By Jineea Butler
“New York, New York Big City of Dreams but Everything in New York is Not Always What It Seems You Might Get Fooled If You Come From Out of Town but I Am Down by Law and I Know My Way Around.”
– Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
Since the tragic murder of two NYPD officers, New York City has been in disarray. It has been a constant back and forth cops and protesters objecting to police practices, the mayor siding with the people he serves, and the police commissioner battling disrespectful officers who want to be respected by all of the above.
The Big Apple dropped on New Year’s Eve with an estimated 1 million people in Times Square and it may as well have split in half. Despite the out-of-towners celebrating by standing in one place for more than nine hours, no one is willing to compromise, no one is willing to see each other’s point of view and no one can see an end to this madness. Mayor Bill De Blasio recently met in a closed door meeting with Police Commissioner Bratton and union leaders and reportedly came up with nothing. Former Mayor Giuliani entered the fray by saying that Mayor De Blasio should apologize to the boys in blue for insulting them with his comments and siding with protesters.
Do you remember Flavor Flav of Public Enemy’s debut solo, “911 is a Joke,” a reference to the delayed or non-response to emergency calls in the Black neighborhood? What does it mean when the New York Post reports that the number of arrests dropped 66 percent since the tensions between the police unions and the mayor began? Are the police staging a silent protest with hopes people will see the importance of their work? Are they willing to sacrifice more lives by not responding to calls? Are we headed back to the days of police not showing up for hours in certain neighborhoods when people are need?
When the police ignore daily quotas in favor of safety and the crime rate doesn’t shoot through the roof, it may imply that the current system is flawed. Police all of sudden know what not to do to disrupt people’s lives in the name of making the communities safer. They have decided to stand down instead of being a crime saving force swooping on the scene. I think essentially that is what people are really asking for. Why did it have to take the murder of two officers to get to this softer approach?
Even so, this is an opportunity to branch out and show the world who we really are. Our story for years has been ‘they’ are holding us back. While we know there are systematic hurdles, we also know they can be avoided. Now that we have some room to breathe, let’s take full advantage.
The new year has begun and we need to reshape our agenda. On January 13 – 15, at the Sheraton Times Square in New York City, the Hip Hop Union will join Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. for the 18th annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit. The theme is: “Where Wall Street, Main Street, and Silicon Valley Converge.” Our annual Business of Hip Hop session will be held on Wednesday, January 14. We will be demonstrating “What Hip Hop Can Do” to change the world. Watch Now Networks CEO Shawn Grandberry will moderate a conversation with everybody’s top five: MC Rakim Allah; legendary radio/TV personality and Hip Hop TV VP Ed Lover; television producer P. Frank Williams; reformed drug dealer Freeway Rick Ross, and Core DJ Founder Tony Neal.
The Hip Hop Union started a crusade five years ago to resurrect Dr. Martin Luther King’s last initiative (I AM A MAN); we continue in our efforts to complete his mission with the I AM A CITIZEN Campaign. Dr. King said, “The next phase of the movement is economic.”
Our fifth anniversary VIP “I AM A CITIZEN” toast and Hip Hop TV launch party on January 15 will be hosted by Ed Lover. There, we will unveil our Super PAC (Political Action Committee) Hip Hop United and our Entrepreneur Co-operative, which will allow members and friends of the Hip Hop Union to share in the fruits of wealth building. Together, we will build a new foundation for economic empowerment and a political force to combat injustice. With all the unrest and division besetting the nation, we have no choice but to change course and succeed. For more information, visit www.rainbowpushwallstreetproject.org.
Jineea Butler, founder of the Hip Hop Union, is a Hip Hop Analyst who investigates the trends and behaviors of the culture and delivers programming that solves the Hip Hop Dilemma. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @hiphopunitedpac.