A One on One Innerview with Gat Turner: Thoughts on The Milwaukee Uprisings and Committing to the Work of the 10,000 Fearless

By Tony Muhammad

Hiphopeducator19@gmail.com

gat bustIn the midst of the August 2016 Milwaukee uprisings, this Hip Hop Educator reached out to Milwaukee Hip Hop artist and fellow FOI (Fruit of Islam) Gat Turner. In our dialogue he comments on the current social and political climate of the city that the youth in its streets have renamed “Killwaukee” because of the level of violence and injustice that is experienced on an institutional level as well as his perspective on views shared by Milwaukee Alderman Khalif Rainey and Sheriff David Clarke. Gat also mentions his current projects as an artist and his involvement assisting in the 10,000 Fearless Campaign launched by The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan at the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March in October 2015.

TM: Peace and As-Salaam-Alaikum dear Brother! You’re from Milwaukee and you’re experiencing first-hand what is presently taking place as a result of the recent police shooting and killing of what police say was an armed 23 year-old Black man with a stolen gun and ammunition. From what you’re experiencing first hand, can you describe the current climate of your city?

GT: Walaikum Salaam Beloved! I first want to say that it is an honor and a privilege to take gat vivapart in this interview Brother Tony. From my vantage point the city’s climate is what it has been for the past few years. It has been a place of helplessness and hopelessness. It has been a place of apathy and antipathy. Which in turn makes Milwaukee a cesspool of volatility. It only required minimal agitation for the uprising to happen. This city has been a powder keg waiting to happen. I did a song on the ‘Killwaukee Xperiment’ mixtape that I did with Milwaukee raptivist Viva Fidel entitled, ‘The Fire This Time’, in that song I foretold this day. Like the rapper Nas said, “It Ain’t Hard To Tell.” Anyone with any compassion for Black people and their ear to the street could see this coming.

TM: What are your views of the police narrative and what has your experience been concerning similar police narratives in your city, especially as told by police sheriff David Clarke who wants the National Guard involved to stop the uprisings in Milwaukee?

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Sheriff David Clarke

GT: Well my Brother… The police narrative is always tainted. That is why it has to be a Gat Turner on the scene to tell the Truth and counter the lies that are being force fed to the people by biased mainstream media outlets. The great Chuck D. of the rap group Public Enemy once said that, “Hip Hop is like the Blackman’s or the Hood’s CNN.” Well Hip Hop has to represent that unadulterated truth to the people because we know that these systems lie and cover one another to maintain their status quo. And honestly Brother Tony… You don’t want me to get started on Sheriff Clarke. Really Sheriff Clarke is like a Muppet. He is just the mouthpiece for a right wing agenda. He is the quintessential sell-out. When you see him and hear him, just know that there is someone else pulling his strings… There is someone else that has their hand up his backside. He has never had an original thought.

 

TM: Many officials, police and media personalities have been critical of the words of City

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Alderman Khalif Rainey

Alderman Khalif Rainey who publicly described Milwaukee as a “powder keg” for potential violence throughout the summer. Coherently, he described there being major racial problems in Milwaukee and really, it being the worst place for Black people to live in in the country. He said that the uprisings from this past weekend came as a result of the inequities, injustice, un-employment and under-education. How true are these statements and what pro-active solutions are there for these problems?

GT: Alderman Khalif Rainey is a good friend of mine. He is more of a truth teller than he is a politician. Politicians are versed in untruths, half-truths, and hide-the-truths… Alderman Rainey is not. He told the Truth! His truth was ‘the shot heard around the city’, because it is unusual for a person in his position to not follow the script already laid out for them by their Master, sorry… I meant Mayor. He told the Truth and I back him in that Truth. In regards to pro-active solutions, Honestly Brother… The only pro-active solution that I see as a remedy for these problems is SEPARATION! The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that Separation is the Best & Only Solution! Time has proven him to be correct. We have tried everything else. We have migrated up north, now those jobs are gone. We have integrated the schools, only to have nearly a fifty percent dropout rate of Black males under this current education system. Malcolm said, “Only a fool would allow his enemy to teach his children.” We integrated the police force with Black men and women and they are killing us now, just like the enemy. We need to leave these people and go for ourselves. Everything else has been tried & everything else has failed.

