Hip-hop artists push back against show to celebrate hip-hop

A plan to highlight hip-hop artists in the Twin Cities has run afoul of hip-hop artists.

MPR’s The Current and Twin Cities Public Television had planned the State of Hip Hop event at the Fitzgerald Theater for May, but a community meeting to plan the event highlighted deep divisions between artists and the media.

On her blog last week, The Current’s Andrea Swensson wrote that panelists and the audience questioned why MPR and TPT “had any business hosting a hip-hop show,” whether the Fitzgerald Theater is the proper place to hold a hip-hop show, and questioned why the show isn’t originating from the hip-hop community itself.

To say that the conversation gave all of us a lot to think about is an understatement; personally, I’ve spent the past few days deep in reflection digesting everything that was heard and said, while discussing the meeting with my colleagues resulted in more questions than answers. But I do know one thing for certain: If we are going to proceed with this event, we need to do it as transparently as possible, and the community at large deserves to know exactly what our goals are before more details are confirmed or announced.

On his blog after the meeting, the Star Tribune’s Chris Riememschneider said that race is a big part of the tension between the artists and the media:

Pioneering rapper TruthMaze and Freedom Radio News & Culture Network’s Ralph Crowder staged a press conference outside Intermedia Arts that called out the Current’s parent organization MPR on its lack of black staffers and questioned its understanding of urban hip-hop culture. They were way off on their figures claiming MPR only employs five African Americans among its 100 staffers – in fact, 400-plus people work at the publicly subsidized radio empire – but even most MPR staffers would agree the organization could employ more African American employees and resources.

“We want to raise the issues that are not being raised among the rappers [played on the Current] and bring more awareness for the community and culture that created hip-hop culture,” TruthMaze said.

Those complaints partially carried over indoors for the official panel. Wright said that local media “tends to cherry-pick what’s hot, and the rest of the media follows suit.” Guante (Kyle Tran Myhre) also singled out the “gatekeeper” aspect of local press and radio — which prevents more outsider/fringe artists from getting attention — but he also said local performers need to be more proactive in promoting themselves. “We can do better, but the media can do better, too,” he said. The Lioness (Shaiwna Adams) admitted her own ignorance of reaching out to local press and radio in the past: “It’s not going to fall in your lap,” she said. “You have to knock on doors.”

One of the goals for the meeting was to to explore whether “we (can)break down those barriers from both sides?”

Perhaps not yet.

In an open letter to MPR and TPT today, some of the region’s biggest hip hop artists asked that the event be postponed until an “authentic, sustainable partnership” can be formed, suggesting that it doesn’t exist now.

To: Minnesota Public Radio and Twin Cities Public Television as institutions, and to Dianne Steinbach, David Roth, Jim McGuinn, Jeff Kamin and Andrea Swensson as individuals:

Last night, members of the Twin Cities hip hop community met to discuss the upcoming event formerly titled “State of Hip Hop,” currently scheduled for May 10 at the Fitzgerald Theater.

The relationship between hip hop culture and media institutions (radio, print media, TV, etc.) has always been impacted by histories of exploitation, appropriation and mutual distrust. For this event, MPR and TPT have shown a willingness to reach out to the hip hop community, and that should be applauded.

The issue, however, is that when an event claims to be “ a celebration and sampling of some of the great things that the Minnesota hip-hop scene has to offer, presented in a way that honors and represents the community:” a willingness to reach out is simply not enough. We are interested in an intentional, sustainable, mutually-beneficial partnership and collaboration.

So in that spirit, we are respectfully yet firmly requesting that the May 10 event be postponed. We realize that this may have a logistical cost, but also that that cost is more than counterbalanced by the potential benefits of having more voices at the table, more elements of our community represented, and a more intentional, transparent planning process.

The undersigned:

Kevin Beacham
BDotCroe (Brynno Crockett)
Keno Evol (Antoine Duke)
Manuel Levins Holden
Tish Jones
Tou Sailo Lee
Chaka Mkali
Mastermind (Nick Muhammad)
Guante (Kyle Tran Myrhe)
Brother Ali (Ali Newman)
Desdamona (Heather Ross)
D’Allen Wrhite
Toki Wright

Among those signing the letter was Kevin Beacham, who hosts a hip-hop program on The Current, which uses Legacy Funds to provide exposure to local artists and cultures.

