Manager to Philadephia rapper Freeway and proud Egyptian-American, Amir Abbassy gives VIBE a personal account of the uprising in Egypt.
Just imagine if you were forced to listen to the same hip-hop album for 29 years with no other choices...
The Egyptian president has been sitting in power since a little before the release of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message”. Now, the Egyptian people have spoken and they have have their own “message” (pun intended ) for the government to either step down or be stepped on. The frustration of Egyptians piggybacks on the same sentiment that Grandmaster Flash rapped about when he talked about poverty, corruption, and police brutality. On top of that, Egypt’s unemployment rate among the youth is around 30%, add another 15% among the adult population and you’ll understand why the Egyptian people have taken to the streets.
Egypt’s government added more fuel to the frustration by cutting all access to the internet and mobile devices, leaving only landlines as a form of communication to the outside world. Yes, ladies and gentleman that means no VIBE.com, Twitter, Facebook, text messages, and BBM chat. That in itself would cause me to protest in the streets anywhere in the world. My own grandmother, who doesn’t have a violent bone in her body urged everyone one of my cousins to take to the streets, to speak as loud as they can and stay as long as it takes to bring back the power where it belongs—to the people.
I think the most difficult thing for me is...knowing that I can’t be there with my own flesh and blood to experience this revolution first hand. We can all do our part though, even if it’s as simple as a Tweet: expressing how you feel about the situation or writing to your congressmen and women. This is not just about the Egyptian people, this is about showing our youth, old, and rich or poor that NO ONE MAN SHOULD HAVE ALL THAT POWER!
As an Egyptian-American, I’m inspired by the will of the people while I watch my cousins, aunts, uncles, and fellow Egyptians as they march in the streets 8,000 miles away—demanding to be heard. For the same reason I love hip-hop and enjoy working in this industry where words and thoughts can invoke social and cultural trends. I hope the rest of the world joins in solidarity with the Egyptian people to unite under the same banner of change that hip-hop revolutionized for the African-American community—a voice for the people and a platform for social change.
—Amir Abbassy @BlameTheLabel