Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop & Homo-Hop: History Process Future


root - Posted on 10 October 2009

By Leroy Moore

by Leroy Moore and Chloe Auletta-Young/PNN-ReVieWsFoRtheReVoLuTion

Well finally Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop happened at University of California at Berkeley on April 11th-- a reality and can be looked upon now as we go forward. Now I’m looking back to write and reflect about the history, process and what hope our communities have learned and what could be next.

The whole history of Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop is not only the event but it is deep not only in myself but in my communities, Black & disabled, and my upbringing. Being Black, disabled and an activist I’ve always questioned how race and disability affects all institutions and public arenas we live in. My parents were deep into Black music from Blues, Soul, Disco, Jazz and yes, early Hip-Hop with a record collection that would blow your mind. No wonder after many years, I found myself in the shoes of my parents as an activist and a cultural worker pushing not only my identities but politics, history as a Black disabled man in the arts world including music. As a poet, journalist and cultural worker I’ve learned that activism comes in all forms not only on protest lines but also in the arts, media and writing.

So lets make one thing clear: we all learn from each other and many movements and communities. The disability rights movement had learned techniques from the Black Civil Rights Movement and so on so its not surprising that Krip-Hop Nation (Hip-Hop by artists with disabilities) has studied what Gay & Lesbians & Transgender Hip-Hop artists had formed in Hip-Hop locally and internationally. I’m getting ahead of myself but if you have followed my work and writings through out the years on Poor Magazine and other places you might have some background on what I just jumped into.

Lets continue with the history behind Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop event. I can’t leave out the brief history of the creation of Krip-Hop and although I’m not gay I’ll try to barrow the language from Juba Kalamka who is a Black out Gay man that started the first Gay Hip-Hop Festival, The PeaceOut Festival, in Oakland, CA. Beyond my love of music and my continue quest for information on race and disability, the ideal of Krip-Hop came to life in 2006 at KPFA 94.1 FM when a collective took on my ideal to put a series on Hip-Hop artists with disabilities. After the three part series in 2006 I wanted to do more so I put out a call to do a mixtape series. It has grown into a network of Hip-Hop musicians with disabilities from around the world providing workshops and now our first public event, Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop.

Many people asked why Krip-Hop teamed up with Homo-Hop. The complete history of Peaceout Festival at www.peaceoutfestival.com/history.html can explain some of the reasons from queer point of view. I’ll expand the Krip-Hop side of the history. In 2006 I attended The Peaceout Festival and talked to the creator of the festival, Juba Kalamka. After witnessing PeaceOut and listening Juba, it hit me the similarities between queer and disabled Hip-Hop artists. The vision/mission of Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop was to bring the margins front and center, to expose the struggle of difference, as has always been the legacy of hip-hop, to link the stories, struggles and future work of both movements and to challenge Hip-Hop community, media and academia on what is Hip-Hop. This vision/mission of this event took almost four years to come to reality because education for myself had to happen on both movements. Many people think I, Leroy Moore, founded Krip-Hop Nation but Hip-Hop artists have always been out there like queer artists have been in Hip-Hop from the beginning. I think what Juba and I saw was a lack of platform so all the artists can come together to not only share their talents but also push our communities, the music industry and media around our identities, history, rights and stories as queer and disabled Hip-Hop artists.

Although the PeaceOut Festival was great, at that time there were no books on the issue of Homo-Hop but on the internet there was and still is a growing independent musicians/artists movement going on and that is where I met many Hip-Hop artists who are queer. This same avenue, the internet, was how I met almost all Hip-Hop artists with disabilities from all over the world and recently, through the same avenue, I met the Hip-Hop Gay Spiritual Advisor, Khalil Amani. Khalil Amani wrote one of the first books on Homo-Hop movement, Hip-Hop Homophobes. Amani’s MySpace page was very interesting. He was and is not Gay but a real outspoken voice of the Homo-Hop movement. Amani has been attacked for his support of the Homo-Hop movement and his very activist writings on this topic. Amani’s story reminded me of myself, a straight Black man and a strong supporter of issues facing the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender community. The work of many people like Amani and Kalamka and many others have helped form the vision of Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop event and made me strong to the attitudes and discriminating commitments that I received during the process of organizing and publicizing this event.

