KRIP HOP NATION'S FACT SHEET FROM THE BEGINNING
What is Krip-Hop Nation: Is an international network of Hip-Hop & other musicians with disabilities with a few chapters around the world what we call Mcees With Disabilities (MWD) in Germany, UK & Africa & more. Krip-Hop is a community as well as style of music, an artistic space where people with disabilities can speak out and speak back to the social structures that exclude people based on disability, race, sexuality, and a host of other marginalized identities.
Why Krip-Hop Nation: Musicians with disabilities have always been here however there has been a lack of cultural activism especially in Hip-Hop with a disability justice to not only advocate but to continue to display the talents of musicians with disabilities & at the same time advocate & celebrate our history, intersectional cultures & to politically educate ourselves & our communities locally, nationally & internationally.
When: Leroy Moore first put a spotlight on disabled Hip-Hop artists in the early 2000s when he co-produced and co-hosted a three-part series on what he dubbed “Krip-Hop” for a Berkeley, California, radio station. The series appeared on KPFA’s Pushing Limits program, which focuses on news, arts, and culture from the disabled community. The series was so well-received that Moore shortly thereafter founded the Krip Hop Nation for disabled musicians. Leroy met the
two co-founders Rob Da Noize Temple of NY & Keith Jones of Mass on myspace then in Rob’s studio and at a 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
Krip-Hop’s Mission is to educate the music, media industries and general public about the talents, history, rights and marketability of Hip-Hop artists and other musicians with disabilities from Blues to Hip-Hop internationally. Our bi-line is Krip-Hop is More Than Music.
Krip-Hop Nation’s Main Objective is to spread awareness about the history, arts, the isms facing musicians with disabilities along with getting the musical talents of hip-hop artists with disabilities into the hands of media outlets, educators, and hip-hop, disabled and race scholars, youth, journalists and hip-hop conference coordinators. Krip-Hop Nation have put out CDs, held conferences and spoke on issues from police brutality against people with disabilities to ableism in Hip-Hop, media and in our communities.
Krip-Hop Nation’s Public Education has many avenues i.e. Internet magazine’s columns, workshops, performances, Internet radio shows, publications and our famous mixtape series to name a few all reporting on the latest news about musicians with disabilities with a strong view of political and culture pride of all of our identities. Krip-Hop Nation has standards.
We try to:
1) use political correct lyrics.
2) not put down other groups.
3) use our music to advocate and teach not only about ourselves but about the system we
4) challenge mainstream & all media on ways they frame disability.
5) increase voices that are missing from within and in the popular culture.
6) recognizing our disabled ancestors, knowing that we are building on what they left us and nothing is new just borrowed)
7) And we know sometimes we fail to meet the above standards but we are trying.
MWD is an international CD/educational Project of Mcees With Disabilities from around the world and it is a project under Krip-Hop Nation that has been in operation for the past five plus years. MWD has collaborated with talented Hip-Hop artists with disabilities from around the world to create not only an international CD but to form a community to put a spotlight on the talents and projects of musicians with disabilities. MWD continues to attend festivals and does workshops.
History/Process of MWD Project: Via myspace Leroy Moore of the Krip-Hop Nation of USA, Binki Woi of Handicapped-Art-Works in Germany and Lady MJ in Untied Kingdom got to know each other through Myspace and other social internet sites. Later on we added Ronnie Ronnie from Uganda, Africa. We three stay in contact and push the group along with our projects. At date we have over 300 artists from around the world some have their own labels, some are sign to major labels and others are independent. Lady MJ has left Krip-Hop Nation.
MWD’s Objectives: Our main goal is to produce CDs, land distribution deal and to educate the Hip-Hop world about the talents, frustration and history of Hip-Hop artists with disabilities through our music and hopefully future projects like books, plays and articles etc... Beyond the CD project MWD is continues to tour, sitting on panels, attending music festivals and holding a music festival with others in the coming future.
The Term Krip
The last but important concept of Krip-Hop Nation is the title. Why Krip with a K? Like I wrote above, Krip-Hop Nation is more than music and “bling bling,” it is about advocacy and education and taking back what has been taken from us to oppress us. Language, like other oppressed groups, was taken from people with disabilities and the language was turned on us to oppress us. Before people with disabilities had civil rights, a movement and arts, many had placed labels on us like “crazy,” “lame,” “cripple,” and “retarded,” etc. Of course, now with our civil rights and disability studies and culture, we have named ourselves and have used the negative terms to our own benefit to not only shock people but to respect that these words are our history and we must reclaim them.
After realizing that the term Crip has a long history of negativity to being used for Black gangs in LA (The Crips & The Bloods and knowing that one of the gang members had a disability so they called him Cripple that become Crip) to now being remade in Crip Culture (Disability Culture) and also talking it over in New York with a fellow disabled advocate and cultural critic, Lawrence Carter-Long, I wanted to again reclaim the term Crip to advocate and educate with a proud framework of the music and struggles of Hip-Hop artists with disabilities. Just like in Hip-Hop you turn something that the so-called mainstream has discarded with a fresh spotlight thus changing the C to a K in what we know today as Krip-Hop.
