Saturday, 28 February 2009

Stand Up Tall - New SuperSuper Lands!

Issue 15 of SuperSuper is out now. I've got a couple of contributions to be found. First up, some random ramblings on what your hair says about you... I'll upload it when the issue's done and dusted. And, if we're gonna keep it real, my scanner is over the other side of the room and my bed is comfy (although I've slept in better)...

Also, I really enjoyed penning the feature on protesting as the new raving. I've upped the unedited version below the swag mobile phone picture. Standard. If you get the magazine you'll even clock that Tinchy Strudel aka Stryder is an activist. Don't get it twisted, MC's care too.

Stand Up Tall!

From the club to the streets, people want to be heard. Protesting is the new rave, so if your names not down, make your own way in…

In Britain, politicians like David Cameron and Gordon Brown can but dream of having Jay-Z, Ludacris and co penning tracks in their favour. Obama just had to brush the dirt off his shoulder, bust a skank on Ellen’s show and show the nation that it ain’t no thing. Not only was such backing a big look for the now president, but no one can deny the influence such lyrical outbursts have on the unsuspecting consumer.

Fed up of guns, gangs, ho’s and champagne, it’s a throwback to the 80s, a time when hip-hop stood for way more than batty boy bashing and girls in bikinis. For the majority of generation 18 and 20 something, this is a new experience.

Spurred by these messages of hope, fired from various angles and juxtaposed positions, young people the country over are seeing the coolness to be had in believing in something with real meaning, and making your voice heard. If you haven’t formed your own opinions, whinge about your level of brassness when much of the world is living on under $1 a day, or buying new garms is your biggest problem when there’s wars going on and babies getting slaughtered just for being born female, you’re totally not down.

A few years ago, I too was turning a blind eye. But when you live a life of conformity, and the closest thing you get to crime is Police Interceptors or repeating old Dizzee Rascal lyrics, there’s a level of satisfaction to be gained from giving a shit and getting vocal about it. To legally be allowed to voice your opinion, albeit over a club getting threatened with closure or the atrocities in Gaza, it’s something we all too often take for granted. Let us not forget that we, unlike many people across the ocean, have this thing called freedom of speech. We fought for it, so let’s use it.

And it’s not like protesting doesn’t get you somewhere. In Thailand, the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), who were fighting against electoral fraud, won the support of the army, got the three ruling parties dissolved and the prime minister banned from politics for five years, then cleaned up the airport before returning home with a sweet victory under their belts. Back on home soil, teens the country-over have made their stance on knife crime perfectly clear. Ben Kinsella’s murder last year saw teens amass overnight, utilising Facebook and MySpace to ensure there was volume in numbers at a march the following day. A quick scan around the recent Gaza protests and the cross-section of placard adorned young guns was vast.

Protesting isn’t the only pastime on a rise. Even getting your signature on a petition shows you’re not as stupid as you are cabbage looking. Athough it turned out to be a hoax, a recent threat, which implied the government were looking to put noise control devices in nightclubs, saw nearly 100,000 people signing up to something other than a guestlist.

Likewise the controversy caused by risk assessment form 696, which requests information about performers and audience members from licensees, and is due to be rolled out this year, has caused major concern among the clubbing fraternity. The four page document, approved by all 21 London councils, demands every performer's name, address, date of birth and phone number. Failure to submit this could result in six months in jail or a £20,000 fine. Unsurprisingly, concern mounted given that one question on form 696 suggested it was being used to racially profile audiences "Is there a particular ethnic group attending? If 'yes', please state group." As Feargal Sharkey, CEO of UK Music, the musician’s rights body, told the Guardian: "I've got a nagging suspicion that 'Irish' was not the answer they were looking for."

But musicians aren’t just fighting for their living and freedom to wax lyrical at a club near you. Grime prince Tinchy Stryder showed his support, joining a protest outside the Russian embassy, hosted by Ctrl.Alt.Shift, a movement aimed at mobilising 18-25 year olds around global issues, to speak out against the treatment of people with HIV. “When they first spoke to me about it, I was interested straightaway. You know, that people aren’t allowed to get into some countries if they have HIV? I was thinking about it, and I thought it was wrong, so I got involved...” said the Ruff Squad MC. “It was a good thing to be a part of, and anything I can do to make my people aware of what’s going on in the world is positive.”

So whatever you’re fighting for, put those fists in the air and wave them like you really do care.

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