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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

break it.

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

immigrants].

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