Black August and Activism (online discussions)

What is the Black August project and what does it tell us about hip-hop activism?  How does this compare to the groups discussed by Clay (BE SPECIFIC)




14 thoughts on “Black August and Activism (online discussions)

  1. The Black August Tradition started in California when prison guards killed African American George Jackson. It mainly started as in expression in the prison system but has thus far expanded to many different communities as well. The Black August Hip-Hop Project has raises funds through benefit concerts that promote human rights through the support and influence of Global Hip-Hop culture. This project pushes Hip-Hop activism in a sense that this group of individuals are fighting for a change in society and are fighting for their voices to be heard to the public. With this project in effect followers strive to change their communities for the better and raise awareness to the general public too. Hip-Hop activism as defined in class is music that rebels and really impacts an audience to make them understand the difficulties of a situation.

    This compares to the groups described by Clay in a sense of the victim Sharmeka Moffitt who was set on fire by three white men in hoodies. This “hate crime” was not considered a hate crime according to the FBI which doesn’t make any sense at all because Sharmeka’s car who painted with racist terms and references to the KKK. Andreana Clay shares that this event in particular is racism and I completely agree with her. The local news barely shared the story of Sharmeka and said to the viewers that she set her self on fire. This incident relates back to incident with George Jackson because they both come from the same culture background and race. Furthermore, nothing was really done to punish the horrible people who committed these crimes against both individuals. When we were watching the film in class it was stated that, “Every 36 hours a black/latino youth is killed by the police”. This is such a shame to hear about that things like this are happening in our everyday life. I think the support of Hip-Hop Activism and Activism, as a whole needs to be happening even more crucially then it is now. Activism needs to be so strong and set in everyone’s minds so that these horrible incidents do not happen at all.

    • With music being a huge part of a situation I feel like with out it where would we be in sense we wouldn’t be lost but the words from powerful people would not be as known as if music was not there to spread the word. Even in today society I think music is a big influence in a lot of peoples decisions and political views on things. Racism was heavily influence in Andreana Clay case because it wasn’t solved it was just dropped so fast I would almost consider it being sexiest.

    • I agree completely with what you are saying. I feel, mostly in the past but still present, hate crimes have gone unnoticed by the judicial system. This is completely wrong this is why hip-hop needs projects like this. The hip-hop community is taking things into their own hands and standing up to what the government feels. This is what hip-hop is all about, showing your opinion and standing up for what is right. Without movements such as the black august project, we would still be stuck with what happened in the past but now the government and judicial system knows they cant get away with it.

  2. To further expand on the Black August Tradition, those who were killed were activist prisoners who were fighting for human rights, specifically in relation to those serving time. The black august tradition was practiced by those prisoners who benefited from the work of those who were killed, and is to pay tribute to their sacrifice. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement adopted the Black August Tradition in an effort to promote awareness about political prisoners and the injustice for keeping them locked up all over the world. MXG uses Hip-Hop as a tool to spread their message and get people to listen, especially the youth, who are part of the “Hip- Hop Generation.”
    Teen Justice and Multicultural Alliance, the youth programs that Clay describes, uses Hip-Hop to connect and relate to other students within the community, who might otherwise have no other relation in common besides the love for hip-hop. Furthermore, Hip-Hop activism is a crucial tool to use to connect not only communities of color in America, but abroad as well. MXG’s Black August Benefit Concert is a perfect example of how Hip-Hop can bring communities from all corners of the world together, active in a common cause. As part of the “Hip-Hop Generation,” Hip-Hop activism is necessary if organizations want to connect to the lives and realities of youth, especially youth of color. Hip-Hop within all its forms – b-boying/b-girling, rapping, graffiti/art, Djing, and poetry- are ways for youth to come together as a community, to be validated as a valuable person and give meaning to what goes on in their everyday lives. Where Freedom Songs were the tool of choice for Civil Rights Activists to communicate and build solidarity amongst their peers in the 1960s, Hip-Hop will be the rhythm and rhyme for activists of this generation, and the generations to come.

    • I agree with everything you said in this response. If someone did not know what the Black August Tradition was, I feel that you explained it very well. Without organizations like the Teen Justice and Multicultural alliance, youth would not be able to connect together and make change. There are many organizations out there, but with these two being involved with Hip-Hop, a lot more youth will participate in these groups. A lot of youth, especially youth of color, can connect through hip-hop because it could possibly be the only way they can be heard. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to rap, write a poem, or even dance to express how we feel. This happens in the United States and around the world as well. Youth from different parts of the world are different than us based on freedom of speech. We are able to speak our minds through music. Some countries, people are not able to do so or are limited to the resources they have to be able to write music. This is a great way for young people to connect in other countries. I also like when you compared the Freedom Songs to hip-hops rhythm and rhyme as a tool of choice for making change.

