#23: Black History Month 2019 mit Boqor Bantu

#23: Black History Month mit Boqor Bantu

by The Healer Hip Hop | Podcast

Black History Month

Jedes Jahr im Februar wird in zahlreichen Ländern der Black History Month (BHM) gefeiert um die Geschichte Schwarzer Menschen in aller Welt zu würdigen. Diese Tradition geht auf das Jahr 1926 zurück, als der Historiker Carter G. Woodson eine Veranstaltungsreihe initiierte, um die breite Öffentlichkeit in den USA über Schwarze Geschichte und die kulturellen, wirtschaftlichen und gesellschaftlichen Leistungen der afro-amerikanischen Bevölkerung aufmerksam zu machen.

Auch in Deutschland wird BHM seit Anfang der 1990 vielen Städten von der Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland e.V. (ISD) organisiert.

Afro-Deutsche Geschichte

Wie schon in Podcast Episode #15, zum BHM UK im Oktober, habe ich mich auf ein Interview mit Boqor Bantu von  Geschichte Afrikas getroffen, um anhand von drei afro-deutschen Autobiografien über die Geschichte von Schwarzen Deutschen zu reden. Soulsänger Billheincock, der in seinen Liedern auch von seinen eigenen Erfahrungen als afrikanischer Deutscher erzählt, war so freundlich mir seinen passenden Song “Dealer” zur Verfügung zu stellen.

(Im Podcast habe ich von der Organisation “Über den Berg” erzählt. Der Verein heißt Mountain Activity Club und organisiert Trips in die Berge und über die Alpen für ehemalige Drogensüchtige.)

Londri Mingolo-Tite:

Allein in einer fremden Welt

Geboren und in den ersten Jahre beim Vater und der Oma im Kongo aufgewachsen, beschreibt Londri Mingolo-Tite seine Lebensgeschichte, erzählt von den unbeschwerten Kinderjahren im Kongo und wie er schließlich mit sieben Jahren von der Familie ganz allein ins Flugzeug gesetzt wird und über Umwegen nach Deutschland kommt. Er schildert den Kulturschock in dieser gänzlich anderen Mentalität. Er erzählt vom Alleinsein ohne Halt und Orientierung, ernüchtert von der harten Realität des Alltags in Deutschland und der schwierigen Integration.

Von den Problemen als ›schwarzer‹ Asylbewerber in Deutschland, den Verlockungen unserer ›weißen Welt‹, seinem Abrutschen in die Kriminalität, dem Großwerden in einem Heim der Jugendhilfe, bis zum Abschluss der Regelschule und dem Erlernen eines Berufes und dem Antritt einer Arbeitsstelle als Krankenpfleger in Trier.

Er beschreibt in harten Worten seine persönlichen Erfahrungen und seine Entwicklung vom Kind zum kleinkriminellen Gangster in Köln und Umland bis zum resozialisierten und integrierten ›Normalo‹ mit Frau und Tochter. Dieses Buch zeigt schonungslos und offen die Risiken der deutschen Asylpolitik, aber auch die Chancen und Ressourcen einer gelungenen Integration. Diese Geschichte ist real und wahr und brandaktuell.

Die Würde des Deutschen ist unantastbar.

Londri Mingolo-Tite

Hans J. Massaquoi:

Ein unaussprechlicher Titel

Als Sohn einer weißen Mutter und eines schwarzen Vaters wächst Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi in großbürgerlichen Verhältnissen in Hamburg auf. Doch eines Tages verlässt der Vater das Land. Hans-Jürgen und seine Mutter bleiben zurück und ziehen in ein Arbeiterviertel. Als die Nazis die Macht übernehmen, verändert sich ihr Leben grundlegend.

Hans J. Massaquoi beschreibt in seiner außergewöhnlichen Autobiographie seine Kindheit und Jugend zwischen 1926 und 1948 als einer der wenigen schwarzen Deutschen in diesem Land.

Theodor Michael:

Deutsch sein und schwarz dazu

Theodor Michaels Vater kam vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg aus Kamerun, damals deutsches »Schutz gebiet«, nach Deutschland und wurde wie andere Kolonialmigranten freundlich aufgenommen. Er heiratete eine Deutsche und gründete eine Familie. Doch schon während der Weimarer Republik fand man, Farbige sollten den Deutschen keine Arbeitsplätze mehr wegnehmen. Bald konnten sie nur noch in den sehr beliebten »Völkerschauen« unterkommen. In der Nazizeit wurden ihnen die deutschen Pässe entzogen. Nur als stumme Komparsen in den zahl reichen Kolonialfilmen waren sie noch gefragt.

