The Audio rebellion is real - the hood fights back against corporate media

by Davey D, Davey's Hip Hop Corner

This week a few thousand people will come to Memphis, Ten, between Jan 12-14 for what is being billed as the largest Media Reform Conference in the nation's history. Everyone from Jesse Jackson to actors Danny Glover, Jane Fonda and Geena Davis to activists and industry insiders like Rosa Clemente and Paul Porter will be on hand as folks will be discussing ways to deal with the impact of corporate media.

Some of the topics that will be tackled include; Hip Hop media activism, payola, Media and Music reform just to name a few. We wanted to get folks in the mood by providing some compelling interviews and audio mixes where folks are talking about ways in which they have successfully combated corporate media by 'being the media' and are winning.

Two individuals who have perfected the concept of 'being the media' are Professor Jared Ball out of Washington DC who heads up Freemix Radio the Original Mixtape Radio Show and JR out Oakland, Cali who is the Minister of Information for the POCC chaired by Fred Hampton Jr and the driving force behind the Block Report radio show which recently garnered a prestigious award for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina. JR and his crew also completed an nice documentary called Audio Rebellion which centers on the political/ social movement work they do behind the Block Report Radio show. The recently toured the country showing the film to packed audience. And this past weekend held a Street Vizions film festival in San Francisco where they show cased other projects exemplifying the 'Be the Media attitude'.

While there are lots of people who are engaged in 'alternative media', what made Jared and JR stand out is their political analysis, understanding of history and successful strategy behind the mediums they use. Jared Ball describes what he does with Freemix Radio as 'emancipatory journalism'. He says he is following in the long tradition within the Black community of radical radio that dates back to Martin Luther King Jr during the Civil Rights era and to Robert Williams who used to do a radical radio show out of Cuba that was heard all throughout the south where he advocated that Blacks use arms to resist racial attacks.

In a similar vein JR noted that as the Minister of Information for the POCC he comes out of a long tradition where he sees himself as being a department of sorts whose main responsibility is to bring important relevant information to the community. Both he and Jared see objective journalism as a farce and in our interview JR goes into great detail explaining why.

Both also noted that they are not surprised that today's oppressive climate and the availability of new technology has created a climate where more and more people are creating their own DVDs, Online radio stations or flipping their current radio shows to reflect the politics of the day. Following in that tradition are outlets like the War Report, Divine Forces Radio, Harrambee Radio, Black, Mic Radio and One Fam Radio. A couple of years ago Opio Oskoni brought together a number of Black media owners to Washington DC a day before the Million More March to lay down ground work for an Black media network that would serve the needs of the community and not become another BET or Radio One which has cut back on news coverage while playing up negativity.

Oskoni manages a radio station up in Portland where he regularly airs segments from the various media outlets mentioned. He is also finishing up a documentary called 'Turn Off Channel Zero' which focuses on the the struggles media activists all across the country people are mounting to counter negativity media in the Black community. The central figure in this documentary is Professor Griff of Public Enemy who has long been an outspoken opponent to coonistic imagery including the Flavor of Love show starring bandmate Flava Flav. (look out for a the interview we did with Oskoni on this topic)

Like the pioneering Hip Hop artists who proceeded them, Freemix, the Block Report and many of the aforementioned outlets fill a crucial void left by mainstream outlets. Jared explains that they expand upon the concept of the traditional Hip Hop mixtape and instead of just playing the latest music, they provide the latest news, views, interviews as well as local artists profiles. Both Jared and JR on two different coasts can be seen slanging cds at flea markets, in front of record stores, inside barbershops and beauty parlors and any other place where people are gather. Most of the time the CDs are given away for free with the main objective being 'get the information out to the people'.

On both Freemix Radio and the Block report you will hear topics ranging from Cointel-Pro to the plight of US political prisoners to updates on the recovery process of Hurricane Katrina and the saga of police terrorism in the hood. You will also hear news about new technology all broken down in a langauage and approach that is easy to understand for the average person on the block

Freemix Radio and The Block Report are strong alternatives to continuous corporate media assaults, that in 2007 have come to use coonism, offensive caricatures and other racial stereotypes as a way to appeal to a larger larger mainstream population that sadly has come out in full support both culturally and economically. In other words laughing at Negroes or taking vicarious thrill rides that exploit some of the pathological conditions impacting the hood has become the new American pastime that's almost as big as baseball and apple pie.

As you peep out these indepth interviews be sure to check out Freemix Radio: the Original Mixtape Radio Show FM8 and the Block Report/

The Audio Rebellion is Real: Interview w/ Minister of Information JR pt1

The Audio Rebellion is Real: Interview w/ Minister of Information JR pt2

The Audio Rebellion is Real: Interview w/ Professor Jared Ball Freemix Radio pt 3

The Audio Rebellion is Real: Interview Martin Luther King vs the Radio (breakdown FM Mix)

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey