When I published my April 6, 2021 exposé detailing the hidden mentorship of legendary rapper and radical ghetto philanthropist Nipsey Hussle by Howard-educated Trinidadian civil-engineer and digital revolutionary Dexter Browne, little did I know that this revelation of Dexter’s role in Nipsey’s life would meet with such stubborn resistance from the powers that be.
The fact of Dexter’s pivotal role in Nipsey’s life was first publicly unearthed in Hip Hop writer Rob Kenner’s seminal Nipsey biography The Marathon Don’t Stop published in March 23, 2021. For many readers, the portion of the book about Dexter’s mentoring of Nipsey and his crew from the Rolling 60s was the most extraordinary take away from an absorbing bio. The details of the extensive mentorship of Nipsey and the surrogate-father role that Dexter played in his life- and the fact that many of the core parts of Nipsey’s ideology, catch phrases, and even earlier recordings came from Dexter and the time spent under him- was a shock to many.
The surprise many felt on hearing about Dexter was not an accident. In the official stories told about Nipsey for the last ten years the presence of Dexter had been completely consciously erased. The 7 years of Dexter’s transformation of the lives of these boys from Crenshaw had been over-written with numerous fictions. Albums recorded under Dexter’s Buttervision label and recorded under his roof with his equipment were attributed to others. Other characters emerged claiming to be Nipsey’s mentors and critical partners at the time. The almost 5 years that Nipsey spent under Dexter’s roof- he was miraculously said to be elsewhere. Nipsey was surgically cut and pasted off any page featuring Dexter.Read the rest of this entry
Part I: A HIDDEN HISTORY
The just released biography of sainted rapper Nipsey Hussle- ‘The Marathon Don’t Stop’- by famed Hip Hop biographer Rob Kenner reveals a stunning story that a Trinidadian civil engineer turned photographer named Dexter Browne may have been the critical mentor in the transformation of Nipsey into the conscious radical force he is lionized as today. Dexter’s role in Nipsey’s formation had been completely excised from the history- until now!
Browne’s conscious intervention in gang culture- as a middle-class Howard University educated engineer- and its resulting in the formation of the icon Nipsey Hussle and the creation of a multi-million dollar alternative multi-media industry around gang boys who imbibed his strong ideologies of Black Cooperative Economics and Ownership of IP is one of the great hidden stories in the African diaspora and in modern Pop Cultural History.
The story at heart is about the power of Black Music, Black Culture, Digital Media, and the enduring nature of Radical Black Thought in the transforming of lives. It is also the story of the interconnectedness of the African Diaspora, the subversive influence of the Caribbean, and the transformative role of institutions like Howard University in Black Life.
On the 31st March 2019- 2 years ago- Ermias Asghedom aka Nipsey Hussle was gunned down at the messianic age of 33 in Crenshaw LA. What would make this Hip-Hop ex-gang member’s murder different than others was the fact that Nipsey was not a normal rapper but an icon for Black Ownership and Self Reparation. Popularly called the Tupac Shakur of his generation, Nipsey was known for his brilliant flow on numerous mixtapes including The Marathon and Crenshaw, the last of which rapper Jay-Z bought 100 copies of for $100 each. An early advocate for label independence Nipsey eventually signed with a major label. After much delay, his debut studio album Victory Lap was released in 2018 to critical and commercial success. It was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 61st Grammys in 2019. Hussle won two posthumous Grammys for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap/Sung Performance the next year at the 62nd Grammys.Read the rest of this entry
A 4 hour epic movie that may change human storytelling and that culminated an unprecedented fan movement whose implications we haven’t seen the last of yet deserves a thorough investigation. Here is my review of Zack Snyder’s ‘Justice League’. This long-form article also analyses some of the larger cultural questions at play…
PUSHING THE STORYTELLING ENVELOPE
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is an ambitious, magnificent movie setting itself the epic mission of re-engineering ancient and contemporary Western Myth for the modern Pop Culture Age. It is quite possibly the greatest Superhero movie yet committed to film. For those to whom this is a bridge too far, they must at least concede that it certainly belongs in the company of the elite of that Circle- an elite that includes Into the Spider-Verse, Spiderman 2, Avengers Infinity War (not Endgame people), Blade, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Doctor Strange. However ZSJL transcends the superhero genre itself and elevates to also become one of the greatest fantasy films of all time. Its dazzling epic scope, visual and literary poetry, and intimately drawn humanism not only perfectly pays off the promise and the arcs of the two ambitious but flawed Superman films that preceded it, but it may just have done something else that I am not hearing any international critics catch on to yet: with the Snyder Cut of Justice League Zack Snyder may have invented a completely new form of storytelling! For those of us who would have signed up to HBO Max to see this lovingly wrought 4 hour 2 minute artefact- we may in fact have just witnessed the end of cinema as we know it!…
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE SNYDER CUT FOR THE 3 PEOPLE IN THE BACK WHO DON’T KNOW
The most successful pop culture franchises in the world at the moment, bar Star Wars, are Comic Book movie franchises. They occupy the highest reaches of Pop Culture, driving billions of dollars to their owners and commanding the attention of millions worldwide. The genre is led by Marvel who is owned by Disney. Marvel had a half-decade long head-start on its rival DC comics, controlled by Warner Brothers, with Iron Man launching in April 2008. DC’s Man of Steel came out June 2013.Read the rest of this entry
I will soon publish every single government plan for the Creative Sector to be found in the 5 relevant Budget documents. This is not that. This is about next steps in reaction to what was found in those Budget docs.
We have been abandoned. There is only us. We have to pick up this Sector and carry it on our backs and carry it to the place of Glory and Prosperity that we know it deserves. When the entire Film Sector is given TT$1.3 million (US $191,608.) to run an entire industrial programme you know you have been abandoned.
There is nothing in the Budget that can save this Sector. Nothing. WE have to get the Sector moving. Only we can save ourselves. We have to get people paid and employed and on work that will pay them royalties or value-added long after their exertions. We are going to create the conditions for this to happen. There are over 10,000 people who consider themselves Artists and who depend upon the Arts for significant parts of their earnings. 350 people received the $5000 grants!!!… 350 out of 10,000. Another 10,000 are seasonal and part-time artists who depend on the Arts and Festivals for part of their income during the year. The Artists Registry registered only 27 artists last year!!!! We are on our own. We can depend on no one.
Our industry is the 2nd largest on planet Earth earning $2.2 trillion annually, online it is what has kept the world sane during COVID. The Creative industries are larger than Oil and Gas and Manufacturing. Government has refused to understand this value and refused to enable and empower the Sector. We have to do this work now for ourselves. Here is the plan for the way forward:Read the rest of this entry