The Origin of BAD

Date

Official Resignation from Z53 Zulu Members: 

Whikid, EEE Tree, Pesha Rize, Chandra Marquez, Makkk Hussien, Awall, and Josh Rizeberg

First thing we would like to do is to give our deepest sympathies to Iceman for the loss of his mother.  That has to be one of the hardest tragedies a person has to get through in life and we are here for you, in whatever way you need.  Also, to Landen and anyone who had real reasons for not showing up to the action on Friday the 22nd, what is about to be said is not directed towards you and if you would like to join us in our new venture you are more than welcome.

In light of recent events it has become apparent to the six of us that the priorities, morals, ethics, and lifestyles of 206 Zulu, Z53 and its people directly contradict our own.  Since day one of orientation we have been more than accommodating to the bureaucracy of the 206 Zulu.  We have gone above and beyond as far as paperwork, events, organization, and structure; even after we were accused of making mistakes and not holding up our end of the relationship, all because our emails and communications were being ignored.   We still continued to try and please 206 and keep Z53 going.  The first 206 orientation day, all that was focused on was protocol; when we could approach a member, when we could shake, when we could claim, when we could identify with Zulu officially.  There was next to nothing about what you actually stood for or any social or political stances you adhere to, like so many of the other more militant Zulu chapters of New York who use language similar to our own.  After, what felt like a lecture on respect, while we got none, and our own skills and street knowledge were overlooked, we still decided, ok we’re gonna try and make it through the probation period and work our way through the patriarchal and, honestly, oppressive ways 206 is run.  If we could make it to February we knew we could begin to do the work that actually needed being done in our communities.

Seattle, as I am sure you all know, is a very different city than Tacoma.  The real and true emergencies we deal with daily, for the most part we communicated openly and often about with 206, without the same in return from their end. When we did hear from 206 it was only when we had violated a policy or protocol, which there were only two of and neither one had Zulu Universal written or associated with them.  Only Z53 was mentioned and then posted individually on our own Facebook pages and blogs.  The types of events I am speaking of are ones where timing can be the difference between death and life, jail and freedom, brutality and safety.  In our world there is no paperwork, protocol, policy or organization that is worth prioritizing over taking care of these community crises.  

We are not willing to compromise our community, our integrity, and our street and common sense just to be able to claim Zulu or any other organization for that matter.

Well, a lot of people within government and big business are nervous of Hip Hop and Hip Hop artists, because they speak their minds. They talk about what they see and what they feel and what they know. They reflect what’s around them.

                                                Afrika Bambaataa  

This is what we do, without censorship, just as many other brave Zulu Chapters throughout the Universe do, but it always seems, no matter what, it doesn’t really matter what we are saying and why we do what we do. It’s always about HOW we say it, HOW it’s done and the chain of hierarchy within the organization.  With the Z53 members whom we no longer associate with it is fear, fear of your safety, freedoms, privileges being taken away that manipulate you to change your loyalties. 

For the most recent event, we merely wanted the funding being asked for by a group of white newcomers to Hilltop for more police presence to be diverted to youth programs instead. Their action was happening within days, two of our members from the community with children growing up on the Hill asked that we stand with them in solidarity and release the statement that only two members voiced their disapproval of.  One went behind all our backs and asked the President directly, violating the democratic structure Zulu Chapters are supposed to abide by, so that voice doesn’t count anyway.  If you don’t take it to the group and act shady about pushing your own agenda you’re disloyal.  This was the point of sending the statement out, discussing it at the meeting and voting on it.  

