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Arts, Culture and Resistance with Boots Riley and Davey D, San Francisco, 6/16/12: audio & photos
by Dave Id
Tuesday Jun 19th, 2012 11:11 PM
As a fundraiser for the Socialism 2012 conference in Chicago later this month, a talk entitled "Arts, Culture and Resistance" with Boots Riley and Davey D was held at the Redstone Building in San Francisco on June 16th. The discussion explored the intersection of social justice movements and the arts, their direct and indirect influences on each other, as well as the commercial forces working against radical art forms and movements. On a more personal level, the conversation delved into Boots' role as both an artist and an organizer, from the early 1990s when The Coup first started performing to more recently with the rise of Occupy Oakland including the two shutdowns of the Oakland Port. (Full audio below)
[Pictured above: Boots Riley and Davey D listen to a question from an audience member]

Boots Riley is a musician and community activist. Boots is the MC for Oakland favorites The Coup, having produced bumping and politically-charged hip hop for two decades now. More recently he has collaborated with Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello on the Street Sweeper Social Club. Boots has been active with Occupy Oakland and other social justice movements. Boots' forthcoming book, titled Lyrics in Context, 1993-2012, will be available in August and The Coup will be releasing their sixth album, Sorry to Bother You, in September of this year.

Davey D is a long-time hip hop journalist, community activist, creator of Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner website, and host and co-founder of Hard Knock Radio, a syndicated radio program focusing on hip hop culture and politics.

Arts, Culture and Resistance Announcement

Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Hard Knock Radio

The Coup

Street Sweeper Social Club

Indybay coverage of Occupy Oakland

Occupy Oakland

International Socialist Organization (ISO) in the Bay Area

Socialism 2012 conference

§Full audio of Arts, Culture and Resistance talk
by Dave Id Tuesday Jun 19th, 2012 11:11 PM
(audio 1:59:07)

Boots and Davey D graciously answered questions, some a bit off topic and a few rather pointed, from the audience for close to an hour.
§Enjoying a lighter moment
by Dave Id Tuesday Jun 19th, 2012 11:11 PM

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by Punk News
Friday Jun 22nd, 2012 11:17 PM
Boots Riley
Live in San Francisco (2012)
live show

Contributed by: JohnGentile
Published on June 19th 2012

Because he's a member of hip hop, and fierce advocate for communism, and an ardent supporter of the Occupy movement, Coup emcee Boots Riley was the subject for Arts, Culture, and Resistance, a spoken word discussion about the intersection of art and political change. Hosted by Bay Area Radio host and programmer Davey D, the presentation found Davey D pitching concepts for Boots to pontificate to an interested, if somewhat unfocused audience June 16 in San Francisco's Redstone Building.

For the majority of the conversation, Riley focused on the concept of movements having art to represent it, thus one charging the other. Riley expressed that as powerful as Public Enemy and KRS-One's early records were, their spotlight in the mainstream was brief. Riley asserted that the reason PE's revolutionary lyrics never actually caused revolution was because there was no actual movement to push forward with PE's concepts. Rather, it seemed that Riley felt that while listeners found PE's lyrics interesting, the concept of widespread revolution was so celestial that it was little more than fantasy.

By contrast, Riley drew point to the continued success of what is often called "gangsta rap." Riley argued that because gangsta rap speaks in tangibles, that is "here is how you can make money" and "here are the steps for breaking out of your current life situation" with direct reference, listeners were able to associate with that and use it as a movement, or at least see it as a more viable platform.

Riley makes a good point in stating that the directness of gangsta rap allows for easier association. But, one also wonders, is gangsta rap a tangible, or is it escapism? That is, are the majority of listeners using gangsta rap as a way to push beyond their situation, or as a way to retreat from it into a wild west like fantasy?

Interestingly, Riley pointed out that in conversation with "gangsta rappers" they would mention to him that the leftist politics of the Coup are nearly the same as gangta rap. That is, both art forms seek to change the current economic situation and inequality, just through different methods.

Host Davey D made several interesting points concerning radio play. Davey D mentioned how corporate media has a tighter grasp on what can be played on the radio. Where he used to have a 3,000 song selection, Davey D stated that he has been whittled down to 300 songs, with 100 getting the majority of play time. It would seem that even music, a restriction to music, can be way to fight social change.

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