Whether the protest by the artists dooms the show is unclear. The artists to appear at the show were originally to be announced on The Current tomorrow. Messages to several artists, representatives of The Current, Minnesota Public Radio, and Twin Cities Public Television have not been returned.

Update 3:58 p.m. – From MPR: “We want to continue this conversation and have a deeper dialogue with TPT and the event production team before any decisions are made.”

  • joetron2030

    Well, that’s a shame. But, I kind of had the impression that it was going to go this direction as I was reading that blog post at The Current last week.

  • Heather

    Having the conversation is more important than maintaining the original event date.

    • The fact that most of those signing are the people most likely to be performing I suspect pretty much kills the thing. I think the next question is what does “an intentional, sustainable, mutually-beneficial partnership and collaboration” look like?

      • DK

        I think it’s up to the signers to define their own terms. I see very little by way of specifics here, and that is extraordinarily frustrating.

        • Yes, it is. A few of the signers are also the beneficiaries of considerable effort by The Current. In many ways it sounds as if the hip hop “community”, which they indicated in the letter they represent, is somewhat at war with itself.

          • Jeffrey

            ^^ Bingo

        • Jonah Radovsky

          What specifics? Our hip-hop is too board to boil down into specifics. If you want to help rep our culture come talk to us. It seems pretty clear to me that the overall message of the article is that we do not feel like your understanding of our culture is deep enough to represent us. I don’t think of hip-hop in my hometown as entertainment. I think of it as my life. I listen to it and I speak to it. I make hip-hop every day. I listen to it every day. It’s what I do with my friends. I’m reading a book by big zach that documents his experience growing up around hip-hop in Minneapolis at the same time my mother was pregentent with me. It blows my mind to think about the people in his book, (some of who are on the list of signatures) building the foundation i am standing on. I love the fact that I know where some of the stories he tells take place. That is hip-hop. Hip-hop history is my history. I’m glad that the current takes interest in representing us accurately. If that can’t happen right away please respect that. This is our culture you are dealing with. You must know how much there is to learn before you start acting like you can know what you’re talking about. How much can you know about it without loving it and living with it every day? Enough to cover it on the radio maybe, but we want to have an authentic voice. One that can speak as an autonomous collective rather then be spoken for by outsiders.

          As a young member of the hip-hop community here, I recognize the authority that comes with experience in regards to the names signed on this letter. I think it is reasonable, and respectful, and I agree with what has been said here. No terms, only an open invitation to learn about hip-hop with us. It’s the difference between standardizing education and brining it to life. Our hip-hop culture is too rich to be taught by anyone but our hip-hop culture. Thank you.

          P.S. All peoples clash, but we aren’t at war with ourselves. Headshots was at war with Concept crew in the early 90’s. 2014 is tame for hip-hop battling. If you can’t see that, you don’t know enough hip-hop history too put on this event. We get along really well now, but we still have more to learn from each other. I think the issue we face now has more to do with a lack of unification and organization. I feel like on an individual basis, a lot of hip-hop heads are aware of the power that hip-hop can have. But on a collective level I think Minneapolis could to a better job organizing. It’s going to happen. I see this happening on a grassroots level. I also see top down organizing coming from already established organizations. No matter how this thing happens, our community should be autonomous and organized. In this pivotal moment of hip-hop history, it is critical that we don’t get misrepresented. This is a really important thing to some people including me. Local hip-hop is not just another cool thing about Minnesota, it is US. That is what you are dealing with.

          • This might be the best piece on this situation that I’ve read this week.

            One point of disagreement in return. I’ve never pretended to know hip hop but the fact that I cash a paycheck from MPR, doesn’t at all mean that the people at The Current, who also cash a check from MPR, don’t either.

            I don’t work for the Current and my small part that I play there is on a volunteer basis. It’s not on my job description and while I understand how it can confuse people, my job writing about what’s in the news shouldn’t reflect at all on the values and intentions that some very good people up there bring to their efforts.

            I know that the news conference before the forum contained assertions about how MPR News handled coverage of the Hopkins “Dress Like a Gangsta” controversy a year or so ago. THAT has nothing to do with the Current nor its credibility.

