Chuck D. recently had an interview with Dave Zirin on the recent immigration laws in Arizona. Chuck D. recorded “By The Time I Get To Arizona” with Public Enemy in 1991. Chuck D. also recorded a song “Tear Down This Wall,” a song about immigration earlier this year. Here’s what Chuck said to say:
Back when people had to write letters it took an effort,
especially if someone didn’t have decent penmanship and handwriting. I
try not to look at the responses. I try to do the right thing. I tell
you this much, there is a rap contingent, a hip-hop contingent from
Phoenix, who did a remake of “By the Time I Get to Arizona.” I think
that needs to be recognized because these are young people. The song
is about eight minutes long. There’s about 12 MCs on it, and they are
putting it down. They are talking about how ridiculous this law is.
They are speaking out against it and they are putting all the facts on
the table, and they need to be acknowledged and highlighted. There is
a stereotype about young people and young MCs [being apolitical]. They
Unfortunately when it comes to culture, the speed of
technology and news today makes things out of sight, out of mind.
While these situations [the MLK fight and the immigration fights] are
different, the politics of both things stay around like a stain….
Once again Arizona has put themselves into this mix. I don’t know what
the hell was on Gov. Jan Brewer’s mind or what contingent is behind
her, but, you know, to make a decision like this and to be told to
ignore the people who have been in this area on this earth the longest
period of time. It just kind of resonates with me as being crazy.
Artists and musicians can say we’re
going to play Texas, El Paso, New Mexico, Albuquerque, and we gotta
play L.A. But we’ll skip Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson and the like. But
you know what this is really a challenge for: that’s Major League
Baseball. You’ve got nearly a third of the players that are Latino. If
they don’t stand up to this bill, they will actually be validating the
divide amongst Latinos [between documented and undocumented