Thursday, November 10, 2016

Barcelona to Gaza

This is Itaca Band. This past September, Jenny and I saw them perform this song at a free concert in Barcelona. More than 3,000 people danced through the night. Young fans sang every lyric along with the band, word for word. But, this wasn't any concert. It was an event to send off a women's boat to Gaza.

Amidst what could have been just another pop music moment, event organizers put together a show infused with anti Apartheid messaging, colored with the beauty of a free Palestine. Instead, consciousness was being built, the notion of commercializing public space was being disrupted, and solidarity was being sent across the seas.
In the same spirit of events like the The Toronto Palestine Film Festival which work hard to create platforms for cultural resistance, this event was not an insular ideological orgy where Facebook activists spend the night attacking each other's revolutionary credentials, splitting any semblance of a movement.
It was something powerful and meaningful.
Stay strong!

This is Hip Hop.

As immigrant teens, battling the cold, hip hop spoke to us in a language we understood, telling tales of misfits with big dreams, we were inspired by the warrior mentality it paid tribute to. Delivered cryptically to the sounds of rhythmic booms and baps, it invoked the dance and poetry of our erased heritage. For me personally, my family and I immigrated to Toronto in the early nineties, during a time that would prove to be a definitive era for emceeing. Against the backdrop of diaspora, we built lyrical bridges with other migrant communities, opening up our eyes and ears to struggles many of us were privileged to avoid, or too sheltered to connect to our own trials and tribulations. Hip hop enabled us to remix our experiences in a way that gave us life, filling our lungs with dignity, and enriching our minds with the dreams that drive us to this day.