Dead Presidents (Day #9)

Please watch Black Power Mixed Tape

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3 thoughts on “Dead Presidents (Day #9)

  1. Kyle Sittig

    While watching The Black Power Mixtape, I was particularly struck by Stokely Carmichael, who (and this is probably embarrassing) I wasn’t aware of. Someone in the documentary mentions how fascinating the behind-the-scenes videos of him were. I agree with this. While his speaking, from what I’ve seen, is brilliantly charismatic, the non-speech moments were even more powerful in enabling my sympathy. I think this is the power that narrative has. So often we are more moved by the things we see on screens that depict someone’s vulnerability and humanism. When we hear Stokely’s mother talk about how worried has been every time he is arrested. She does not talk about the significance of what he is doing, in a political sense. She does not talk about the civil rights movement. She is just worried about her child. This bond is something that most of us can relate to. We feel more attached to Stokely this way. Obviously this works in fiction as well (I have never seen so much outrage as I saw on facebook after last night’s Game of Thrones episode). In my last post I talked about the focus on day-to-day life in films like Middle of Nowhere, Daughters of the Dust, and Mississippi Damned. I think Mississippi Damned in particular has a good balance of the human aspect – that we might see while Stokely interacts with his mother – and the rage that is captured in one of his speeches. Both humanization and activism are needed.

    Quotes
    “It is (a land of opportunity) If a man has a little ambition – If he’s not lazy – he can make a living” – Diner Owner. Black Power Mix Tape
    “In order for non-violence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.” – Stokely Carmichael. Black Power Mixtape .
    “[T]he most progressive elements of hip hop culture, represented by artists such as Dead Prez [. ..] articulate a language of protest. Yet their creative talents rarely yielded new modes of collective intervention that could forcefully challenge the existing structures of political power and corporate capitalism” (Marable 59). – “Dead Prezence”
    “The signifying difference here (that distinction between presidents and dead presidents) captures the central tension between those artisans of Hip Hop who are continuously challenged by American Dream-like success with accompanying capitalistic pursuits (i.e., economic success translated as selling out the community), and an audience within Hip Hop culture that desires its own economic success, but only occasionally connects economic empowerment to political representation.” – “Dead Prezence”
    Questions
    Elaborate on the relationship between using fame as a platform to discuss issues that, as an artist, you benefit from? Is the lack of voice inherent in poor African-American life due to this?
    Would it have benefitted Stokely Carmichael’s cause more, if his “human” moments were more widely available at the time? Or is it more important that he appears as a symbol of strength?
    “Dead Prezence” talks a lot about the significance of The American Dream, as it applies to young African-Americans. Can the White-American’s longtime obsession with this concept act as a cultural bridge? (I am reminded of a scene from The Wire that shows a group of prisoners discussing The Great Gatsby in a prison book club).

  2. The black power Mix tape was a Swedish version on what happen during 1967-1975. They discuss the inequality and racisms that occur during this time frame from the Swedish perspective. They interview multiply people blacks and whites to see their view point. The first white person that was interview was a white Swedish man; they ask him what life like for an ordinary person? He responded that for an ordinary person they are able to have their own opinion without being beaten and having to worry about being shot. Then they interview a black Vietnam veteran trying to figure out his outlook on things and he told them that he felt that since he fought for this country he should have still had a little more respect given by others around him he was still treated unfair after coming back from the war. Many African Americans have went and fought for their country in the military but have not received equal rights and respect when they came home. Their opinion still did not matter even after coming from a war and putting their life on the line.
    Quotes
    “ “Rich and famous people live here but right there on the corner they are still selling crack, heroin and there are still the same traps. Harlem is the complete metaphor for the black experience in America” . The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2010)
    The eviroment has something to do with keeping a man down Ive been trying to get out of this environment for the last 4 years a but it something that keeps holding me back”( mix tape)
    “American Is a dumb puppy with big teeth that bite and hurt” (mix tape)

    Questions
    Does inequality still occur in America Today?
    How many Americans would rather have racism still in play?

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