Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Malcolm X Mixtape

“I'm telling you, the only way you get justice is in the street. The only way you get justice is in the sidewalk. The only way you get justice is when you make justice for yourself.” --Malcolm X

In March 2010, we discovered another way to make justice for yourself: produce a Malcolm X Mixtape. That’s the thought that black studies contributors Adrienne Smith, Dometi Pongo, Al Henderson, and I had as we met and came up with ideas for this black studies project. For us, one goal was to advance black studies by channeling the spirit of Malcolm. We wanted to represent, or perhaps reconfigure, aspects of his vision for modern audiences using new media and innovative delivery styles.

We thought and talked and then thought and talked some more about producing something that might inspire a greater sense of awareness about topics and themes such as politics, anti-black racism, education, slavery, revolution, and justice. The something we came up with was this mixtape, which we released on flash drives. The production contains 10 raps songs by Pongo and 5 original video compositions by Henderson.

Almost all of Pongo’s songs contain samples from Malcolm’s speeches, and more importantly, Pongo continually invokes and projects Malcolm’s black nationalist militancy throughout his compositions. Henderson’s videos remix and ultimately refresh Malcolm’s messages so that we can receive them clearly through these thoughtful compositions.

It has been apparent to listeners and viewers that somewhere along their journeys Pongo and Henderson picked up and polished and now possess all these wonderful and varied fragments of vibrant radicalism, lively ideas, and near magical modes of delivery. It’s like Pongo and Henderson, each in his own way, carry a little Malcolm. The folks who got one of these mixtapes carry a little Malcolm too.

28 Ways of Thinking about Black Studies & Afrofuturism
The Malcolm X Mixtape
from Pongo’s “Miss Amerikkka”
from Pongo’s “Education (Intro.)”
from Henderson’s “Revolution”
More on the Malcolm X Mixtape
Malcolm Mixtape trailer

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