On Troy Davis, music and the meaning of “change.”
by Marcus K. Dowling
The opinions in this article are solely those of the author.
Who in the fuck are you, and what in the fuck are you doing?
Against a malaise-ridden backdrop of skyrocketing recession and rampant unemployment, last night’s execution of Troy Davis in Atlanta was the most surreal travesty of justice in the most surreal of times in American history. It’s the type of action that makes such brusque language appropriate, as I call into question the substance of your humankind.
Barack Obama was elected President of the United States as an agent of an apparently nebulous concept called “change.” Change just isn’t a cute buzz word affected to elected a black man to the highest office in the United States. Rather, its a perpetual motion, a constant struggle fraught with the difficulties of not remaining vigilant to doing ANYthing, but doing SOMEthing. Who are you, and what in the fuck are you doing? If you can honestly look at yourself and believe that when you pulled a lever in November 2008 that your life as an agent of change ended, you are ultimately a complacent failure. In not remaining down for the cause of change, you unknowingly opened the door for the more conservative revolution that ultimately allowed an innocent man to die.
This is a music website, so let’s address music. Progressive thinkers have been hard at work in the sonic realm of late advocating a new society based in a shifted paradigm. Agent provocateur M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” is the quintessential tale of embracing a Robin Hood lifestyle and was nominated for Record of the Year at the 2008 Grammy Awards. Jay-Z and Kanye West’s most heartfelt ode to the success of black industrialism on Watch the Throne? “Made in America,” the tale of how to both succeed yet continue to struggle against a nation that never wholly expected the success of African-Americans. Kreayshawn even gets in on the act, as her 2011 one-hit wonder “Gucci Gucci” has a hook that is the best anti-commercial argument of the year. And yes, Waka Flocka Flame definitely wants us to go “Hard in the Paint,” analogizing tough basketball action to industrious progressive angst. Rap not your speed? Check out dance, where moombahton, a uniquely American sound invented by a Latino originally for Latinos has spread in an organic and socialist manner worldwide, millions of international permutations by producers of all races, grounded in the same musical norm. The cues are all here. Who in the fuck are you and what in the fuck are you doing? There’s never been a better time to answer these questions.
In November 2012, the flawed and largely non-progressive black man we elected because of our own naive misconceptions of what it ACTUALLY takes to create change is in a spell-binding situation. His most likely opponent is a white Texan prone to crazy declarations based in the antiquated American ideal of being rich, white and proudly ignorant. RIck Perry seemingly kills at will, knowing exactly who the fuck he is and exactly what the fuck he is doing. Neither of these men truly represent the new American ideal. The time for serious, substantive change has arrived. There is no need for violence. After all, if we’re taking our cues from music, Lil Wayne told us that “real G’s move in silence like lasagna.” Who in the fuck are you? What in the fuck are you doing? Let’s figure that out and get to work.