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#26 I.Am.Tru.Starr

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#20: The Miseducation of Ana Swartz

#20: The Miseducation of Ana Swartz

by The Healer Hip Hop | Podcast

Ok, so here it is: this is the music I’ve made about ten years ago. I’ve promised to publish my music to Anna-Liisa Donnatella on Episode 16. It took a lot of courage to actually follow through with it but now that I did, I’m very proud of myself! 

The Miseducation of Ana Swartz

I chose this title, because The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill had played a major role in my life and in my love for music. All I know about music and how it makes me feel, I got it from Lauryn (and Erykah, of course). This album was on heavy rotation for about 3 years and it had a major impact on me. Lauryn had poured her heart out in her debut, just like I poured mine into these songs.

The first song “Little Prayer” may not be my best song, but it means a lot to me. I wrote it when I had my whole world fall apart from kidney failure. I lost my health and with it myself, my job, my money and any hope. I didn’t understand what was happening to me at that time and that’s why I wrote this little prayer. I still sing it to this day whenever I need some courage and a reminder that sometimes I don’t need to understand what’s going on. Life will eventually let me know anyway.

Listening to it now let’s me know that my prayers have been answered. I know now that I had to go through these things. Not only to find healing for me and my kidneys, but also to find myself.

In that way, The Miseducation of Ana Swartz represents that long journey back to myself and I welcome you to be a part of it.

Listen with your heart

While listening, please remember that this music was basically meant for myself as therapy. I’m no producer. I did all the beats with my little Music Maker and a cheap mic in a little chamber of my home.

So listen with your heart first 🙂

Love, 

Ana

 

Like my work?

You can support my work if you become a Patron. It’s simple: choose one of 4 tiers and receive shoutouts, free The Healer Hip Hop Merch, behind the scenes access and more!

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  Check out The Healer Hip Hop Playlist Summer 2019! Apple and Spotify Until soon, xxx, AnaYou can support my work if you become a Patron. It's simple: choose one of 4 tiers and receive shoutouts, free The Healer Hip Hop Merch, behind the scenes access and more!

read more

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Black History Month – Has colonialism really ended?

October is Black History Month in the UK and I want to help spread knowledge about both African history and present challenges. So I asked German-Kenyan Boqor Bantu, who regularly posts about African history on IG and Facebook, to write a guest post for The Healer Hip Hop…

 

Racism is like a Cadillac, they bring out a new model every year.

Malcolm X

 

The same somehow applies for colonialism. Africa is challenged with a new colonial invasion which is not less destructive and exploiting in its dimension than the colonialism of the 19th century. Britain’s Government and economy is still heavily involved in today’s Scramble for Africa.

How did the first colonial invasion in Africa start?

To figure that out you have to follow the financial interests of the British Empire. The British Empire first only had a few bases in West-Africa, which mainly served as Britain’s trading venue for cheap labour force for the colonies in America and the Caribbean – Millions of Africans were sold into slavery.
When slavery was abolished in 1807 by the Slave Trade Act, other interests in Africa arose. At first, safe ports were established along the African coast for the trade route to India, with the purpose to build outposts stretching from Egypt to South Africa. Then, the Brits started to do more and more explorations further into the African continent, resulting in the exploitation of African resources and the destruction of African societies. By the end of the 19th century, every European country wanted its own piece of Africa culminating in the Berlin Conference of 1884, known as the Scramble of Africa: European governments gathered together in Berlin and divided the African continent among themselves. Not one African representative was part of this Conference!
Britain got what we call today Egypt, Sudan, Gambia, Zimbabwe, a part of Somalia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia – this meant power over 30% of the African people.

The British established three different kinds of rulership in its colonies:

  • Indirect rulership mainly in West-Africa (Europeans didn’t want to live there because of the extreme climate and diseases like Malaria) by favoring and supporting a specific minority over the other tribes living in that country. For example, in Nigeria they gave power to Fulanis to rule over the others or in Sudan to the Arab minority
  • In other countries a company rulership was established by giving land to British companies to administer it and the people living on it
  • The third version of rulership was the Settler Colonialism, which was the cruelest form of all because it sought to replace the original population with a new society of settlers. A large number of British settlers immigrating into mainly Southern African countries forced resettlements to make space for themselves. More severe effects were the rape of women, endless torture, murder, castration and concentration camps

With all this knowledge, it’s shocking that a poll from YouGov in 2016 shows that 44% of the British people are proud of their colonial past.

