Message to the Grassroots: There’s a Message in that Rap!

An episode of Message to the Grassroots, a cable access talk show produced & hosted by Michael Zinzun from 1988-1998 at Pasadena Community Access Corporation, which is now Pasadena Media.

00:00Copy video clip URL Theme music plays while the title card shows. Michael Zinzun introduces himself, the show, and tonight’s topic: rap. He also introduces the guests: Brother MC Supreme, Lord Raheem, Right Just Medley, M.O.C., Alkebulan, DJ Foundation, Azactic, the Chill Top, and Zahkee. They all give their reasons for why they chose rap and what inspires them. 

07:15Copy video clip URL Michael Zinzun discusses how the show wanted to invite everyone in this group to inspire other young Black people. He figures that they will encourage other young people to get consciously involved in the community and use their rap talents for the betterment of Black people. He asks the guests to talk about their upcoming events so that young people can find them. They each give detailed answers as to how to get into hip hop and the importance of maintaining positivity.

11:44Copy video clip URL Michael Zinzun exclaims that many young people can sing mainstream songs that have no messages but won’t sing songs of Black power because they do not know the history. Alkebulan, Azactic, and Zahkee respond to this with conversations about sharing knowledge and pursuing knowledge. 

15:31Copy video clip URL The program takes a break and plays “Black in America” by DJ Supreme. It is full of messages in the visuals and lyrics about the struggle of Black people in America. 

21:00Copy video clip URL The program returns and asks DJ Supreme about his song. DJ Supreme explains that he was inspired by the “things going on in the 90s” and he even compares it to Armageddon. DJ Foundation adds that people need to start seeing themselves in one another to end Black on Black violence. Right Just Medley emphasizes the importance of community. Lord Raheem doubles down on this and adds that everyone comes from Africa. M.O.C. talks about the after-effects of slavery and how Black people need to respect one another and put aside negative stereotypes. Alkebulan adds that rap music is the outcry of the wounds of the last 400 years. 

26:01Copy video clip URL Michael Zinzun encourages Zahkee to respond and he’s is clear that respect for one another is increasingly important: that the community needs to build itself up and clean up the community. The Chill Top joins the conversation and emphasizes that rap is a tool for Black people. Azactic elaborates that to ensure a better future, Black people need to learn how to defend themselves. 

29:00Copy video clip URL The program takes a break. 

31:00Copy video clip URL The program returns. Michael Zinzun reintroduces the topic and the program. Zahkee talks about why young men should not be turning to gangs and drugs. He emphasizes that running and selling drugs is selling drugs for the police, the CIA, and the FBI.    

33:00Copy video clip URL Michael Zinzun and DJ Supreme hand the floor over to Lord Raheem who performs live in the studio.

37:28Copy video clip URL Right Just Melody performs next – it explains the woes of Black people not wanting to join the army or voting for a system that is not intent on helping the community. 

40:24Copy video clip URL M.O.C. takes the stage with her rap called “reparations.”

43:19Copy video clip URL Next to perform is Alkebulan. His rap is about being a proud Black man and guided by faith. 

46:40Copy video clip URL Zahkee takes the mic and raps about Black empowerment, solidarity, and resistance. 

49:53Copy video clip URL DJ Supreme takes the mic after Zahkee and performs “ations.” Every bar ends with “ation.” It is a call to action for Black youth everywhere.

53:54Copy video clip URL Michael Zinzun tries to synthesize the discussion and takes the last minutes to give each of the guests a minute to speak directly to the youth and the viewing audience.



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