            And how that was framed at the meeting was disingenuous and left out the part about how the person who was lodging that complaint as well as one other person in the community, sat down with a reporter over here to hear those complaints and as a result of their perspective, more — and better — reporting was done .

            And in that reporting, the gentleman at the forum never responded to requests for additional help as that story was being done. The other person did and, as a result, the story that came out of that was really quite good.

            And yet last week, there he was again, repeating his original complaints without any of that context.

            You didn’t get to hear any of that and The Current staff that was there had to bear the brunt of it because they didn’t know it and they had nothing to do with it.

            Fortunately, this controversy seems to be heading down a path in which both sides acknowledge the need for mutual respect.

            That’s a great thing.

            Back to hip hop: I can TOTALLY see how it looks like The Current is swooping in to take someone’s history and make it their own product and I can TOTALLY see how that would concern the stewards of that history.

            In that regard, the letter is right. There’s a lack of trust. Looking from the outside, what to me looked like an attempt to reach out and establish that trust backfired. Fortunately, everybody’s going to talk now and take a crack at trying to establish some.

            What struck me as an attempt to learn more about hip hop and the history and culture behind it — including your life — didn’t go so well. Lesson learned. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like anyone’s giving up.

  • AJ

    I want to applaud MPR for having a sense of humility about this situation, so far. I think all parties can agree that this event should be done “right” or not at all. Just think of all the opportunities for collaboration and artist exposure, if both sides work out a mutual partnership. It would be a tremendous win for both public media, hip hop artists, and hip hop fans!

  • Scott

    It’s mystifying to me why Kevin Beacham is comfortable using The Current to promote hip-hop on his radio show but doesn’t feel that The Current deserves to showcase hip-hop in a live setting

    • remnimaat

      A few thoughts:

      1) Let it be known that I think The Current’s playlist, 24/7 could use a bit more variety, period. I’d love to hear Billie Holiday followed by Arcade Fire followed by Bo Diddley followed by Johnny Cash followed by Joy Division followed by Public Enemy, followed by whatever new album/indie national or local touring act. Variety, and the desire for more, is not limited to hip-hop, for me–it’s across the board.

      2) Some people have wondered why Kevin Beacham would sign on, if he hosts a show on The Current. He’s capable of giving his own answers, but I have a theory: It’s because it’s for ONE HOUR a week. United States of Americana is…2 hours, Sunday morning? Now, I absolutely think that the United States of Americana should be a part of the programming (see point #1 above), but that’s my theory. Kevin, and others who signed on, are probably wondering why The Current hasn’t delved deeper into hip-hop music as part of their programming, something that could have been going a loooong time ago. And as their programming shows, there will be people who dig it.

      3) This one, for me, is a biggie. The detractors who wonder why the Fitzgerald is the location of the proposed show. Well, damn, I didn’t know I was supposed to boycott the Fitz when Chuck D sat down with Mary Lucia and Slug, while Brother Ali played between segments. Because I surely did not–I scratched “meet my hero, Chuck D” off of my bucket list. And, yes, put it somewhere accessible to as many people as possible (…I think we call that SoundSet around here), but if you read Chuck’s FIGHT THE POWER: RAP, RACE AND REALITY, he spends quite a bit of the book talking about how touring around with U2 and seeing how they put on stadium shows and have their own jets to fly in, that THAT is where he saw rap and hip-hop going to. Not in the sense of the materialistic, but in the sense of no longer being in the shadows, being thought of as a lesser art-form. Don’t want to have it at the Fitz, have it on a St. Paul or Mpls college campus then. But there’s not a damn thing wrong with treating hip-hop with the dignity and respect it deserves, and trying to advocate that a non-traditional venue like the Fitzgerald is somehow out of its scope? Nah, that’s what we call limits. ‘sides, hip-hop has a tradition of being non-traditional.

      My thoughts, in a nutshell.

      • Good stuff.

        From her blog, Swensson says she’s been working on trying to pull this together for six months. From all accounts, the participants in the forum last week on the panel, were likely to be the performers in the concert. I got the impression that she, Beacham, and the other artists discussed this and no one said “don’t do it.”..Then they had the forum.

        Also from her writing, it sounded like the open letter took her by surprise.

