Song-in-action Blog

Youth Empowerment

Stop the Video Madness called Russian Roulette & Video Phone

Posted by Katina on November 18, 2009 at 5:37 am

Lately my eyes have been burning and I realized that it is coming from tears caused by viewing two recent music videos. I love music videos, but these two really saddened me. I keep asking myself, is this what young girls are supposed to look up to when they watch music videos?

Fellow blogger and youth activist Yasmin Shiraz (http:/home/katinara/public_html/ recently asked the question – “Rihanna: Where are your pants?” and then opened a discussion about the appropriateness of Rihanna’s new video Russian Roulette.

Rihanna, where are your pants?

Rihanna, where are your pants?

If you haven’t seen Rihanna’s video – take a moment to view it now. It’s an oddly dark video with sexual and violent overtones.

Russian Roulette – Rihanna

Do you think this is appropriate? What is she trying to say? Here is the comment I left on Yasmin’s blog:

Russian Roulette? Seriously? It’s a game of chance played with a gun that has one bullet. As you play, you gamble that you won’t shoot yourself in the head and die. It’s a terrible, terrible, song idea and video concept for a person whose target audience is young adults. Even if she wasn’t just coming out of domestic violence situation, it would still be a terrible, terrible, idea. Stop the madness.

Then I caught Beyonce’s new video with Lady Gaga – Video Phone. What was B thinking? I can only rephrase Yasmin’s question – Why don’t B and Lady Gaga have on any pants? I am too traumatized to break this down properly, but something is terribly wrong when female singers feel that they have to sexualize themselves like this just to sell a record. What is that thing they are doing with the rifles? I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry – or do both. I mean really, why?

Beyonce ft. Lady GaGa Video Phone

I like Beyonce and am really trying not to hate. But all I can say is: “Hot mess. Hot mess. Hot mess.”

Ok. Now that I have got that off my chest, here’s the call to action.

If you are interested learning more about images of women in the media, you should check out these two organizations. The first is Women in Media and News, a media analysis, education and advocacy group. Founder and Executive Director Jennifer Pozner is on the forefront of analyzing women as subjects of media. Her current work is on reality television which bears similar traits to what we see in the music videos discussed above.

The second organization is Black Girls Rock, which I have blogged about before. They are specifically dedicated to counter the hypersexualized images of women in music videos and build the self esteem of young girls.

Please support these two organizations and Yasmin. Maybe, just maybe they can help stop the madness.

Music hitting my heart

Posted by Katina on November 1, 2009 at 11:24 pm

“Music hittin’ your heart because I know you got soul”  Public Enemy, Fight the Power

Lately I have been in an old school state of mind. My best friend from college convinced me to go see the Brand New Heavies last weekend at the Birchmere. I am so glad I went. It gave me the chance to fall in love all over again with the group’s ability to fill a room with sound and bring voice to everything from the ups and downs of love to the power of following your dreams.

I think my favorite song by Brand New Heavies is Brother Sister. The lyrics move me:

There’s no need to feel you’re on your own

Just let your intuition guide you through

Take one step toward what you believe

Don’t be afraid to make your move …

Don’t be scared go out there

Stand up

Be strong go out there

Hold on

To the real things that matter

‘Cause no one’s gonna hand’ em to you

On a silver platter

I left the concert thinking – “boy I need to listen to live music more often.” It inspires me. The right song can make you want to move mountains, save the world, and fight for causes that you believe in. That’s what this blog is really about – music serving as the inspiration or catalyst for individuals and communities to bring about social change.

When I think about social anthems that really were about shaking people up and pushing them towards action, I always come back to Public Enemy’s Fight the Power. Watch Here

The words are so . . . . well, powerful

Fight the Power

As the rhythm designed to bounce

What counts is that the rhymes

Designed to fill your mind

Now that you’ve realized the prides arrived

We got to pump the stuff to make us tough

From the heart

It’s a start, a work of art

To revolutionize make a change nothin’s strange

A couple of days ago, I received an email about tickets for an upcoming Public Enemy benefit concert to benefit a homeless shelter in DC. The group has been on my mind ever since (and in my ears, much love to DJ Dredd for putting PE in the mix at Bhangraween).  For my readers that grew up during the height of Public Enemy, you remember how large the group’s presence was. Love them or hate them, the group had the energy and power to light things on fire with their music. I am really excited to see them in DC using their music to call attention to a problem that really needs the full force of America to solve it – youth homelessness.

So let me take a minute to plug the concert and the cause –

Public Enemy’s Number One – While Public Enemy have made ground-breaking hip-hop since their start over 20 years ago, they’ve also done their fair share of raising awareness for political and social causes. In an effort to help fight youth homelessness, Public Enemy bring their bass-heavy, manic live show to D.C. this November. Those who saw them at this year’s Virgin Mobile FreeFest know that Chuck D, Flavor Flav and crew still dominate socially and sonically. Virgin Mobile Presents PUBLIC ENEMY To Benefit The Sasha Bruce House, a homeless youth shelter. @ G.W. Lisner Auditorium • Washington, D.C. November 18 7pm Doors”

So for $25 (plus all those fees) you can Purchase Tickets and be part of the PE family again while supporting a great cause. The Sasha Bruce Youthwork  is a cornerstone of youth services to at risk children in DC. The Sasha Bruce House is the only open access shelter for youth in D.C.  For more information on the Sasha Bruce House and other SB Youthwork programs see

Fight the Power People,


President Elect Obama w/ Sasha Bruce Youthwork Work Crew

President Elect Obama w/ Sasha Bruce Youthwork Work Crew

Countdown to Black Girls Rock! Fundraiser – Oct. 17, 2009 in NYC

Posted by Katina on October 15, 2009 at 4:44 am

One of my favorite things to do is to support groups that empower young women. It’s a double-bonus for me when the organization is related to music. Black Girls Rock! is a nonprofit youth empowerment mentoring organization founded by celebrity DJ, Beverly Bond.

On Saturday, October 17, 2009, Black Girls Rock! is hosting the 4th Annual Black Girls Rock! Awards to raise money for the organization and give much love and respect to women (and one man!) who serve as inspiration and role models to young women of color.

It’s going to be a fantastic event and I just hate that I can’t make the round trip to NYC myself this weekend. If you are in NYC, make your way by to see co-hosts Regina King and Tracee Ellis Ross honor the achievements of

  • Mary J. Blige – “Icon” Award
  • Raven-Symoné – “Young, Gifted, and Black” Award
  • Naomi Campbell – “Fashionista” Award.
  • Janelle Monáe – “Who’s Got Next” Award
  • Dr. Sonia Sanchez – “Living Legend” Award
  • Dr. Mehret Mandefro – “Community Service” Award
  • Iyanla Vanzant – “Shot Caller” Award
  • DJ Spinderella, “Jazzy Joyce DJ” Award
  • Anthony Hamilton, Soul Brother #1? Award

Ticket information can be found at http:/home/katinara/public_html/

Show some love for the Black Girls Rock! Fundraiser.

Show some love for the Black Girls Rock! Fundraiser.

You can’t make it? You can still help by donating funds to help the organization continue its programming. For more information on their programs, including the The Black Girls Rock!/ScratchDj Academy Program, see http:/home/katinara/public_html/ You can also check out their blog or follow Black Girls Rock! on Twitter.

[Thanks BlackGivesBack for the heads up on this great organization]