For us there is no way we can say no to a brother or sister in times of trouble just because Zulu 206 hasn’t put their stamp of approval on it, or someone has a problem with the way the statement sounded, not what it actually said.  This is the loyalty we seek in others and the only folks we can trust enough to rely on in times of trouble.  We can speak and write in nice, tidy, academic formats and dialects, but when we are talking to our people, our community we speak in their language, because to us, they are the priority and it doesn’t matter if we risk a relationship with a city official or burn bridges with folks who really don’t give a fuck about us anyway and will never understand what or where we are coming from.  There are literally people in Tacoma that don’t believe racism exists anymore and these are the folks you are protecting, apologizing to and worrying about for us.  Instead, of doing this for us, your Z53 brothers and sisters you left us all in the lurch, leaving us much more vulnerable to the angry white mob  yelling at us or the folks who were physically attacking us for simply voicing our opinions, opinions we thought we were willing to stand behind, as well.  Z53 members preach fam, community, children and then the second things get dicey you apologized FOR US and turned your back on us and left us and our children in harm’s way?!  We were not sorry.  You completely abandoned us when we needed you the most.  We were in the right, we did nothing wrong, we spoke the truth and instead of listening to the context  and the content of what we said you fell right into the trap that our criticizers’ did and reacted to the way we said it, not what was said.  Anger or passion doesn’t automatically invalidate what someone is saying, to us and the folks we want to work with, if you don’t get angry or passionate about oppression than your suspect. 

This attack on our cause and ideology is an age old racist strategy employed to keep dissidents or “troublemakers” quiet, demonize them and invalidate what they say.  Usually the excuse used is something along the lines of issues with ways folks communicate or strong emotions; often they encourage others to only listen to those who speak proper white English or those who stay calm and pleasant when speaking their mind; When the real and raw reaction is actually anger, madness, passion to issues that are matters of life and death.  When others don’t care enough to have strong emotions about issues that endanger our community and people or folks who don’t understand how the system is using and controlling them they go on the defensive.   You all stood for the wrong side, you got swindled by old racist tactics and they got you to abandon your fight, your cause, your fam. You allowed them to divide us, if you would have all been there like we had planned from the beginning with our families and chapter complete, the action would have been so much more smooth, effective, and less volatile, but you got scared and chose yourself over the group. This racist and classist strategy has been used for many, many years and should especially never be used or fallen for by a people that claim to aid in giving voice and a platform to those same folks they’re silencing.  

One thing we would like to ask is this; you don’t have to admit anything to us directly, but meditate on it a moment if you would.  Did you really have a problem with what we were doing and our stance on the issues or just how other people perceived it, i.e. white media, city officials, politicians, white activists calling our children thugs and claiming it’s not a racist term?  We believe the answer is that you are more concerned with the 206 Zulu protocol and Z53 reputation so that you can get your Hip Hop city sanctioned day and other privileges from those you concern yourselves with more than your own Z53 members and community.  You seem to care more about this than our children’s safety, our family’s struggles, our loyalty as a cohesive healthy family.  We expect that from Tacoma’s ignorant demographic but not from our fellow Z53 members that claim peace, love, unity, freedom, justice, and equality.  Unfortunately, we feel that Z53 Zulu and 206 is only concerned with focusing on the first three characteristics and ignores, even avoids the latter.  The latter three, freedom, justice, equality, TRUTH is what we care about the most and is what our city, Z53 and 206 members are lacking the most of.

After the events last Friday, there was no call from 206 or so many other Z53 members to even see if we were ok.  One of our members was physically attacked for passing out flyers, this could have been avoided if we had stuck together; we were verbally attacked by a white mob looking to demonize us and our families. It has come to the point that 206 protocol and bureaucracy and Z53 morals and priorities seems so whack and arbitrary that it makes Z53 members seem suspect to us, making us nervous to work with any again.  This realization literally has inspired us to create something completely new, better, more real, more willing to take a stand against what is wrong no matter the consequences because that is who we are.  We aren’t scared to sully a relationship or make some white bigots uncomfortable or use noncolonialized language to express ourselves.  We are speaking to our community, to our people, to our brothers and sisters in the struggle, not some college students or professors or politicians, those that the 206 chapter seem to attract the most of and the Z53 members are so concerned over making mad or uncomfortable. 

We, as a group of seven, realized we have determination, passion, fearlessness, and resolve that is just not matched by the other Z53 members who literally left us out to dry like marks on the side of the road, when they had numerous chances to voice their concerns. One day before isn’t enough to completely re-strategize our action.  The trust is gone between 206 and us, between Z53 and us and if we cannot count on you to have our back and to protect the members of your group and so called “community” than we cannot work together.  The seven of us would walk off the ends of the earth for each other if it meant we could affect just one life, one child or situation for the better.  We feel like everyone else would be standing on top of the cliff watching us jump and then going to have coffee with those who we were jumping from.  Even if you didn’t agree with our tactics, it is condescending, patronizing, and disloyal to do what you did and play both sides of the fence.  We feel betrayed, we feel deceived, bamboozled, and disgusted at the priorities of 206 and Z53 Zulu.  We were misled and manipulated by those who claimed they would support and stand with us and then blamed us for staying true to our plan and community. While at the same time you supported those who dragged our names and intentions through the mud and straight up lied and slandered us.  That’s not fam, that’s not community.

