A Facebook page campaigning to bring radical US-based Afro-Peruvian hip hop artist Immortal Technique to Australia has been set a target by the man himself.
Immortal Technique, real name Filipe Andres Coronel, posted on the wall of the page, We want Immortal Technique in Australia, that he would agree to tour if the page received 15,000 “likes”.
Are there 15,000 revolutionaries in Australia?
There is no denying the fact that hip hop, whether you like the sound of it or not, is a form of music firmly embedded in the history of struggle.
It has a history of giving a voice and vehicle to groups silenced, marginalised and oppressed under the system of imperialism, capitalism and institutionalised racism.
Hip hop has been used as a means of creating an alternative history, celebrating culture, uniting people, showing style and as a way of fighting against a corrupt and soulless society that has held people back for so long.
People are able to tell their story from their perspective, breaking the dominant paradigm of the other to create rich, enlightening stories that benefit the listener as well as communities.
Many people wear T-shirts that say “hip hop saved my life”. Reading some history of the genre, it becomes glaringly obvious why.
I have an objective writing this. I am trying to build support for a revolutionary rapper in a bid to get him on our shores.
Immortal Technique unapologetically denounces the system of capitalism and imperialism, actively works against the occupation of Palestine and has also travelled to Kabul to help build an orphanage without external funding.
Immortal Technique does not compromise his art for commercial success and remains a lynch-pin in independent music. He would not be able to state his views in the way he does with the looming interest of record companies holding a contract over his head.
Commercial hip hop has tried to quash hip hop as a vehicle for social change and quash its social power.
It tries to remove the links with struggle politically, historically and socially.
Commercial radio and commercial influence has de-politicised and romanticised class division, encouraged individual drives for wealth, money and power. This helps reinforce and promote the system at the heart of the devastation, death and destruction we see in this world.
It is understandable that some question some of the language Immortal uses in relation to women and queer people. Hip hop has a long history of sexism and homophobia and this has to be challenged, discussed and worked through.
We work with sexism and homophobia in our own groups and society at large ― and certainly and justifiably feel outraged when language is used resulting in undermining other movements for justice.
As a radical queer feminist, at times I think: “Argh, did ya have to say that?”
I do believe, however, when something is pervasive in a culture we need to be talking about that. Understanding within revolutionary movements is the only way for struggles to move forward with everyone still in them.
But all in all, Immortal Technique's lyrics are not infested with these ideas. They do not form the fundamental foundations of his brilliant work.
I believe a tour by Immortal Technique to Australia would mean than watching your favourite rapper on stage. It is a possible opportunity to not only sway hip hop music in Australia to the left, but to engage Australian society in moves towards revolutionary action.
I believe this is a great opportunity for building the left and uniting many different groups in the push for real social change. Who knows, hopefully he can become a supporter of same sex marriage in Australia.
Maybe he will do public lectures. One thing I know is that if he comes to this land and has the power and support of revolutionaries in Australia behind his tour, it can only do good.