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Malik Yusef Headshot

Peace Is the Gift We Give Ourselves

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On the anniversary of my man Biggie's transformation (R.I.P Notorious B.I.G), "South by Southwest" kicked off its 26th yearly festival, executing its agenda perfectly. Celebrities of all walks of life marched with no name too big, nor color code unheard from. The melting pot of music, film and interactive conferencing was ripe and in full speed. Right upon my arrival, I realized that in some ways we have all been to the Promised Land. What we need is to better understand it, and properly care for it at the same time.

The turn-out was amazing! Timberland appeared at Perez Hilton's spot, Theophilus London performed at Rachel Ray's BBQ, 50 Cent rocked at Austin Music Hall, the Boss (Bruce Springsteen), Eminem, Jay-Z, and even my family Kanye West came through on this real G.O.O.D music thing. The racial roadblocks at every level were dismantled and rendered non-important. What I saw was three generations of humanity which once could not drink from the same water fountain, now living the theory of "one mic." My "vision was set" (as my man DJ 3rd Eye would say) on the young men and women from the inner cities who were now living their dreams by going from what was once a lack of resources directly into co-operative economics. The day-to-day grind and tense faces that normally wore "ill grills," were now painted with Mona Lisa smiles. For the first time, I can honestly say that outside of the family I saw people who I'd want to work with.

Having seen the "gerbil wheel" effect that big corporate radio has laid out on our artistry, by playing the same songs over and over, SXSW put on what I would call a real musical rotation. The independent media and bloggers took full advantage of SXSW having brought so much talent in one place by providing a voice for a new generation of hip hop artists allowing them to take their rightful place in the industry. They had gotten beyond exchanging information on their fashions and what they were wearing, while lyrically taking freedom beyond the same old verbal slavery. Information is power, and I can honestly say that I saw it being shared amongst the masses at SXSW.

There was a super increase in corporate sponsorship. Big business laid out their brands by the hundreds. Yet, in all these different structures, there was peace. Every talent and participant that came through extended this enjoyable peace. It was afforded to us by our music and given to us by ourselves. This kind of peace can only be effective when we are balanced in our dealings with each other. SXSW set the scales just right! Next year, I plan on bringing all of our movements to the table including "Bridge 1018" and What is Beautiful Never Dies. Consider the G.O.O.D. music family tickets already bought. As the saying goes, 'No Justice, No beats, SXSW kept the peace!' One love. Shout outs to MC Hammer and the band Zzaje; music + movement= money !