By: Hadji Williams [reprinted with author's permission]
After spitting its virtues for ten summers, Jay-Z and his hiphop minions are now boycotting Cristal, a hiphop staple after Frederic Rouzaud, the brand’s managing director made what many are calling elitist and racist comments against the hiphop community’s economic support of Cristal in a recent interview in The Economist magazine. (www.targetmarketnews.com)
“What can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.” Rouzaud said of hiphop’s pallets.
Well, as a 15 year marketing vet, I’ve got a scoop for Marcy’s all-time great: Your boycott’s too late, fam. In case you haven’t noticed, it works like this, folks: Hiphop, like the Blues, like most everything from the black community before gets mined for its cool cache. And this time, y’all been strip-mined and pimped as corporate cheerleaders. And basically for free, no less.
Rouzaud never cut any brother a check for any of those mic checks. The nouveau rich and the not-so riche been chasing Cris and those uppity brands because Jig, Puff and every other bruh with some BDS and MTV said the bottle was hot. And it worked—Cristal is the 8th most popular brand in 2005 behind Mercedes, Nike, Bentley and Rolls Royce. Meanwhile most of the Hamptons, Hollywood and Wall Street are, as Mr. Rouzaud, put it “curiously serene.”
Fact is Rouzaud is shooting his mouth off now, because he knows Cristal doesn’t need hiphop’s praises anymore. The Jig’s up and they’ve moved on. The whole “black kid made good” angle is played and upscale consumers aren’t feeling us anymore. You can only play dress-up for so long before the clock strikes. There’s a reason someone like David Beckham now carries more marketing muscle than any handful of ethnic celebs you can name. (Read KNOCK THE HUSTLE—I warned y’all this was coming.)
Secondly, it’s called luxury for a reason, folks. Luxury always excludes. Luxury excludes by class, by price, and yes, by race. And I don’t care how much money you got, IT stops being “luxury” once enough negroes cop it. Sorry, but it’s true.
But young heads are still sleeping: In the eyes of most marketers Hiphop (and black folks at large) are just disposable media outlets. It’s all about reach, frequency and brand equity. Hov don’t have the reach ‘n’ frequency he used to; in fact, hiphop doesn’t. (Hate if you want, you know I’m right.)
Therefore most “luxury” brands are starting the slow steady exodus back to more exclusionary brand strategies—paler faces in their ads, more “upscale” and “selective” partnerships and cross-promotional opportunities. They want their swagger back.
See, I know this game. While my cats hustled on the streets, I got my grind on the suites—too many brands to mention. Never Cristal, but I did help a certain, “+A” vodka get mad bullish few summers back. (Yep, that was me. See KNOCK THE HUSTLE.)
Anyway, once I got hooked up with some Euros who owned a hard cider brand called “K”. You know why they called me?
“We know that in order to really push this in the states we need to get it in the black community.” That’s what these Irish cats told us, point blank. They’d never been to the US but they knew that much. They asked me for a list of hiphop stars, hot urban clubs, etc. Their plan was simple: Get slick brothers and sisters hyping it up knowing full-well everybody else would be on it in a couple years, if not sooner.
Unfortunately cats weren’t really feeling the hard cider so it never popped. But that’s how that part of the game works. We sit in rooms and politic and scheme. Sometimes checks get cut and next thing you know your favorite rap superhero is dipped in [INSERT BRAND HERE]. Rouzaud and his kind are no different. No matter what they say.
Now, I’m not saying that’s how/why Jay got with Cris. I’m sure Hov was a Cris fan back when he was just hyping Jaz; just as Run was lacing up Adidas before their contract, and LL rocked Kangols while he was slicing up Kool Moe…
Anyway, Mr. Rouzaud’s sentiments are an orchestrated shoutout to his base that he’s putting the velvet ropes back around the Cristal. But he’s not alone. While his “my-clothes-aren’t-for-black-folks/Oprah-interview” was a hoax, Tommy Hil’s announcement that the Hilfiger brand is “moving out the urban arena and back to its upscale mainstream roots” is quite legit. (Google the press releases for more info.)
You can’t slam a door on folks that are walking out on you. Most of the companies that have gotten cool and rich off of hiphop cosigning are cashing out and moving on. Some are looking to Hispanic consumers. Many are going for NASCAR Dads and SoccerMom sets. Others are chasing upscale anglo roots. Some are trying to revive the X-treme thing, etc. But make no mistake: The bachelor party’s over and hiphop just got ran thru by half the cats in the house. And now, they’re going home. So who cares if you don’t want to put out anymore?