So the process and ugliness behind of Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop event has been full of both support and surprising attitudes. Usually, I don’t like to spend time with the negativity but sometimes to shed a spotlight on it teaches the public on what to do in the future. Many people especially some Hip-Hop artists with disabilities thought that Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop event was not my ideal and thought Homo-Hoppers just jumped on the wagon. The shocking thing is some male disabled Hip-Hop artists just could not deal with Homo-Hop movement and some dropped out in the beginning stages. They didn’t know that Homo-Hop is a movement and has collected a lot of media attention and has almost the same story of being rejected from today’s Hip-Hop industry and popular culture as Krip-Hop does. However some of the artists dropped out and others didn’t even want to hear anything about the combination of Krip-Hop and Homo-Hop. One artists thought I was threatening his manhood! No joke! On the other end Homo-Hop artists and their media were supportive of the event from the start. OutHipHop was one of the first media outlets to be a media sponsor with of course Poor Magazine then later KPFA’s Hard Knock Radio show. Knowing that there are many kinds of artists some are activists, organizers and some are just artists, this reality created some hurdles when it comes to event planning with a heavy political vision but all turned out good in Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop event. I also realized that the artists who came and supported the cause had traveled all over on their own dime to be apart of this and stayed in contact throughout this process.

It is hard when you find out one of your favorite musicians you have listened to for a long time can’t support your work. Being a journalist and radio DJ, I have a good fortune to interview some of the musicians I like. I’m not saying any names but I had the opportunity to interview one of the fathers of Hip-Hop (Hint: He has a church in LA) and to my surprise he was down for Krip-Hop but was silent when I mentioned Homo-Hop and the mission of the event. This is only one story of being smacked with people politics, thoughts, comments and complete silence around the event. Like I said in many Facebook postings, the event drew out pity toward the notion of Hip-Hop artists with disabilities and on the other side fear around queer artists in Hip-Hop. Through emails, face to face communication and phone calls around Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop event, people had stripped off the liberal costumes to let out some surprising hatred views about the combination of Homo-Hop and Krip-Hop. I can go deeper into these attitudes or emails I received but I won’t. These attitudes were surprising for me to be in the Bay Area, the home of the Disability Rights Movement and the Gay Mecca.

Let's go on to key friends and institutions that really stepped up to make the ideal of Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop event a reality. The long supportive history of getting my writings on Krip-Hop Nation that led to the paper foundation of the politics of this event is Poor Magazine under my column Illin-N-Chillin. Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop event has really opened my activist eyes and heart to finally realize that I do have a supportive community, individuals and institutions here in the Bay Area. In today’s economy putting on an event like Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop with artists coming from all over the country, gaining an accessible place and all the materials and equipment is almost impossible to do it alone. Sue Schweik, Katherine Sherwood, Kevin Radley and all the student coordinators of University of California at Berkeley showed how universities can collaborate with community advocates to put on a historical event as equal partners.

Like any other big event, I think the real work comes before and after the event. As some know there is so much work to plan an event but there is work after an event especially if the event has roots in community organizing, changing institutional activities, policies and attitudes and long term education goal that Krip-Hop and Homo-Hop is grounded in. So the future goals are bigger then another conference, another documentary, a record label what is even deeper is to continue the work as a collective to change our society and laying down a framework for our communities, for the entertainment industry, for other disabled and queer Hip-Hop artists, for the media and more important for ourselves. We still have work to do knowing that some will do it in the studios others will do on protest lines other will do it in journalism but as a collective it all adds up to change.

Yes it would be great if Diversifying Hip-Hop: Krip-Hop Homo-Hop can go on as an annual or every other year event or any other formation of what was created in the future. We will see, the seed has been planted. Thank you everybody for a wonderful experience. Look forward to the growth.

Leroy F. Moore Jr.

Krip-Hop Nation Founder

Krip-Hop.com

Krip-Hop on Facebook

Krip-Hop on Myspace

Contact: kriphopproject@yahoo.com

PNN RADIO

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