Category Archives: Environmental Justice & Sustainable Living

What is A Turntable Liberationist?

I’ve been asked on many occasions: “Brotha O, what do you mean you refer to yourself as a ‘Turntable Liberationist’?” The answer to this question is both easy and difficult. The easy answer is that i am a turntablist (one who uses turntables as an instrument) with a liberation-oriented agenda. This is where the answer become a lil more difficult. It requires that We break down the word liberation.

“Liberation,” according to several dictionaries, has something to do with doing away with oppression. I attempt to make this somewhat vague idea tangible in several ways. The first is through my music selection. As a self-styled turntable liberationist, i am careful to play music that i believe affirms people’s humanity and does not assault or insult them on the dance floor.  Therefore, you’re likely to hear me play music that celebrates life and living in ways that do not cause harm to others. In other words, it’s veeeery rare that you’ll hear tracks that refer to people in disrespectful ways because of their race, class, gender(s), sexual preference(s), etc. I would like to claim that i never play tracks that are oppressive, but sometimes i miss or misunderstand lyrics (esp. when some songs are in languages that i don’t understand). I do try my best to avoid such songs.

Part of being a turntable liberationist also include education. I am an educator and attempt to expose myself and others to a variety of ideas and cultures. That requires me to play music you probably don’t hear 50 times each day against your will. Here are two fantastic songs that you may hear in my mixes and feel deep in your soul at a party:

Exhibit A [click here for an explanation of the song’s meaning]

Exhibit B

– Much Love

Vegan Food and the Hip Hop Mainstream

When it comes to the destruction We’re doing to the planet and to our bodies, none of us are innocent. All of us with cars continue to fund BP and their buddies drill for oil, even after their latest Gulf Coast fiasco. That’s why i can appreciate the steps that people are taking to present alternatives to our problematic habits. Even BET’s “106 & Park” is joining that conversation.  They recently had a series of conversations about going “green.” It shouldn’t be surprising that i chose to share the clip about vegan food!

Cosmic Rhythm

my body sways to the tempo of the earth’s rotation
in complete sync with the sun in the sky
i carefully watch the movement of cloud formations
so that i can learn what to expect when my earth body dies
see, i’m trying to find my cosmic rhythm
perfect symbiosis with the endless universe, the Most High’s prism
that’s why i try not to abuse the ground my feet pound
or take for granted the air that i exhale as i form the sounds
that channel all the positive vibrations passing through me
to be shared with others so We can all enjoy life’s beauty
reaching higher spiritual planes gaining new over stand in
where intuition’s guided by the dance of the stars and the planets
that’s how i learned my two-step just like Imhotep
like the ballet of past prophets whose visions still guide me today
as i pop and break with green plants who offer food for flesh
in their dance are ancient secrets that We tend to forget
knowledge that reverberated as Max tapped his high hat
timing that the ancestors clapped but very few can now match
a tempo that once grasped the universe always returns back
in perfect symmetry giving We
a deeper understanding of reciprocity