My advice to the hiphop community is this: Keep these companies names out of your mouth and don’t ride for any INC until you know exactly who you’re dealing with. Do your due diligence. Most of these folks have no regard for you, your community, your culture, or your art. You’re just a means to an end; and when push comes to shove, they’re mean and focused about getting their ends.
And to every crime nigga that rhyme: they’ll touch your mic every time, ‘cuz their minds are quicker. Much quicker. -------
A 15-year vet of the marketing industry, Hadji Williams is author of KNOCK THE HUSTLE: How to save your job and your life from Corporate America. Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org
As it turns out, I finally remembered that it was a couple of guys from a Greensboro record store called Gate City Noise who played it at a backyard party one night, two guitars, one singer. Their's was the best I've heard and I think they were inspired by The Gourds.
The Gourds at Bonnarroo
Here's what I found while I tried to remember what I'd heard:
The FTP Movement: Feed The People, Fuck The Police
I recently received a copy of an interview with Professor Griff by Kalonji Jama Changa and permission to reprint it here at Hip Hop Logic. I originally intended to do so but, after reading the interview more closely, I was reminded that Griff's message is not something that I can fully get behind.
Bottom line, I'm white and I'm an anarchist. Either one ultimately puts me at odds with Griff for reasons that should be obvious if you read the interview.
However, I'm sympathetic to groups like the FTP Movement and to revolutionaries like Kalonji Jama Changa who build their programs on meeting basic needs just as the Black Panther Party did with its breakfast program.
Besides, what politically minded writer couldn't appreciate a blog post with photos of folks preparing supplies for those in need entitled:
The illegal actions of the U.S. government must be stopped. The Guantanamo Bay prisoners have been held for years without charges violating international law, common sense and any credible notions of justice.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Three Guantanamo Bay detainees hanged themselves with nooses made of sheets and clothes, the commander of the detention center said Saturday. They were the first reported deaths among the hundreds of men held at the base for years without charge.
The suicides, which military officials said were coordinated, triggered further condemnation of the isolated detention center, which holds some 460 men on suspicion of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban. Only 10 have been charged with crimes and there has been growing international pressure on the U.S. to close the prison.
I wish there was a way to make this issue of Net Neutrality more interesting. I wish there was a way to spice it up and make it compelling like some sort of beef within the rap industry. Maybe I should get Brad and Angelina to talk about it instead of their baby. Maybe Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton can utter a few words and force us to take more of an interest.
I wish Cam'ron spent his vast money holding press conferences, dissing punk ass Congress for taking tainted money from Verizon, SBC, and Comcast instead of going after Jay-Z. Im glad Jay-Z ignored Camron, unfortunately he remained silent as the President of Def Jam on this important issue. We'll see what happens after Def Jam finds it difficult or too costly to send out their e-post cards alerting me and others of their latest releases
Im sorry Miss Jones on Hot 97 was so upset and enraged that she felt compelled to make headlines calling Mary J Blige a bitch for not shouting her out at last weeks Summer Jam. Its too bad that she didnt use her 3-4 hours a day of airtime in the nations largest city to call the greedy Congress people who accepted money from these corporations Bitches. There aint gonna be any shout outs if the Senate follows Congress in passing this bill. Maybe she'll step it up when her parent company Emmis finds that folks from all over the country can no longer easily access their archived interviews on their website.
It's too bad that many of us found this issue 'too complicated' and 'too overwhelming' and hence directed our attention to Ludacris and Ice Cube's beef with Oprah. This is the feedback I got after stories ran on my website as well as AllHipHop.
Shyt I'm sorry Oprah was too busy telling Ed Lover that she really does love Hip Hop and that she listens to 50 Cent and his violent ass all damn day instead of alerting her millions of viewers about the issue of Net Neutrality.
Im sorry that KRS-One and others used these Internet airways to tell us about the Hip Hop Nation they want to build, but didnt issue a call to action to protect a main arm of our communication. Whether youre a Hip Hop or Rap Lover the elimination of Net Neutrality is gonna impact you.
I can tell things are going to get heavy here at Hip Hop Logic if I really am back in it. Sometimes a sports break is necessary. This is a great highlights video of soccer handling(?) skills. Obviously I don't know much about soccer but I love great play.
The song is reggae with a rapper featured. Not sure who it is but hit me up at hiphoplogic(at)netweed(dot)com if you know.
