Bay Area Disrupted: Color Me Black

Duke The Bossman und Chief Mainy von Color Me Black sowie Taharka Henson sprechen im Interview über ihre Heimat East-Oakland, das von einigen Baby Irak genannt wird, weil sich hier schon Kinder gegenseitig abschießen.


About their music:

Born and raised in East Oakland, California – product of the public school system – rebelled vigorously against their false education and the lies they told us in books, and educated myself with art. (…) We’re using our art in Oakland and the Bay Area to spread our word and our message through our music and our poems and our words and our songs.


About Oakland:

Oakland specifically is known to be the trendsetters of the independent game, period. Anything, like – we always do the shit ourself, period. Organizing – right here. Grassroots – right here. (…) I mean, look at what happened after Oscar Grant. Right here. Ain’t no uprisings happening like that anywhere else in the country. When that shit happened, with Trayvon Martin in Florida? There was no riots. There was no cars getting turned over. There were no fires set. We took notice. We get angry. We organize – we make shit happen. It’s not like it’s gonna change anything, but at least we made the news.


About education:

The schools are built by the same people that build the prisons. It’s a funnel system. (…) The teachers are not invested in the emotional and fundamental growth of the youth – the youth that don’t have parents or family structure. They have to go to the streets to find whatever type of love they can get.

And usually it’s from the drug dealers and the killers. It’s not from, like [a] bad black dude who graduated from college who has, like, degrees on his wall. He doesn’t… he doesn’t wanna extend the hand, because he’s… he’s afraid that he’s gonna be labelled ‘ghetto’ or out of his, out of his, you know…

It’s a big, broken system and a very very very small city that has a whole bunch of fucking money. What’s happenin’? (Throws his hands up) Can somebody, er, extend a hand? Or, fucking… I dunno, something – say something?


About growing up in oakland:

Man, I merely just come from, basically, living on this battlefield my whole life. Oakland is like a big battlefield – where I come from, they call it ‘Baby Iraq‘. You’ve got a bunch of babies having babies, and kids killing kids… there’s no reason, you know what I’m saying? they’re just picking up guns and (taps table). You’ve got nobody like… you know, like, I’m tired of that, like. Babies having babies – you’ve got nobody teaching the kids anything, so they’re just out. (…) I mean, that’s just, like, a really big issue out here, in the Bay Area. You got a lot of kids raising theirselves and stuff – coming up in group homes. (…) And Oakland? It’s not just Oakland. It’s every ghetto over America, you know what I’m saying? So it is a big problem here, it is a big problem all over the world. That’s the type of stuff we talk about. You know we have fun, but if you look into the color me black album, you get a bit of everything, the good, the bad.


About violence:

“This is, erm, tattoos on my arm. I call it the ‘Dead Sleeve Scrolls’, and this is one of the first tattoos I ever got. I can’t show you the whole thing, ‘cos the shirt’s too small, but it says: ‘The good die young so the great must last’. And I couldn’t get it finished – the ‘t’ on ‘last‘ isn’t crossed. And my cousin, that gave me this tattoo, gave it to me on my 19th birthday, and I left for the National Poetry Slam after that. And he was gonna finish it when I got back, and then he got murdered. And then, this is for my cousin A Million Bucks – rest in peace. It says: ‘Drug, Traffic and Pedra Plates* – it’s hard to leave, but it’s hard to stay’. And then this one right here, it’s a quote of ‘The Departed‘†: ‘I don’t wanna be a part of my environment; I want the environment to be a part of me’, and I got that from my little sister that got murdered. And, I mean (pause) it… (sighs) that’s what burns, in my soul. It’s like… senseless killing. It’s my little sister got murdered – she was 15 years old. She got shot to shit. For nothing. She ain’t had nothing to do with it, nothing. At all. You know what I mean, like, that’s the type of shit that… that really hurts. That’s the type of shit that I… I wanna bring to light, you know what I mean? Like, it’s not just about, you know, ‘Yes, great music! Dope-ass beat, more bass, 808s, live electric guitar,’ yes, but (taps with fingers on tabletop) I’m not down with just ignoring it, being okay with the senseless violence. (…) That’s some shit that I just can’t… I can’t ignore – I can’t let go. Trying to deal with it. Trying to heal with it. Trying not to pick at the scabs so that it gets infected.

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