joey-badass-v-books--1495407176 joey-badass-v-books--1495407176

V Books: Joey Bada$$' 'All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$' Joins A Lexicon Of Books That Expose Racism

All-AmericKKKan racists. 

Joey Bada$$' grip on social issues and race relations has been constant throughout his rap career. Most of us first heard the innocuous teenager back in 2012 when he waxed poetically about spirituality and poverty that overpowers ambition on his breakout single, “Waves.” Today, the Flatbush, Brooklyn native is 22 years young. Despite the springtime of life, Joey’s sagaciousness continues to captivate curious minds of all ages.

With a bigot acting as commander-in-chief of the United States of America, a punctual Bada$$ fittingly delivered his latest album titled All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$, the follow-up to his 2-year-old B4.Da.$$. With 12 songs totaling 49 minutes, the rapper born Jo-Vaughn Scott digs deep into America’s grotesque history and clutches onto themes of systemic and overt racism, poverty, mass incarceration, among other unpleasantries. Bada$$ even throws well-deserved shots at the misogynistic Donald Trump, who has publicly used (what’s historically deemed racist) coded “law and order” rhetoric.

One of the most impressive and deeply profound tracks on All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$ is the emotional letter that Joey pens to his country titled, “Y U Don’t Love Me (Miss AmeriKKKa)." Here, the Pro Era founding member questions the un-nurturing energy that AmeriKKKa passes off to black people. Bada$$' entire sophomore album runs through a checklist of wrongdoings like racial profiling, police brutality, subjecting blacks to second-class citizenship, among other insults.

Joey’s hip-hop elders like Ice Cube, Nas, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Talib Kweli, and Wu-Tang Clan have also fed the streets analytical and well-read stories about the history of racism. Now, it’s Joey’s turn to inform a generation of young boys and girls about white supremacy. As a result, All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$ inspired VIBE to compile the following short list of books that expose both legal and covert racism in America.


1: Slavery by Another Name: The Re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (Anchor Books)
Independent historian and journalist Douglass Blackmon shows how slavery did not end with the Emancipation Proclamation. After slavery was abolished, blacks were pulled back into forced labor with the Black Codes; laws that subjected newly freed blacks to certain areas. Under this system, many blacks were arrested—in most cases for no crime at all—and forced to work in the prison system.

2: The Strange Career of Jim Crow (Oxford University Press)
Even at 91, C. Vann Woodward was one of the nation’s most captivating historians. In his award-winning study of Jim Crow, Woodward offers a clear and concise examination of the Jim Crow South. Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to "The Strange Career of Jim Crow" as the “Bible of the Civil Rights Movement.” This is an excellent book to get a basic understanding of Jim Crow.

3: Red Summer: The Red Summer of 1919 and the Awaking of Black America (Henry Holt)
Cameron McWhirter tells a comprehensive story of the turbulent 1919 fall season where a number of race riots exploded in cities such as Chicago, Washington D.C. and Elaine, Arkansas. But more disturbing than the race riots that took place in 1919 were the number of blacks that were lynched by racist whites. Many argue that the lynchings of 1919 set off the first wave of the Civil Rights Movement.

4: At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance-A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power(First Vintage Books)
Common knowledge about Rosa Parks details her defying segregation laws. But her activism started long before her refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger. Danielle McGuire, in "At the Dark End of the Street," tells the story of the rape of the 24-year old sharecropper, Recy Taylor. President of the NAACP sent his best investigator, Rosa Parks, to decipher the case. With this, Parks helped expose a history of rape against Taylor and other black women.

5: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press)
In this brilliantly researched book, legal scholar Dr. Michelle Alexander sheds light on America's prison system. the "War on Drugs," and shows how the former is similar to Jim Crow. Alexander also uses evidence from the "War on Drugs" to show how convicted felons are basically disenfranchised.

6: Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (South End Press)
The FBI’s creation of COINTELPRO is one of the most disturbing creations from the U.S. government. Ward Churchill and Jim Wall put together this historical account of COINTELPRO's establishment, their siege on Wounded Knee, as well as their campaigns against the Black Liberation Movement.

7: The Color of Law: The Forgotten History of how Our Government Segregated America (Liveright Publishing)
Here, Richard Rothstein shows how laws and housing policies—by local, state and federal—promoted segregation in metropolitan cities. Rothstein, a leading authority on housing, picks apart the myth that segregation results from individual practice.

8: Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880 (The Free Press)
Sociologist, intellectual and activist, W.E.B. Du Bois played an instrumental role in shaping black culture with the founding of the NAACP. In his groundbreaking book, "Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880," the Harvard graduate tells the story of the role that blacks played in rebuilding America after the Civil War.

