20 Years Ago Rodney King Was Brutally Beaten-We Remember

20 years ago Rodney King was brutally beaten by police..It was shocking and caught on film, folks just knew the officers were going to jail.. It was a slam dunk. Who could refute the evidence?  My how times have changed..or have they? Fast forward to the Oscar Grant murder which was also caught on film and you tell me..shout out to Paul Scott for his article..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ssg2IkIhbxU

March 3, 1991. What started off as just another case of a brotha gettin’ beat down by the Po Po, would set off a chain of events that would forever change the socio-political dynamics of America, especially for the Hip Hop generation.

Although, the beating of Rodney King by four Los Angeles police officers happened 20 years ago, the shock waves from the event are still being felt today. To grasp the gravity of the situation one has to look at it in historical terms.
The period of the late 80′s was,possibly,the most revolutionary since the ’60′s, as the combination of Reaganomics and racial incidents such as the Virginia Beach and Crown Heights incidents had pushed America, once again to the brink of revolution. There was also a cultural revolution happening ion America, where Black youth were rediscovering the works of heroes such as Malcolm X and Huey P. Newton. The rapidly maturing Hip Hop genre also began to absorb the changes as the party music of the early 80′s began to become what Public Enemy front-man, Chuck D, coined “The CNN of Black America.”

While the music previously was seen as fad and just a blip on the radar screen of middle America, the idea of rebelling “ghetto youth” using rap music as an unregulated form of information dissemination sent shock America’s political foundation.

This is not the first time that the rising collective voice of “the silent minority” became a matter of national security.

According to the March 21, 1993 edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, in 1917, a Lt Col. Ralph Van Deman created the Army’s black spy network, which snitched on black organizations, even black churches. The article names Robert Morton of Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute and Joel Spingarn, one of the founders of the NAACP,as operatives in the spy network.

In the book, “Heard it Through the Grapevine,” Patricia A. Turner wrote that “rumor clinics” were set up during World War II to “prevent potentially adverse hearsay of all sorts from gaining credibility.”

Also, although the FBI’s COINTELPRO is the best known of the “dirty trick” operations of the Civil Rights /Black Power Era, Clay Risen, in his book “A Nation On Fire: “America in the Wake of the King Assassination,” wrote about the Army Operations Center and” its first operations plan for national disturbances, code named Steep Hill.” Risen also talks about the U.S. Army Intelligence Command (USAINTC)  which included 1000 agents  “around tthe country whose job was to spy on militants and “monitor indicators of imminent violence.”

The entertainment industry was not immune of the fear of a black uprising. In Peter Doggett’s book, “There’s a Riot Going On” he wrote about how James Brown was hired by the mayor of Boston , Kevin White, to throw a concert the night after the King murder to keep the natives calm.

From the very beginning it has been clear that America’s fear was not the thugs in the street stealing hubcaps but the fear that they may become politicized, intelligent hoodlums. So on April 29, 1992, the day the police officers were acquitted of beating King,  the apparatus was already in place to deal with young “urban” youth who were chanting  Hip Hop lyrics challenging the system as their mantra.

As, rebellions took place in cities across the country, even the watchful eye of the Fed’s underestimated the politicizing of the youth courtesy of rap lyrics. The site of “gangstas” articulating the political ideologies of Frantz Fanon on Night-line caught politicians with their pants down.

According, to the May 11, 1992 Time Magazine article “How TV failed to Get the Real Picture” it was reported that LA mayor Tom Bradley “requested” that in the midst of the chaos that the highly rated “Cosby Show:” air as an exercise in “crisis counter-programming.” However, this was not 1986 and black youth were more responsive to the voices of the X-Clan, than they were “Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable.”

So, another form of “crisis counter-programing” had to be developed that would insure that rebellions like what happened in LA would never happen again.

Even before the LA Rebellion, President  George Bush had instituted the “Weed and Seed Program”  which many residents of Los Angeles, such as those interviewed in the book “Uprisng” by Yusef Jah and Sister Shah Keyah considered a spy operation. The official purpose of weed and seed was to “weed” out gang members and in their places “seed”the hood with community programs.

