Artist Spotlight: Leggy
Leggy is a dreamy surf rock/lush punk trio from Cincinnati, Ohio, all about friendship, chill vibes and inclusive ‘posi’ rock ‘n’ roll with a little party sprinkled in. They are currently on tour in the UK with legendary all-female Japanese pop punk group Shonen Knife, whose 90s alt prowess is in the same ranks as Nirvana, The Ramones and Sonic Youth. Leggy is on the rise too, having been featured in publications such as Noisey and Stereogum, and quickly gaining a fan base far beyond its home circles. We spoke with the members while they are on tour: Continue reading “Artist Spotlight: Leggy”
Artist Profile: Supreme of the Mighty Wu-Tang Killa Beez
Supreme of the Mighty Wu-Tang Killa Beez grew up in the struggle. His father, known as D.C., was prominent in the Black Panthers Party, a Black Nationalist and revolutionary organization pivotal in the Civil Rights Movement. D.C. was instrumental in structuring the widely-known “Free Breakfast for Children” program. This fed thousands of poor inner city kids throughout the country and eventually got the FBI’s attention. They halted the program because they saw the Black Panthers as a threat to internal security.
“[My father] basically got told by our government to shut up. They did that in a way that was pretty bad,” recounts Supreme. “Some people basically entered our house and I was the one who was threatened because I was his only child. So it was like, Shut the f–k up and take this job and retire or else. That’s the other side of the government that people don’t know about.”
The West Coast Wu-Tang producer-turned-rapper says his dad had to make a choice and live under the radar. When Supreme was twelve, his dad told him that if he wants to speak the truth, he either has to be willing to die or go to prison. But that didn’t stop Supreme from lecturing, marching, fighting and “empowering the people.” The rapper has a business degree from UC Berkeley and is soon releasing an album that addresses serious social issues, including racism.
Supreme is finalizing tracks on his album and recording some music videos in Cincinnati, Ohio. Earlier this year in July, unarmed black man Sam Dubose was shot by white Officer Ray Tensing in Cincinnati. Tensing was indicted but is still waiting to go on trial, which should be happening next month. It seems almost serendipitous that as Supreme works on his music here, the trial is upcoming and expected to draw national attention as the shooting and indictment did. I spoke with Supreme about his new project and making the choice to not shut the f—k up:
ACRO: Tell me about your new project:
Supreme: This new project is called “Supreme Life Volume 1.” We’re gonna drop the album in the spring. It’s done but we’re just mixing down and mastering. It’s going to be a set of three albums. The first album is predominantly hip-hop and rock. The next album will transition into more rock. It’s the first album on Wu Rock, the new label that I created, which will be another branch and continue the legacy of Wu Tang. It’s pretty high energy. It’s geared for performance; it’s geared for stage. It’s geared to incite the people to learn, to seek, to open their minds and hearts, and it’s geared to ultimately unite the people through the music and to address issues and to heal. That’s what our mission is. We say Wu Tang is for the children. It’s for the people. It’s for the masses. It’s about the human family. We’re trying to get out of racism and classism and gender issues and biases and get people back down to the basics of humanity, love and peace.
Can you talk about one track you’re working on that highlights all of this?
I have a track called, “White Man.” It’s a song that is greater in content than “Fight the Power.” I won’t say it’s a greater song than “Fight the Power” because all respect due to Chuck D, to Flavor Flav, and to Public Enemy as a whole. That song definitely inspired this song. We came from that. So it’s no disrespect to our elders and to our mentors, our predecessors. We can say the white man this, the white man that, but we have become that which we hate. We have become our own slave masters. So this is what “White Man” is really about. We got classic Wu-Tang stuff. We got stuff that’s entertaining. But we want to address issues. Yes, we did go through slavery. Yes, we are affected by slavery. Yes, there is still slavery today. Yes, there is racism and biases and ignorance, but there still is no excuse [for our own actions]. We’re going to be responsible for self first. These are the things we need to rectify and correct first. Black Lives Matter, you f–king right they do. Why do Black Lives Matter? Because black lives are human lives.
So you’re here in Cincinnati where in July, unarmed black man Sam Dubose was shot by white officer, Ray Tensing. Do you have anything to say about this case?