9: Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas In America (Nation Books)
Prof. Ibram Kendi researched the entire history of white rage. Kendi also shows readers that racist ideas came from the minds of some of the world’s most highly intellectual men.

10: Ku Klux: The Birth of the Klan during Reconstruction (University of North Carolina Press)
Elaine Parsons pens the first comprehensive history of the Ku Klux Klan's rise. Here, she explores reasons behind the formation of the KKK. Although its origins can be traced back to Pulaski, Tenn., Parsons shows how the KKK's influence also reached political and mass media circles in northern cities.

11: Ghetto: The Invention of a Place (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Mitchell Duneier traces the idea of the ghetto from its sixteenth-century origins, to its resuscitation by the Nazi to the dilapidated black ghettos in today’s America. Dunier shows how poverty is often met with prejudice and discrimination.

12: From War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America (President and Fellows of Harvard College)
Elizabeth Hinton examines the rise of mass incarceration in America and connects its ascension to former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. Yes, the Great Society promoted economic equality, but these strategies were rooted in the belief that African Americans are mostly responsible for their own economic equality, according to Hinton’s research.

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But as I got older, and injustices became too blatant to ignore, pieces of Mandela's teaching orbited their way from my peripheral to my direct line of sight.

Then, in 2013, when news outlets reported on Mandela's touch-and-go health I learned of his lofty sacrifices, his world-changing accomplishments, and grace made more resolute with his warm smile. During his last year of life, I understood Mandela was actually more than any of us could imagine.

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Orange Is The New Black's Uzo Aduba took to the stage following Lee's welcoming statements. The Emmy-award winning actress and gifted orator delivered a passionate rendition of Mandela's May 10, 1994 inauguration speech.

"Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity's belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all."

Aduba, 38, continued, "We, the people of South Africa, feel fulfilled that humanity has taken us back into its bosom, that we, who were outlaws not so long ago, have today been given the rare privilege to be host to the nations of the world on our own soil."

After guests dined, Graça Machel, stateswoman, activist and Mandela's widow spoke. Donning a small blonde Afro, a pink silk scarf and a navy blue knee-length dress, Machel expressed her appreciation to all those who continue to champion her late husband's work and even quipped about her love for leaders.

Aduba returned to the stage this time as a moderator leading an intimate conversation with representatives from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Nelson Mandela's Children Fund, and the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital. Before the afternoon was over, guests were treated to live entertainment from Grammy-award nominated singer-songwriters, Chloe X Halle.

Two hours wasn't enough time to appreciate Mandela's legacy or even come to a full understanding of his life, but guests left thankful, full and gracious to have spent the afternoon honoring a man who showed the world, "It only seems impossible until it's done."

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Take Five: DJ Khaled Talks ‘Father of Asahd’ And #Summergram Partnership

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It seems like you’ve been intentional with this album rollout even more so than your past projects. What can you tell me about your strategy for this rollout? I decided we can’t do anything dinosaur anymore. For this album, everything had to be big. From the music to the rollout, everything had to be big! And watching it all come together is just beautiful. And I love to see the excitement from my fans! At the end of the day, it’s all for my fans.

What was the toughest song to create? To work with so many different artists and so many moving parts, I imagine it can be challenging. Every challenge is a blessing. The toughest ones to make are usually the biggest ones. I’m blessed to work with great artists and be able to create beautiful music together.

Can you speak to your intentions on beginning the album with “Holy Mountain” and ending it with “Holy Ground”? Me and Buju have a special relationship and have been friends for years. The whole album is very spiritual so it seemed right to start and end the project with those records. The message of the album is to not only receive our blessings but to protect them, as well. Everything for my son, Mama Asahd (Nicole Tuck) and fan love.

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Courtesy of Think BIG

How CJ Wallace Turned His Connection To Notorious B.I.G. Into A Cannabis Brand

Christopher Jordan “CJ” Wallace was exposed to the music industry at an early age. As the son of Notorious B.I.G. and Faith Evans, the 22-year-old recalls growing up with countless musicians stopping by his family’s home studio. “We had a studio in our house when we lived in Atlanta. This is around the time [of] Bad Boy South,” he tells VIBE during a visit to our Times Square office. “Any given Tuesday, Usher might come over. It would be crazy.”

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And that’s when it hit him. CJ remembered the relaxed and joyful vibe that overcame his family’s old Atlanta studio. “It’s all about the energy and that’s kind of where for me – sitting next to the speaker, smelling the cannabis, smelling the incense – that was what started it for me,” he says.

