As Ramadan begins hunger strikes and demonstrations continue in Guantanamo Bay in protest against the detainees in American territory. Today marks the first day of Ramadan and also marks the first of many visual inhumanities that occur against people being held in these American political prisons. Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, in collaborations with Reprieve, a human rights charity and Bafta-award winning director Asif Kapadia bring to you an actual demonstration on how many detainees are being forced-fed in these prisons in Guantanamo Bay.
For those that are unaware, Guantanamo Bay has been an American territory in Cuba since 1903. Demonstrations and protests have occured as a result of Barack Obama not being able to fulfill his promise of closing the detention camps in Guantanamo Bay, which he gave his word in 2008. The sad reality is that the United States continues to be the country with the most political prisoners, which is bit ironic due to our democratic values. The reality is that the political detainees held in these camps are tortured and go through different proceedings such as forced-feeding to remain alive. The sad part is that we should already be conscious of this and not have to resort to a conscious emcee to showcase to us the brutality behind these proceedings. So much for land of the free, huh?
If you wish to learn more about what is going on in Guantanamo Bay click here.
If you wish to learn more about Yasiin Bey's (Mos Def) experience under these forced- feeding demonstrations click here.
A very lively and animated Yasiin Bey, formally known as Mos Def, walked center stage at The Shrine looked to a female fan and said, “Damn, I’m right here! I CAN HEAR YOU!,” regarding the fan’s request of Ms. Fat Booty. Although his acknowledgement to her was very humorous, it spoke volumes to the crowd’s hopes of the evening in question. We didn’t get what we asked for.
Like most who ventured to the Shrine that night anticipating a Mos Def show, I too was slightly disappointed when the alternative came to fruition.—a Yasiin Bey performance. While only true fans can recognize how important this name change is for Mr. Bey—a new style and a new attitude towards his music—we did not think he would use his time in Chicago to promote new material.
This disappointment was further facilitated by the Shrine’s lack of planning and preparation. The audience stood shoulder to shoulder throughout the entire show, making it difficult to rock out the 90s rap mix the DJ tried to rejuvenate us with between each opening act. It would have worked, too, if the intermissions weren’t 30-40 minutes apart.
After the prolonged waits, and semi-jam-sessions restlessness finally hit. Girlfriends took naps in their boyfriends’ arms until a new act came on stage; fans did the dead-foot two-step to alleviate leg pain; smokers delighted in their vices indoors to pass the time.
Yet, even a glass of Belvedere (the event’s sponsor) combined with ganja and a Dr. Scholl’s insert couldn’t make time go by any faster. When all we really wanted was Black Dante.
That is not to negate his good performance, though. As a matter of fact, it was pretty good. His sharp outfit was just the icing on the cake to his rather unique yet gratifying stage presence. Throughout the show he made jokes, sang oldies, cranked the Charleston, and gave us just a taste of what’s to be expected on his latest project “Yasiin Bey Presents…”
This was amplified by deep red lighting and an engaging performer who made sure that although the show he was giving might not have met our expectations, we would leave satisfied.
There is an important point to be made here. Whether we like it or not, what we knew as Mos Def doesn’t exist anymore. Although we wanted him to show up at the Shrine Thursday night, we quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen. True fans, however, should ultimately respect the rapper’s creativity and deal with the changes.
The September 18th push back that was rumored is now confirmed. The plus side: the reason for the delay, according to Malik Yusef, is that 4 additional features are being added, with one of them being Mighty Mos Def, a.k.a. yasiin bey. For additional features, I can wait a couple more weeks, especially if they're on the level of Mos. And technically, September 18th is still summer... hah! (shouts 2 FSD).
EDIT: I have a sneaky feeling that G.O.O.D. might do the September 6th, post-VMAs iTunes only drop. No sources, no leads, just a suspicion. Feels like that's just the cool way to drop an album now (see: Watch The Throne and Channel Orange). In a related note: it is pretty cool.