observations, reviews and ramblings about Hip-Hop culture, sports, politics and the industry and life in general.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Katrina Clap (wack song, dope post)

Saw the Spike Lee Katrina documentary on HBO last night. Powerful stuff, for sure.

Several things struck me.

First, Spike is a storyteller not a news man. The piece told a compelling story more than anything. And that story was very similar to 'Fahrenheit 9/11' in that it painted George Bush as the ultimate villain.

For the most part the 'blame' for Katrina was put on the shoulders of Bush, Cheney, Condy, Browny, Skeletor (Chertoff), the governor, and the mayor in varying degrees. There is no doubt these were 1) the people in charge and 2) they all f'd up in mega ways. But the responsibility for the Katrina tragedy is as deep as America itself.
The last 2 acts touched on this nicely via pieces with Wynton Marsalis, Terrance Blanchard, the woman in the airport (she was the illest - 'if I had some I would smoke it, fuck!') and my man Michael Eric Dyson.

In my view Katrina is a direct product of American policy and on a larger scale capitalism itself. The only way this society/economy works is if there are people on top or moving on up while standing on the shoulders of the poor. Katrina exposed that in a very cinematic way. No matter how many warnings you give or how competent the administrators are in place how are you gonna get someone to move 50 miles out of harm’s way when they don’t have enough money to get on a public bus? Moreover, how are you gonna convince that person to leave their neighborhood and head to Baton Rouge or Atlanta when they haven’t ever left their block.

I was lucky enough that my parents exposed me to different places and cultures as a kid. But there were plenty people on my block who never left the Bronx…ever. Maybe they hit Parkchester, City Island, Kip’s Bay, The Village or Southern Blvd, but Philly? DC? Miami? Please! And the number who left the country I could count on my hands. This is because a lot of them were dead fucking broke! They were struggling to pay the rent and keep food on the table. Vacations were not even on the agenda. And for those who had the dough they were scratching and surviving in the shitty NY Public School system where education was second to security.

Many of those cats in the N.O. couldn’t conceive of leaving their house even with flood waters coming down the street. That speaks volumes to one’s psyche. And for those who did want to get out, as one interviewee said they had no Explorer to throw their shit in.

So even if W came down and loaded everyone he could on Air Force 1 a month before the hurricane that would not have been enough to save people from centuries of mentally and spiritually being ground into the dust. But you know that is how we like it. That is how we need it in a Capitalist society. Although we are still far from a full Libertarian government there is still a sense that you have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and if you can’t – too bad. You are either lazy or stupid. The government will not save you. Save yourself or drown.

So when I see all this outrage about the slow response to Katrina, I laugh. What the fuck did you expect? Keep it real, they want you gone. They never cared and never will. That’s why your schools suck. Why your food is not as fresh. Why there are so many fast food joints. That’s why they allow the drug supply to infiltrate your ‘hood and not the Quarter. Looking to Bush for help is, to paraphrase Ayi Kwei Armah (as Kweli did on the classic ‘2000 Seasons’), is to expect the destroyers to somehow develop a sense of remorse as they stand and look at their fantastic success.


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