MELTED and The Originalites Rock Out at a Green Party Rally

The Originalites perform at Calling All Rebels. Photo by Scott Feinblatt
MELTED and The Originalites
Delhi Center

Music and politics have always made strange bedfellows. A song can often function as a political tool via its reflection of social and political events. However, when it is used as a symbol for an ideology, things start to get muddy; artists and their messages are sometimes used to market something which may be totally alien to their personal philosophies or to the intentions behind their messages -- take, for example, the recent fiasco with Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" at the Kim Davis rally. Furthermore, it was somewhat ironic that local punk rock band MELTED and reggae rock troupe The Originalites performed at a Green party rally since neither one of them has ever been painted as a political band.

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Photographer of Iconic Che Guevara Portrait Gets His Own Exhibit

Categories: photos, politics

Courtesy of the Pieczenik collection
Alberto Korda's famed "Guerrillero Heroico"
Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the Argentine-born communist, briefly stepped forward at a public memorial held March 5, 1960 in Cuba. The day before, La Coubre, a French ship carrying munitions, exploded in the Havana harbor killing scores on board. The revolutionary government blamed the CIA. Che witnessed the mayhem, lending his hand as a trained doctor to the victims.

At the memorial, he took a low profile, but came within view of Cuban photographer Alberto Korda who snapped just two candid shots. The rest, as they say, is history. The iconic "Guerrillero Heroico" portrait is just one of many that are a part of the Korda: Revolutionary Photographer exhibit opening at Long Beach's Museum of Latin American Art this Saturday.

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Yasiin Bey (AKA Mos Def) Speaks on Malcolm X With UCI Hip-Hop Professor Sohail Daulatzai

Categories: Hip-Hop, politics

Wikipedia creative commons
Malcolm X
The resurgence of Malcolm X is back at its highest point since the early '90s when people proudly sported "X" caps while producers sampled his speeches for rap songs. Conversations and debates about the black liberation figure sparked anew with the publication of the late Manning Marable's Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention in 2011. With the 50th anniversary of his assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, New York and what would have been his 90th birthday this year today, "Brother Malcolm" is once again the focus of attention.

UC Irvine professor Sohail Daulatzai (aka 'Doc Hip-Hop') interviewed Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) and asked him about Malcolm X. Daulatzai hooked up the Weekly with a clip of the rapper's thoughts.

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Alice Bag Reflects on Her Nicaraguan Revolution in 'Pipe Bomb For The Soul'

Categories: books, politics

Martin Sorrondeguy
Punk legend Alice Bag is back in book form and is as explosive as ever. The author follows up Violence Girl, her Chicana coming-of-age tale fronting The Bags, with Pipe Bomb For The Soul. Based on travel diaries, Bag's new book looks back at her time in Nicaragua during the Sandinista revolution. She traveled there in 1986 as a Paulo Freire-lovin' teacher ready to learn about education reform but soon discovered her lessons lied within. Through journal entries, she recounts her experience living a month in Esteli, a northern stronghold of the ruling FSLN party.

It's there that Bag encounters Comandante Gladys Baez, who challenged what she thought she knew about revolutionary women. Other conversations lead to more conversions along the way ensuring that when Bag returned back to Los Angeles, she'd never be the same. Pipe Bomb For The Soul excels in rekindling that revolutionary fervor existing in Nicaragua as it attempted a more pluralistic socialist democracy while mired in a bloody U.S.-backed Contra war.

The Weekly devoured Alice Bag's new book hot off the presses and spoke with the author ahead of her appearance at the OC Anarchist Bookfair this weekend in Santa Ana.

See also: 10 Classic Punk Bands We'd Love to See Reunite

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Should Waka Flocka Flame Really Be Our Next President?

Categories: LOL, Rap, politics

"I'm dead ass running for president in 2016."
The Internet has been on fire with news that rapper Waka Flocka Flame wants to run for president. He actually said it back in 2012 on Twitter and even when we caught his official statement on April 20th (aka 420) that included, "The first thing that I'll do when I get in office is legalize marijuana," well, we still had a hard time believing it was true. Upon hearing from Rolling Stone (a reputable source, no?) that Waka's decision to launch a presidential campaign is in fact reality, we started thinking and questioning, how stoned was he when he thought this up? Is this "campaign" making a mockery out of the race for presidency? Will 'Murica take this satire in stride? How hard is it for a celebrity to get 5,000 signatures anyway?