After their fights for independence, all African countries are free from British rule now, aren’t they?

A new wave of colonialism is flooding Africa these days and it is driven by the plundering and exploiting of natural resources like gold, platinum, diamonds, oil, cupper, silver, coltan, cobalt, and many more. More than 100 mainly British companies are listed on the London Stock market, which have mining activities going on in about 37 different African countries. This means they are controlling more than 1 Trillion worth of resources!
Their concessions cover a staggering 1.03 million square kilometers of African land.
The British government is also heavily involved in the new Scramble for Africa. It argues that Africa should continue staying the primary resource provider and supports African regimes which enable the access to resources for foreign companies. It also works to prevent regularities and protection barriers for commodity trade. This results in African governments holding only minority shares of mining companies and if they do it’s only 5-20%. Additionally, one quart of these British companies is operating in tax havens and many more are given tax incentives, so African governments and more importantly the people are losing billions of tax revenues every year!

However, the worst effect of this new colonial invasion is the violation of human rights, and the social and environmental exploitation. Working condition and environmental regulation naturally enforced in the UK, are completely ignored from a lot of British companies operating in Africa! Harmful acids and insufficient safety equipment are often used to extract minerals. This results in the killing of plant life and severe health issues for the African population.
For example, in Zambia Thousands of people were polluted by contaminated water and many are still affected today by kidney and liver issues as well as miscarriages. Other practices are forced resettlements with empty promises of building new homes, labor rights violations like loan cuts and even the involvement in killings: In South Africa, 34 people were killed during a strike by the police. A transcript of a meeting between the Lonmin company and the police showed how much the police was pressured by Lonmin to end the strike.
These facts barely make the mainstream news, that’s why we give them room here today, for Black History Month. To end this article with another quote: 

Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin

This year’s Black History Month UK is working with Organ Donation UK  to raise awareness that there is still an urgent shortage of donors to help black patients who need lifesaving or life enhancing blood transfusions and organ transplants. Since I used to be in need of a kidney (you can follow my journey on needanukidney.org) I strongly support the cause!

In England 40,000 more black blood donors are needed to meet demand and there are also 632 black people waiting for a transplant. Show your support and register to become a regular blood donor or sign the Organ Donor Register.

The healing power of Hip Hop

The healing power of hip hop

File 20170726 14517 sc2a8r.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
J Cole at Etihad Stadium in 2014. Cole (aka ‘Therapist’) runs non-profit organisation Dreamville Foundation, and houses single mothers rent-free in his childhood home.
Photo supplied by Michelle Grace Hunder

Guestpost by Alexander Crooke, University of Melbourne and Raphael Travis Jr., Texas State University

Last year, New York’s then police commissioner Willam Bratton was quick to blame rap music and the culture around it for a fatal backstage shooting at a concert by the rapper T.I. Ignoring wider issues of gun control, Bratton pointed at “the crazy world of the so-called rap artists” that “basically celebrates the violence”.

Hip Hop culture and rap (a method of vocal delivery popularised through hip hop music) have for more than four decades been bundled with a range of negative connotations, leading many like Bratton to equate them only with profanity, misogyny, violence and crime. Prosecutors in the US have labelled rap lyrics a criminal threat,
and numerous studies have been undertaken on the harmful influence of hip hop on kids.

There’s no denying that the lyrical content of hip hop is confronting, and in many instances, it includes the glorification of violence, substance use, and gender discrimination. But while many people struggle to look past the profanity, materialism, and high-risk messages often celebrated within mainstream rap music, hip hop culture at its core, is built on values of social justice, peace, respect, self-worth, community, and having fun. And because of these values, it’s increasingly being used as a therapeutic tool when working with young people.

School counsellors, psychologists, and social workers have helped to normalise the option of integrating hip hop within mental health strategies. Indeed it has become central to the work of one group of psychiatrists at Cambridge University, who under the banner of “hip hop pysch”, use it as a tool in promoting mental health. Some have even called rap “the perfect form for music therapy.”


A presentation from ‘hip hop psych’ on a Tupac song.

Born in New York City, hip hop culture is now a worldwide phenomenon. You’d be hard-pressed to find any country that doesn’t have some kind of hip hop scene. This new reality is driven by two factors. One is the commercialisation of the culture as a commodity, which has made it one of the most influential industries in the world with its own Forbes rich list.

