[Brooklyn, NY] Amidst the laundry list of Hurricane Sandy benefit concerts this December, a unique hip-hop performance benefiting Occupy Sandy scheduled for 7pm this Tuesday 12/18/2012 at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn) stands out for the way its lineup of artists reflects the mutual aid, integrity, and do-it-yourself fervor that made Occupy Sandy one of the most effective crisis response groups in the wake of the hurricane.
The concert, presented by Viper Records and Music for Occupy, features some of New York’s most celebrated grassroots hip-hop artists. Immortal Technique, Pharoahe Monch, Jean Grae, Hasan Salaam, Jasiri X, Constant Flow, George Martinez and the Global Block Collective, and a noteworthy roster of surprise guests are scheduled to perform at Tuesday’s benefit.
While the artists have rallied together for this event in support of Occupy Sandy’s relief efforts, their performances have always been extensions of their lyrical narratives of overcoming crisis in their own communities. Whether it’s Immortal Technique’s revolutionary anthems of solidarity, Jasiri X’s lyrical indictment of the NYPD’s controversial Stop And Frisk Program, Pharoahe Monch’s dissection of the Prison Industrial Complex’s impact on Brooklyn’s communities of color, or George Martinez & the Global Block Collective’s “Free & Unified” tribute to the Occupy Sandy relief efforts, each artist provides a cross-sectional view of the principles of solidarity not charity upon which Occupy Sandy was built.
Occupy Sandy by Josh Fox
A statement drafted by Staten Island residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy and published to Pastebin on December 13th underscores the need for tangible, solidarity-driven relief efforts, not bureaucratic or parasitic debt-driven programs, “We are tired of being given the runaround, by elected officials, the insurance companies, FEMA, SBA, and Rapid Repair. Each resident has a different experience dealing with these organizations. No two stories are alike. They say different things at different times. We hear nothing for weeks or they lose our paperwork. Some have taken donations in our name without accountability. We demand clear and timely answers.” The statement goes on to say, “The vultures are circling our community. They see valuable beachfront property, not a place where families live. Leaders talk about development, but why isn’t the community leading those discussions?”
Occupy Sandy as well as the artists performing at Tuesday’s benefit understand the importance of community-led releif efforts. Occupy Sandy’s hub-driven system of relief distribution, directly works to satisfy community needs assessments that canvassers and volunteers (many of which are members of impacted communities) pass on to their hub. The result is empowering the community, as systems of relief are shaped and directed by the impacted community and then put into action by the volunteers. Instead of a typical “what you see is what you get” model of crisis relief, Occupy Sandy asks, “what do you need?” and responds with, “…lets see if we can get you that.”
“Sandy helped a lot of people see that we don’t need to wait for government intervention to be able to help each other” said Jelani Mashariki, Global Block emcee and one of the performers at Tuesday’s benefit. Mashariki is also a Candidate for NYC’s 35th Council District, “My campaign for New York City Council is based on the same principles of mutual aid used by Occupy Sandy Relief, because taking care of each other has to be our first priority.”
Occupy has always been about crisis relief. Tuesday’s benefit will highlight that Occupy Sandy, and it’s predicate organization, Occupy Wall Street, are each about rising up in response to crisis as it impacts our communities.
Pharoahe Monch will be performing at Tuesday’s benefit.
Tickets to Tuesday’s benefit are available in advance through the Brooklyn Bowl website for $15.00 and a limited amount of tickets will be made available for walk ups. If you are unable to attend Tuesday’s benefit and wish to make a monetary contribution to Occupy Sandy’s work visit http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/donate/ for links on how to donate or cash or specific items needed on their registries.
To request an interview with the artists, or to request a press comp for Tuesday’s benefit please contact Andy Stepanian at firstname.lastname@example.org or 631.291.3010