It’s a tragedy in every sense of the word. Our love, our respect and our prayer go out to the family of not only Sam Dubose but Officer Tensing. Just because a white officer shoots a black person doesn’t mean his family or friends support him; they’re affected by that too. They’ve had a lot of white people fight and die for black people. [However], the fact that [police brutality] is tolerated, the fact that [Tensing] even had it in his mind that it was okay to take another person’s life, regardless of race [is the problem]. Was race a factor? You’re f–king right it was. And you can’t deny that, because he’s had issues and encounters with Caucasian people and he didn’t shoot them. He knows and everybody in the United States and world knows right now what’s happening — how many thousands of black men are getting killed. They know what they’re doing. Why are they putting black men and men of color in jail? But the root of it all is the fact that it is condoned. It’s tolerated. It’s accepted. It’s overlooked. We need to go to the root of the issue and until 350 million correct 8,000 people in power, nothing is going to change. Until people fix this and rectify this in themselves, [nothing will change]. Marching. We’ve been marching. What does that do? These people been killing us and they’ve been getting away with it. The reality of justice in this country is the reality of what has transpired in each individual case. We’re already geared and programmed to expect this guy to get off.
How do you want to address this kind of police brutality through your music?
I was in an organization called Copwatch. I went to UC Berkeley. I had a group back in the nineties called Black Underground Movement — the BUMS. That was before we did the Wu-Tang jump-off. [Cops] shot their 15-year-old kid at the BART Station in 1991 or 1992 for a [having a] Walkman. [The cop] said he had a gun and saw a flash and shot him. He was 15 and had a Walkman. Jesse Jackson came out. We performed. [Jackson] spoke. Nothing happened. What can we do with our music to curb this? We can correct it, speak out against it, educate people against it, confront people with it and convict people. The same issues that we’re facing are the same issues that have been transpiring not only now but a million years ago. We’re occupied! We’re occupied by Europeans. This land belongs to the Native Americans and the Mexicans. We’re in an occupied country but people can’t see. Why is it taking us dying to wake up? We just came out of slavery. Women just got voting rights. People are still getting hung. This sh-t is still here. Music is the universal language so we’re going to utilize music to lead a vehicle and be a medium for us to get to the people, man. Because everybody responds to love, everybody gets hungry, everybody hurts, everybody cries — we’re all one and the same.
Activist Spotlight: Haneen Jasim and Brianne Cain, Organizers of University of Cincinnati’s Anti-Islamophobia March/Rally
University of Cincinnati pre-med student Haneen Jasim had a potential brush with death after a normal study session Monday night, November 16th. Upon leaving the Starbucks at University Square, she was honked at, cursed at and called a terrorist by a man in a car, according to WLWT, presumably because she was wearing a hijab.
The man then drove toward her without stopping. Luckily, three bystanders pulled Jasim onto the sidewalk, possibly saving her life. She is ever-thankful for “three wonderful souls who saved my life,” but was terrified by the experience.
“The fact that an individual could have this much hate for Muslims that he is willing to kill an innocent woman is unbelievable,” Jasim says. “Of course I was scared at that moment. I was scared for my life.”
She is still afraid, not only for herself, but because this terrifying incident can happen to any Muslim child, woman or man. Jasim reached out to Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which called Monday for an FBI and Cincinnati Police hate crime investigator. They still haven’t caught the perpetrator. However, Jasim says that even if they catch him, she won’t press charges.
“I would want him to apologize to me and other Muslims in public,” Jasim explains. “I would also want to make sure that he will never do this to anyone ever again. We, Muslims, were taught to forgive.”
Because the incident was all over the media, garnering national attention, many individuals reached out to Jasim.
“I received a wonderful concerned message from Brianne Cain,” she says. “I had no idea who she was, and she only knew me through my incident. She wanted to make sure I was well and had the idea to plan a rally against Islamophobia. I thought it was a wonderful idea and agreed to organize it with her.”
Cain, a sociology student at UC, has lived in Clifton all of her life and couldn’t believe what had happened. She had heard that Islamophobic violence was on the rise, but never thought it would happen to someone around her.
“It was just too close to home,” Cain says. “I’ve been interning at Planned Parenthood, which absolutely has inspired me to be more involved in my community and stand up for what I believe in and given me some great tools/ideas for how to do it.”
However, the march/rally that took place yesterday, If You HEAR Something, SAY Something: a March and Rally Against Islamophobia, was the first time both women had organized something of that scale. It started at 3 p.m. and went until 4 p.m. The Facebook event reads: Please join us in a march to support the Muslim community followed by a rally. Come learn about Islamophobia, how it affects all of us, and what we can do about it!