AfroKrip, a term Leroy Moore thought of (2016) to help united Afro disabled people around the African diaspora associate to Krip-Hop during and after becoming politicized. As a Black disabled activist/artist living in America having a need and vision of connecting with other disabled artists/activists in the African diaspora, Leroy realized there must be terminology that speaks to our experiences.
Since Leroy’s childhood, the late 70’s all the way up to the late 90’s he realized and experienced with other Black disabled people in the US that the Black community and the dominant society, including the White disability community, have limited knowledge of the increasing Black disability politics, activism, history arts, music and culture. With social networks/internet along with his travels internationally studying the Black Disability Movements in London, UK, Toronto, CA & South Africa, reading more and more articles of activism from disabled people internationally and books like Nothing About Us Without Us by James I. Charlton all have expanded his cultural activism and a deep need to connect with disabled artists/activists throughout the African diaspora.
As we know the African diaspora refers to the communities throughout the world that have resulted by descent from the movement in historic times of peoples from Africa, predominantly to the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, among other areas around the globe. The term has been historically applied in particular to the descendants of the West and Central Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas in the Atlantic slave trade, with their largest populations in Brazil (see Afro-Brazilian), followed by the USA and others. Some scholars identify “four circulatory phases” of migration out of Africa.
Many have written that Africans brought to the Americas the greatly varied cultures of their homelands, including folklore, language, music, and foodways. In forging new lives with one another, as well as neighboring Europeans and Native Americans, rich varieties of African diaspora culture took root in a New World decidedly shaped by the cultural innovations of Africans and their descendants. Through folklore, music, dance, and more, all had connection to disability but very few know about this connection. Folklore like the tale/song of “Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd” with a main character, Peg Leg Joe, who gave direction to freedom for Africans through a song to an elder disabled man, Jim Crow, to dancing like the Bulk dance where Africans were shackled at the ankles, causing disabilities and were made to dance. Lastly, the story of “The Dozens” that many Hip-Hop artists and scholars researched and came up with as below.
“The Dozens,” “snapping,” “cracking,” or the act of trading insults back and forth is a black oral tradition that dates back to slavery and has its roots embedded in both Mississippi and Louisiana. The name itself refers to the sale of slaves who had been overworked, were disabled, or beaten-down – their physical (and often mental) conditions affected their value and they were sold by the dozen, which was considered by slaves, the lowest position within the community. The term evolved to mean a competition between two people, typically men, in a contest of wit, mental agility, verbal ability and self control. It is believed “The Dozens” developed as an outlet for slaves’ depression and worked as a “valve of aggression for a depressed group.” Since it was nearly impossible for slaves to display aggression towards their oppressors, but it was encouraged and expected for them to display aggression towards one another, "The Dozens" became a practice for nearly all slaves, male and female, young and old.
We see “The Dozens” played out in early Hip-Hop where MCs battle each other in a cypher and now on CD going back and forth. So it makes sense that disabled people, our culture and activism are also apart of this African diaspora and we share stories and also creating realities of today. So because of the above, Leroy wants to add a term, Afro-Krip, as one culture aspect of/under African Diaspora Culture with a focus on disability through activism, art, music and such. In his vision there is a process or steps to get to Afro-Krip. Afro-Krip at the highest level is a common political stage where the person is comfortable with their identity as a person with a disability and are throwing off the mainstream brainwashing of overcoming or hiding disability to also reach beyond themselves to others for community and discovery of history, building on arts and struggles of our African disabled ancestors.
With this new term AfroKrip we need to know why the term Krip knowing that it has an ugly history. Why Krip with a K? Like I wrote above, there is a process or steps to get to Afro-Krip. Afro-Krip at the highest level is a common political stage where the person is comfortable with their identity as a person with a disability and are throwing off the mainstream brainwashing of overcoming or hiding disability. Internationally, language, like other oppressed groups, was taken from people with disabilities and was turned on us to oppress us. Before people with disabilities
had civil rights, a movement and arts nationally and internationally, many had placed labels on us like “crazy”, “lame”, “cripple” and “retarded”, etc. Of course, now with our civil rights and disability studies and culture, we have named ourselves and have used the negative terms to our own benefit to not only shock people but to respect that these words are our history and we must reclaim them.
On the other hand, Leroy realizes that international solidarity with terminology and history is tricky but we can come close to a commonality while respecting our differences just like in Hip-Hop you turn something that the so-called mainstream has discarded with a fresh spotlight thus changing the C to a K in what we know today as Krip-Hop and now Afro-Krip.
What Is Black Ableism?
