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Hip Hop Fridays: KRS One Rebuttal To NY Daily News Article

Like everyone I was shocked to read that I and other African-Americans actually “cheered when 911 happened” and that I have “declared my solidarity with Al Qaeda”. When I read my words taken out of context I was shocked and disappointed that the Daily News would go this far to assassinate my character and distort my views.

Such statements with no follow up explanation or interview from KRS-ONE as to what he may have meant or even a complete quote of my point is simply irresponsible journalism on the Daily News’ part. I would never just say something as crazy as “we cheered when 911 happened!” I was making an objective point about how many Hiphoppas as well as the oppressed peoples of the world felt that day.

I am a philosopher and a critical thinker, I speak truth and I urge people to think critically about themselves and their environment. Yes, my words are strong. Yes, my views are controversial. But to call me a terrorist is simply wrong!

A young lady asked about what we can do beyond voting to change the political state of things in our country? I responded not by irresponsibly stating that “America has to commit suicide if the world is to be a better place” and that’s all. I am a poet and I speak poetically. My full statement was “America has to commit suicide if the world is to be a better place.

If you want to go beyond voting American interests must put a gun to its head and commit suicide because as long as we are only interested in American interests we go out and invade the rest of the world. The real question is are you a citizen of the United States or are you a citizen of the world? And so for me, I would say voting in a corrupt society adds more corruption.”

I was asked by the New Yorker magazine to discuss “different and personal beliefs musicians hold and the contribution artists like myself can make to the nation’s political dialog”. My views were indeed different and most were personal. However, when I was asked about why Hiphop has not engaged the current situation more (meaning 911) my responds was “because it does not affect us, or at least we don’t perceive that it effects us, 911 happened to them”. I went on to say that “I am speaking for the culture now; I am not speaking my personal opinion”. I continued to say; “911 effected them down the block; the rich, the powerful those that are oppressing us as a culture. Sony, RCA or BMG, Universal, the radio stations, Clear Channel, Viacom with BET and MTV, those are our oppressors those are the people that we’re trying to overcome in Hiphop everyday, this is a daily thing. We cheered when 911 happened in New York and say that proudly here. Because when we were down at the trade center we were getting hit over the head by cops, told that we can’t come in this building, hustled down to the train station because of the way we dressed and talked, and so on, we were racially profiled. So, when the planes hit the building we were like; mmmm justice.” And just as I began to say “now of course a lot of our friends and family were lost there as well” but I was interrupted.

My intent is never to demean or disrespect anyone’s loss or gain; and of course I did not literally “cheer when 911 happened”. I made an objective statement about the feelings of those who were oppressed by world trade policies. I was just as saddened as everyone else on 911. However, for many of us that were racially profiled and harassed by the World’s Trade Center’s security and the police patrolling that area as well as the thousands of American protesters that spoke out against the World Trade Organization months before in Seattle, Washington there was a sense of justice, a sense of change, a wake up call watching the twin towers fall.

These are not my views only; these views represent a popular truth that few people are really ready to hear. No one wished death on anyone or just sat and “cheered when 911 happened”. But some of us can see through the bullshit! America must change its approach to the world and its citizens. This, I believe is what all Americans should be thinking about. How do we make our country better?

For years my career has been one of promoting peace, love, unity and having fun; such has always been Hiphop’s cultural principles. So how all of a sudden now can I be aligned with Al Qaeda? What happened to honest debate and freedom of speech! I don’t speak for the African American community exclusively, I speak for HIPHOP! And let me be clear here; most of the Hiphop community is against the war in Iraq! But to align me with Al Qaeda is clearly an attempt by the Daily News to interrupt the street voice of our Hiphop community, KRS-ONE’s leadership and the increased momentum of our Hiphop political movement.

I don’t think Al Qaeda needs my solidarity nor did I ever offer it, so what’s the point. For a major news organization to now align KRS-ONE with Al Qaeda shows the unwarranted contempt that such an organization has for me. Such is grounds for a law suit!

Finally, no one should ever believe anything that the one-sided Daily News has to say about the same Hiphop community that it (the Daily News) has tried so desperately to undermine for years. The only thing the Daily News seems to be interested in is scandal and controversy and for years I have challenged the Daily News on its depictions of Rap artists and Hiphop as a whole.

I know they don’t like me. However, I don’t give a ---- either! They never cover our efforts toward peace and all the charitable work we do within the Hiphop community. They never air our grievances or how we feel about the state of the world, nor have they ever aired our views on America’s invasion of Iraq simply because they just don’t want to hear them. The Hiphop community forces America to look at itself; and no one likes to take b.l.a.m.e. for their own for immaturity Because Looking At Me ain’t Easy!

For the record, I am an American philosopher. I speak and seek truth. If the slander that the Daily News has printed regarding my political views has disrespectfully offended anyone in any way I truly apologize. Again, it was never my or Hiphop’s intent to disregard, disrespect or demean the tragedy of September 11th 2001 and those that died that day.

However, we do have a voice and a point of view and if you are not prepared to hear what Hiphop has to say about its view of world events then don’t ask!

This editorial appears on ALL HIP HOP


Friday, October 15, 2004

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