Whew! It's been a whirlwind two weeks. Quite honestly, my head is spinning. But it seems a bit of progress has been made. If you haven't been out of town or off the planet recently, then you've heard about the stir Jubilee!JAM officials caused when this year's line up was announced a couple of weeks ago. Much to the chagrin of hundreds of JAM supporters, this year's festival was originally devoid of any hip-hop. Save for a performance by rock/rap hybrid Free Sol, there wasn't one hip-hop act—local or otherwise—on the bill.
Folks were up in arms. In the span of a few days, I personally got calls from both the Clarion Ledger and WAPT for comments on the snub. You can probably guess what I was thinking: "Here we go again. Hip-hop's getting the cold shoulder." Despite my best efforts, despite the efforts of the M.A.P. Coalition, it appeared the disrespect would continue.
However, there was light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, I would like to commend the parties involved for making this issue a model for conflict resolution. Through the efforts of some progressive thinkers, somebody somewhere realized that an egregious error had been made. Last Wednesday, my phone rang, and controversy was replaced with diplomacy. When you want the same things, a simple conversation can work things out.
I am now, and have always been a Jubilee!JAM supporter. I urge all of you to come down to Commerce Street and spend 'til you can't spend anymore. On Friday, I am honored to be headlining on the North Stage at midnight. For those of you who are curious, here's your chance to see a fabulous hip-hop show. If you've only read my columns or heard my songs on the radio, this is the opportunity to put the outspoken opinions with a face. And I promise, I will try my best to entertain you. On Saturday, the JFP Lounge has even more hip-hop in the Hal & Mal's Brew Pub. There's more talent in Jackson than just myself and David Banner, so you can go there to get your first glimpse of some of Mississippi's next rap superstars!
A disaster has been averted ... for now. However, just as I stressed to JAM officials, we can't let the positive discussion end here. If we don't make some serious adjustments to the Jubilee!JAM formula, the mistakes of year 19 will rise again in year 20. When JAM returns to its original home next year, the line up needs to reflect the diverse musical tastes of this state. JAM organizers have promised me and members of the coalition a sit-down to voice our concerns. The festival needs a youth injection, and this is a great start! It's not caving in to pressure when you give the people what they want. When the people are happy, they'll show their support. When there's support, there's revenue. When there's revenue, we've got a festival that can rival City Stages in Birmingham or Bonnaroo in Tennessee.
As I've said a million times before, hip-hop is to be embraced. We're here to stay, and promoters best respect our power. Without us, you're gonna have some problems. See you Friday.
And that's the truth ... sho-nuff.
The hot topic on the site is, rightfully, the Killen verdict (and thanks, MS, for at least that, if not a murder conviction) but having been out of town this weekend I'm curious to hear people's take on Jubilee!JAM. Did the alernate format deliver? Was there good attendance?