There are many speakers sharing both personal stories and educational information, including Jasim herself, Clifton Mosque Imam Ismael Chartier and Executive Director of CAIR Karen Dabdoub, among others.
“Before Haneen and I met, I wasn’t sure if this was actually going to turn into anything, but her determination was obvious and inspiring, and somehow it came together!” says Cain. “Her ability to turn what happened to her into an opportunity for positive change is incredible.”
The two speak out on the march/rally and how they hope it will help spread the message against Islamophobia.
ACRO: What do you hope is the outcome of this march/rally?
Jasim: I hope to get individuals to want to learn about Islam and Muslims — to understand that we are kind people. I want others to speak out when witnessing hate speech toward Muslims or individuals of other faiths.
Cain: I hope that through this event, not only will the Muslim community feel supported, but the rest of the community will understand that they have a role to play in this. People seem to think not being racist is enough, but that’s just not true. You have to actively fight against hate speech and discrimination to expect anything to change. If we make it clear that no one will stand for Islamophobia, then we begin to have an environment that fosters acceptance, not hate.
ACRO: Why is this march/rally important?
Jasim: This march is very important to explain to others that Islam is not ISIS. The real Muslims around the world do not consider the individuals involved in ISIS to be Muslims. Islam is not a religion of terrorism. Muslims are not terrorists. Islamophobia needs to be stopped. No one should ever be scared of Muslims because of extremists claiming to be Muslims.
Cain: This rally is important because people need to know that this is happening and that it’s everybody’s responsibility to do something about it.
ACRO: Do you think there needs to be more awareness surrounding Islamophobia and why it’s a problem?
Jasim: Of course I do. Educate others on Islam, the meaning of Islam, the condemning of terrorism. I want people to go out and learn about Islam. Give us Muslims a chance to show you how peaceful, pure and innocent our religion is. We are not terrorists. We are the last thing from being that.
Cain: I definitely think there needs to more awareness surrounding Islamophobia. I think the more people that share their stories, the better. It takes tremendous courage to talk to people about something so personal and I admire everyone that is going to do that. I hope that it will encourage more people to speak out in the future. I think spreading the message is exactly how we combat Islamophobia. We talk to each other. We reach out to our Muslim friends and give them support just as we reach out to our non-Muslim friends and give them information. Ignorance is at the heart of all of this and we need to be willing to do something about that. The most important thing I want people to take away from the rally is a personal sense of responsibility regarding Islamophobia. Although there have been events about Islamophobia on campus, this is the first that is a march and rally. The reason we did it this way is for exposure. We know it’s going to be cold and the entire event takes place outside, but we want people that are walking by to stop and listen.
ACRO: Did the event accomplish what you and Haneen intended?
Cain: I definitely think we accomplished what we meant to. I honestly didn’t even think to count how many people, but I’d say around 40… someone said nearly 50 [people showed up]! Everybody hung out afterwards and met each other and talked to each other and that’s what we wanted… to build our community. After hearing our amazing speakers, I was left with such an overwhelmingly positive feeling. If everybody else left that way, then we definitely accomplished our goal!
Read more about the march/rally here.
Artist Spotlight: Vyvian Looper / Luuli
This article may contain content troubling to readers, including discussions of sexual assault and self-harm.
When I saw Vyvian Looper at The Comet, a bar in Cincinnati, I asked her if she was back. Where was she living nowadays? In her car, she responded, with a small laugh. That’s her home. But she was back for a few days to perform in Cincinnati’s inaugural Ladyfest from October 15-17. She bounces around.
The soft-spoken Looper, or Luuli — her stage name — plays music and does art, but isn’t your typical performance artist. She’s more on par with unconventional performers such as Serbian Marina Abramović, known for brutally testing the limits of her body and mind. Like Abramović, there is sometimes blood involved in Luuli’s works. Continue reading “Artist Spotlight: Vyvian Looper / Luuli”
Artist Spotlight: SMUT
B.C. talks to burgeoning band SMUT, fresh out of Cincinnati’s rich music scene. Continue reading “Artist Spotlight: SMUT”
Artist Spotlight: Jack Sjogren!
We love showcasing projects and artists! B.C. sat down with illustrator (and Buzzfeed contributor) Jack Sjogren (pronounced show-grin) to talk cartooning, butts, and celebrating the freedom of weirdness. Check out the Q&A, along with Jack’s work, below.
Cincinnati Street Style
Cincinnati’s unique style, captured by B.C. Getcha some outfit inspiration here!