My name is Leroy F. Moore Jr.; I am a Black disabled activist, author, journalist and founder of Krip-Hop Nation and long time member of National Black Disability Coalition. Since the 1980’s I have worked in both my disability and Black community. Most of my activism and cultural work has been aimed to change my communities based on my two identities. My work has mostly opened avenues in the disability community, including non-profits by utilizing cultural events, research books/literature and disability studies. In the mid 1990’s after feeling used and discriminated by dominant disability non-profits I founded Disability Advocates of Minorities Organization (DAMO) which was active for four years. DAMO was established for people of color with disabilities and the greater Black community. Upon evaluation of DAMO I realized I have been running away from my Black community because of open wounds unknowingly inflicted by them which I have penned the term Black Ableism.
As we know, terminology and the power of defining language are really important. Most often new terminology comes from the streets. Often academia adopts this language therefore giving legitimacy to the work of disabled folks without acknowledging their work. Most areas of disability has been taken from us, including the medical industry, and professionals/experts, etc. Until we take it back, redefine it, politicize it, and sometimes change it all together our work will continue to belong to others.
Although the term Ableism has been defined by disability advocates from dominant culture, if you put Black in front of anything coming out of disability it must first be stripped down then reshaped in the experiences, histories and words from the Black disabled experience. By now, we must know that the Black disabled experience in America has different roots than our White disabled counterparts. Because of the need of Black disabled people to heal our wounds inflicted by our Black community, one by one or collectively, it is imperative that we tell our stories and define new terminology, definitions, art, music, political views, and provide education and resources for our Black community. The is why I have coined the term Black Ableism, but also defining it knowing that I’m only one person and there are many Black disabled people that have thought about “What is Black Ableism?”
We know that the definition of ableism is defined as:
Discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities or who are perceived to have disabilities. Ableism characterizes persons as defined by their disabilities and as inferior to the non-disabled. On this basis, people are assigned or denied certain perceived abilities, rights, skills, or character orientations.
There are stereotypes, generally inaccurate, associated with either disability in general, or with specific disabilities (for instance a presumption that all disabled people want to be cured, that wheelchair users necessarily have an intellectual disability, or that blind people have some special form of insight). These stereotypes in turn serve as a justification for ableist practices and reinforce discriminatory attitudes and behaviors toward people who are disabled.
In ableist societies, people with disabilities are viewed as less valuable, or even less than human. The eugenics movement of the early 20th century would be considered an example of widespread ableism; the mass murder of disabled people. If we take this definition and put it into the Black experience reaching back from the capture and shipping of slaves to the teaching of disability and our bodies, almost everything we have done helped shaped Black Ableism toward Black disabled people. I’m not saying that before slavery Black Ableism did not exist in Africa, however in this context dealing with Black people in the United States I use all of our history to demonstrate how and why the Black community practiced what I call Black Ableism. Due to the lack of awareness of race and racism, that continues to exist, in the disability rights movement it is not surprising that the Black community has not made steps to recognize their own ableism.
I have defined Black Ableism as:
Discrimination and social prejudice against Black people with disabilities or who are perceived to have disabilities from Black non-disabled people as far back as slavery. For example, slave owners used disability as a reason to devalue a slave because of what he/she could contribute to the plantation. And as we, a new people, emerged out of slavery and saw by the slave master’s example that disability meant devalued. Therefore slaves' internalized disability was a sin, something that needs to be healed using the outdated Religious Model of Disability mixed with The Tragedy/Charity Model of disability that says the following: The idea that disability is essentially a test of faith or even salvation in nature. If the person does not experience the physical healing of their disability, he or she is regarded as having a lack of faith in God, mixed with depicting disabled people as victims of circumstance, deserving of pity.
Unchallenged Black Ableism not only holds the Black community from advancing, it also makes the Black community hurtful and irrelevant for the Black disabled people and their families. Yes it is surprisingly that an oppressed group can oppress others in their own group. Black Ableism can cause many deep rooted problems in a Black disabled person. The problems are as broad as low self esteem, to trying to reach the unreachable, also known as overcoming or hiding their disability, to most importantly, not having a community.
Ableism, like racism, manifests from individual to institutional where it corrupts Black institutions.
Black Ableism can only be eradicated by stripping what the Black community has been taught about disability through the lens of oppression and then rebuilding. This rebuilding process must be conducted by coordinated teams of Black disabled people and family members who have had a presence in both the disability and Black communities. Also, part of the formula includes individuals who have held on to their identity politics and have a disability vision and reality for the Black community. In other words individuals who have a deep rooted love of their community and are willing to risk exposing their pain to help the Black community have an understanding of disability from a race and culture perspective. This process will be a long term commitment to healing and the detailing the historical significance of disability to present day issues, including Black Ableism. For Black disabled people and our families the rebuilding will lead to a path of Black disabled empowerment and a commonality with our Black community. The Black community will be all the richer by embracing their disabled sisters and brothers from a historical, political, participatory and cultural way of life.
Krip-Hop Nation/MWD’s Key Players/Working Committee
Binki Woi – Germany
Julie Annjewelz Haney -US
Rob Da Noize Temple – US R.I.P.
Archy Nathaniel Gomba -Africa
Keith Jones – US
Leroy Moore – US