Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Make Hip Hop, Not War

One of the reasons more diversity is needed in Hip Hop is the lack of political Hip Hop that gets exposure. Whether in the music or through other elements, Hip Hop has long had an activist side, taking on everything from urban decay to Apartheid. Rev. Lennox Yearwood, head of the Hip Hop Caucus, has begun a natioal tour to display this activist side of the culture called "Make Hip Hop, Not War." Yearwood has stood out not only for his application of Hip Hop to the Anti-War movement, but because he is also an officer in the United States Air Force. For his stance he has come under pressure from the USAF, who has branded him a security threat. Listed here are a few articles about Rev. Yearwood's Hip Hop activism, from others and in his own words.

Make Hip Hop, Not War: The Tour

Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
April 20, 2007

"Our president is addicted to war," said Rev. Lennox Yearwood, head of the Hip Hop Caucus, on the first leg of a national "Make Hip Hop, Not War" tour. "We knew that, but we held out hope that this Congress would have done an intervention. But our Congress is co-dependent. They act just like the person who is addicted, as well."

The young minister spoke at Manhattan's West Park Presbyterian Church, a magnificent edifice that has been condemned to death by gentrification—just as minority communities have been condemned to a slow death by the onrushing forces of hyper-capital. And as black New Orleans was sentenced to death: "Instead of building levees, Bush built bombs," said Yearwood, who was raised in Louisiana.

The massive re-distribution of America's wealth to the rapacious "defense" sector and the most wealthy segment of the population, if allowed to continue, will doom any hope of revitalization of the nation's inner cities. Our cities are rapidly being dispersed by the same forces that that will soon raise million-dollar condominiums on the site of the West Park Presbyterian Church in New York City. We are all facing social death.

Hip hop's massive international appeal has the potential to create rivers of communication among the sufferers. At the heart of the culture—the real one, not the industry-manufactured variety—is the essential internationalism and human compassion of the African American population-at-large, a culture that has been hijacked by huge corporations that put forward a caricature of black life. An array of hip hop artists have joined with Rev. Yearwood to present the other face of black culture and politics.

full article:

Air Force Claims Anti-war Minister is a National Security Threat!

Kevin Zeese
July 3, 2007

With this type of priority no wonder U.S. policy is so counterproductive to real national security.
If you have heard Rev. Lennox Yearwood speak against the continued occupation of Iraq and express outrage at how Katrina has been handled you have no doubt been in inspired. He is a speaker in the mold of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who not only can move people to tears with his words – but more importantly, move people to action. And as the Chairman of the Hip Hop Caucus he reaches youth, especially African American youth – the people the U.S. military needs to continue its occupation of Iraq. This is probably the threat that moved the Air Force to seek to discharge him on the basis of “behavior clearly inconsistent with the interest of national security.”

What is this behavior? Rev. Yearwood has pointed out that the military attack and occupation of Iraq are illegal – that the U.S. is engaged in an illegal war of aggression. And, he argues the Iraq occupation can be opposed not only for its devastating human impact on Iraq civilians, U.S. soldiers and families in both countries, but also because it undermines U.S. national security.

There are many ways in which the Iraq occupation undermines U.S. security. The continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is causing violence in Iraq, creating enemies for the United States – enemies that will impact future generations of Americans. The bombings this week in England show how the occupation is exporting tactics to western nations – car bombs are a threat that the UK and U.S. will have a hard time combating. When they hit U.S. shores, as is sadly likely, remember that their roots began to grow in Iraq.

full article:

An Open Letter to America: "Now Is the Time for Us to Stand Up and Stand Together"
By Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.

Monday 02 July 2007

My Fellow Americans:

The power of our voices against the U.S. occupation of Iraq is reaching the top echelons of the military and the administration. Our government is persecuting Americans who speak out against the U.S. military presence in Iraq. The U.S. military has launched politicized attacks on its own military members and moral leaders who oppose the war to discredit their voices of dissent.

We have seen them target Cpl. Adam Kokesh to stop him from exercising his freedom of speech, after risking his life in Fallujah, Iraq. We have seen them threaten Sgt. Liam Madden for publicly stating the legal fact that the U.S. invasion is a war crime according to the Nuremberg principles. They have targeted Cpl. Cloy Richards, a soldier put in the media spotlight when his mother Tina Richards worked to get him the health care he needs after returning from Iraq eighty percent disabled. These are not happenstance targets. These young men are leaders of the Iraq Veterans Against the War and they are speaking out in a strong and coordinated way.

And now I have been targeted.

full article:


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