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Rebel Radio Station KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles Fights to Stay On the Air

Categories: politics, radio

Gabriel San Roman / OC Weekly
Radio host Margaret Prescod makes her fund drive pitch to KPFK listeners
"We are listener sponsored radio," Margaret Prescod pleads during her show on Thursday morning. "We do not want to close our doors! That's how serious this is."

The KPFK 90.7 FM personality throws to a clip of Martin Luther King Jr. after urging listeners to pledge in exchange for an archival compilation of the social justice preacher's speeches. Phone room volunteers answer calls as they stream in steadily. Prescod's golden brown dreadlocks frame her face while the slow tenor of her voice reaches a frenzied pitch during Sojourner Truth Radio's last ten minutes.

The station is in full survival mode. Either it raises $300,000 dollars during a one-week emergency fund drive or it faces the harsh choice of locking the doors to the two-story red brick building in North Hollywood and going off the air to save money.

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Emcee Classiq Sounds Off On Ferguson With a Furious Freestyle

Categories: Hip-Hop, politics

Local rapper Emcee Classiq dedicates an impassioned freestyle against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri. It's been 10 tension-filled days since police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. The young African-American's death set off clashes in the streets between militarized police and angry residents that continued last night in more arrests and unrest. Like rapper J.Cole's raw tribute song "Be Free," Emcee Classiq took to the mic to express his pain.

"Just reading the news and learning another person, and a young person at that, died by the hands of the law, that was just enough to dive in and finally speak up," the rapper says. Emcee Classiq teamed with Weekly to premiere "Ferguson Freestyle."

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Why Popular Music Needs to Become Political Again

Categories: politics

By: Steve Brennan

Like it or not, Pharell Williams' "Happy" is likely to be the top-selling single of 2014. And yes, its buoyant '60s soul vibe and simple, positive message is modern pop perfection. But scanning the rest of this year's biggest hits, one is struck by a consistent theme: All of these songs are distinctly apolitical. Contemporary slang and the loosening of certain taboos aside, they could have been written in 2002, 1992, even 1982.

Granted, popular music is supposed to provide some kind of escape from everyday life. However, shouldn't it also sometimes reflect what is going on in the wider world at the time of its release? We are not living in a post-Auto-Tune utopia. Persistent economic problems, a deliberately obstructionist U.S. Congress, NSA surveillance, an expanding underclass -- these are issues that seem ripe for lyrical lampooning by contemporary musicians. But no, we'd rather just twerk across America with Miley Cyrus.

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Top Five Left-Wing Love Jams

Categories: Lists , politics

John and Yoko
Does that rabble-rousing agitator arouse flutters of the heart? Don't have the words to express that special kind of activist amor? Troubadours of discontent sound off on injustice but sometimes troublemakers need a little more. Sure, soul rebels like Bob Marley sang about plain ol' love with the best of balladeers. What of the bond between political partners though? Left-wing love jams are a rarity but the Weekly assembled the best in baby-making music for militants.

Hopefully the songs aren't too "problematic" or taken as a mixtape for macktivists!

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Lessons We Learned From The Chican@ Hip-Hop Nation

Categories: Hip-Hop, politics

What can the Chican@ Hip Hop Nation add to the remix of the United States of America? For Chicago State University professor Pancho McFarland, the question is more than worthy of examining and he does just that in his latest book, The Chican@ Hip Hop Nation: Politics of a New Millennial Mestizaje. As a self-described anarchist hip-hop head, McFarland, an Irish Chicano, takes a look at what raza rappers are and aren't saying on the mic about themselves and the world around them. He's principally preoccupied with the music's expressions of identity, potential for liberation politics, and limitations--mainly its sexist mindsets. McFarland teaches hip-hop in his sociology classes and sees it as an avenue to engage students in a form that's responsive to their interests.

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