Afro Asian Liberation

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Fred Ho - NYTimes

Fred Ho was a baritone saxophonist, composer, writer and activist who was known for the way he so eloquently, sometimes chaotically, fused jazz and traditional Chinese music to both captivate audiences and advance his political ideology. Drawn to the Black Power and Black Arts movements as a teenager, he began speaking out against injustices toward Blacks and Asians at an early age. As a young man, Ho focused more on activism than music, creating the East Coast Asian Students Union (while studying at Harvard) and later co-founding the Asian American Arts Alliance. When he took a class and was exposed to the writings of Malcolm X and other anti-oppression authors, this began to change the way that Ho saw himself. He adopted a Chinese American identity and sought not to assimilate but to walk his own path, a path that would eventually lead him back to music.
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A Quick Look at All-Women Rap Trio Las Krudas Cubensi

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Image of Krudas Cubensi courtesy of Hip-Hop Congress.
Image of Krudas Cubensi courtesy of Hip-Hop Congress.

Out of a woman-formed and led artists movement in Cuba comes Las Krudas – a rap trio, formed of 3 Cuban women.

Krudas is a derivation of the Spanish word “cruda” meaning crude, raw, unrefined, real; Cubensis is a Latin word for those of native Cuban descent. Cruda is precisely what these women are: they are raw, unrefined, and real. They celebrate and defend diversity, while actively engaging in a counter culture. Las Krudas practices what they preach.

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Icons: The Wu Tang Clan

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Wu Tang Clan founding member Rza, rendered as the Buda by artist Yuko Shimizu.  Image courtesy of Yukoart.com
Wu Tang Clan founding member Rza, rendered as the Buda by artist Yuko Shimizu. Image courtesy of Yukoart.com

Wu-Tang Clan gained wide-spread notoriety for their unique sound and lyrical skills when their self-produced single “Protect ya Neck” was released in 1992. Shortly after, the group signed with Loud/RCA Records and released the album “Enter the Wu (36 Chambers)” in 1993. The album’s signature style was designed as a complete artistic package inspired by themes from Kung-Fu movies of the ‘70s and 80’s, like the 36th Chamber of Shaolin, and Shaolin and Wu Tang, among others. The album had a mix of samples from these films and their lyricism was humorous, vivid and spoke of some of the hardships faced in Staten Island, NY, which the group nicknamed Shaolin.

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The Old Black

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Field Notes, Parents, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized
Producer/Musician Pharrell Williams
Producer/Musician Pharrell Williams Courtesy RapGenius.com

 

Happy May Day! With the revelation of LA Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling’s White supremacist comments, the Supreme Court’s decision to undermine affirmative action and the struggle of NCAA players at Northwestern to exercise their freedom to organize, this is a great day to honor laborers everywhere. This month at The Progress, we are also celebrating Afro-Asian Solidarity Month.

Progressive Pupil’s Top 5 Christmas Songs of All Time (This Year)

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Tamla+Motown+-+The+Motown+Christmas++-+Factory+Sample+-+LP+RECORD-523687
Photo courtesy of Groovecollector.com

There are two undeniably amazing things about Best Man Holiday. First, its one of 2.5 competently made feature films starring a predominantly Black cast (I can’t attest to the competency of any Tyler Perry film but it was made, so…). Second, its soundtrack is too dope for its own good. Its a great film to remind us all of how much fantastic pop music has been made in the spirit of the holiday season. In that same spirit we here at Progressive Pupil want to offer up some of our favorite songs to be the soundtrack to your Christmas.

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Highlights from AfroPunk 2013

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Thanks to everybody who made it out to the 9th Annual AfroPunk Festival! We’re already looking forward to next year’s festivities!

On August 24th and August 25th, an estimated 30,000 people from all walks of life united at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn to celebrate “the other black experience.”

Progressive Pupil tabled on Activism Row during both days. We made new friends while discussing Black studies with festival-goers, sold Progressive Pupil tees, tanks and totes and promoted our film Black and Cuba. Many people also took advantage of our invitation to ask Principal Organizer Dr. Robin Hayes any Black studies question!

According to Joselyn Cooper, festival organizer, “We describe AfroPunk as a free space for African Americans — and anyone else who wants to come onto that space — to just be who they are, and not being defined by monolithic definition of what, sort of, the outside culture puts on us as African American people.”

So, what does AfroPunk mean to you?

By Claudie Mabry

Photographs by Dr. Robin Hayes and Alexis Handcock

The Queen of Latin Soul

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Artists, Uncategorized
La Lupe. Image courtesy of BeingLatino.Us
La Lupe.
Image courtesy of BeingLatino.Us

Guadalupe Victoria “Yoli” Raymond was born in Santiago de Cuba two days before Christmas, 1936. Soon the world would come to know her as ‘La Lupe’, or ‘La YiYiYi’ (pr. GeeGeeGee). Her music touched millions, and La Lupe paved the way for other AfroCuban artists like Celia Cruz. Described by her older sister Norma Yoli as “just another Black girl from Santiago,” to Latin@ communities around the world, she was so much more. La Lupe remains an icon and a legend, the Queen of Latin Soul! In 1971, La Lupe told Look magazine, “I think people like me because I do what they like to but can’t get free enough to do.

To learn more about La Lupe’s life, music and legacy, check out this free documentary:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0O8VSfIsFo]

by Joanne Bermudez

20 Influential Black Protest Songs

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers

Black Fist

The history of Black struggle is intricately tied to the history of Black music. From slave songs to Civil Rights hymns, hip-hop to jazz, blues to punk, Black musical expression is an arena of political engagement. This is Progressive Pupil’s list of 20 influential Black protest songs. Be sure to let us know what your favorites are in the comments!

1. Get Up Stand Up by Bob Marley

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7iXcKKpdx0]

Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: don’t give up the fight!

The simplicity of the hook embodies the entire revolutionary spirit of Bob Marley. This live performance in Germany of his iconic call to arms also highlights Marley’s master showmanship.

2. We Shall Overcome by Mahalia Jackson

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmR1YvfIGng]

Simultaneously heart-wrenching and inspiring, the incomparable Mahalia Jackson sings this Civil Rights Era standard.

3. Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud by James Brown

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knw_rUP64wM]

Lest we forget, Brown reminds us to be proud of our heritage.

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Emancipate Yourself From Mental Slavery

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpfxD0yY6f8]

During his career as a musician and activist, Robert Nesta Marley focused his efforts on confronting and rectifying oppression through song. Much of his music is influenced by the unjust living conditions in his Jamaican community, Trench Town. His legacy as an activist is due to his ability to identify universal symptoms and efforts of social injustice. His songs detailed the systematic results of cultural imperialism and powerlessness in impoverished communities.

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