By Kalonji Jama Changa
6/6/2006 8:25:16 AM
Tags and topics realted to this article include Professor Griff. Hip Hop, Rap and Interviews.
In 1987 when Public Enemy stepped on the scene with their debut album,"Yo! Bumrush The Show", they shocked the world. No one knew they would be recognized as one of the most controversial groups in the history of rap. Now 12 albums later, millions of records sold and performances in over 40 countries, the group is still doing their thing with their latest release, Rebirth of a Nation, featuring West Coast rebel rap artist, Paris.
The group started out with the front man Chuck D, the side-show Flava Flav, Terminator X (DJ) and the Minister of Information and leader of the S1W's (Security of the First World), Professor Griff. Years before Flava Flav's infamous VH1 television stunts, another member of Public Enemy was at the center of controversy. In 1989, based on an interview with The Washington Post, Professor Griff, who was misquoted, was accused of anti-semitism and faced a barrage of attacks from the Jewish Community. During this time period, Professor Griff made headlines around the country and had several attempts on his life including a sniper attack and poisoning.
I first met Professor Griff in Atlanta after a lecture I gave. He then invited me to open up for his now classic discourse, "Strange Love, has Public Enemy lost its Flava". Since that particular engagement, we have shared the stage on several different panel discussions and lectures. A strong community activist, he has supported different programs that we have launched in Atlanta, including the Feed The People program and a joint benefit effort for Bernard Burden, a victim of a lynching that took place a year and a half ago in the State of Georgia.
On Friday June 2, 2006, I caught up with Professor Griff at Lush Life Cafe in the West End of Atlanta and what followed was this interview. Brace Yo' self!
Kalonji: In your words, what is revolution?
Professor Griff: When the term revolution is mentioned, nowadays a lot of people look at it as a passe term. They only think of the "negro" revolution that we had here in America. Although, some Brothers, Sisters and a lot of organizations during the 60's, did bring about change, it wasn't a complete, total, constructive, conscious change. So when defining revolution, revolution is complete, total, constructive, conscious change. When we look back on different revolutions around the globe, for instance the Cuban Revolution what kind of change did that bring about? It brought about a complete, total, constructive, conscious change for the people in Cuba - with Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Che Guevara. When you talk about Revolution, you're not talking about necessarily overthrowing the physical government in the land in which we live in, but overthrowing the government of your mind- so it has to be a complete, constructive, conscious change. In a nutshell, that's what revolution means to me. Every step you take towards that particular goal is revolution, long as it's about change. The clinical definition for insanity or insane is when you constantly do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. That's not gonna happen, that's counter revolutionary...I think a lot of the things that we're doing, such as what Tavis Smiley is doing with The Covenant is counter revolutionary. Actually trying to take steps backwards in order to go forward.
Kalonji: Do you feel we have effective Black Leadership in America today, and if so who would you consider leadership?
Professor Griff: When you say effective leadership, I think Al Sharpton put it best. He said, "We have those who call themselves Black Leadership, or we could reverse that and say those who call themselves leading Blacks". We have a lot of negroes that like to lead Blacks. They don't necessarily know where they're going but they wanna lead. So, if youre talking about using this system to lead Black People, then I think that's sad because this system is not designed to lead Black People anywhere.
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