Update: I've been thinking it's Bob Marley and found one album of rap remixes called Chant Down Babylon, however, this tune isn't on there.
Final Update: I've been informed that the song is Guns Are Drawn from The Roots' album The Tipping Point.
Hip Hop Logic News, Headlines Temporarily Off-Kilter
I was messing around with the template code and lost my way. Things should be back to normal now but the headline service may be affected for a bit more. Hopefully everything will be back to what we consider "normal" at Hip Hop Logic very soon and the newsletter won't be affected.
I'm trying to revive Hip Hop Logic again with a combination of material that I'll no longer be posting at ProHipHop, due to ProHipHop's emerging focus on marketing, plus more reprints and political material.
I wanted to add comments but it messed up the urls and we're talking about years of posts being affected. I want my readers to have a voice but, for the moment, I'm seeking a solution that I can only hope I'll find.
I found out about the passing of Skeeter Rabbit, a pioneering LA dancer, from a piece at Davey D's written soon after the news hit, in the wake of the passing of two LA djs, DJ Dusk and DJ Michael Mixxing Moore. In addition to sharing more about Skeeter, Davey included a section from a longer eulogy written by Brit Wolfson, a dancer who studied with him, who related the personal impact of Skeeter's life and reflected on the broader meaning of Skeeter's death.
I love that name, Skeeter Rabbit, and I was glad to see the video posted by Jay Smooth cause, for me, the best way to remember dancers is to remember how they danced.
The impact of the passing of Hawk aka Big Hawk, John Edwards Hawkins, a member of Houston's Screwed Up Click, was strongly felt by Houston So Real. He communicates that in a series of posts which moved me with their direct honest simplicity.
I was also moved by a small group of photos from the funeral posted at MicTap, in particular, the final shot of Hawk's wife and son. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about photographers intruding on such events but it's a strong photo that I will always remember.
I didn't know how to respond to the death of Philant Johnson. He's not an artist and I don't have a strong connection to T.I., though I like some of his music. It was the words of DJ Drama that personalized his passing for me: Philant Johnson was a beautiful person. He was the last person to cause confrontation and the last person to ask for it. He was the father to a daughter and a son to a mother and father.
And I have to say I strongly sympathized with the following: We are real people. Philant was a real person. You people read this and comment as though we are figments on tv with out feelings and emotion.
Thanks for reminding me of something that's all too easy to forget.
PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa EXPLORES PERCEPTIONS OF IDENTITY, QUESTIONS NOTIONS OF RACE, ETHNICITY
Artist Fulbeck Photographed Over 1,000 Individuals of Multiracial Backgrounds, Asked Each Subject to Respond to Question Most Often Asked of Hapa: 'What Are You?'
Show Set to Open June 8 at Japanese American National Museum
LOS ANGELES.--A remarkable set of photographs of individuals of multiracial heritage and their responses to the most common question asked of people of mixed-race background-What are you?comprises the heart of the thought-provoking art exhibition, kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa, which is set to open at the Japanese American National Museum on June 8 and runs through October 29, 2006.
Three years ago, Fulbeck, who is an award-winning filmmaker and artist, began photographing multiracial individuals around the country. The photographs are all taken the same way from the collarbone up, without clothing, jewelry, glasses, makeup, or even purposeful expression. The images frame the subjects heads and shoulders and, according to Fulbeck, play upon and critique the official photographs each person has taken for their drivers licenses, passports and other forms of identification. The twist is that each individual has the opportunity to respond in their own handwriting to the frequently asked question of all individuals of diverse racial backgrounds: What are you? The subjects vary in age, gender and background. Besides their statements, the subjects are only identified by their racial and/or ethnic background also designated by the subjects themselves.
The term hapa is a Hawai`ian word meaning half or portion. Used in the phrase hapa haole, it originally referred to people who were half Hawaiian and half Caucasian usually in a derogatory way implying impurity. Over time, its pejorative connotation diminished and the word hapa came to be used both in Hawaii and on the continent as an identifier for multiracial people of partial Asian/Pacific Islander ancestry. Now used as a term of pride by an ever-expanding hapa community, it fills a void intrinsic to a country that does not readily recognize multiraciality.
Fulbeck (who is a mix of Chinese, English, and Irish) was told by his full-blooded Chinese cousins when he was five years old that he was hapa. He never gave much thought to the term as a child, but as he got older and experienced the tremendous lack of knowledge relating to mixed-race identity (or worse, the negative connotations associated with it) he began thinking about ways to promote a more realistic and human portrayal of hapa identity. Integral to this process was utilizing the term hapa in a positive manner.
