‘Bars For Change’ – Bridging the gap between politics and music?

On Friday evening, the second trailer for the ‘Bars For Change’ project was released. Billed as ‘bridging the gap between politics and music’, the video featured an array of hip-hop and grime artists, including Mic Righteous, recently censored on BBC 1Xtra for using the phrase “Free Palestine”, Rodney P, Durrty Goodz, Ghetts, Logic, Ty, Jammer, Margs, Jaja Soze, Killa Kela and video broadcaster SBTV. Within a day, the video had recieved over a thousand views on Youtube, as it was spread over online social networks and by word of mouth.

The video had been filmed, edited and produced within thirty-six hours, and from underground to the mainstream, had encompassed a broad scale of the hip-hop scene. In encouraging people to get down to the next meeting of The Equality Movement – ‘Who Polices The Police?’, due to take place next Friday, at 7pm, in Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton – this was a message of unity and solidarity in the face of continued police brutality in our communities. A sense of unity that has sometimes been missing; at a time when beefs and disagreements within the hip-hop community only serve to further the interests of the ruling classes, the Bars For Change message is a powerful one. We are united, and we are strong.

And that is the essence of the Bars For Change project; taking the power to shape our futures out of the hands of the forces that oppress us, and into our own. We don’t need to beg MTV to play our music videos, because we have SBTV to play our own. We don’t need to ask the BBC for permission to broadcast our documentaries, because we have a worldwide audience online. It is time that we served our own people, instead of relying on others, whose primary interest is an exploitative rather than supportive one, to do things for us. And we have the ability to do so.

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