In summer of 2008, Hip Hop artists G1, Rodstarz and Lah Tere of Rebel Diaz were on the streets of New York. They witnessed a street vendor being harassed by the police. Seeing that the street vendor did not reply, they decided to step in to translate for the vendor. Upon requesting the badge number of the police at the scene, the three members of Rebel Diaz were contained, arrested and taken to the local precinct. They were held in a jail cell with over 30 other individuals for over 24 hours. Charged with unruly public conduct, the Hip Hop group have been on trial until this day.
As an active member of Western Mass Copwatch, I seized the chance to go interview these conscious Hip Hop artists, asking them questions such as “How do you see your struggle relate to a longer struggle of race issues and politics in this country?”. Below you will hear G1 of Rebel Diaz’s story as well as a glimpse of his analysis of race and policing in the United States. The two interviews that follow are with a long time activist and former member of the Young Lords, and a member of New York City copwatch. Both link police brutality with racism.These videos contain mature language.
To see more interviews clickCloee Cooper is a field organizer with Center for New Community. A documentary filmmaker, she is active with Chicago Copwatch.