I think part of that is the fact that its a reclamation of a once-pejorative term, Fulbeck explained, and part of it is its the first label that wasnt put on us. Eurasian? AfroAsian?-these types of words always feel a bit scientific to me. Amerasian has that whole 1975-Vietnamese-G.I. connotation in some peoples minds. Hybrid or half-breed are problematic. Mixed blood is okay, but when you get down to it, thats really just about everybody. Hapa feels a bit more fluid, less formal. Its use is still evolving.
Initially, Fulbeck began taking photographs for his web site, The Hapa Project. He planned on making the photographs accessible through the site at (http://thehapaproject.com/) and put out a simple call for willing subjects. The response was immediate and exciting so much so that Fulbeck proposed publishing a book using some of the photographs and the written responses as a way to help fund the project. The book, Part Asian 100% Hapa, has just been released through Chronicle Books, and forms the basis of this exhibition. The exhibition is made possible, in part, by the support of Mariko O. Gordon & Hugh Cosman, Michael & Karen Otamura Schneikert, The James Irvine Foundation and Wells Fargo. Media sponsors are the Rafu Shimpo and the Downtown News.
The Japanese American National Museum is honored to have kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa presented at our institution, stated Irene Hirano, President and CEO of the National Museum. As an artists project, this exhibition delves into a subject of vital importance to not just the Japanese American community, but to our nation and our world. According to the last Census in 2000, one in three Japanese American is of multiracial heritage and individuals who self-identify himself or herself as multi-ethnic are a growing segment of our country. The Japanese American National Museum intends to examine this subject thoroughly and this exhibition is just the first of many upcoming programs.
Exhibition The exhibition displays the essence of Fulbecks project, including a cross section of over 80 photographs juxtaposed next to each subjects statements on the walls of the galleries of the Watanabe and Miyawaki Galleries of the National Museums Pavilion. While the names of the subjects are absent, Fulbeck has carefully included the racial heritage of each person according to the subjects own designation. The combinations are endless, including filipino, scottish, german; cuban, japanese, jewish; hakka, shanghainese, welsh, english, german, swiss; and ghanaian, chinese, croatian, scottish, irish, german, indian, british, native american.
The individual statements reflect the myriad of experiences of the subjects. One man wrote, I am a daily contest to guess what I am. One youngster stated, Im a girl. Im American. Im seven. I am Hanna. Another woman recalled, My last boyfriend told me he liked me because of my race. So I dumped him. And a young man described himself as an American kid who celebrates Hanukkah with his Jewish stepfather, prays to Buddha with his Buddhist momma, and then goes to midnight Mass with his Christian father and waits for Santa Claus to come down the chimney. Yeah.
On Saturdays during the run of the exhibition, visitors can take a Polaroid photograph in the gallery and add their images and personal responses to the question of What are you? to the exhibitions interactive display. With new subjects being constantly added, the exhibition will continue to evolve. In addition to this gallery activity, a video monitor will be showing one of Fulbecks short films, Lilo and Me, a parody of how people of color are homogenized by mainstream media.
DiscoverNikkei.org In conjunction with this exhibition, DiscoverNikkei.org, a web site containing one of the worlds largest Nikkei-related databases of history and culture, will feature supporting materials for kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa. An extensive video interview with Fulbeck will be featured in the Real People section with clips that explore his personal experiences. The Community Forum will feature a new bulletin board on Hapa identity, open to participation and available for questions.
Individuals who visit the galleries and have their own photographs taken along with their written responses may have their materials submitted to the Nikkei Album section of the web site. Also, the National Museum will provide access to its inaugural podcasts with a series of ten-minute audio programs that explore what Hapa sounds like through interviews, narration and music. New programming will be posted regularly.
Kip Fulbeck Kip Fulbeck has been making films and art about Hapa identity since 1990. Known as the nation's leading artist on the subject, he has spoken and exhibited his award-winning films, performance, and photography throughout the world, including PBS, the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, Singapore International Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Bonn Videonale, the National Conference On Race in Higher Education, and the Honolulu Contemporary Arts Museum. The director of the landmark video Banana Split (1991) and author of Paper Bullets: A Fictional Autobiography (University of Washington Press, 2001), Fulbeck is the inaugural recipient of the Hapa Issues Forum Prism Award for the Arts.