        So the mystery to me is why go all “open letter” about needing to have a conversation, whole not having one up to that point?

        There’s a fair amount of this doesn’t make sense and suggests there’s also someone else wielding some significance who isn’t yet identified. Who could that be?

        • DavidG

          “So the mystery to me is why go all “open letter” about needing to have a conversation, whole not having one up to that point?”

          Because when it comes down to it, even these artists are Minnesotans at heart? 🙂

      • Matt K

        Yep. From my subjective viewpoint, the diversity of music on the Current has been in decline for the last 18-24 months. We’re getting a lot more of the indie-influenced modern rock (which has always been a staple of the Current) but at the cost of even less eclectic music. Current should just once try to not playing Arcade Fire 6 times in one day.

        I’ll also note that it feels a little tokenistic that a few weeks ago we had a small uptick in hip-hop in the build up to this event, but that “small uptick” came in the form of the same Atmosphere song being played twice one evening.

  • Joe D

    Can anyone just simply look at this as music appreciation and nothing more? The metro finally gets a radio station that promotes just about everyone regards of race, gender, musical style, genre and does a GREAT job at it and everyone is getting all bent our of shape over promoting a show. How about give it a go and just let the music speak for itself? I can respect the apprehension but isn’t it events like this that give people an audience and a platform to enlighten and inform others?

  • dunation

    who would want to go to an event that has a bunch of back pack bull sh*t and mikey wana bees? local hip hop has gone to sh*t. very little truth left in our scene. haphduzzen is honestly the only dude im feeling at all. ive had enuf of lizzo, sean anon, dem atlas, and other hipster garbage. as for toki not getting respect, sean put him on the welcome to mn tour, exposed him to thousands of people, and dude still cant pull 100 people to a venue on his own? time to hang it up. the only people ive got respect for are the ones who put in work, terrell, kris, jess, jacob, zach and a few others. other than that our scene is garbage. rip mikey, rip sess.

  • mcWeaver

    I love The Current. I love the on-air talent. I love the music.
    The Current had a quiz during their morning show a few days ago. The topic was Soul Music. Two of the first three questions and answers were about David Bowie and The Blues Brothers. This over-50 white ex-Chicagoan had to check the calendar cuz I thought April 1 had come early. Nope. This was considered a soul music quiz.
    I understand the serious concerns artists may have allowing a group with whom artistically they seemingly share so little to represent them. I don’t understand all the ‘us/them’ flavored comments here. Please disregard them and continue to try to build bridges, with an honest realization of the entrenched perspective we all carry.

  • David Hanners

    In what Universe is there supposed to be a “partnership” between critics in the media and the artists/performers/chefs/etc. that those critics cover? The whole notion is unsound from a journalistic standpoint.

    • I don’t think there was anything about the Current/TPT plan for the event that involved anything journalistic.

  • www.jordanlooney.com

    “[local media] tends to cherry-pick what’s hot, and the rest of the media follows suit.” Totally agree, but seems a bit hypocritical coming from RSE considering, over the past 10 years RSE has been the defacto cherry-pickers of what is “hot” in MN but has completely failed to sign/develop any young/relevant artists, minus their recent acquisition of Dem Atlas. While I do give them credit for creating a prominent indie hip hop label, helping to develop a hip hop scene, and put MN hip hop relatively on the map; I wish they would see how their continued insular business tactics/music making coupled with a lack of label support of the incredible amount of young local talent has lead to creation of the exact situation they are trying to combat here i.e. another MN music outlet that does not support the real culture of MN Hip Hop.

    • By definition, any playlist is going to be “cherrypicked.” What should the standard be for being the thing that is cherrypicked.

      • www.jordanlooney.com

        True, but I think the connotation of the term “cherry picked” as I see it being used in this article and my response, is centered around a group of individuals with a specific cultural lens/taste, and significant cultural influence selecting artists they deem worthy of being on the show in question, getting play on the current, or signed to RSE. This then has a wide sweeping impact on definitions of the MN Hip Hop scene, and has lead to the exclusion of a variety talent from MN Hip Hop scene. These lenses are generated through a plethora of avenues (including economic, the current MN Hip Hop culture, and historical context), but I think one would irresponsible to not look at how the racial make up of the MN interacts with the aforementioned avenues to effect the decisions of the cherry pickers i.e. white people tend to have a stronger affinity towards white artists, so that is the hip hop that gets promoted in the MN scene (This happens in the national scene too, Macklemore is a prime example). I would like to see a selection standard put in place that takes in to account increasingly diverse tastes of the MN scene, and at the same time is more reflective of the tastes of national hip hop scene, in the hopes that we can promote artists that can help to extend the reach of MN Hip Hop past our borders.

