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The NY Daily News' Stanley Crouch Fails to Understand the Legacy of Malcolm X

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(From Global Grind) With the rampant abuse of the planet, animals and people throughout the world, Stanley Crouch is a routine conformist. He appears to be overly content with defending the status quo. When leaders like Malcolm X spoke out against oppression in America, his words and poetry were felt and embraced by the solidarity of millions of people internationally.

Today the same is true with rappers. Hip-Hop has emerged as a global cultural phenomena because of the truth of its poetic expression and artistic genius. Crouch can't see how artists like rappers are important because of their poetry and other creative expressions. They heighten sensitivity in others. The spirit of hip-hop is a part of youth culture that cares and takes responsibility for helping to make the world a better place.

Poets especially see the contradictions in a social order that treats abuse with complacency. The policies and practices of those who do not want to see real change need to be challenged. Historically, there has always been a contest between the conformists and agents of change.

Rappers, in the spirit of Malcolm X, point out the contradictions. Both in their words and cultural dress codes, hip-hop defies the rigidity of people like Crouch. Their lifestyle and dress bring attention to their rebellion. They are all Lil' Malcolm X's and although I'm a little older now, rappers are still my cultural heros.

It is the conformists who characteristically sit through and permit the abuse of people, the animals and the planet. Always the existence of genocide, the periods of human slavery, the unjustified promotion of wars, and all the other human catastrophes or abuses are usually created by people who look and think like Stanley Crouch.

So thank God for the rappers and other artists who are less racist, sexist, oppressive and homophobic than people who adhere to the Crouch mind set. And even the expressions of the "gangster rappers" (who I love) are much less gangster than the policies and actions of George Bush.

-Russell Simmons

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Stanley Crouch: For the future of hip hop, all that glitters is not gold teeth