    • You made good points about youth in this era, I really think that Hip hop is a huge part of youth culture in America. It seems like when it comes to youth in America no matter what the societal status, race or gender they can come together using hip hop. MXG and Black August are things that need to stay around to keep the youth in the mind state that rap isn’t just words to vibe to but can be used to make a difference. It can be used to educate as well as be the cause for change. I truly think that activist groups like MXG can steer youth in the right direction with the help of hip hop stars. Seeing the drastic change that hip hop has taken since it arose leaves hope that it can change again and shake off the popular notions that plague it.

  3. Black August is a dope album by the rap group Wu-Tang Clan. Just kidding. Black August is a tradition that is part of the Malcom X Grass Roots movement. The Malcom X Grass Roots movement is an organization of Africans/ African Americans whose mission is to defend the human rights of our their people and promote self-determination in the community. The concept was Black August is all about resistance. In 1979, on year after prisoners Khatari Gaulden and Goerge Jackson was murdered by prison guards, black August took root. In response to the murder, African American prisoners began to form a principled and effective political unity to combat the racism and genocide that was occurring behind the walls of prison. They would fast, train, and educate each other during this time. It was important that they stuck together, if they were to continue to survive. The tradition is still continued top this day. Nowadays the movement is intertwined with Hip-Hop. The Black August project raises funds through benefit concerts. These concerts promote human rights through the use of Hip-Hop. Hip Hop is used as a vehicle for the voice of the movement. Group leaders encourage those who want to participate in Black August to work out an exercise program for each day that can be performed alone or in groups. As well as refraining from the use of drugs and alcohol during the month.
    This compares to the groups discussed by Dr. Clay in many ways. The terrible incident that left Sharmeka Moffitt covered in burn wounds. The FBI deemed the crime a non-hate crime, even though all clues pointed to a ‘hate crime’. The incident was barely covered by local news. I believe this to be an absolute form of racism. The fact that the story was turned around to look like she burned herself makes prevalent that racism is still around today. This event, to me, is much like that which started the Black August Movement. When black men Goarge Jackson, Khatari Gaulden, and others were ruthlessly murdered, nothing was done and no one was punished. I believe that with continued activism with the combined efforts of the hip-hop world hate crimes such as these will come to a halt.

    • I thought you made some great points especially when you were mentioning how the group would make sacrifices such as no alcohol or drugs during Black August in order to send a message. The only part that may be hard to overcome is the end of hate crimes. It will take a lot more, especially well known rappers, to help the dreams of Black August come true. I almost feel that racism is engrained in our culture and though efforts of Black August help to end such hate, I feel as though at least in our lifetime hate crimes will exist. Then again though I wouldn’t have thought that we would’ve had an African American president so anything is possible

      • I agree completely with your post . Yes, It will take a significant push in activism and awareness for the injustice of hate crimes to be properly brought to public light. Unfortunately, Racism and social injustice have long been a stable in this country. Though the days of slavery and segregation are gone, forms or hate and bigotry still remain. I too believe that the Hip-hop industry should become more involved in Black August. Including well known artists would take the grass roots movement from being little known to a global platform.

  4. Black August is a tradition now being supported by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. It’s inception came after the death of George Jackson, who was killed by guards during an escape attempt. Jackson had a very turbulent and often violent relationship with the prison guards and his death was heavily contested by nearly everyone that wasn’t a prison guard. In response to that event, black prisoners, both literally and figuratively have come together and in the spirit of Jackson’s wishes resisted the powers that be. They would educate themselves and each other and come together in large groups to take a stand for their rights.

    The infusion of hip-hop has brought a more global awareness to this resistance and it is celebrated through concerts and other ways of media yearly to inform those who may not know about Black August, or the political prisoners all over the world, not just in the United States. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is an activist group, they have taken the lead on promoting Black August and do so through hip hop and education. By using hip-hop they are able to strengthen the bond that blacks have with hip hop as well as use the music as a way to inform and educate the young, old, and everyone in between.

    The incident with Sharmeeka Moffitt has been referenced so i’ll use that for comparison. In her story, she was burned over a large percent of her body and the letters “KKK” were written on her car. There were initial rumors about her wearing an Obama shirt, but those were quickly dismissed. Suddenly, the reports came out that she had apparently burned herself and they weren’t sure why.