  • Jeff

    Yea! How in the world could one expect a group of highly intelligent and well-educated people who (in most cases), have defined and combined their life’s passion of music possibly know anything about Hip-Hop music based on where they were born or what color they are? Oh, the horror that these music lovers wanted to curate a tribute to said genre in an effort to promote its artists! :-l Hmmm. Maybe…its because music transcends everything that is implied in that letter to MPR…? Nah, on second thought, I should probably toss out all the albums I grew up listening to – I thought that spending 28 years enjoying Hip-Hop music gave me some general understanding of the genre, but turns out, nope, I shouldn’t support the genre or artists as I couldn’t possibly appreciate or understand the music.

    • Sounds like you have a good grasp of the TC hip hop scene. Do you have any insight regarding possible next steps in this situation?

      • DK

        Jumping in.

        The signers should be responsible for the event next year.

        I’m completely open to the idea that this could have been handled better, and if the signers want to show that they can do it better given the same constraints of time, budget, and logistics, they should be fully empowered to do so while being encouraged to participate in the event ad planned this year.

      • Jeff

        Cancel the event. Point to the letter when all of the disappointed fans ask why. It is a shame. I don’t mean to be flippant, but what other recourse is there? I actually like DK’s idea – let the artists who signed the letter organize the event and then participate as journalists.

        • I think it’s too early for that. I think the next obvious move is to invite the signees to the meeting and look for clarification. If they feel exploited by having an organization promoting hip-hop (and I realize some of the signees don’t get airplay, but others do) , then there’s not much left to talk about.

          I presume Kevin Beacham has to make a decision regarding the obvious conflict he must be feeling between hosting a hip hop show and signing a letter that refers to exploitation and distrust. I don’t see how logically that doesn’t get talk about.

          Beyond that, I think the question is — as I’ve said before — what does an “intentional, sustainable, mutually-beneficial partnership and collaboration” mean in real life.

          So far, I’ve been met with nothing but silence from the artists who signed the letter. I don’t know what to read into that and I guess I’ll move on to other concerns. I don’t beg.

          • John Smith

            Thank you for your commentary! I think in situations like this, when we have parties that mutually respect and rely upon one another, it’s more important to think about “the process” than what the end goal will look like. The goal is clear: build an “intentional, sustainable, mutually-beneficial partnership and collaboration”. The challenge is letting that look like the unique partnership that it will form into when the groups meet, discuss terms and explain their sides of the story. I’d caution anyone from saying at this juncture: “this is what it should look like”. Especially when one group has expressed such an ambitious and open-ended description for what they want.

            That being said, I look forward to details too! But let’s give them time to genuinely emerge from the group, collectively. I think that’s at the core of this issue in the first place: MPR has been doing programming and planning without space and time for essential conversations between all parties. It’s not completely a bad thing (radio must go on!), but it happened and will certainly happen again. Bravo to MPR for their graceful response!

  • www.shockandaudio.com

    This article and most people commenting here don’t seem to understand the real issue that was brought up at the discussion at intermedia and NO BOB the hip hop community is not at war with itself..wow (this is why you see support throughout the community, even the artists who are benefiting).
    The main issue is this:
    MPR/the current pander to their supporters who are majority middle/upper class white people, they play and support artists who their supporters like. This is a VERY different community of listeners than the hip-hop community. So when the current says they are working with the hip hop community it makes a lot of people laugh. If Atmosphere sends in a track it gets play immediately. This is def not the case for the majority of the hip hop community. If you want to say your event is working with the hip hop community you need to know the WHOLE hip hop community and support a more wide variety of hip hop artists.

    • That’s a good point although I’ve always questioned when people say THE XXX COMMUNITY as if it’s made of people with one view, one goal, one state of mind. And I always am skeptical of anyone who supposed to speak for IT. And more so when they don’t use a name.

