The Day the Music Died in Mali

The Day the Music Died in Mali

May 19, 2013

Originally published by The New York Times. Everyone has heard of censored songs, like Billie Holiday’s “Love for Sale,” which was banned from ABC radio in 1956 because of its prostitution theme. Most are familiar with the censorship of artists, like the Dixie Chicks, who had their music blacklisted from country music stations across the […]

A Three-part Series on Immigrant Workers in American Prospect

A Three-part Series on Immigrant Workers in American Prospect

May 7, 2013

Originally published by The American Prospect.   The Motorbike Diaries (with Tom D. Wu) A look into the life of Chinese delivery workers in New York City, the first in a three-part series. It’s 11 a.m. on a brisk Friday morning. In the middle of a short block of 40th Road, just off Main Street […]

Cuban journalists exposing injustice merit more attention

Cuban journalists exposing injustice merit more attention

May 6, 2013

Originally published by MSNBC.com. Dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez recently completed a multi-city tour of the United States, speaking at major universities and even visiting the White House. Sánchez, who became internationally celebrated through her Generación Y blog, which won her a place on the Time magazine list of 100 most influential people in 2008, […]

Wallflower: Lady Pink’s World

Wallflower: Lady Pink’s World

Nov 26, 2012

Originally published by CultureStr/ke By Lady Pink, Sujatha Fernandes Before hip-hop became a global sensation, Lady Pink was tagging up the Bronx in a language the world had yet to discover. The Ecaudorian-born, New York-bred teen rode the first wave of renegade street art just as it was emerging as hip-hop’s visual vernacular. Back then […]

The Mixtape of the Revolution

The Mixtape of the Revolution

Jan 12, 2012

Originally published by The New York Times. DEF JAM will probably never sign them, but Cheikh Oumar Cyrille Touré, from a small town about 100 miles southeast of Dakar, Senegal, and Hamada Ben Amor, a 22-year-old man from a port city 170 miles southeast of Tunis, may be two of the most influential rappers in […]

The Imaginative Power of 99% Politics: Occupy Wall Street Spreads Uptown

Nov 14, 2011

Originally published by Huffington Post. “I work at the airport,” says a well dressed Dominican woman as she stops by our West Harlem Halloween solidarity with Occupy Wall Street event. “I’ve been working there for twenty-six years and I make $14,000 a year. People think that because I wear a fancy uniform I make a […]

9/11 and the Cuban Hip Hop Revolución

Sep 12, 2011

Originally published by Huffington Post. Over the past decade, the events of 9/11 have been the catalyst for all kinds of political actions, from warmongering and militarization to social mobilizations for inclusion and justice. On the island of Cuba, the events provided a new platform for young people involved in the movement of Cuban rap. […]

Close to the Edge: In Search of the Global Hip Hop Generation
In Books

Close to the Edge: In Search of the Global Hip Hop Generation

Sep 7, 2011

Book description: At its rhythmic, beating heart, Close to the Edge asks whether hip hop can change the world. Hip hop—rapping, beat-making,b-boying, deejaying, graffiti—captured the imagination of the teenage Sujatha Fernandes in the 1980s, inspiring her and politicizing her along the way. Years later, armed with mc-ing skills and an urge to immerse herself in […]

Hip Hop and Global Unrest

Hip Hop and Global Unrest

Sep 7, 2011

Originally published by Huffington Post. Five years ago, the American rapper Nas proclaimed that “Hip Hop is Dead.” But while hip hop culture may have succumbed to the music industry in the U.S., four decades after its birth in the Bronx, rap music has become the soundtrack to the social unrest sweeping the globe from […]

Straight Outta Havana

Straight Outta Havana

Aug 6, 2011

Originally published by The New York Times. Onstage is Instinto, a female trio extraordinaire. It’s my first time seeing them perform in Havana. The divas are wearing shimmering strapless dresses with high heels. As a salsa beat kicks in, they shake and turn, rapping lyrically, then singing in three-part harmony. This is Cuban rap, where […]

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