We are ready to do groundbreaking actions, which will truly affect change and not just make people feel warm and fuzzy inside.  There are hundreds of churches doing food drives, coat drives, daycare.  There are hundreds of non-profits and colleges teaching white privilege, Hip Hop history, and giving out Christmas and thanksgiving presents and food.  If we were interested in doing those things we could just volunteer at United Way.  We have people in our new breakaway group who were brought up by the original Black Panthers; people who can bring together different parts of the community, some would never dream could sit together in one room.  We have that connection to the streets that 206 and Z53 is missing and therefore there is nothing for us in your organization worth our time and energy.  We started this chapter in the hopes folks would be willing to use those connections, those outlets for change, just as the original Bambaataa did.  Unfortunately, we feel your fear would hold you back and anyone knows fearful people can be the most dangerous, unpredictable, and unreliable to work with.

We are and always will be unapologetically revolutionary, militant, radical, confrontational and rebellious against the oppressive system we live under and those who support it.  We understand fully there will be backlashes from scared and ignorant members of our community and to us that is not a good enough reason to sell out and compromise our values.  We also recognize that the reactions we get will affect Z53 and 206 Zulu’s foremost concern of establishing and keeping a sterling reputation amongst the mainstream, liberal community and we don’t want to tarnish that for you or ruin the friendly image you are trying to achieve.

We understand Z53 members who we are no longer willing to work with are and do still want to continue with the Tacoma Chapter.  Z53, without us in it, are very liberal, centrist, and palatable to the white community.  I am sure the remaining members will be able to work with 206 well and they’re will be no more conflicts of interest.  We feel sure that Z53 members, as of now, will easily remain within Zulu’s realm of acceptable activities and speech.  We are sure Z53 will organize great traditional concerts, bboy battles, jamborees, festivals, and classes and keep their supporters happy.  There is a place for it all, we just happen to fall into a category that not many are willing to partake in and risk certain privileges in their life for, like freedom, like employment, like safety. For those types of actions, where we have to have some backbone, some fortitude, some aggressiveness even, timing is of the essence. 

Sometimes, we don’t have the privilege of taking time and following all guidelines.  Regrettably, the issues we want to confront and tackle do not often have those same flexibilities.  It is not an uncommon concept.  When you’re in the middle of a concert and your house is on fire you leave, you don’t ask for permission, you don’t go through some bureaucratic procedure just so you can save and be there for your family.  Most promoters and even employers permit or if they are good and fair promoters or employers they will encourage that.  If 206 Zulu or Z53 can’t make allowances for these types of situations or understand the nature of emergencies in the Tacoma and Hilltop communities, then there are absolutely no ways we can ever work congenially together with either group.

It is a shame it had to come to this, we wish it turned out differently, but we think in the end it is for the best and everything happens for a reason.  Our integrity and dignity is everything to us and if we ride with people and an organization that doesn’t ride for us or what we and our communities need, we lose that.  Through this experience we have found people whose fortitude and guts match our own and you have found the folks that value and mirror your limitations and boundaries on how far you are willing to go and how much you are willing to risk for the things you fight for; or maybe a better description would be the things you will celebrate or raise awareness for.  I hope 206 and the Tacoma Chapter, whoever, ends up running it, throws some great parties and events for Tacoma.  If you ever do want to actually fight hard for something and are willing to risk any of your privileges for something worthwhile and your loyalties find their way back to the values of freedom, justice, and equality, we’ll be here, doing our thing, feel free to call on us.  Best of luck.

“By Any Means Necessary” X,

Whikid, Josh Rizeberg, Chandra Marquez, Awall, Eee Tree, Pesha Rize, & Makkk Hussien

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