So, we see the same strategy was used in Hip Hop as the biggest threat to this  country’s racial hegemony ” conscious rappers” were weeded out and the industry was seeded with “gangsta” rappers.

One can clearly see how the careers of early conscious rappers suffered because of their courage to speak truth to power. However, the “gangster rappers” of the period became multi-millionaires and were rewarded with movie scripts and endorsement deals.

It is against this historical backdrop that two major post-LA Rebellion developments took place.

First the “no snitching” ethos was taken out of its historical context and was been replaced with a scapegoat for black on black violence and the demonization of entire black neighborhoods. Conveniently forgotten were the various government sponsored snitch operations that had plagued the black community for decades.h

More important is the overall anti-political direction of commercial Hip Hop, where, instead of “Cosby” crisis programming, the Hip Hop artists are now part of preemptive crisis programming, where the minds of the youth are distracted by such things as face tattoos This can help to explain, in part, why the incidents of police brutality in cities such as Cincinnati, New York, Oakland and Houston generated relatively little outcry.

Some may argue that times have changed and the season of “fighting the power” is a part of a bygone era.

However, with incidents of global outrage taking place from Egypt to Wisconsin, maybe not.

Perhaps Ice Cube was right when he once rapped ,” April 29th brought power to the people, and we just might see a sequel.”

Only the ‘hood knows….

TRUTH Minista  Paul Scott can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or info@nowarningshotsfired.com

Article courtesy of the Militant Mind Militia http://www.militantmindmilitia.com

Comments

  1. Uh no not really… we don’t “remember”…

  2. e-scribblah says:

    “This can help to explain, in part, why the incidents of police brutality in cities such as Cincinnati, New York, Oakland and Houston generated relatively little outcry.”

    Paul, i live in Oakland. i can categorically tell you that incidents of police brutality here have indeed generated plenty of outcry, from the Riders in 2000 to Oscar Grant in 2009. just this past friday, i was at a rally against gang injunctions where Boots Riley of the Coup performed. So, perhaps you need to define your criteria for “outcry” a little bit better.

    Has there been a hip-hop response to police brutality? Yes. Has there been a community response? Yes. Has it resulted in changes by the powers that be? Yes (grudgingly).

    I can’t speak for the other cities you mention, but i find it curious that you would lump Oakland in, considering that the outcry here has arguably been louder than in any other US city where these incidents have happened since the King beating.

    it’s also interesting that you quote Cube, but earlier talked about the anti-political direction of commercial rap–it’s not hip-hop at that point, so you should be clear about that–with rappers getting movie deals, etc.

    and you say hip-hop is a threat to racial hegemony. that may be true, but hip-hop is not a part of crisis programming–rap might be, but not hip-hop. you fail to differentiate between the two, which clouds your analysis to some degree. i would argue that hip-hop has actually done the opposite of what you say. it’s consistently addressed social, cultural, and political issues concerning environment and identity, and has done so from day one. if you’ve been distracted by face tattoos, you haven’t been paying attention.

  3. KIMYATTA says:

    HELLO DAVEY I WANT TO TELL YOU YOUR DOING A WONERDERFUL JOB GETTING THE INFO OUT TO US (THE PEOPL) IT GIVES ME LIGHT,THINGS I MUST DO. TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE I HAVE A TALK SHOW COMING OUT AND ITS PEOPLE LIKE YOU TO ALLOW ME TO KNOW I WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. I NEVER HEARD OF BLACK WALL STREET UNTIL I SEEN A COVER OF A BOOK AND READ, AND THEN RESEARCHED. I AM SOOOOO PROUD TO SAY THANKS YOU AND KEEP HOLDING IT DOWN… GOD BLESS YOU MAYBE ONE I WILL GET TO DO A INTERVIEW OF YOU… WHO KNOWS…
    BLESS YOU AND YOURS

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