Wednesday, October 12, 2011
"If You Dont' Become an Actor You'll Never Be a Factor!"
Anyone who believes that the Occupy Together movement hasn't shifted our culture yet needs to watch this. This is the BET Hip-Hop Awards, hardly a bastion of radical activism. But much like the way that the upsurge against the war on Iraq seeped into all aspects of pop culture eight years ago, the occupations have forced so much of the entertainment industry to at least give it lip service, and those in the mainstream savvy enough have understood what an opportunity that gives them.
Such is Lupe Fiasco, who has always been incredibly skilled at seeing the lay of the land for what it is without ever tamping down his ability to speak his mind. It's little surprise that he was one of the first high-profile artists to publicly support Occupy Wall Street. This performance is a continuation of that.
It's not merely the t-shirt reading "#Occupy Wall Street." "Words I Never Said" was the first song that pundits song from Lasers that pundits seized on for Lupe's harsh criticism of Obama:
"Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist
Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit"
Of course the song takes on a lot more than just the political-media establishment. Ultimately it takes on the whole rotten system. Lupe very well may have performed this song anyway even if the nationwide occupations hadn't taken off. But it's doubtful he would have performed it with a Palestinian scarf tied around his mic and Erykah Badu wearing the much-maligned burqa.
I could go on with speculation and analysis, but it's probably best if readers simply soak in a glimpse of what culture--yes, even mainstream culture--can look like when there's actual and tangible class struggle gripping the country.
There will be an article coming up here at Rebel Frequencies assessing how the Occupy movement has affected the music world. So, stay tuned to RF!