Over the last few months, a group of our black studies contributors (Adrienne Smith, Dometi Pongo, and Al Henderson) worked with me on what we viewed as a forward-looking, progressive project. With Malcolm’s writings and speeches as a focal point, we thought and talked and then thought and talked some more about producing something for “under-represented” folks that might inspire a greater sense of awareness about topics and themes such as politics, anti-black racism, education, slavery, freedom, and justice. That something was a mixtape, and Pongo and Henderson produced the core of the content.
Listening to and viewing the materials on the mixtape demonstrate that these two young men have been doing their black studies homework. Almost all of Pongo’s tracks contain samples from Malcolm’s speeches, and more importantly, Pongo continually invokes and projects Malcolm’s black nationalist militancy throughout his compositions. Henderson remixes and ultimately refreshes Malcolm’s messages so that we can receive them clearly through these thoughtful video compositions. Who knows how Henderson managed to say so much with so few images or where he learned to speak so eloquently about the past using such hip, mixed media discourses?
Keeping in the spirit of mixtapes, members of our black studies crew have been circulating these limited edition compilations among the grassroots here at SIUE. I’ve been really impressed and fascinated with the results. Observing the development of this student-produced work of creativity and ingenuity, which updates Malcolm’s vision, has been a tremendous learning experience for me. As my down-home elders would say, I’m just glad to be a witness.
from Pongo’s “Miss Amerikkka”
from Pongo’s “Education (Intro.)”
from Henderson’s “Revolution”