      This isn’t my event. I don’t care whether the Current celebrates hip hop or doesn’t celebrate hip hop so I don’t have much of a horse in this race. I am fascinated, however, by how people communicate and I am interested — at least until I retire soon — in how mainstream media is going to adjust its offerings to an entirely different type of audience, thanks to changing demographics and patterns.

      The radio station cemetery is littered with the carcasses of artistically successful, financially bankrupt operations.

      Is The Current working with “the hip hop community”? I don’t know. There are people who signed the letter . Are they the hip hop community? Should the Current work with them.?

      Are YOU the hip hop community. Do YOU want to be in the concert?

      What is the standard by which the acts are chosen? Who chooses them?

      When I hear people say “Oh, look, this person’s stuff gets played on The Current but this other person’s doesn’t,” that strikes me as a legitimate issue, But at the same time, Atmosphere has not asked that Atmosphere’s material not be played. Neither has Brother Ali, as far as I know.

      Play more? Play better? Sure. Makes perfect sense.

      Those are all good questions and worthy of a discussion, which from the outside it seemed to me was one of the goals of the forum. Many of those who signed the letter, had been involved in discussions about this event and, as near as I can tell, did not balk. But at some point, they decided to, in some cases even as they continued to get airplay..

      What changed their mind?

      I mean, yeah, I got it: The hip hop community is PO’d and MPR is supported by and caters programming to the people who support it. Which, by the way, is why you won’t hear anyone crooning Moon River at a hip hop concert. That’s the reality.

      Should that change? Sure? The nature of the Twin Cities is changing and MPR is going to have to change too or it’s going to die because the current (small “C”) isn’t going to live forever.

      From an economic standpoint, is it possible to replace the program that caters to the wider audience in favor of a genre whose fan base is still relatively small and, from what I can tell by some comments, doesn’t support the station without going broke? Is that possible. Which happens first? How is that transition to be made? Those are all legitimate questions too.

      I”m thinking that point has been made and now it’s time to move past the “you suck” stage and work out how that can be accomplished. As near as I can tell, that’s what everybody involved in this discussion has said so far and apparently concluded.

      So…. maybe it’s time to stop reiterating the problem and start listing some possible solutions.

      • www.shockandaudio.com

        Glad I got you to think and write more on this topic. I’ll try to reply to some of the points you brought up.

        – Stop reiterating the problem? I had to post the problem because no one here addressed the real issue and you posted that the hip hop community was at war with itself which is far from true.

        – Its sad that you are writing about this event and then say “This isn’t my event. I don’t care whether the Current celebrates hip hop or doesn’t celebrate hip hop” Can we get someone to write about the issue who cares?

        – the hip hop community is made up of people participating in hip hop culture through creating music art dance etc. It is also made up of people who get out in the community and attend and support these events and artists regularly. ALL of the signers are members of this community.

        – What difference does it make if you know my name? does that make my points more or less valid? My name is Eric I own a recording studio and produce music for a variety of hip hop artists. Does this help the conversation in some way?

        – Why do hip hop artists like atmosphere or ali have to tell the current not to play their songs?? that doesn’t make any sense. Why can’t they stand up and say the current is going about this the wrong way without breaking ties with the station?

        – NO ONE is saying “the current sucks” and leave it at that. These artists are trying to work with the current to build a better longer lasting relationship and a better event.

        – This isn’t an issue where you just list solutions. The solution will come from more members of the media being involved in the hip hop community and vice versa and more discussion and growth between the two communities over time. I can’t give you a specific solution but I hope to see more interest at the current in covering one of the biggest hip hop scenes in the country from top to bottom not just a few hand selected artists.

        • I would recommend Andrea Swensson’s blog at The Current’s website.

          There aren’t many comments there but at least one gets to the concern that white people in the media are stealing the culture of black people.

          So there’s going to be a discussion about that and that’s good. That’s not going to get solved real soon and given that line that’s been drawn, neither TPT nor The Current is going to be able to do much about the suggestion that neither should be providing a hip hop show.

          So there we are. What now?

