The Story of a Show: Olmeca in Seattle

Flyer by Poesia

Flyer by Poesia

Back in August 26th, 2013, the world renowned underground revolutionary artist from LA, Olmeca,touched down in Seattle. He was joined on stage withSista HailstormJulie C, and Poesia (who also did this flyer artwork to the right) for an intimate show. If you missed it, which you probably did due to that fact that this show was largely overlooked by the Hip Hop community in Seattle, there is video below. But my aim in this narrative is not to guilt you for not coming. Actually, I want to share an important back story to how this event even came about. For me, organizers of the event, and for the author of the narrative below, the beginning of this story started on a rainy night down at Westlake at the dawn of Occupy Seattle, traveled across the imaginary lines we call ‘borders’ south to Chiapas, the heart of the Zapatista movement, and back up before landing at South Side Commons in Columbia CityI first met Tabs, aka Isolina, one organizer of this event, on one of those early Occupy nights. Actually, the first time I saw her, she was getting arrested by the SPD for sitting on the ground. She became one of the powerful voices advocating thedecolonization framework for Occupy, and a big supporter of Hip Hop Occupies to Decolonize early in the game while we were still battling the doubtful for a voice in the movement. I talk a lot about the importance of art and culture in movement, revolution, change. It is, to me, a fundamental aspect of humanity, and thus just as fundamental in inspiring, galvanizing, and organizing the masses, beyond just “a tool of outreach”. So I guess, take the story below as a case study, and remember, it’s always bigger than Hip Hop. Here it goes, in her words:

“When I reflect back on the journey we took in December 2012, I can hardly believe that was part of my life. It was a shared experience with four other female bodied people. A shared experience, that was potent, eye opening, and an affirmation that our ancestors are with us holding our hands, holding us up, and guiding us through a very tricky world. We are on a path and we do not know where it will take us.

Much earlier that year a group of folks that had organized a myriad of actions and events, amidst the craziness and hostility that was Occupy Seattle.  That is where it really started.  When our paths crossed and the direction of our lives would move in ways we couldn’t have forseen. We discussed the need for International Solidarity, to share our experience and to listen with an open heart to the experiences of those across imaginary lines, without the misrepresentation of “the media”.  We wanted real stories and we are a group that acknowledges the liberation of all, is through Decolonization.  This was a topic we explored together, most of us people of color, but some of us not. We were learning and searching in our own hearts, and I know this globalized system is not for us, never was, and never will be.
Our intentions grew clear, we sought living examples of autonomy, that were not tendency based. Personally the “autonomy” exercised in the Seattle Anarchist scene was a joke to me. It was just that, a scene, instead of a healthy thriving community. There was no focus on how to build outside of the system, merely romanticizing burning down the system.  Romantic ideas of revolt, but as we know romance can fade.  They so wanted Seattle to be Greece or Spain, but with clouds always hovering close, it’s hard to rile up a crowd here.

Oakland, Seattle & LA come together

Oakland, Seattle & LA come together

For me, it is all about what you do, more than what you say, because talk is very cheap and it is rare to see talk turned into action that benefits the community and not the individual. Everyone wants to be down with the black n’ brown struggle, but the practice from many tendency’s, is alienating to those from those communities.  I don’t need someone to tell me about my oppression.  I live it, every day, so thanks but no thanks.
Read the entire piece and see footage of performances from the Seattle hip hop show on Julie C’s page.
Also, watch the “Decolonize is not a tendency!” panel that happened the weekend before this hip hop show.

2 thoughts on “The Story of a Show: Olmeca in Seattle

  1. Pingback: Video and a Brief Explainer from the Mexico City Uprising | bayareaintifada

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