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Archive for July, 2007

Thoughts of an African-American male living in Southern California

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Looking at the world

I ask myself

Why is this stuff happening?

Wars, bombings, suicides

How come every problem people have

They solve with violence

If we look back in time

What do we see?

I'll tell you what we see

We see violence creating more violence

Yes, past presidents may have signed treaties with other countries

But violence still waged on

All that I must say is this

Why can't we learn from the past?

Is it the fact that ignorance is now part of everybody's culture?

I am only one person

Trying to make the world better for my younger siblings

And for everybody else in the world

For I believe that nobody should suffer from anything

But our president thinks differently

Making peolpe suffer because of something

Sometimes it is nothing

But he doesn't matter

Because he isn't the one that is suffering

No this is not a poem written by a hippie

Yes, I might like peace

But that is because I am a pacifist

Just like my uncle, God Bless His Soul

But this is a poem written by a young mixed African-American male

Who would like to see a revolution

A revolution where people of different racial backgrounds can get together

Hand in hand and fight for equality among themselves

All of this racial crime bullsh*t is just a waste of time

Especially out here in Southern California

Where the Blacks and the Mexicans are killing each other for stupid reasons

Reasons like property and who they date

Come on, segregation is fuck*n 1959

But please let us try to make this world better

One place at a time

Sick and tired of people saying that the world can change

but yet nobody is doing anything to change it

STAND UP AND FIGHT

FOR FREEDOM, EQUALITY, AND UNITY

“The Other Side,” at the Hip Hop Theater Festival

Saturday, July 14th, 2007

This spring, Laurie started actively pursuing an ongoing collaboration with Sol y Soul and the BlackOut Arts Collective, two other groups in the community doing work similar to that of the Guerrillas. The first concrete opportunity emerged in "The Other Side," a hip hop play put together by Sol y Sol, also featuring TriFlava.

We performed the show tonight in Space A at The Studio Theater as the closing act of the Hip Hop Theater Festival, which ran all week at a variety of venues including the Kennedy Center and Howard University. A packed house of around 200 people offered a standing ovation for the show, which one guerrilla in the audience described as "magnificent."

The Washington Post's Style section ran a front-page article today discussing the festival and its reflections of conscious hip-hop. After noting "The Other Side," and mentioning its appearance at the Studio Theater, the article quoted Sol Y Soul Director Regie Cabico (who also directed "The Other Side") at length:

"Hip-hop has created a generation where teens are attracted to poetry more than ever," Cabico said. "In the '70s, everyone wanted to be a rock star. In the '90s, everyone wanted to be a spoken-word poet. In this particular decade, you are seeing multi-performance artists coming together. . . .People are taking the power onto themselves. I feel we are heading into a new era. Who knows where it is going?

(more…)

WRITTEN Testimony: Public Hearing: Bill 17-177, the “Noise Control Protection Amendment Act of 2007″

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

Thank you for holding this public hearing on Bill 17-177.  We appreciate the opportunity to participate and have our views heard by the DC Council.  My name is Laurelle Blair.  My comments reflect not only my personal beliefs but also represent the memberships of Empower DC, the Washington Peace Center and the DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency (GPI).  GPI is a network of artists who share common values including, freedom of speech and art as a vehicle for the expression of all citizens.  Empower DC strives to provide advocacy skills to low and moderate income residents to assist them in preserving affordable housing, childcare and public buildings for public use.  The Washington Peace Center is a 44 year-old progressive, anti-racist, anti-authoritarian nonprofit organization committed to peace and social justice through education and nonviolent action.

(more…)

ORAL Testimony: Public Hearing: Bill 17-177, the “Noise Control Protection Amendment Act of 2007″

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

Delivered Monday, July 9, 2007

Thank you for holding this public hearing on Bill 17-177. We appreciate the opportunity to participate and have our views heard by the DC Council. My name is Laurelle Blair. My comments reflect not only my personal beliefs but represent the memberships of Empower DC, the Washington Peace Center and the DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency.

As DC residents we are denied participation in the formal channels of national government, thus we feel the protection free speech is especially imperative in our Nation’s Capital. We fear that the enforcement of Bill 17-177 could limit legitimate protests and demonstrations and have a chilling effect that may prevent some citizens from expressing themselves. (more…)

It’s all fun in Sudan

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

Darfur, Darfur, Darfur,

I wanna shed my stress in Darfur,
where the rats eat well,
the graveyards too
and children take grenades to
the schools.

In Darfur
you can get
your dreamt six pack,
and eat all organic
cause you’re gonna thrive on your guts.