          • Jonah Radovsky

            When we say “we are the community,” we mean it. Not like we can speak for the whole community, but our single voice helps make up the whole voice. A hip-hop head is different then a hip-hop fan, and it takes one to know one. It’s not a bad thing bob, but based on the way you are talking you are definitely not a hip-hop head. I knew exactly who posted that comment even though they wrote it under the title of their production company Shock and Audio, before eric revealed his identity in a later comment. I have the connections, I have seen hip-hop. The story of hip-hop has merged with mine. I like what eric said..

            “Its sad that you are writing about this event and then say “This isn’t my event. I don’t care whether the Current celebrates hip hop or doesn’t celebrate hip hop” Can we get someone to write about the issue who cares?”

            It’s fine that you don’t care about this event in the same way the people who signed the letter did. Please recognize your disconnect from the hip-hop that happens every day all over the twin cities. You keep asking all of these questions about how the current could help do a better job at covering hip-hop but it’s simple. Get to know it better. We look for hip-hop on our own because we love it. We don’t go around asking people, “what’s hip hop?” and “how can hip hop be better?” We go around saying, “that’s hip hop”or “i’m gonna make that better.” What we find is too deep to put into words. If you don’t want to seek thats fine, but stop asking us what we find hip-hop to be, so you can tell the world what you think we found.

            This says a lot..

            “Is The Current working with “the hip hop community”? I don’t know. There are people who signed the letter . Are they the hip hop community? Should the Current work with them.?”

            It tells me that you don’t know the hip-hop community here.

          • Jonah Radovsky

            It’s not about black and white. It’s about this question. What can you claim to speak on based on what you know? It can be a black/white thing, or it can be a hip-hop/public media thing.

          • http://youtu.be/Ix0pgZDV4so

            The video that was circulated about the forum certainly injected the black/white thing. I’m not imagining it. Hard for me to know how big a part it was of the forum itself since it was so heavily edited to deny the panelists from having their views heard.

            You seem to be suggesting that because I don’t live your life, I don’t have a place in the discussion surrounding how this is playing out. That’s different than the actual discussion of whether the concert takes place. I’m not at that table and don’t want to be. I don’*t work at the Current.

            Maybe people you want to discuss your life with are trying to explain their life to you too, so you can understand their perspective too. Isn’t that how issues separating people are resolved?

            It seems disingenuous to want to be involved in a conversation of mutual respect and trust and full partnership while pointing out that only people who know your life can talk with you about this particular story.

            It’s true, I don’t have an emotional connection to hip hop that you do. If the concert doesn’t go on, I’ll go on. So will you . You don’t need the concert. Either.

            That doesn’t mean I’m not interested in watching how the communication process and resolution process unfurls.

            Do I know much about hip hop or people in hip hop. Nope. That doesn’t take a lot of sleuthing. Would I like to learn more?.Sure. That’s why I ask questions on my behalf and the readers of the blog I write. The only way I know how to learn is to ask questions. When I stop asking them, it’ll mean I either think I’ve nothing more to learn or I no longer give a damn.

          • Jonah Radovsky

            Okay I take back what I said about it not being about black and white. I didn’t see the video before today. I only read the articles and the conversations on here in regards to this particular conversation. Hip-Hop should be respected as a culture that has been created out of, and innovated alongside the struggle of black people. Because of this, it’s something black people can claim. Hip-Hop is not just for black people, but especially as a white person in hip-hop, I think it’s very important that I’m mindful of what I claim within the larger arena of hip-hop, and how i use my voice in this culture. I was trying to make the point about cultural appropriation beyond how it plays out between blacks and whites inside and outside of hip-hop, but the way I worded it made it seem like i was trying to negate that particular dynamic. my bad.

            I don’t care if you don’t care about my life. We are talking over the internet. I was only bringing it up to make a point about what hip-hop means to a hip-hop head vs. hip-hop fan. This issue is not about me. I think the race issue is more relevant to this conversation then my life. White culture continuously shits on black culture. One of the beautiful things about hip-hop, is that it is a bridge for different cultures to meet. But if we are on the bridge together and we don’t respect all the different parts that make up the bridge appropriately, it will crumble, because we are the bridge.

  • Jim Hartmann

    I like hip-hop and I might have gone to this show and I have paid to see other shows in town, but the warm up act for this show is a drag. Seems like someone shot themselves in the foot.

  • Drity

    Check out some new upcoming Twin Cities hip hop.