The other is that hip hop remains accessible and grassroots. At its simplest, you can make a beat with your mouth – beatboxing – or on a school desk, and create or recite lyrics about anything without singing. The proliferation of cost-friendly, music-creating software and hardware puts more involved participation in reach, and allows flexibility in creativity and even pathways to entrepreneurship.


The beatboxer Tom Thum demonstrates his prowess.

Marginalised communities the world over resonate with the ethos of resisting exclusion or discrimination and fighting for equity and justice. Others just love the beats and lyrical flow. Beyond beats and rhymes, there’s also something for everyone: B-Girls and B-Boys dance, DJ’s scratch and mix, and graffiti artists draw and write. Combined with emceeing, or rapping, these are the four basic elements of hip hop, with the fifth being Knowledge of Self: the drive for self-awarness and social-consciousness.


Participants in the RMIT Link Bust A Groove Dance Competition.
Photo supplied by Michelle Grace Hunder

This accessibility and inclusivity makes hip hop such an effective therapeutic tool for working with young people. It’s a style most feel comfortable with and it provides a way to build rapport between client and therapist. The lyrical content is a vehicle for building self reflection, learning, and growth. Whether analysing existing songs, or creating new content, the vast array of themes found in hip-hop songs enable therapists to access topics that may otherwise be hard to talk about.

The repetitive, predictable nature of hip hop beats is also said to provide a sense of safety, particularly during song writing, and lyrical and musical improvisation. Therapists suggest this provides a sense of dependability for those with little regularity or safety in their everyday lives; something supported by research linking music engagement and self-regulation.

In his US-based research, Dr Travis has shown that, despite negative associations, many who listen to hip hop find it a strong source of both self and community empowerment. More specifically, the benefits to individual mental health, in areas of coping, emotions, identity and personal growth, can help promote resilience in communities.


Mantra is a Melbourne-based hip hop artist who works extensively in schools and the community to empower youth.
Photo supplied by Michelle Grace Hunder

In Australian school settings, Dr Crooke has found hip hop to be a positive way for students of diverse backgrounds to engage with their wider community, learning tasks, and schools more generally. In a recent (yet to be published) study, he also explored the benefits of a short-term intensive hip hop and beat making program for young people labelled oppositional, seriously disengaged or at-risk of exclusion.


Participants in the RMIT Link Bust A Groove Dance Competition.
Photo supplied by Michelle Grace Hunder

Results showed students were not only highly engaged in learning through the program, but exhibited positive self-expression, built significant rapport with facilitators, and strengthened social connection amongst each other.

Expressing yourself

Hip hop emerged as a reaction to the gang culture and violence of the South Bronx in the 1970s, and daily experiences of poverty, racism, exclusion, crime, violence, and neglect. It necessarily embodies and values resilience, understanding, community and social justice.

Yet, the hip hop project is not yet free from these difficult circumstances. Many communities around the world still battle the effects of discrimination, segregation, and injustice. Hip hop is often a potent voice to these lived experiences. One of its original, primary strengths was that it allowed young, creative Black and Latino youth to create art that reflected the reality of their lives, of the neighbourhoods around them, and of the wider social circumstances in which they found themselves. In the words of US artists N.W.A. they were making the most out their basic human right to “Express Yourself.”

We may be several decades on, but there are plenty of young people that still need to do the same.

Hip hop is neither a panacea nor a cure all. It is not perfect, but its promise is undeniable. It is a culture with complicated social and historical roots. And it should not be appropriated without acknowledging, respecting and addressing these, because it is precisely these origins that make is so important. Its complicated history enables us to critically reflect on our society, and forces us to face issues of race, privilege, class, and cultural appropriation.

The ConversationGiven the urgency of our need for equity, justice, tolerance and critical civic engagement in today’s society, we need to challenge our preconceptions about hip hop culture. It is perhaps one of the most important and generous movements in our world today.

Alexander Crooke, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Music Therapy, University of Melbourne and Raphael Travis Jr., Associate Professor of Social Work, Texas State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Hip Hop is green

I just donated 75 $ to the Hip Hop is Green Crowdfunding campaign, and here’s reasons why you shoud too!

  1. Hip Hop is Green has created a healthy living movement that has served more than 5,000 plant based meals to youth and families to battle sickness and disease.
  2. It has established many Hip Hop is Green chapters all over the US and in London already, where green and healthy food is served at the Hip Hop is Green Dinners. Your donation helps them to open many more Chapters worldwide, where this service is needed
  3. The organization is supported by many dope artists, such as Dead Prez, Supanova Slom, Sa-Roc and more