Wallace went on to found Think BIG, alongside Willie Mack and Russaw. Think BIG, he explains, is a brand and social movement encouraging society to embrace the cannabis industry and realize its potential to heal and stimulate creativity. In its first plan of action, the brand launched its first product: The Frank White Blend, named after one of B.I.G’s many aliases.

Right now, there is a common focus on the recreational use of cannabis; consumers are flooded with images of kids, middle-aged adults, and celebrities sparking up to escape their realities or “have fun.” Prior to the arrival of Psalm West, Kim Kardashian threw a CBD and meditation-themed baby shower for her fourth child in April 2019. In addition to lifting you off the ground, however, Wallace, Mack and Think BIG want to introduce society to the healing and creative benefits of cannabis. Mack learned about cannabis’ healing powers in a major way during his youth.

“As a kid, watching [how] the AIDS crisis ravaged the world and seeing the LGBT community fighting for cannabis to help them with nausea during AZT [antiretroviral medication used to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS] was my first indication of [thinking] cannabis was a drug, but people are actually using it to try to stay alive,” Mack said, noting that he had several family members who were dealing with HIV/AIDS.

Similarly, Wallace uncovered the alternative nature of the plant when his family experimented with it as a form of medication for his younger brother, who was diagnosed with autism. After testing various strains, Wallace confirms they found the right balance, but since cannabis isn’t an approved medication, his brother is unable to use it publicly. “This is helping my youngest brother every day,” he insists. “It’s unfair because we can’t give it to him and let him take it to school and have the school nurse actually prescribe it to him so he’s constantly getting that regular medication. You can’t take it to school, but the kids in his school are being given opioids, which has crazy after effects.”

Creatively speaking, Wallace and Mack consider cannabis to be the “ultimate ghostwriter.” It’s no secret B.I.G. was an advocate. From numerous consultations with his family members, he learned his dad often smoked while recording. (Mack also notes famous smokers like Johnny Cash, Louis Armstrong, and Bob Marley.) Just about every corner of the music industry has dabbled in recreational smoking, but no genre has been hit as hard as hip-hop. While fans love to watch Snoop Dogg smoke on Instagram Live or share a spliff with Kid Cudi during a concert set, the hip-hop community as a whole is met with backlash and often times targeted by police due to cannabis.

“I feel like anything associated with black men is just immediately going to be deemed bad or evil,” Wallace says, referencing the negative connotation rappers receive. It’s Wallace’s mission, however, to adjust that perspective. “I feel like it’s really up to us to change that narrative. That’s why I try so hard to stop saying words like ‘weed.’ Cannabis, it’s actually a plant," he continues. Both Wallace and Mack noted the terms "weed" and "marijuana" hold negative connotations and are commonly used in connection with minorities. "We were lied to for so long. If we were given proper knowledge from the start, I feel like the entire hip-hop community and the entire way we talked about it would’ve changed.”

Beyond educating consumers with their message and products, Think BIG also seeks to improve the criminal justice system as well as launch charitable projects. According to “The War on Marijuana in Black and White,” on average, a black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person. Such racial disparities reportedly exist in all regions, states, and counties around the United States and largely contribute to today's mass incarceration crisis.

In recent years, the U.S. government has made significant strides to correct this injustice. California, Nevada, and Maine are among the first states to legalize cannabis; states such as New York have already begun the process of exonerating offenders convicted of nonviolent charges and marijuana possession. Despite the steps forward, Wallace and Mack say there is a long road ahead.

Not only is it difficult to eradicate a vicious cycle that has left many black and brown people behind bars, but it is also hard to forge spaces for them to succeed in a rapidly changing industry. “Being able to understand how to navigate the industry that’s constantly changing and to do it without a bank account or full funnel of money, makes it that much harder,” Mack says. “Then on top of that, you got people sitting in jail who should be out of jail for nonviolent possession of cannabis. So, we’re faced with having to work four times as hard to make half as much because of the color of our skin. It’s a constant fight and we look at it as how can we set an example, share our knowledge, [and] show more information?”

It takes a group effort, Mac says. While Think BIG is setting a place at the table for black businesses in the cannabis industry as well as shifting the conversation around the plant, Mack suggests other ways to get involved that ultimately uplift the black community. “It’s much easier to enter into the market based on something you already know,” Mack insists, pointing out the opportunities for design firms, packaging, and communication firms to join the movement.

Wallace and Mack know the journey ahead is going to be a roller-coaster ride fit with many twists and turns, but they’re ready. “You got to dream big, as your dad said, and think big,” Mack says. “Everyone else in this industry is thinking about global billion-dollar companies, why shouldn’t we?” As for Wallace, he understands how difficult the process is and will be, “but, it wasn’t more emotional than the first 21 years of my life.”

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