Tag Archives: beat street

india and hip hop in nyc: zulu nation’s birthday and the smita patel retrospective @ MIAAC film fest

dear readers,

it’s around 11pm in nyc, i’m about to hit the town, hot 97 on the radio, kanye is sitting in with flex for a session, sounding strong too. before i head out, i had to let you know about two incredible events, both stretching over the days of this weekend, both dear to my heart. one hip hop, one indian.

the thing about smita patel is not only is she fine, but she was the female protagonist that steered the ship of the under studied indian new wave cinema movement. the indian new wave movement toed a brilliant line between abstraction from formulaic narratives and centering stories of the untouchable and female oppressed. i was in india when smita patel died in 1986; a tragic, early death that rocked the nation. but her art lives on, and the mahindra indo-american arts council film festival is doing a bad-ass retrospective of her work that deserves to be seen. including the revolutionary film, manthan (the churning): “based on a true story of a milk cooperative that led to an economic revolution in rural Gujarat, the film was financed by 500,000 members of a farming cooperative, each of whom donated one or two rupees to assure the film would be made.” dope. here’s a link to the MIAAC film festival: http://miaacfilmfest.org

the universal zulu nation is an enduring, membership driven society of hip hop founders, legends, and lovers worldwide. founded by hip hop architect afrika bambaata exactly 36 years ago, the zulu’s celebrate their birthday this weekend with a series of events. the line up for each event reads a cast list for beat street and wild style put together. that is, the folks performing at these events are a veritable who’s who map of iconic shapers of the hip hop culture. i’m talking grandmaster caz, chubb rock, black rob, cold crush brothers, big daddy kane, ultramagnetic mc’s, x-clan, soulsonic force, and i’m barely scratching the surface. a nice touch are the two kick-off events happening at a gym in the bronx near 149 and grand concourse, heart of the movement. here’s a link to the event list: http://www.zulunation.com


one more thing before i go
when a break cat and a writer chick kiss
their lines spin in time no rhyme could diss
geometry of signs in the taste of his lips
dip dip baby dip

have a great weekend readers.

roopa singh

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beat street let your art speak

dear readers,

been thinking about back to school. its funny, as a student i’m sitting down, gotta raise my hand to speak, and as a teacher, i’m walking around, the mic is mine, tryna remember that everyone deserves a chance to shine. last night i screened beat street, prepping to show it to my hip hop politics class. back in the day, all the colors, all that sway…

here in new york city, circa 2010, much of the art has literally gone underground, subway platforms, you could hear the sound. but back in the day, when hip hop engulfed the minds, bodies, and hearts of a population chest tight against a dead end economic block, back in the day, art was a living, breathing part of gotham life. it may be safer now, but i would argue that depends on what safe means to you. does it mean quiet, black clad on the way to and from the office? does it mean sexy and strappy and scrappy like how the songs say? what stereotype did you fight today?

as a prison lawyer, i saw cell blocks divided by race and region, set and legion. out here, it’s not so different. except out here, we aren’t forced into separation, we do it ourselves. falling safely into line behind the stereotype leaders of the new school. but shit, there are still so many of us out here doing our own thing, and i’m so proud to be an artist, breaking down walls internal and external.

stay tuned for more,

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