Fulbeck founded the Hapa Project as a way to find people like me, people that may have gone through similar situations that I went through. Through the projects web site as well as a site on MySpace.com, thousands of visitors have made contact and left their own statements. This led to the creation of his photographic book, Part Asian, 100% Hapa, which has just been published by Chronicle Books. Fulbeck is currently Professor and Chair of Art at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is a three-time recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Member Award and also an affiliate faculty member in Asian American Studies and Film Studies.
Part Asian 100% Hapa Part Asian 100% Hapa (Chronicle Books 2006), with portraits by Kip Fulbeck, foreword by Sean Lennon and afterward by Professor Paul Spickard, reproduces over 100 photographs of individuals who volunteered to have their faces photographed by Fulbeck for the Hapa Project. Fulbeck, who literally traveled the country, gave each volunteer the opportunity to handwrite responses to the question most commonly asked of multi-racial people: What are you?
Described as a photo album of the twenty-first-century global village, the book contains Fulbecks simply composed portraits which are profoundly evocative. The book is available through the National Museums Store on-site or online at www.janmstore.com.
Public Programs See Exhibition-related public programs document.
JAPANESE AMERICAN NATIONAL MUSEUM The Japanese American National Museum is dedicated to fostering greater understanding and appreciation for Americas ethnic and cultural diversity by preserving and telling the stories of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Since its incorporation in 1985, the National Museum has grown into an internationally recognized institution, presenting award-winning exhibitions, groundbreaking traveling exhibits, educational public programs, innovative video documentaries and cutting-edge curriculum guides. The National Museum raised close to $60 million to renovate an historic building in 1992 and open a state-of-the-art Pavilion in Los Angeles Little Tokyo Historic District in 1999. There are now over 50,000 members and donors representing all 50 states and 16 different countries.
GENERAL INFORMATION The Japanese American National Museum is located at 369 East First Street in the historic Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles. For more information, call (213) 625-0414 or visit www.janm.org. National Museum hours are Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Admission is $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors; $4.00 for students and children; free for Museum members and children under age six. Admission is free to everyone on Thursdays from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Metered street parking and public parking lots are conveniently located near the National Museum for a nominal fee.
I was down at a local cd store and picked up a Rhymefest Blue Collar promo sampler. Hadn't heard the song Brand New featuring Kanye West before and I think it's awesome. I should note that I'm currently living television and radio free.
You don't like it get off my brand new dick.
Rhymefest has at least as much ego as Kanye and I think he's a much better rapper. But that's not hard to achieve. And I love the fact that Rhymefest kind of disses Kanye a little even though he's the guest!
Excuse me, I'm wacktose intolerant.
The video definitely pushes the Rhymefest as background player to Kanye theme even more. But I like him a lot better than Kanye.
[Update: I have this fucked up memory and while I was writing this I remembered reading the "wacktose intolerant" reference somewhere and also seeing the video before. But I didn't feel it very strongly till I heard it again the other day. So I'm not as out of it as I sometimes think I am.]
Very nice though short interview with Andre 3000 about the music for the upcoming film IdleWild: Sometimes you want the computer to be the computer and the live to be the live, because they’re serving two different purposes. We’ve grown up on beat machines; live drums may not be strong enough for our appetites. Sometimes you want the drums to sound really syncopated and boxy and computerized. And then you put some soul on top, funk it out that way. It’s like a good marriage.
NY Times: T.I. in NY, Hip Hop in Manila, Thug-Love Duets
T.I., Self-Proclaimed King of the South, Defends Title at the Apollo Theater "I want to see you get your A's up," said T.I. He was a few minutes into his midnight set at the Apollo Theater, the second of two concerts he gave on Thursday night. A crowd of people put fists up, with two fingers pointing down. They were anticipating the number that was starting, "A.S.A.P." And they were also paying tribute to T.I.'s hometown, Atlanta.
Hip-Hopping the Night Away in Manila WESTERN visitors to Manila may be surprised to come across an otherwise familiar scene: young adults filling the streets, bouncing from one club to another, decked out in the latest hip-hop gear as if they had come straight from Brooklyn. Except, of course, everyone is Filipino, and the rap is spiced with Tagalog, a language of the Philippines.
The Season of Thug-Love Duets Has Begun Since 1995 - when Method Man and Mary J. Blige joined forces to conquer the summer with "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By" - the thug-love duet has been the gold standard in musical hookups.