Tag Archives: chubb rock

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

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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.

love,
roopa singh

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on pride

Dear Readers,

Delhi, Kolkata, Banglore, New York City, San Francisco, Toronto all soared this past weekend. Pride.

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A young, queer student of mine had this as her Facebook status message on Friday, kicking things off rather existentially: “is there anything to really be Proud about?…but ill b there anyway…see yall in the vill.”

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Hell yeah. Pride is to queer folks what the weekend is to everyone else. It’s our time of year to show the rest of y’all how its done. Our time to shine. And we are. Just so. Shiny.

Some of my Pride. This past weekend I saw, in live-amongst-the-tall-green-trees-concert, Chubb Rock, Masta Ace and EMC crew, DJ Premier, OC, Jeru the Damager, Elvis Perkins, the Cold War Kids; I danced epic go-getta style at the Leela Lounge and the Highline Ballroom; I marched up and down Christopher Street as much as my golden sandaled and new-nod-to-the-c-c-c-olors Nike clad feet could take; I feasted with a troop of Desi Dykes; I random conversated with mad queer folks on the subway, because in the City, pride leaks down into the underground; sketched and drew with fellow women to the beat of a live model and nearby book club watching Junot Diaz on You Tube in Spanish Harlem; read deeper into The Tipping Point and The Biography of Paul Robeson; rode my bike to Coney Island, where I quenched, sank my body into salt, spread out to dry on the sand, and arose to the tune of lightening, the color of thunder, rode back home in a torrential summer downpour, soaked and biking. Just like monsoon season. India, I miss you.

And I’m so proud of and inspired by your fabulous Pride march debuts. (!!!)

There’s no beginning or end to Pride, not really. So, Happy Pride forever.

And read my Pride poems, bitc*es.

There’s three for you. One on Pride in the village with the visage so amazing and cops closing us out in the hundreds. Cavalry, SUV’s, scooters. The other two are on dancing in the Pride filled clubs. I heart gay boys.

I’d like to send these poems out to India, my students (you know who you are) and Mondays.

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pride

cascade/rain drenched

reign/bows

clenched/fists

closeted wish

summer went somewhere

when out of nowhere

pride

the visage

opens a stone walled place inside

a nation of millions

creative children

bending colors

contorting hedgemony

vaulting social control

careening gender roles

pride

poured out pier

backwards looking

cop in his rear/view

see/who

which one of you

thinks this is funny

barricades slapped on the crowd

the worlds most lucrative consumer base

only gets

un-caged/out loud

one weekend a year

never will we forget

that this is Our Pier

pride

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dancing

dancing/freely

dancing/heal me

dancing/billy club

dancing/my drug

of sweat/choice

*

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***

gay boys

gay boys

brown and black

cowboy boots and daisy dukes

all knees and elbows

curves and necks/posed/up

gay boy

dance close/for good/luck

and good measure

i promise i won’t take my eyes off you

as long as you watch me too

gay boy

pressed against/our hip bones blue

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***

thanks for tuning in to: “on pride.” stay tuned folks, there’s more where that came from in two and two.

peace,

roopa singh/n

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