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March 30, 1990 - Image 21

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-03-30
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History of Pi
Ann Arbor's city council voted
9-2 to place Proposal B on the
ballot in early January.
If passed, Proposal B would
amend the city charter and raise
the fines for possession of
marijuana to a range of $25 to
$500, depending on the offender.
Currently, possession of
marijuana is punishable with a $5
fine and is viewed by the city as a
civil infraction.
Community members who
supported Proposal B said the
city has to stiffen penalties for the
crime of pot possession. They
said this will send a message to
Ann Arbor's youth that the city is
"serious" about drug abuse.
Proposal B's advocates also
argued that under current laws,
the city is more lax on marijuana
than minors in possession of
alcohol.
Ann Arbor's chapter of the

roposal B
National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Laws
(NORML) is heading up the
opposition to the ballot proposal.
NORML spokesperson Rich
Birkett complained that the city
council ignored the proposal's
opponents by deliberately voting
on the ballot proposal before
university students returned from
winter break.
Those opposing the hikes also
say because the referendum was
placed on the ballot by the
council, and not by citizen
referendum, it doesn't reflect the
sentiments of Ann Arborites.
What the ballot proposal won't
do is change the section of the
city's charter that requires police
officers to prosecute crimes under
local ordinance instead of
potentially harsher state and
county laws.
When Gov. James Blanchard

used his gubernatorial power to
veto the ballot proposal he
criticized that this provision was
not in accordance with "strong
public policy." The council
subsequently overrode the veto
with a two-thirds majority.
NORML originally intended to
stage a rally against Proposal B at
the April 1 Hash Bash. Now the
status of the rally is
undetermined because the
University withdrew the group's
permit to use sound equipment
on the Diag.
Two weeks ago, NORML filed
suit against the University to get
the permit restored. Last
Wednesday the Washtenaw
County Circuit Court Judge
urged the University and
NORML to reach a compromise
out of court. The court will
decide today in the event the two
sides cannot agree.
by Josh Mitnick

Michigan *%Alumni
work here:
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The Detroit Free Press
The Detroit News
NBC Sports
Associated Press
United Press International
Scientific American
Time
Newsweek
Sports Illustrated
USA Today
Because they worked here:

BetBest of An Arbor
1990 Reader Poll
Complete and return to the Michigan Daily by April 13. Results will be published in the April 20 Weekend Magazine.
Best Food Copy shop Best and Worst University Stuff
Burger Liquor/Party Store Micro-computing cluster
Pizza Book store Library
Hot dogs Used books Place to study'
Bagels Records Professor
Italian food Used records__ Course f
Oriental foodBar Major
Mexican food_ Haircut Shanty
Breakfast VCR rental Sports team
Late-night eats Movie Theatre Regent
Take-out Student group_
Greasy spoon Best of the Rest Issue to rally about '
Deli Radio station Speaker/Lecturer in past year
Food bargain Local band Presidential decision in past year
M Place to take the folks Place to meet people Building
Place to do lunch Pickup line Dorm_
Dorm cafeteria Place to take a first date
Delivery Birth control method The Worst of Ann Arbor
Cheap beer Place to get away from it all Ugliest building
Ice Cream Place to study Worst place to take a first date
Cookies_._Excuse for the Basketball Team's NCAA performance Worst dorm meal
Coffee Worst thing about Ann Arbor
Falafel Excuse for a late paper Fill-in-the-blank
Person in Ann Arbor
Best Businesses Thing about Ann Arbor Who are you?
Women's clothing Fill-in-the-blank Name '
Men's clothing Lingo/Slang/Buzzword/Jargon Address
Thrift/Used clothing Concert in the past year Phone M
I Grocery __School and class level
I Convenience

big, like Young Mc And then
there's the hard core, like Public
Enemy or the Beatnigs, the more
political rap. Rap that's more
closely aligned with R&B like
Heavy D & the Boys, rap ballads,
etc.
I think its very important to
look at history when you talk
about something like rap.
Whenever you see some report on
the beginnings of rock and roll
and it was originally called "race
music" and the "devil's music", it
came from a lack of
understanding. And you look
back at Chuck Berry, yeah right,
the devil. And then, what do you
remember from Elvis? Once he
made it acceptable and profitable
then the establishment embraced
the form and now he's the
goddamn King of rock. I just
think that it should be so clear,
especially for people of "higher
learning" or at an institution,
where they are supposedly
learning more about themselves
and culture. I mean these things
are clear.
W: What's clear?
F: Just the contradictions that
occur and continue to occur. I
mean, I totally take this with a
grain of salt. Rap has been around
for so long. Now it makes
Newsweek's cover. Now people
want to start talking about it. I
mean, I think part of the reason
people want to start talking about
it is because of the anger. I mean,
the anger is there. You know,
people talk about how its angry
music by young Blacks. Its angry
because things are fucked up.
They're expressing what they've
witnessed. What they experience
everyday. That's where the anger
comes from.
The opening line of the
Newsweek article says, "The rap
attitude, a new musical culture,
filled with self-assertion and
anger, has come boiling up from
the street. Some people think it
should have stayed there."
(Newsweek March 19, 1990) Rap
has been around for over ten
years. Rap was okay when it was
underground but now that its
above ground and NwA can sell
one and a half million copies of
their album with zero radio air
play - and that isn't by all
Blacks, the majority by young
whites - then the establishment
gets worried. Ice T talks about
this idea. And Newsweek says,
"Some people believe it should
have stayed there." Not that
anger is bad and we shouldn't
have anger, but just stayed there.
And that's the whole attitude. As
long as it stays in the Black

