Tag: Mos Def Black on Both Sides

Throwback: Mos Def’s “Umi Says”/Black Lives Matter

JOVM’s William Ruben Helms with some brief thoughts on Tyre Nichols’ killing at the hand of Memphis police.

Throwback: Black History Month: Mos Def/Yasiin Bey

Today is the third day of Black History Month. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few days of this month, you’d see that I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles that I think can guide you towards understanding the Black experience.

Through the month — and throughout the year, I hope that you’ll come to understand and appreciate the following:

Black culture is American culture
Black music is American music.
Black history is American history.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
You can’t love black art and black artists without loving black people.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

Mos Def (now known as Yasiin Bey) recorded one of the most important and relevant albums of my life, an album I turn to whenever racism and its ugly head rears its head in my life — Black on Both Sides. If you’ve had the chance to get to know me in real life, it wouldn’t be surprising that for the first JOVM DJ set, I ended the set with “Umi Says,” one of my favorite songs off that album. Also, the man in my opinion is one of the greatest living emcees, ever.

Throwback: Mos Def “Umi Says”/Black Lives Always Matter

I’m going to make a confession here that will seem rather obvious: the last few months I’ve felt especially angry, exhausted and demoralized. I saw another brother gunned down out by the police on TV. There were replays and commentary as if it were like a key play of a big ballgame. Some of the brilliant commentary included demonizing an imperfect human, who may have done stupid and illegal things when he was younger — or asking why he didn’t comply with the cops and a bunch of other insanely dumb things, 

People in the poor bastard’s town protested. Racist lunatics from his state and elsewhere came into town with assault rifles to “protect property and lives” but they were actually fueling more discord and chaos. Worst yet, one of these racist idiots, shot and wounded protestors and the cops let him walk on by, get into his car and leave the state. I’ve seen articles sympathizing with this guy who hurt and killed people instead of  empathizing with the poor bastard’s kids who saw their daddy get shot in the back seven times.

I’m proud of the NBA teams that refused to play games last night. I personally hope that they just shut down the rest of the season. We all need to focus on social justice and getting these people to stop killing us.  

Yet again, it’s necessary to post one of my favorite Mos Def songs, off an album I turn to whenever racism and injustice seems to hurt me to my very core — “Umi Says,” off Black on Both Sides. As the song says in its refrain “I want my Black people to be free. . .” 

All black live smatter. All the time. Every single day. 

Throwback: Mos Def “Umi Says”/Black Lives Matter

With yet another senseless, televised police murder of a black person, I’ve felt angry and exhausted, demoralized and depressed. When will this nightmare end of unnecessary death end? When will we be free of this? 

It just felt necessary to post one of my favorite Mos Def songs, off an album I turn to whenever racism and injustice seems to hurt me to my very core — “Umi Says,” off Black on Both Sides. 

Simply put, I want all my black people to be free. Black lives matter. All the time. Every single day.