izotecipotx

You might remember that earlier I mentioned I clicked the link provided by Azealia Banks of her remix, only to find it had been taken down. Banks posted the remix on soundcloud, but Baauer and his labelmate Diplo demanded it be taken down because it was an un-authorized remix. Aside from the obvious rejoinder that the majority of soundcloud is unauthorized remixes, this episode reveals the difference of power that negotiates the “open” space of the internet. We have a white producer, who is accused of appropriating Harlem culture, attacking a black female rapper born in Harlem of improperly using his “intellectual property.” Black claims to propriety are met with crickets, while a white man’s claim is heard and acted upon to the detriment of Banks. Diplo took to twitter to begin the anti-Banks commentary, while Banks refused to back down. She made a music video and posted it to youtube, ensuring that her fans would still have access to the song. The spat continued on twitter though, with Banks inadvertently calling Baauer the “F-word.” This re-ignited a sleeping giant in Azealia Banks’ burgeoning career, which is her intramural relations with the LGBT civil rights apparatus, as well as gay male media figures, that simultaneously support and police her. This conversation is deep and necessary (for a much better handling of this topic, click here), yet for the purposes of this essay it is important to mention this because much of the coverage of this “twitter beef” was to categorize this as “yet another Azealia Banks beef.” There is an almost universal consensus that Banks starts and maintains beefs with producers, a storyline Baauer and Diplo cited and perpetuated to deflect attention away from their own fault. Baauer and Diplo’s story is that Banks recorded a remix and they asked her to not post it because they decided to go into a different direction. The different direction was to get Juicy J to record a remix and release that as the official remix. What this mystifies is what Banks brought up: the fact that they came to Banks asking her to remix it initially and then, at the last second, after she had worked, mixed, prepared a marketing strategy, aligned it with her own schedule, and shot a video, they decided they did not want her to go forward with it. So, Baauer and Diplo decided that Banks’ life and career should take a backseat because they wanted another, more famous, black artist to remix their song.


What is happening here is a politics of obliteration. That Banks is thought to be replaceable by Juicy J is emblematic of what so many black people in popular culture have attested to: the systemic belief in the interchangeability of black entertainers. The thought here is that a black female rapper from Harlem can be replaced by a black male rapper from Memphis, Tennessee. Baauer attempts to say that he thought Azealia Banks’ lyrics were only so-so and believed Juicy J could do better. If this is not an example of a white man talking out of his ass, I am not sure what is. I do not need to get into the technical aspects of rapping to say Azealia Banks could destroy any rapper who’s idea of a great song is, “Bands ‘a make her dance.” But this is not about Juicy J, this is about Baauer and the meaning of blackness to his ability to produce music. For him, black culture is not an other’s thing made in specific contexts, but instead are loose, unowned resources of “cool” to be stretched, interpolated, and sequenced into a dramatic product to produce his own name. Thus, the being of black culture (its claims to place and time) are obliterated so that he may write himself into existence over the cleared field. Saidiya Hartman writes, “The elasticity of blackness and its capacious affects enabled such flights and becomings… The fungibility of the commodity, specifically its abstractness and immateriality, enabled the black body to serve as the vehicle of self-exploration, renunciation, and enjoyment” (Hartman, 25). Thus, Baauer is not simply emblematic of an internet-age, post-genre music culture, but is instead an example par excellance of the white imagination using the black body as a vehicle for its own purposes. In other words, Baauer is not (only) a thief, he is a master.

Looking for Azealia’s Harlem Shake, Or How We Mistake the Politics of Obliteration for Appropriation (via so-treu)

1st comment:

Damn this is good. I wish I wrote it :/

Thus, Baauer is not simply emblematic of an internet-age, post-genre music culture, but is instead an example par excellance of the white imagination using the black body as a vehicle for its own purposes. In other words, Baauer is not (only) a thief, he is a master.

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YOOOOOOOO.