TM: As an artist who has his ear to the street, a member of the FOI (Fruit of Islam), a foot soldier in the community what projects are you presently working on to make the Black and Latino communities of Milwaukee better places to live for our people?

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GT: I am currently working to assist in the 10,000 Fearless Campaign launched by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Last year during his push for the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March, Justice or Else, I was facilitating a Stop the Violence campaign that was affectionately known as 20 Hoodz – 20 Weekz. I, along with other concerned activists in the city of Milwaukee took to the streets in hopes of curbing some of the violence that had taken place at that time. We walked through the toughest and most poverty stricken neighborhoods in the city and provided resources to them, offered conflict resolution to settle their disputes, as well as did neighborhood clean ups and block parties. We had a measure of success and we hope to continue doing that work and make it even bigger and more successful with the help of Allah, and incorporate what we did with what the Minister wants us to do.

TM: What album projects are you currently working on?

GT: Well many people are recognizing now how relevant the project that I did with my partner in rhyme Viva Fidel (who is Latino), ‘The Killwaukee Xperiment’ is to the uprising here in Milwaukee. We have a follow up piece to that will be coming soon. If it is the will of Allah I will be dropping #TheTime on October 16th of this year. Then I will be releasing a project that has been 6 years in the making entitled, “The Death of Gat Turner.” The Death of Gat Turner will feature production by Evolution BeKnown/G Force 7, Black Soil, and Stolen Art. Other artists featured will be Grayco, my wife Melissa Blue, Mook G., Viva Fidel, and a surprise emcee that I will keep to myself right now.

TM: How do you believe your music is reflective of the concerns of our people today?

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The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan speaking at The 20th Anniversary of The Million Man March

GT: I believe that it is very reflective because I take what the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan gives me and I put it into a song. I take his guidance and his wisdom and I put it over a beat. When I write a rhyme I ask myself… WWFD What Would Farrakhan Do… What Would Farrakhan Say. I then take what he would say and I put it creatively in my own words his message. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan my humble opinion is ‘THE’ Voice of the people. He is THE pulse of the people. He is THE Man of God on the scene to day. So I believe what he has to say is reflective of the Time that we are living in & what must be done to survive in this troubled time.

TM: What is the most revolutionary thing that a Black conscientious artist can do in these very intense times?

GT: I believe that the most revolutionary thing that a Black conscientious artist can do in these intense times is to Accept his own & be himself! & speak truth to power!

TM: Thank you for your time! As-Salaam-Alaikum!

GT: No Thank you Brother Tony & may Allah continue to bless on your walk with His Apostle. Walaikum Salaam!

Tony Muhammad has been teaching Social Studies and Humanities in Miami-Dade County Schools for over 17 years. Tony is most noted for his work as publisher of Urban America Newspaper (2003 – 2007) and co-organizer of the Organic Hip Hop Conference (2004 – 2009). He has also designed curricula in the area of Black, Latino and Hip Hop studies for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. He currently serves as a student assistant minister to Student Minister Patrick Muhammad at Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami, Florida.

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A One on One Innerview with Detroit Supa Sista Emcee Njeri Earth

 

By Tony Muhammad

Hiphopeducator19@gmail.com

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Supa Sista Emcee Njeri Earth

Recently I caught up with the phenomenal indie emcee Njeri Earth and discussed her latest album project Return of the Supa Sista, the current climate of the country and what important strategies Hip Hop artists and the “conscious” community must take part in order to help improve the condition of our communities.

TM: Peace dear Sister! Prior to Return of the Supa Sista you were involved in several indie projects, featured on “Beneath the Surface” by the Gza in 1999 as well as an emcee cipher scene in the movie “8 Mile” in 2002. What makes this album project different from all the others you have done thus far?

