Tupac Mentioned in Alex Haley Tribute     

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Tupac Mentioned in Alex Haley Tribute
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September 28th, 2003

FROM LA TO ZIMBABWE
Alex Haley Tribute Aims to Strengthen 'Continent Collaborations'

"I hope the book is proceeding rapidly, for events concerning my life happen so swiftly, much of what has already been written can easily be outdated from month to month. In life, nothing is permanent; not even life itself. So I would advise you to rush it on out as fast as possible."

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, [1964] Letter to Alex Haley

Oakland/Toronto -- With the help of RandomHouse, Seven Stories Press, St. Martin's Press and Chimurenga Music, Deejay Ra's award-winning Lyrical Knockout Entertainment is honoured to present North America's largest giveaway campaign to date dedicated solely to the "Roots" of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defence.

It's doubtful political history could converge more powerfully than on the campaign's September 29 launch date - think a few October dates forward and you're at the 1966 Oakland founding of Huey's vision of justice and radical change ; a few September dates backward and you're at the 1996 Las Vegas beginning of Tupac's transition from rap star to immortal icon. Now bring yourself back to the original September 29 date and you're at the 1767 Annapolis (Maryland) arrival of Kunte Kinte whose descendent Alex Haley would one day release the 1964 story of his friend Malcolm X to the world and thus inspire the Panthers on a collision course with some of history's most notorious oppressors.

A little over ten years later as North Americans were becoming convinced US government agency 'acts of terrorism' on their own Panther citizens had silenced Malcolm's self-defence movement for good, Alex Haley was on a flight to Gambia (Africa) hoping the use of his own family history could fulfill the other half of Malcolm's final efforts prior to his assassination - "to make the Africans feel their kinship with us, the same way the Asians loved me because I was religious."

Haley's 1977 "Roots" saga did just that - the TV series breaking records by being watched by two out of every three American viewers at the time and the Pulitzer-winning book being read across the globe through thirty-two language translations. Zimbabwe's historic 1980 independence concert featuring Africa's Thomas Mapfumo and Jamaica's Bob Marley is said to be the first among hundreds of Roots-inspired 'continent collaborations' which followed, perhaps reaching a 2003 climax after Mapfumo and Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation Executive Director David Hilliard recently announced their "Panther-Zimbabwe Legacy Tour" aimed at echoing the 1970's and 80's 'edutainment' events noticeably absent from today's current media landscape.
  
Besides paying respect to "the most renowned journalist of colour to date and the strongest inspiration for my work," Hip-Hop Activist Raoul S. Juneja (a.k.a. Deejay Ra) also hopes his Alex Haley Tribute gives the hip-hop community "another look at an immigrant-themed, new 'greatest story ever told' we can all empathize with and learn from."

"Roots' Malcolm-inspired messages stressing the use of family unity and political activism to counter distorted religious fables which led our collective ancestors to wage slavery and holocausts on each other seem just what's needed today for anyone negatively affected by Bush or Bin Laden," says Juneja. "Though judging by the fact the average VJ calling themselves a journalist has never read one of Haley's books, it seems there's a lot of work to be done." 

For more about Alex Haley or Malcolm X visit kintehaley.org or cmgww.com/historic/malcolm respectively. And be sure to check out the hip-hop programming on Toronto's CKLN 88.1 FM, CHRY 105.5 FM and TheCyberKrib.com, as well as Vancouver's CITR 101.9 FM and HitEmUp.com plus London's CHRW 94.7 FM each week in October for exclusive 'Black Panther History Month' giveaways (a follow-up to Lyrical Knockout'
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