Last night I Netflix’d How to Survive a Plague, the documentary chronicling the history of AIDS activist group ACT UP, and how they essentially protested the government into making HIV medication more accessible to those afflicted with it. It was a fascinating, informative, heartwrenching doc (made more heartwrenching by its soundtrack of Arthur Russell, the gentle, disco experimentalist who died of AIDS in 1992). I recommend it.
But one aspect troubled me. Why was ACT UP so white? Why, in a documentary about AIDS-afflicted gay men (mostly men) in 1980s and 1990s New York City, were there literally like three people of color in the whole film, only one of whom—Chicano artist Ray Navarro—had a speaking role. Where were the blacks and Latinos who came to symbolize ’90s gay liberation through movies, music, and other popular culture?  Where were the blacks and Latinos who lost their lives in far greater numbers than other ethnicities, particularly the whites who ran ACT UP—and continue to do so?  
So I googled “ACT Up” and “racism” and the only thing that came up, as it turned out, was the October 1990 issue of SPIN, which was guest edited by Spike Lee. In it, an article by Celia Farber entitled “AIDS: Words from the Front” explores the disproportionate amount of media coverage given to white AIDS activists, when the most disadvantaged communities were the most likely to need public and government assistance. The first few paragraphs describing a “Medicaid mill” in Harlem are some of the most devastating I’ve read in awhile. There’s a quote about heroin dealers putting a cap of AZT in every bag they sold. Fuck. And Keith Cylar, a black AIDS activist WITH ACT Up, provides the pull quote that brought the piece up in my google search, and discusses efforts he has made to get them to be less racist. Cylar was not in the film—he died of complications from AIDS and cardioarrhythmia in 2004. But his efforts are still felt by New Yorkers, whether you knew it or not: he co-founded Housing Works, the health care and housing resources organization that operates a terrific non-profit bookstore and some of the best secondhand stores in the city. 
So yeah, I recommend both watching that movie and reading that article, and understanding that the ramifications of that apparent racial disconnect (brought on in part by local and national government and institutionalized racism) continue to this day. Oh, and also, fuck Ed Koch. Enjoy hell.

Last night I Netflix’d How to Survive a Plague, the documentary chronicling the history of AIDS activist group ACT UP, and how they essentially protested the government into making HIV medication more accessible to those afflicted with it. It was a fascinating, informative, heartwrenching doc (made more heartwrenching by its soundtrack of Arthur Russell, the gentle, disco experimentalist who died of AIDS in 1992). I recommend it.

But one aspect troubled me. Why was ACT UP so white? Why, in a documentary about AIDS-afflicted gay men (mostly men) in 1980s and 1990s New York City, were there literally like three people of color in the whole film, only one of whom—Chicano artist Ray Navarro—had a speaking role. Where were the blacks and Latinos who came to symbolize ’90s gay liberation through movies, music, and other popular culture?  Where were the blacks and Latinos who lost their lives in far greater numbers than other ethnicities, particularly the whites who ran ACT UP—and continue to do so?  

So I googled “ACT Up” and “racism” and the only thing that came up, as it turned out, was the October 1990 issue of SPIN, which was guest edited by Spike Lee. In it, an article by Celia Farber entitled “AIDS: Words from the Front” explores the disproportionate amount of media coverage given to white AIDS activists, when the most disadvantaged communities were the most likely to need public and government assistance. The first few paragraphs describing a “Medicaid mill” in Harlem are some of the most devastating I’ve read in awhile. There’s a quote about heroin dealers putting a cap of AZT in every bag they sold. Fuck. And Keith Cylar, a black AIDS activist WITH ACT Up, provides the pull quote that brought the piece up in my google search, and discusses efforts he has made to get them to be less racist. Cylar was not in the film—he died of complications from AIDS and cardioarrhythmia in 2004. But his efforts are still felt by New Yorkers, whether you knew it or not: he co-founded Housing Works, the health care and housing resources organization that operates a terrific non-profit bookstore and some of the best secondhand stores in the city. 

So yeah, I recommend both watching that movie and reading that article, and understanding that the ramifications of that apparent racial disconnect (brought on in part by local and national government and institutionalized racism) continue to this day. Oh, and also, fuck Ed Koch. Enjoy hell.

thisisfusion

Check Out this Casting Call for ‘Fiery’ ‘Mami Chulas’

univisionnews:

image

By ALEX ALVAREZ

Oye, fellow CHICA$! Mamis, lemme ask u a kuestion. R u r3aDy 2 B on TV? Duh, rite? Well, locas, have I got the oportunidad 4 u! Peep this kasting kall looking for “fiery, passionate, spanish speaking bi-lingual goddesses who are those beautiful, exciting, mami chulas NY is notorious for (sic)” to take part in a show called “Mi Vida Loca.” DALE!

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When I got this casting call (“kasting kall”) in my inbox (from Doron Ofir, the guy who did Jersey Shore) I actually cracked up because they managed to hit every horrible stereotype ever (except “ay, dios mio!”). It was incredibly thorough in its stereotyping. So good job, I guess, fuckfaces. 

Get More: VH1 Rock Docs

This is the entirety of VH-1’s documentary on Rodney King, hip-hop and the LA Riots, via Ego Trip. IT IS CRUCIAL VIEWING, especially considering the bs that is the false and damaging rebranding of American society as “post-racial.” This was only 20 years ago. Related: THE FUCKING SUPREME COURT IS PROBABLY GONNA LEGALIZE SB-1070, AKA LEGALIZE RACIAL PROFILING AT THE STATE LEVEL.