Feb 3, 2009

He Calls Himself 'Niggy Tardust'

Saul Williams calls himself 'Niggy Tardust' for reasons I do not have enough space to explain. You should check his website or myspace.

We have six more weeks of winter! Hooray? Also, it is February! And February means black history month! Apparently, we do not have to acknowledge black history during the other 11 months, because we have February for that. A brilliant solution, government! I understand the original intent, though. Like, how else are we going to talk about black history in schools, if it is not brought to the forefront in a dedicated month? We would have to talk about it into regular history classes on a regular schedule! TRAGEDY.

I am going to give you a song. This is called 1987 and it is by Saul Williams. It is either new school poetry, or alternative conscious hip hop. I love hip hop, I will not go so far as to call myself a hip hop head, but I really like it. It's the most relevant and popular form of poetry we've got, so we better listen to what it's saying.

Saul Williams - 1987 (link: http://www.mediafire.com/?1d2ohetwnvg)

Click the link, hit "download" (it is all good!), listen to it in your media player, and look up the lyrics (here is a link). Follow along like it's a church hymnal. Understand that the song jumps between the past and present without wont. If you are iffy about downloading things, youtube it! Here is a youtube link.

Additional link: Saul Williams' Black Stacey. This is actually an interesting sociological concept that is credited to W.E.B. DuBois, the idea of the cultural veil, that members outside the culture cannot identify with it because the mainstream culture pretends like they don't exist. So, an example, my sister's mother in-law (who is Indian), complaining about Sarah Palin, saying "She can identify with any mother, so long as her children play hockey."

This "veil" is what things like Black History Month try to overcome. Whether it works, because it brings to light the fact that there is a whole lot of really, really, really important history that we're missing or whether it doesn't work, because it lets us, in good conscience, ignore the history for 11 months out of the year is up to debate.

So I am not sure if I can say "Happy Black History Month" because, like most oppressed peoples, it is not the most happy of histories. So instead I will say this: Barack is president!


Rain said...

Hi, I noticed your blog when I did a search "you know you are from the Lehigh Valley when" Funny Stuff. Take care.

Glenn said...

Saw him back in April down at the Trocadero in Philly. Very interesting show and definitely great music.

Katie Bee said...

@rain: thanks for finding me! I see you write poetry, too!

@glenn: saul is a great performer, his little lectures between songs always ignite a fire of social activism in me, but what he says and does is different, and i think that confuses a lot of his fans. like, dude did nike commercials and sings about oppression, and everything i've learned about sweatshops and nike make me associate him with a sort of hypocrisy. but i take the music for what it is, at least until i can figure him out some more.