Tag Archives: politics

a roopa singh film: “Cultura 4 Prez,” dispatch from election day (featuring my parents, my students, the best fall tree in prospect park and music by shamik)

Dear Readers,

At least 400 of you visit this site every fucking day. Thank you. To my students at Pace in the course of my dreams, Hip Hop Politics, I Love U.

My first independent film, “Cultura 4 Prez,” is featured below. Shot, edited, and produced by: roopa singh. Music by Shamik , http://www.myspace.com/teamshamik)


Poem 4 Me:

i’ve been away

i’m back

i’m stronger

my name is roopa singh

that’s r-double o-p-a

i’m a professor of law, hip hop, and economics

i’m battling lust and sometimes, i believe it when posers say they love me

when they don’t even love themselves

i’m like malcolm and laura on the dance floor

‘cept i’m both

i’m waiting to hear back from the tisch school of arts

because i applied to a masters program in film

so i’ve been away

and now i’m back


On my film, Cultura 4 Prez:

While government and industry both assert their authorship of the American story, the pubic has consistently voted for the arts with their hips, throats, wallets and hearts. Cultura 4 Prez, brings home this point with a vivid and grounding look at America on and around Election Day, 2008. The film poses a timely political question to young and old, immigrant and citizen; “What does change mean to you?” Book ended by scenes from Wildstyle, an iconic film that documents graffiti and hip hop poised between cultural movement and popular consumption, Cultura 4 Prez nurtures the idea that artists are core leaders of the democratic project.

A few months ago I won a teaching award which included a sum of money. With that money I bought my first video camera, a little “Flip” with an attached USB port. This camera is the first video camera to be owned in my family, and it is what I used to shoot Cultura 4 Prez. Since I don’t currently have Final Cut Pro, I produced Cultura 4 Prez in one night, using the tools I needed and burning the midnight oil at a friend’s house.

Bits of magic accompanied the creation of Cultura 4 Prez. The best fall tree in Prospect Park held its leaves for one last day as I captured its sublime representation of change. The Greyhound bus I took to visit my parents Diwali weekend broke down, and I had the extended chance to talk to my fellow passengers. My students at City College are bright pundits, and shine on camera. I was able to sneak my camera in to document my vote, and so on.

The end product is a short film with a lot to say about leadership, change, and the importance of creative mindfulness in heady political times.

Stay tuned for more dear readers. I’m a political poet, with all the news that’s fit to flip.


roopa singh

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wildstyle: a series on what next, future political goals

dear readers,

just came back from catching hip hop film classic, wildstyle, at filmfare in the 212. in the house were members of the rock steady crew, grandmaster caz, with a potential lady pink citing.  an incredible short flick on chronicling a samurai sharp yet endearing barbershop battle in which a swahili spitting rapper and lyrically dipped grandmaster caz go toe to toe.

director charlie ahearn, spoke before and after the film.  he offered lively anecdotes and attempts at bigger picture political links between the hip hop generation then and now.  ahearn dominated the mic while the film’s shining stars and culture’s ambassadors kicked it in the audience.

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film review: wildstyle

widlstyle was an uprock of colors, a rainbow of ryhme, and it was earnest. without being wimpy. for the first time, i saw it as a musical. the precedent for award winning broadway hit, the heights.

taking a look at the movie through the eyes of a survey of the gender dynamic circa hip hop’s labor pains reveals (surprise!) that a male dominated hip hop industry isn’t new. but the degree of equal inclusion on the basis of gender in wildstyle, with graf star lady pink and debbie harry both featured in powerful roles, was refreshing.

ladies, am i wrong or have  we been having some DRY times in the music and media industry?

introducing a series on future political goals

is it time to ask ourselves: what are our new thresholds?

i think so. because “yes we can” is only “yes we DID,” in one, albeit important, way.  aside from getting the obama’s in the white house, we are very much a society at “si se puede stage,” still.

im going to be writing a series on prospective political goals, domestic and international. starting from one and going to ten. they’ll drop on saturdays.  here goes number one.

1. bring back the public works projects.

that way you boost morale through beauty, pump money into main street, and support artists. artists cherry humanity’s sundae. decades of steadily drying streams of funding deprive the people of the love we should never have to forget. artists love is real love, it don’t come around during election time, it is a death defying constant. art makes me feel held.  in its grasp i am seen.  and beign an artist is my way of holding you.  so lets bring back the public works projects and freshen up our roads and bridges with murals, brighten the eyes of grade school children with song, quicken the confidence of high school students with dance, challenge the unhindered intelligence of college students to poetry, and nurture our teachers through film, for they are all stars

i think the news should help the nation organize.  so this my version of the news.  come back for more of all the news thats fit to flip.  saturday, installment two in the ten part series.


roopa singh, jd

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top three of debate season: 1. joe plummer, 2. the mccain-palin rallies between debates: confederates unite!, 3. obama’s composure

Dear Readers,

Debate season is over. Actually, I think its more accurate to say that Speach Season is over.

Speech Season started with Barack Obama’s, “A More Perfect Union Speech,” delivered last Father’s Day. After that speech, and after waves of love and hate rose in response to the spoken word, the prospect of presidential oratory skills re-entered the national imagination.

Fast forward to Sarah Palin’s speech at the RNC. I remember how she burst on the political scene and upped the game with her sharp verbal swords. I remember the oratorical shift, when Obama’s message of change got picked up by McCain, who’s breathy words at the RNC felt almost like a sigh of relief. He was so siked to have Palin on his team.

Glancing back at the DNC, I remember Bill Clinton’s speech and the tide of political applause that rose to greet him. I remember Hillary Clinton’s oratorical charge, and the stirring way she saluted the millions of Democrats who nearly nominated her.  I remember Obama’s stadium speech, when he accepted the nomination.  The one with fireworks, the one with the dramatic stage set, the one that reminded me of the mind blowing Opening and Closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Remember those?

The debates gave us the chance to hear as a nation. To watch as a nation. To feel as a nation the American Idol prime time selection process of the next president of the United States. From now till early November, we will generally see the candidates in bits and pieces, ads, local rallies, clips on the news.

But I will remember how it felt to watch speeches together, in a room full of students and teachers. And I will remember how it looked to walk down the blocks of Manhattan and Brooklyn and bear witness to America coalescing around the spoken word.

I remember. If America becomes more unified after the election, I will remember all the ways in which we, as a nation, are together. If America becomes more divided after the election, I will remember.

Will you?

Stay tuned for more, from my favorite political poet.


roopa singh

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