community, whether it be "angry
music" or Black on Black violence
or gangs or drugsJts all fine. We
don't care. When it spreads out to
the white borders that's when
there's an uproar. And when a
group like Public Enemy comes
out and says that, then they are
considered an angry group.
Controversial.
For instance, Public Enemy
says "in the daytime the radio
scared of me." Yes, I mean, it is
angry. And he's saying that the
radio stations won't play what
they feel is controversial. What
many Blacks feel is there life.
What they experience everyday.
That can't be broadcast.
I just find it extremely ironic
that rap was part of the subculture
as far as staying where it did. It
was part of the subculture and it
was fine with everyone in the
establishment. But who allowed it
to go mainstream? The
establishment did. You know, it
got the air play. Blacks don't
control that. They don't control
the avenues of expression. Then
they hyped it because its makes
money. But now its too big. Let's
suppress it. Let's control it again.
W: The Newsweek article on rap
discusses the term "attitude" a
lot. It begins that way, it italicizes
the word throughout the article.
Why do you think that was done
in the article?
F: It plays into the fear of an
unfamiliar culture. I mean, you
can't learn about Black culture.
They won't let you learn it. You
have to actively seek it out. So
there's a fear for it. And then
when we get bits and pieces of it
- the anger for repressing that
culture expressed by much of rap
music's groups - then there's a
fear that comes out of
misunderstanding.
W: What are dangerous myths
about rap music being
perpetuated by the media?
F: That rap is a violent
expression. Rap is not violent at
all. When you think of the fact
that all rap music is not the same.
The best rap has alternative
views, views that often seem
controversial but deserve to be
rethought. And I think that's
certainly one of the strongest
points of rap and why it has stayed
as long at it has. Another myth:
that it will die. As long as people
have something to say, it won't
happen.
As far as Afrocentrism is
concerned, I think its a very
positive movement. Its
encouraging learning of Black
history and culture. Most schools
don't address that as well as the

issue should be. Its an extremely
positive movement. And for
whites, I don't think they should
feel worried or left out. I mean,
they should certainly feel
welcome to learn. And they
shouldn't feel excluded in any
way. I mean, Blacks have had to
learn white culture all their lives.
And I think that its about time
that both Blacks and whites learn
Black culture if we are to make
any kinds of significant
advancements.
W: What do you think about
any sexist comments that exist in
some rap music?
F: Well, I think that's more
representative of the sexism that
exists in society. Its also been an
off shoot, of sorts, of the one-up-
manship competition of who's a
better DJ, who's a better rapper. I
think its also important to note
that a lot of the records were
originally written by men and sold
to men. So I don't think they
were as sensative about the sexist
comments. I don't think that
there was a concern and maybe
there should have been. But now
that rap serves a larger base and
the audience broadens, I would
like to think, that those who are
more sexist will be penalized, as
far as sales go, and discouraged
from such actions. But when you
have tunes like "Me So Horny"
selling, what do you do? I mean
what can you say? There are also
women buying that, so the sexism
isn't entirely discoraged.
W: But there's a reaction from
women artists in rap.
F: Yeah, which is great. Queen
Latifah, Roxanne Shant, Mc
Lyte and it's really opening up
the whole market. I think women
rappers originally emerged as
rebuttals to the sexism. Now it's
taken the initiative. I think it
offers strong female figures.
W: How do you gage that in
your own music? For instance, do
you consciously not play things
that are sexist or homophobic? Do
you play things that are more
socially awakening?
F: Yes. I'm more moved by the
more politically aware things. But
like I said, its as much of the beat
as what's being said. And
sometimes there are tunes I
would love to play because of the
beat but I just don't agree with
them because they're sexist or
homophobic. So I don't play
them. I think they limit
themselves in that way. As I said,
I favor more politically minded,
conscious raising rap.
.

-Y

Sc ru
Fint
*
*

This Weekend:
I Stone Roses
"Eephant Stone"
"Mad Love-
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IHouse of Love-new L.P.
SCass. $6.99
C.D. $9.99
Curret 93
"Crooked Crosses" Bel
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I $10.99 each
Iiport!
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I 500 Sq. Ft. Of Throbbing Cool Stuffl! N

312 Mthom eSw erte
312 Thompson St. near the c

I

I

10

W. EEKEND _ March '30, 1990

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