[sixties-l] Rap Benefit For H. Rap Brown

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Tue Apr 10 2001 - 18:41:34 EDT

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    Davey D's FNV Newsletter
    In Today's Issue: April 10 2001

    by Davey D

    Folks are buzzing about Mos Def, Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, Planet
    Asia, Mystic and Zion I and their upcoming Hip Hop for Consciousness
    Concert which is going down May 12th at the Watts Labor Community
    Action Center in Los Angeles. The concert is designed to be a benefit
    to raise money for the defense of Jamil Abdullah Al Amin who is best
    known to many as former Black Panther and SNCC leader H.Rap Brown.
    For those who are unfamiliar, Al Amin was arrested March 2000 and
    accused of shooting an Atlanta policeman. The circumstances
    surrounding this incident are murky and inconsistent. Al-Amin was
    fingered by the slain officer's wounded partner, but to many it
    appears to be a set up of the worst kind. Some are speculating that
    Al Amin was wrongly targeted because of his on going community
    activism in Atlanta's West End where he led a Muslim Mosque and was
    also praised for helping rid the neighborhood of drug dealers and
    prostitutes. Others are looking at Al-Amin's activism in the 60s and
    70s when he was known as H Rap Brown and concluding that this latest
    incident is simply payback for the times when Al-Amin struck fear
    within authorities.

    In either case Al Amin has long been someone who authorities have
    feared and targeted. Back in the 1960s and early 70s Al-Amin, was an
    activist and former Minister of Defense for the Black Panther Party.
    He was also the chair for SNCC [Student Non-violent Coordinating
    Committee] which later changed their name to the Student National
    Coordinating Committee as they became more militant. During this time
    H. Rap Brown was known to authorities because of his ability to
    incite crowds and get them riled up. For example, in 1967 H. Rap was
    charged with inciting a riot in Cambridge MD when he told 400 Blacks
    during a rally "It's time for Cambridge to explode, baby. Black folks
    built America, and if America don't come around, we're going to burn
    America down.'' Afterwards shots were exchanged between Blacks and
    whites resulting in H. Rap being grazed in the forehead by a bullet
    and one white police officer being shot in the neck. Fortunately no
    one was killed. The next morning two city blocks and a school
    buildings was burned. After that H. Rap became seriously feared by
    the mainstream establishment and admired by many who felt taking a
    militant stance was the best way to help bring about change for Black
    America. If memory serves me correctly, at one point in time he was
    forbidden to speak at public gatherings as a condition of his parole.

    H. Rap moved to Atlanta's West End in 1976 after spending five years
    in prison for his role in a robbery that ended in a shoot out with New
    York police. During his prison stay he converted to Islam and changed
    his name to Jamil Abdullah Al Amin. He no longer took a militant
    position, but instead went on to be a Muslim spiritual leader of a
    community mosque and operated a small grocery store. He became a
    fixture in the neighborhood where he was admired and praised by most
    of his neighbors. For almost 20 years Al- Amin/ H Rap Brown existed
    peacefully and without incident. However his name surfaced in 1995,
    when Al Amin was accused of aggravated assault, carrying a concealed
    weapon and possessing an unlicensed pistol after a man claimed he was
    shot by him. That man later recanted the story and admitted that he
    was pressured by authorities to identify Al Amin as the shooter.
    Afterwards, people began to speculate that Al Amin was falsely accused
    because he had pretty much run most of the drug dealers out of the
    neighborhood and there were corrupt officers who had a stake in them
    being there. It wasn't long before authorities tried to connect some
    of the homicides in that area to Amin..Again, nothing ever stuck and
    it was seen by many as more unfair profiling and targeting. The
    unfortunate incident in which the officer along with the evidence
    found and not found is seen as a continuation of this pattern of false
    accusation. Hence a trial is to take place in the fall and we will
    all see how it unfolds.

    In the meantime it is only fitting that the Hip Hop community has come
    out in force to aid Al-Amin. While he is best known for all the work
    he put in for the Civil Rights struggle, for many H Rap Brown had a
    profound yet unintended connection to Hip Hop. In his autobiography
    'Die Nigger Die' H Rap talked about his life and the things he did as
    a kid growing up. Among the things he spends a considerable time
    talking about, was the verbal rhyme games he played as a kid. H Rap
    got his name because he had a gift for gab. In his book he showed
    that he was a master rhymer, 30 years before Hip Hop made its way to
    the Bronx. He participated in all sorts of verbal games ranging from
    Signifying to The Dozens.

    As quiet as kept, many of the early rhymes used by Hip Hoppers like
    Sugar Hill Gang's 'Hemp The Demp the women's pimp... women fight for
    my delight' verse can be found in H Rap's book. In his book he talks
    about the huge circles people would form when rhyming against each
    other. Sometimes there would be as many as 30-40 people verbally
    sparring each other in a rhyme game known as The Dozens. For those
    who don't know, The Dozens was a rhyme game in which you rhymed about
    your opponent's mother. In short, H. Rap was participating in what
    we today call ciphers long before we even had a word to attach to that
    activity. Although never intended, long before modern day Hip Hop hit
    the scene cats like H Rap Brown was putting down some serious rhymes.
    It's a shame to see a brother who gave so much to the struggle in this
    current predicament. Lets hope the truth comes out in his trial.. A
    PHAT Award goes out to all the artists who are stepping to the plate
    to raise funds for his defense.

    Send comments, questions and concerns to
    The FNV Newsletter
    written by Davey D

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