The Last Jimmy: A Hip Hop Musical
20 Jul 2015
I think a number of the leaders are, whether you like it or not, in the hip-hop generation. And when they understand enough, they’ll do wonders. I count on them. ~ Maya Angelou
How do we spread Michelle Alexander’s message about the prison industrial complex which she detailed inhere bestselling book, The New Jim Crow? How do we proliferate discussions and debates that engage our youth and enable them to avoid and fight against the oppressive and racist laws that have replaced the old Southern Jim Crow? The Last Jimmy addresses this question with its hip hop lyrics dripping with fervor, pain and redemption.
Dice Raw, of The Roots, escorts the viewers into the thought process of an African American character facing life in prison during his trial. The playwright, Phillip S. Brown has found a riveting way to take complicated courtroom jargon to the ears of young people in a manner that only a lyricist like Dice Raw can. The play is equip with a live band and a live D.J. outfitted in prison uniforms as well the ever so controversial minstrel character. Anyone who doubted the minstrel is still an object of pain and controversy would have changed his/her mind after experiencing the Q & A session right after the play.
Dice Raw’s songs deal with the layers beneath the surface where the origins of hurt, struggle, racism and poverty introduce themselves into the DNA of black boys in America.
Without serious intervention, these obstacles introduce and wed black men to the prison industrial complex which has proven to be an extremely profitable business to private prison owners. When tax payers spend seven times more to incarcerate a teenage boy than we do to educate him, the system becomes riddled with corruption and greed when the right people are making a handsome profit from incarcerating society’s victims.
With Obama’s becoming the first sitting United Stated president to visit to a federal prison and Van Jones teaming up with Koch Brothers to bring an end to mass incarceration fueled by the heinous so-called war on drugs, The Last Jimmy is not only necessary, it is also timely.
Dice Raw has once again confirmed his position as a hip hop pioneer as well as proven that hip hop is not just entertainment; it’s edutainment.
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