In Darfur
rape is a civil right
and you don’t have to worry
cause somebody else
will beat your wife.

there, you've got

no problems to get a gun

and can practice easily shootin

your neighbors or your son

and you'll be praised not send to prison

if you kidnap a woman

and please her with female circumcition

In Darfur freedom will be

according to your own standards

nobody will have a word

not even these U.N. nosy bastards

No more constraints!!

just sit down and relax

enjoy the suffocating atmosphere

and all the fun in Sudan!

gorila from delawhere-spain connection

viva la evolucion!

Guerrilla Poets Meet Yas Persian 2′s Live Crew

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

“Singing of my land, is my feeling, My love – the earth of this land – Iraaaan.” These are some of the lyrics of the popular rap star Yas from Tehran, Iran, who was a surprise “featured artist” at last night’s Guerrilla Poetry Open Air Open Mic. Yas, along with partner artists Farinaz, Sogand, and Mita, and a tremendous djembe drummer whose name I deeply regret that I can’t remember, performed a stunning musical set to cap off a night where over 20 performers blessed the mic beside the fountain we rock at every first and third Monday.

They didn’t perform in English, but the sweet sounds of Yas’ and the two young women’s melodic voices and rapid lyrics, Mita’s acoustic guitar, and Kima(?)’s keeping the drum beat, caught the interest of all who passed by on this comfortable late Monday evening which almost ended early when our original power source died at 8:50. These new friends of ours explained that they are in the United States as part of a cultural exchange program that will take them to Memphis, San Francisco, and other U.S. locations to perform their music, some of which will appear on Yas’ upcoming album.

The night was a special night from beginning to end. I counted 20 artists who kept the consciousness flowing like a fountain of resistance, as the circle filled with approving spectators and sidewalk chalk extraordiannaires. Some of the GPI superstars sang and spoke their grooves like Mo’s “Sittin on the Dock of the Bay” and Laurie singing her and Jessica’s piece “Together we are one.” It was great to meet Raj, and here his eloquent and unique Indian rap tune (this was in English), and to welcome Kit from Code Pink updating us on the discouraging positions of our presidential candidates on the issue of the possibility of war with Iran. All I could think while Shamar (another Iranian cultural exchange performer who played for us during the open mic) was jamming, was this is what we have to fight for.

But it was one of those nights when the looks in people’s eyes and the absence of any of the racism or even the stereoptypes that devastate our world, made me feel as I said I did at the U.S. Social Forum last week: like we are having an impact. I can’t think of a better way we could have spent the Monday of the week of the 4th of July. To hear Yas’ Iranian rap, visit him at www.myspace.com/yaspersian2 or www.yastunes.com. Farinaz and Sogand are at www.myspace.com/fsentegham.

Baghdad Blues (corporate asshole remix) Finished!

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

So I did a full re write of the Baghadad Blues by friend and all around awesome Shahid Buttar, here is how it goes!

Class president in high school
abused a freshman or two
I stole their money
kicked their ass went to court
but my rich lawyer daddy got the judge to abort

When I became the C.E.O.
All I wanted to do was make a lotta dough
So I sent off little boys straight to Iraq
Told their moms that they ain’t coming back
because they are shooting at brown people in the sand
while the moneys swept up by my corporate hand
I will supress you if you try and make a stand
so just continue to attack foreign land
got of my yatch in a port in mystic
saw people everywhere on the sound they aren’t as rich as me so I look down
on their poor asses as I get driven into town

I was off in my convoy two SUVs
every twenty seconds taking a sip from my martini
Billing elevated fees to all my employees
Hey driver lets go buy some gold plated skis

And they are shooting at brown people in the sand
while the moneys swept up by my corporate hand
I will supress you if you try and make a stand
so just continue to attack foreign land

I was driven up north to my cabin in Bangor
Feeling pride at my merger with Berger
Suddenly I find myself in legal tangles
from my bank accounts in the Bermuda triangles

My buddies on the jury and the judge is too
Hope since I am rich I won’t get treated like you
that drug dealer who had a dirty shoe
I want to walk free and move down to Malibu

And they are shooting at brown people in the sand
while the moneys swept up by my corporate hand
I will supress you if you try and make a stand
so just continue to attack foreign land

They gave me a fine to which I quickly paid off
got in my car lit a ciggerette started to cough
when you are rich you can always get off
unless your name is Abramoff

See all you gotta do is pay off a judge or two
become friends with the president tear a country in two
then all the politicians will support you
and then you can keep polluting the blue
as well as And they shooting at brown people in the sand
while the moneys swept up by my corporate hand
I will supress you if you try and make a stand
so just continue to attack foreign land

The DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency (GPI) is an anti-authoritarian, collaborative, pro-humanity artists' collective incorporating music, rhythm, spoken word, community and resistance.

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For more info or to inquire about availability to perform:

(800) 886-6157
dcgpi@guerrillapoets.org

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