NE: I’m a mother of two sets of twins and two teenage young men during the creation of this album. I never had that many children and this much responsibility during any point of my career. It was difficult; two 2 year olds and two 5 year olds don’t allow you much free time. My teenagers too, but I always work well under pressure. Also due to the gap of time I spent away musically, I have gained a lot of life experience and inspiration that drove the content of Return of the Supa Sista.

TM: The song Breathe, one of the most impacting songs on the album, the way it sounds to me, it’s like a call for us to look internally at our condition as a people, as you mention “Black” and “Latino.” Then at the end of the song you mention several of our people that have been slain as a result of police terror against us, namely Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner and Sandra Bland. As a conscientious Black mother yourself, what inspired you to come out with this song at this time?

NE: Well honestly the music itself, created by the God Saar3, was what inspired the lyrics. saar-picWithin the boom bap of that track, there’s this light airy sound that made me think about taking breaths. That made me think about the concept of breathing, that it can be healing, however the flip side, our environment, the air we breathe; it’s kind of hard to take healing breaths when you’re in a smog filled environment. I also wanted to talk about child birth and many of the brothers and sisters you mention among others who have died at the hands of the police. There were so many aspects of breathing I thought about touching on. I wanted to keep it to just a little over three minutes though.
TM: How important is it right now for other artists, both “underground” and “commercial” to highlight the realities we are facing currently as a people as far as the peace we need to establish among our own as well as addressing the police terror that we are experiencing nation-wide?

579NE: It’s essential. Hip Hop started out as a voice of the Black youth, which those youth who started it, and nurtured it are now adults, with children of our own. With that being said, it’s double the duty; first the duty to combat the lies and manipulation of the media and dominant society and tell our side of the story to our listeners; and second the duty to teach the truth to the young Black youth, our babies, and young Brothers and Sisters. Change is on its way regardless to who is ready or who is not. It’s better to be the change rather than to be affected by it. With so many distractions, continuing to acknowledge, speak on, and find solutions for the problems that plague the Black community is essential to keeping awareness high.
TM: In your view, what can artists, particularly Black and Latino artists, do right now to
increase our efforts against a system that is inflicting so much injustice on us as a people; for example police terror, environmental racism as in the case of Flint, education, etc.?

NE: Continuing to speak on these issues both in our music and otherwise. This, along with actively participating in the community and encouraging our peers and supporters to do the same. Seek out and form relationships with Black/Brown businesses; do sponsorships in this way, promote black banking like Killer Mike did in Atlanta. I think there’s a sentiment in the air that something must be done. I think we’re seeing that this system under which we live cannot be changed, however we can create and build our own system of freedom, justice, and equality.
TM: Being a member of The Nation of Gods and Earth yourself, we have the same Root

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Tony Muhammad and members of The Nation of Gods and Earth outside of Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami

Teachings, which are The Teachings of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. In this time of so much unconsciousness in Hip Hop and in general, how important is it to build unity between The Nation of Gods and Earth, The Nation of Islam as well other Righteous communities especially in the area of arts and culture.

NE: I feel the need to build unity among the Gods and Earths, the Nation of Islam, as well as other conscious communities of Black and Brown people is crucial in these times. The devil would love to keep us separated; it’s easier to control us that way. But when we unify for one common cause, the preservation and growth of Black and Brown people, our children, and our culture; we will be so much stronger.

TM: Thank you for your time and sharing your thoughts dear Sister! Peace!

Tony Muhammad has been teaching Social Studies and Humanities in Miami-Dade County Schools for over 17 years. Tony is most noted for his work as publisher of Urban America Newspaper (2003 – 2007) and co-organizer of the Organic Hip Hop Conference (2004 – 2009). He has also designed curricula in the area of Black, Latino and Hip Hop studies for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. He currently serves as a student assistant minister to Student Minister Patrick Muhammad at Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami, Florida.