1 big thing is missing from top protest songs in hip-hop: Donald Trump

While Trump still dominates the headlines and drives a congested news cycle, in many of the top protest songs of 2017 and 2018 -- some of which have topped the charts, there is virtually no mention of Trump. And that's because, for a number of activists and artists -- including Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and T.I. who once celebrated Trump's wealth and power in past lyrics -- there is so much more to discuss.

Political dissent, which is often energized and, in some cases, driven by the anti-Trump movement, has become so powerful and so all-encompassing that it has transcended Trump, and music released since he became president reflects an evolution in the conversation, according to hip hop industry artists and activists interviewed by ABC News.

And according to Rev. Lennox Yearwood, the president of the nonprofit group, The Hip Hop Caucus, the revitalization of social activism in hip-hop and the evolution of the political conversation shows that “through tragedy is coming triumph.”

“Artists and activists feel like we can’t wait for Trump,” Yearwood said. “We have to get out there now and fight.”

Maimouna Youssef, a Grammy-nominated artist known as Mumu Fresh, said that although activists and artists recognize that “it’s still serious that Trump has the power” to influence policy and politics, “people are finally getting it -- that he’s irrelevant to the movement.”

“It’s not going to happen because of him, but in spite of him,” Youssef told ABC News. “We kind of all got tired of the reality show. You see all of the stories and ridiculousness and the tweets…and you turn it off and you go do something more productive with your time.”

Instead, each is an anthem steeped in political and social commentary on race and racism in America.

“Clearly the old saying is true: ‘When the movement is strong, the music is strong,’ and when the movement is weak, the music is weak,” Yearwood said.

“(Now), when artists do put out political music, it shoots to the top. People need it for their spirits, they need it for their souls, they need it to keep fighting.”

The video for “This is America,” -- a provocative commentary about the black experience and the degradation of black bodies and black culture over centuries -- is so steeped in historical and modern-day symbols that cultural critics are still unpacking its meaning months after its May release.

Describing it as “a song that speaks to your existence,” Yearwood said that “This is America” is reminiscent of “We Shall Overcome” -- the gospel song that became the anthem for the 1960s civil rights movement.

The song was so well-received in the mainstream that it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 -- a spot that is rarely held by such explicitly political songs.

“Whenever socially conscious music is successful in the mainstream, it’s a great thing because we don’t get enough of it,” Massachusetts rapper Termanology, whose upcoming album also explores political themes, told ABC News.

“And if it happens naturally, if it’s just meant to be like that, it’s definitely beautiful for us that really care.”

“Until women can get equal pay for equal work ... Until same gender loving people can be who they are ... Until black people can come home from a police stop without being shot in the head ... Until poor whites can get a shot at being successful ... Until Latinos and Latinas don't have to run from walls, this is not my America.”

“It’s a revival for myself, and it’s kind of the theme of the album, but there’s also, hopefully, the revival of America,” the Detroit rapper said. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/entertainment/music/2017/12/15/eminem-talks-revival-dr-dre-siriusxm-chat/108643886/

Jay-Z, who on several occasions in years past lauded Trump's lavish lifestyle and wealth, has since criticized the former business mogul-turned-president's comments.

Largely though, Trump barely ranks a name drop in Jay-Z's most recent tracks.

Instead, the veteran rapper has increasingly become a vocal proponent for criminal justice reform, explores the black experience in America in his Grammy-nominated album, "4:44." For instance, the song “The Story of O.J.” explores the subjugation of African-Americans in media and culture over history and examines black stereotypes through the use of black and white cartoons.

And then there’s the evolution of Meek Mill, who in the last few months has become one of the most visible advocates for criminal justice reform.

And his latest releases like “Stay Woke,” featuring Miguel and “Milidelphia,” from his “Legends of the Summer” EP, reflect this calling.

And finally, in one of the starkest artistic evolutions of late, the Black Eyed Peas -- who are generally known for upbeat and poppy party jams like “I Gotta Feeling” and “My Humps” -- made a comeback in 2018 striking a dramatically different tone.

“Ten years ago that was not the landscape,” Youssef said. It was almost like taboo to talk about the social issues. Today it’s in your face, you can’t run away from it. You can’t pretend that racism doesn’t exist.”

“Hopefully the younger generation sees that it is cool to spread jewels and spread knowledge and to talk about things that go on in the world,” Termanology said.

“It’s not just about drugs and superficial things ... and as long as it’s from the heart, I’m all for it.”


July 28, 2018

Sources: ABC News

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  •  Ocasio-Cortez appeared on podcast hosted by activist who said 'Jews should get the f--- out of Palestine'

    Ocasio-Cortez appeared on podcast hosted by activist who said 'Jews should get the f--- out of Palestine'

