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HIP-HOP IN THE 25360: OGs turn out for Seale

Plus: African-American Legislative Day in Olympia

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They came, they saw and they rubbed elbows with a legend. The people that is. And power to them! At Tacoma’s Longshoreman’s Hall last week, the people were in full force to witness the wisdom and hear the words of Black Panthers co-founder Bobby Seale.

I had the opportunity to escort an elder who was raised by the Black Panthers in Detroit as part of their Free Breakfast Program. When I stepped in, I was immediately struck by the presence of the multicultural crowd. Mr. Seale was booked by the University of Washington-Tacoma, but the crowd was more than UWT representatives. Elders, young people in elementary and high school all came out to see a man who intelligently, strategically and militarily exercised not only his civil rights as a citizen, but his God-given (or whatever you wanna call it) rights as a man! Adamantly, unflinching and demanding at that! Bobby Seale and The Panthers did much of the unsung and underappreciated work that laid the foundation for people like President Barack Obama to win elections four decades later.

All that talk aside, what I was most moved by was the presence of the OGs in the audience. In the audience I saw some of the original victims/opportunists of the treacherous gang and crack eras that truly plagued Tacoma in the ’80s and’90s. I saw cats who were Hilltop Crips from 23rd, K-Street (what MLK used to be) … Eastside Bloods from the shadows of Salishan … affiliates and associates. What I liked about seeing these brothers at Bobby Seale’s talk is that they are still alive and doing or at least being a part of something positive and community oriented. Some are hip-hop legends in T-Town, some are recovering from a tumultuous lifestyle, some are finding their path in this life — but they are all redeemable, and they witnessed one of the great elders who championed human rights on behalf of humanity. DOPE! Big shots to Wojack, Naalij Black Seminole, Miguel, Kenny Lamar (RIP — Andre Lamar) and Lawrence Stone in the house!

Hip-hop was there ... at the capitol

For all of the complaining that folks do about politics and crooked politicians, there are opportunities to be a part of something effective and measurable. I went to African-American Legislative Day in Olympia — if nothing else, to make sure hip-hop was there! I had an opportunity to speak with elders and citizens about the plight of our incarcerated youth, and I had the chance to listen and learn about bills that you should know about. Bills that deal with the educational budget, the achievement gap that exists between white students and students of color, the bill that address handcuffing students at school … these are just a few issues that impact our community and just so you know, hip-hop had a voice in the matter! Big shot to Ms. Rosalund Jenkins of the Commission on African-American Affairs and to Waylon of Gateways for Incarcerated Youth who talked his talk about his life in front of a big crowd. Go ‘head!

It's not a lifestyle ... It's a deathstyle

Finally, after all of this inspiring positive talk, I have to go here! Anotha … Brotha … DEAD … DEAD. I did not know this brother, but Tyrone “T-Love” Love was murdered in Seattle’s Central District this past weekend, and his death has caused an uproar from the community of people who knew and appreciated him. I know it may not be alarming to read about men of color dying and being incarcerated, those two areas in addition to pro sports and the military are the only venues that have never received complaints of preferential treatment for people of color. However, T-Love is another victim in a long, long line of young men whose lives could have been much more. As I say, “Any coward can squeeze a trigger; a baby can do that … Can you create peace out of violence, though?” That’s what Afrika Bambaataa did … That’s why we have hip-hop. R.I.P. Mr. Love.

Winners Train, Losers Complain … Do Yo’ Thang!!!

Peace & Love
Jose S. Gutierrez Jr. is an editor, writer and producer. A graduate of Washington State University and student at The Evergreen State College, he writes and edits the Pacific Northwest section of OZONE Magazine and hosts and produces Live From I-5 Radio (since ’89) every Friday at 3 p.m. on KAOS 89.3 FM ( in Olympia.

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