Monday, December 13, 2010

Public Enemy

One the most influential rap groups to come out of Long Island, New York was the powerful Public Enemy. The ultimate rap group which was established in 1986 and was comprised of a MC by the name of Chuck D, hypeman Flava Flav, DJ Terminator X, and the Minister of Information Professor Griff. Known for their poignant lyrics, Public Enemy, became synonymous with the Civil Rights Movement and their preachings about racial discrimination, inequality, and injustice. You can hear it in their music that their sound was influenced by Gil Scott Heron, Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party, Martin Luther King just to name a few. In the song "Party For Your Right to Fight" from the 1988 album "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back", Chuck D, is making references about J. Edgar Hoover and his conspiring acts of COINTELPRO. As we all know by now, Edgar Hoover, was the man behind the take down of prominent organizations and figures, so Chuck D took the liberty to confront his evil tactics against Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King. "Power, equality and we're out to get it I know some of you ain't wid it This party started right in'66" Chuck D is saluting the Black Panther Party and their achievements towards racial equality and justice across African-American communities. He also made a reference to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who was the founder of the Nation of Islam and converted the likes of Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali. Fight the Power from the "Fear of a Black Planet" album and soundtrack of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, is one of my favorite Public Enemy songs of all-time. I vividly remember the first time when I saw the video on Video Music Box and this video was very electrifying and uplifting. "What we need is awareness, we can't get careless You say what is this? My beloved lets get down to business Mental self defensive fitness..." Those few lines are so inspiring because he's telling us to watch out for the evil tactics of men who cogitate for the sake their well beings. "Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps Sample a look back you look and find Nothing but rednecks for 400 years if you check..." For 400 years African-Americans have been the victims of oppression, brutality, and slavery and they are the reason why this nation has become so world-class. In return, you see no African-Americans being revered for their history in this nation. In the last song "911 Is a Joke" Chuck D talks about the cops and their everlasting history of injustice and brutality towards black people. They are suppose to be leading by example as far as professionalism, courtesy, and respect and yet, they do the complete opposite. "They don't care 'cause they stay paid anyway..." Overall I believe Public Enemy is considered to be one the greatest groups any genre of music because of their powerful voice and messages.

Public Work of Art

From the depths of impoverishment, murders, and depression, Williamsburg Brooklyn, has become one the most appealing neighborhoods in all of New York City. In this small world of Brooklyn you will find diverse cultures, beautiful landscapes, convenient ways to travel to different parts of the city, and some of the nicest restaurants and lounges we have to offer. In the midst of some those amenities you can also find some aesthetically artwork. One of the artworks that survived the gentrification process is a mural titled “Ashes to Ashes” constructed in 2000 by the Los Muralistas de El Puente. (Known in English as The El Puente Muralist)
Many of the features of this mural seem to supplicate the ills of cigarette smoking, and the evil tobacco companies that leech from the citizens of urbanized communities. The mural is comprised of beautiful colors, an infant smoking on a cigarette during birth, different people of all races smoking, a heart facing the effects of smoking, and the inevitability of dying when you choose to smoke. Smoking cigarettes has become a detriment and an epidemic in a lot of communities all across America. Teenagers should not smoke because smoking is the most preventable cause of death in America today, especially among teenage smokers. Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer and it is also responsible for chronic bronchitis. Last, there is emphysema, which is another disease caused by smoking. By smoking, people have a fivefold increase in the risk of dying from lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.  Lung cancer accounts for 29 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States and smoking accounts for about 87 percent of lung cancer deaths. The risks of dying from lung cancer are 23 times higher for male smokers and 11 times higher for female smokers than for nonsmokers.
Results of a recent study suggest that rebellious, risk-taking kids as young as 11 are more likely to smoke by the time they reach high school. According to the report, children who demonstrate these personality traits in the 5th grade are most likely to smoke in the 12th grade. Targeting smoking in high school students is important since studies have shown that adolescents who smoke daily in the 12th grade are likely to become established smokers as adults. Results of the study, published in the March issue of Preventive Medicine, show a strong association between rebelliousness in males in the 5th grade and daily smoking in the 12th grade. For example, the most rebellious males were three times more likely to become smokers than the least rebellious males.  
I chose this piece of artwork because I was part of the problem and now I want to be part of the solution. I lost friends and family members due to this horrible epidemic and if we don’t start pushing the agenda of teaching and raising awareness we are going to lose many others. It is nice to see that people are taking the time out to create these artworks to show us the ill effects of smoking. More importantly, I hope this piece stays up for a long time because it has become part of the community.