    Initially after hearing this story I thought it was all too convienent that they could just say it was her and that was it. Then i remembered there was a story in Seattle about a white woman who poured acid all over her face and said a black woman did it too her. Suddenly theres a massive manhunt for this unknown black woman and then it turns out the victim poured acid on her own face because she has self-esteem issues and thought she was hideous and if she got sympathy she’d get a new face…or something… The point is, that the media believed this woman right away, the public believed her right away…when Sharmeeka had her incident happen, the police said it wasn’t a hate crime, wouldnt commit to it. No benefit of the doubt was given.

  5. The Black August Project is a project to remember fallen freedom fighters that thought for equality of the black community. A big part of this is about the San Quentin Six. This was six latino and black prisoners who killed three prisoners in a revoluiton. This revolution was started because some prison gaurds assasinated George Jackson who was one of the freedom fighters who was sent to jail and had to spend most of his time in prison in solitary confinement. Black August includes a fast that is to represent these fallen/incarcerated men who thought for their communities equality. Black August is meant to promote human rights through supporting the Global develpement of hip-hop. There is exchanges between international communities based around hip-hop. The black August Project tries to target the youth since they are the ones who are the future of our country and the most important. There is more to Black August than just to represent what the freedom fighters stood for it is also to influence young kids down the right path. In today’s society there are many young kids who are leaning towards a life of gang membership and a life on the streets with violence and drugs. I think that this is a very strong project that is making a big difference and standing up for what is right. Also the aspect of involving other countries in this is also a very cool part of it. This brings the hip-hop community together even more than it already is, also expanding it. I do believe that kids living in areas where gangs are present need to be taken down the right path which is a goal of the Black August Project. I strongly believe that everything that is involved in this project is great for hip-hop and everyone involved. This single project shows how much power hip-hop has and how big of a community is inside and involved with hip-hop.

  6. The black august tradition that is part of the Malcolm X grass roots movement. The Malcolm X grass roots movement is an organization of African Americans whose mission is to defend the rights of their community and to also promote self-determination in the community. Also those who were killed were activists prisoners who were fighting for human rights, especially those serving time. So, the Malcolm X Grass roots movement used Hip hop as a tool to spread the message of their community and their rights so that they would have a voice, especially the youth. This has brought more awareness to the resistance and it is celebrated through concerts and other forms of media to inform those who may not know about Black August or the political prisoners who are part of the Malcolm X Grass roots movement.
    This is much like the groups described by Clay because in one group Clay mentions is the victim named Sharmeka Moffit who was set on fire by three white men in hoodies. This was not considered a hate crime according to the FBI which, in my opinion, is totally wrong because it was a hate crime in that Sharmeka, who on top of getting set on fire, also got her car painted with racist terms and references to the KKK. Clay shares this event in particular is racism. The local new barely shared the story of Sharmeka. Also, nothing was done to the people who committed these crimes against her. So, I think hip hop activism should defiantly be happening more now and be strong so that it can help with preventing these kind of crimes from happening again.

  7. The Black August movement was founded in 1971. This movement originated in California in honor of the fallen Freedom Fighters, James McClain, Khatari Gaulden and a key member of the movement George Jackson. The Black August tradition began to spread among different cities in California, standing up for the issues of racial segregation, all while under the principles of self-sacrifice and unity within the group. George Jackson was an African-american activist who was a member of the Black Panther Party and was later shot by a prison guard during his attempt to escape from the San Quentin Prison.

    The Black August Hip-Hop Project is a documentary about individuals who were or knew participants of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. The Black August Hip-Hop project has traveled to Cuba and Venezuela, raised funds and brought awareness to political prisoners. The number of political prisoners is decreasing, not because they are being released from prison, but because they are passing away. Political prisoners are not incarcerated because they are criminals, criminals put them there because of what they thought (freedom of speech). These individuals have been victimized by a different type of slavery.

    The Black August movement tells us a lot about Hip-Hop activism. Different artists have helped to raise awareness to this horrible situation, that left many African-Americans incarcerated for standing up for their rights. Talib Kweli is one artist that has helped become an activist throughout the Hip-Hop scene, allowing others to tell there stories about many well known individuals.

    This movement compares to the situation of Sharmeka Moffitt that Clay discussed. Sharmeka Moffitt was a young African-American woman who we discussed in class. I, like many other classmates had not heard her story. Since her story was not broadcasted nationally, or even locally, many individuals were unaware of the things that happened to her. Member of the FBI, did not portray her incident as a hate crime, even though all the evidence and the thing written pointed to it being a hate crime. Like the Black August movement, most people are unaware of these stories. Raising awareness to these situations and becoming more knowledgable of what is going on in today’s society is extremely important, but most of this situations go overlooked, like Sharmeka’s case.

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