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p>Democrat socialist candidate struggles to clarify her comment on Israel&#x27;s &#x27;occupation of Palestine.&#x27;</p><p>New York Democratic&nbsp;Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once appeared on a podcast hosted by a progressive Puerto Rican activist who said Jews “should get the f--- out of Palestine.”</p><p>Ocasio-Cortez, who rose to prominence after defeating top Democrat Joe Crowley in the party’s U.S. House primary in June, got embroiled in a controversy back in July over her views on the Israel-Palestine conflict.</p><p>But before Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning victory against Crowley, which thrust her into the national spotlight, she went on a Spanish-language podcast in May hosted by Rafael Tirado Rivera, a progressive activist in Puerto Rico, who once expressed anti-Semitic views, including that Jewish people should vacate the Middle East, Fox News can reveal.</p><p>The activist, who is also a blogger for Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper El Nuevo D&iacute;a, referred to the disgraced former White House reporter, Helen Thomas, who went on an anti-Semitic rant the same year.</p><p>Among his other guests on the podcast was Julia Salazar, a Democratic Socialist who recently won a New York State Senate Democratic primary, but whose campaign was plagued by allegations that she faked her Jewish and immigrant identity. She’s also a supporter of the boycott movement against Israel and was once denied entry into the country.</p><p>The Ocasio-Cortez campaign didn’t respond to Fox News’ repeated request for a comment and questions whether she was aware of Rivera’s views.</p><p>When asked whether Ocasio-Cortez knew his political views before coming on the podcast, Rivera said, &quot;I'm not sure. Maybe not.&quot;</p><p>The podcast host said he believes “the same thing that I believed 10 years ago,” but offered a different interpretation of the tweets. “Israel should cease the occupation of Palestine. I believe in a two state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict,” he said.</p><p>&quot;Maybe I should have used a different set of words. Instead of the &lsquo;Jews&rsquo; I should have said, Israel.&quot;</p><p>“Maybe I should have used a different set of words,” he added, noting that during his podcasts with Ocasio-Cortez or Salazar the issue of Israel wasn’t discussed. “Instead of the ‘Jews’ I should have said, Israel.”</p><p>The appearance on the podcast raises concerns about Ocasio-Cortez views towards Israel and the Jewish people, an issue she tried to avoid talking about and changed her talking points depending on the audience.</p><p>She initially raised eyebrows during an appearance on PBS’s &quot;Firing Line&quot; in July after struggling to coherently her explanation her remarks on social media in which she called the Israeli military action confronting protesters trying to breach the Israel-Gaza Strip a “massacre” and that “no state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters.”</p><p>She later asserted, though shortly backtracked in an audience of progressives, that she’s a “firm believer in finding a two-state solution on this issue” but noted that she’s “not the expert at geopolitics on this issue.”</p><p>“This is a conversation I’m sitting down with lots of activists in this movement on and I’m looking forward to engaging in this conversation,” she responded to the question whether she supports a two-state solution during a town hall-style sit-down with Democracy Now, a far-left website.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 September 22, 2018
  • Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan's daughter, says she's sexual assault survivor in op-ed defending Kavanaugh's accuser

    Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan's daughter, says she's sexual assault survivor in op-ed defending Kavanaugh's accuser

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p> Patti Davis, the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, wrote in an op-ed that she was sexually assaulted roughly 40 years ago. &nbsp;(Getty Images) </p><p>Patti Davis, the daughter of former President Ronald Reagan and former first lady Nancy Reagan, said she was sexually assaulted about 40 years ago as she mounted a defense of the woman who accused President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.</p><p>She said she was hoping to jump-start her music career and brought a cassette with her material to the appointment. She said she did not remember what the two talked about but remembered what the man was wearing. She also recalled the man offering her cocaine.</p><p>“When he pulled a vial of cocaine out of his desk drawer and started chopping up lines on a small mirror, I’m 90 percent sure I declined his offer to do some with him, not because I didn’t do drugs — I definitely did in those years — but because I was starting to feel uncomfortable. My memory of the discomfort is sharp and clear, but my memory of declining the coke is, as I said, about 90 percent,” she wrote.</p><p>Davis described the alleged assault, including what the man’s breath smelled like.</p><p>“He was against me, on top of me — so quickly — with his hands under my skirt and his mouth on mine, that I froze,” she wrote. “I lay there as he pushed himself inside me. The leather couch stuck to my skin, made noises beneath me. His breath smelled like coffee and stale bread. He didn't use a condom.&quot;</p><p>Davis wrote she did not tell anyone about the alleged assault for decades.</p><p>“I never told anyone for decades — not a friend, not a boyfriend, not a therapist, not my husband when I got married years later,” she wrote.</p><p>“It doesn’t surprise me one bit that for more than 30 years, Christine Blasey Ford didn’t talk about the assault she remembers, the one she accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of committing,” Davis wrote.</p><p>She said Ford was “criticized” for not remembering the address of where the alleged assault occurred. However, Davis pointed out that Ford recalled the alleged attack in vivid detail.</p><p>Ford has requested the FBI to investigate the alleged sexual assault - which Davis called a “brave request.”</p><p>On late Friday night, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley granted Ford another extension to decide whether she will testify to the committee. Grassley initially invited Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, to testify Monday and gave Ford until 10 a.m. Friday to respond. That deadline passed Friday without a deal after Ford’s attorneys made clear this week Ford didn’t want to testify Monday but suggested she would do so on another day.</p><p>Ford said she was 15 and Kavanaugh was 17 when he allegedly assaulted her at a house party in Maryland. She claims he pinned her to a bed, attempted to remove her clothes and put his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming.</p><p>Kavanaugh, a federal appeals judge, has&nbsp;denied the accusations&nbsp;and said he’s willing to testify before the Judiciary Committee to prove his innocence.</p><p>Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 September 22, 2018


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