some television programs are portrayed as too violent, or few mainstream newspapers are cited as truly neutral. In either cases of extremes, the debate surrounds the media that are akin to big corporate organizations. They are the media that represent the focus and are widely circulated. Plausibly, the assumptions being that those media organizations are worth studying which have the reach. No wonder, most critical media theories actually surround the impacts of big business conglomerates in the political-economic tradition or negotiations within dominant messages in the cultural studies tradition. Most administrative researches too, focus on role of mainstream media because they are well documented and appear more convenient for the purpose, at times because of being supportive of the researches themselves.

Check the full syllabus here.

Hip Hop Origins

Just compiling some information for a Harambee radio show being hosted by my good friend Jared.

Hard work, but very interesing along the line of self-discoveries. Here are some definitions, uses and origins of Hip Hop, for the show.

N.Y. Rocker 1982:
Hip-hop DJ’s can repeat ever-shorter phrases, with a little nimble-fingered action on the rim or the label.

N.Y. Times 1982:
He [sc. D. J. Hollywood] phrased to the beat of a funk record and paced himself with a repeating refrain, usually a variation on the nonsense formula ‘hip, hop, hip-hip-de-hop’.

Time 1983:
This subculture, nicknamed hip hop, is about assertiveness, display, pride, status and competition, particularly among males. Clothes are not only a part of this offhand cultural statement; they are a kind of uniform for cultural challenge.

People Weekly 1983:
Born in the Bronx and Harlem in the mid-’70s as a reaction against disco, rap lays a hip-hopping patter of chanted, rhymed lyrics over a funk beat.

Hip Hop 1984:
Hip hop funky music suitable for rapping; a collective term used to describe rap/graffiti/breaking/scratchin’. The term was invented by Starski, who used to chant: ‘To the hip hop, hip hop, don’t stop that body rock.’

Buzz 1985:
If your youth club is full of skinhead and hip-hop fans they’re not going to be interested in a heavy metal band!

New Statesman 1987:
John Ellis’ The Social History of the Machine Gun..traces this accessory of gangsters, terrorists and hip-hop poseurs from its 18th-century birth.

Q 1989:
Since the demise of disco and the early ’80s fad for ‘blue-eyed Soul’, there has been no mainstream dance music style hip hop always retained too strong a racial identity to make serious inroads.

Observer 1989:
The look is squeaky clean. In its simplest form, the hip-hopper’s kit consists of a hooded baggy top, tracksuit pants and training shoes.

Oxford English Dictionary:
a. A youth subculture, originating amongst the Black and Hispanic populations of New York City, which comprises elements such as rap music, graffiti art, and break-dancing, as well as distinctive codes of dress. b. The music associated with this subculture, characterized by freq. politically inspired or motivated raps, delivered above spare, electronic backing, and harsh rhythm tracks. Also attrib. or as adj

Collins Dictionary:
A U.S. pop culture movement of the 1980s comprising rap music, graffiti, and break dancing

Cambridge International Dictionary of English:
A type of popular music in which the subject of the songs is often politics or society and the words are spoken rather than sung

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, 10th Edition:
A subculture especially of inner-city youths whose amusements include rap music, graffiti, and break dancing; also : an element or art form prevalent within this subculture

Encarta World English Dictionary:
popular music, art, and dance: a form of popular culture that started in the United States in the 1980s in African American inner-city areas. Its elements include rap music, graffiti art, and breakdancing.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language:
A popular urban youth culture, closely associated with rap music and with the style and fashions of African-American inner-city residents. 2. Rap music

Columbia Dictionary, 6th edition, 2001 (actually the entry is found under “Rap Music”):
Rap Music or hip-hop, genre originating in the mid-1970s among black and Hispanic performers in New York City, at first associated with an athletic style of dancing, known as breakdancing. The word rap, derived from a 1960s slang word for conversation, generally consists of chanted, often improvised, street poetry accompanied by a montage of well-known recordings, usually disco or funk. Detractors have criticized most rap music as a boastful promotion of violence and misogyny; others have admired it as an inventive manipulation of cultural idioms and credit many rappers with an acute social and political awareness. Early rap groups included Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and the Beastie Boys. Rap has influenced many forms of popular culture, particularly film, and has been increasingly incorporated into pop music. Some influential rap performers include Public Enemy, NWA, Run-DMC, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot, and Queen Latifah.

The new Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (3rd Edition, 2002):
Another name for rap music. Rap is a form of pop music characterized by spoken or chanted rhymed lyrics, with a syncopated, repetitive accompaniment. Rap music originated in the second half of the twentieth century in black urban communities.
The term hip-hop also refers to the speech, fashions, and personal style adopted by many youths, particularly in urban areas.

Infoplease Dictionary:
The popular subculture of big-city teenagers, which includes rap music, break dancing, and graffiti art. Online:
A popular urban youth culture, closely associated with rap music and with the style and fashions of African-American inner-city residents.

Britannica Encyclopedia:
Cultural movement that attained widespread popularity in the 1980s and ’90s; also, the backing music for rap, the musical style incorporating rhythmic and/or rhyming speech that became the movement’s most lasting and influential art form.

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia:
Hip hop is a cultural movement that began amongst urban (primarily, but not entirely, African American) youth in New York and has since spread around the world. The four main elements of hip-hop are MCing, DJing, graffiti art, and breakdancing.

Encarta® Online Encyclopedia, North American Edition:
Hip-Hop, popular music that originated in New York in the early 1980s. Hip-hop is created with scratching (a percussive effect obtained by manually rotating a vinyl record) and heavily accented electronic drums behind a rap vocal. By the 1990s, the use of digital samples (electronic snippets of prerecorded music) had largely superseded scratching. The term hip-hop also includes break dancing and graffiti

Afrika Bambaataa:
The music (beats) that makes up hip-hop, comes from different nationalities and races, especially from black people, and if you think I am a brother who don`t know what he is talking about, just check out many of the music, beats, grooves and sounds that many of your rappers use to make their records or rap over. Hip-hop music in general is colorless and not racist.
It comes from many categories in music, for example: Hip-hop music is made up from other forms of music like funk, soul, rhythm & blues, jazz, rock heavy metal, salsa, soca (calypso), TV shows, kiddie shows, horror movies, techno, pop, disco, african, arabic, reggae -etc. and if you use any records from these categories, you will see that the music is made by people from different races or nationalities from all over the planet, but it’s roots start with black people.

Bollywood Actress get scribed

My review of an interesting subject I am working on currently:

Not just the films themselves, the writings on the portrayal of women in popular Hindi films have too, long been dictated by assigning extremes—the woman’s prerogatives to belong to a side, of the evil or the virtuous, the vamp or the Madonna.

Most authorship have evolved with historical representation of women in Bollywood to lead a discourse on the idealized women figures. Virdi (2003) justifies most studies as the “necessary first step” for providing a rich and abundant characterization of the idealized women figures: passive, victimized, sacrificial, submissive, glorified, static, one-dimensional, and resilient. And then, in her own work, she goes no further than the “first step”, by limiting to content-analysis of three films to study the women representation.

Read the entire article here.