A Playlist For Our Wetbacks in Arizona And For All Who Pray For Them
"It may well be that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition is not the glaring noisiness of the so-called bad people, but the appalling silence of the so-called good people."
There's something so powerful about music. It gets us through life's bullshit. We need it more for our downs than our ups, if you ask us. If you follow this Latino hip-hop dimension of Rocks Off then you know we're fucking crazy liberal and we live and breathe the modern day civil rights movement, but it doesn't feel so modern in Arizona, because the shit we're seeing there is reminiscent of Jim Crow. As we speak, there's a national firestorm of controversy around an Arizona bill, SB1070, before their governor, Jan Brewer, that if signed would give police the power to arrest and charge people for being in the country illegally, mainly undocumented Latino immigrants. Essentially, it's a racial profiling program targeting brown folk. Let us tell you the problem with that. In a country where many Americans are also Latino, and those Latinos have ancestral roots that trace back to some form of immigration, legal and illegal, the political and legal lines that have been drawn by a largely conservative base separating Americans from illegal aliens aren't so defining for many Latinos in this country. In fact, they're actually pretty blurry. For many Latinos, it's not an "us against them" scenario.So, the bill on the desk of the Arizona governor isn't what it's intended to be: An attack on illegal immigration. It's actually everything it's not intended to be: An attack on Americans, their values and their belief systems. In this case, there are millions of Americans who are sympathetic to the thousands who cross the border every day for the same reasons their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents did. It's not a black and white scenario because there's brown etched throughout it. A bill like this means looking Latino and sounding Latino can't be American, (and apparently can get you arrested) but the truth is, the inverse is already true. It's going to be a fight. So we're going to play VJ and give this fight some theme music and humanize it a bit. This is for all our Wetbacks in Arizona (yes, we're taking back the name). H-Town has your back, baby.
"Por Amor," Los Tigres Del Norte: If you don't speak Spanish, then check out these translated lyrics of the first verse and the chorus. It's one of the most moving songs we've heard on the reason immigrants flee to America.
"I'm not afraid of danger/ Life without risk is not a life/ If it's for people you love, then you should find a way/ I'm not going to give up until I have you next to me/ For love, I'm willing to stop the bullet with my chest/ And it's for love that won't allow them to cut our wings/ Love is the reason and the motor in earth and in heaven/ And it's for love I'll die to protect your dreams"
"Like This and Like That," Chingo Bling: Probably one of the most visible Latino political statements made in the history of American mainstream pop culture, there's no doubt we need more of this done by all Latino hip-hop artists. "Fight The Power," Public Enemy: How could we not take a page from the Black civil rights movement? Public Enemy took music and used it to interject social and cultural consciousness in America. "The Lovers are Losing," Keane: We saw an interview with Keane where the band member who wrote the track said that because there's so much damn hate in the world, it feels like the good people, the lovers, are losing. It sure feels like that lately.
"Ain't Goin' Out Like That," Cypress Hill: The title of the song says it all. We ain't goin' out like that. We can't go out like that. "What's Good?," BRWN BFLO: You know what this song says to us? If you mobilize the hood you can inspire change. If you can raise $30,000 for a quincinera, then you have the smarts and energy to fight for your community. So what the hell are you waiting for? "Pobre Juan," MANA: MANA, the U2 of Latin America, humanizes the plight of the undocumented's journey to America. In this case, Juan dies and gets buried by the desert. Rolando Rodriguez is the managing editor of RedBrownandBlue.com. Follow him on MySpace and on Twitter , or befriend him on Facebook.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.