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Measure Y Money Promotes Sideshows

Do you know what "hyphy" is? If you do, you pronounce it "HI-fee" and you know that it is a form of rap featuring deep bass that celebrates sideshows, turf dancing, and "getting stupid" with a mix of alcohol, Ecstasy, strong weed, and cough syrup.
 

According to a long article in the Los Angeles Times, hyphy is "centered around illegal block party/car rallies called 'sideshows.'" You go to them to "get hyphy." What is that? "Some swigged bottles of cognac, smashing the empties into the concrete. Others bobbed their heads in time to rap music blaring from car stereos or 'turf danced.'"
 
"Turf dancers postured wildly while dangling out of windows and doors, some even balancing atop the moving vehicles' trunks and roofs." As one participant described hyphy, "People going crazy, acting a fool: If you're really a hyphy person, it's your way of life." (Los Angeles Times, July 23, 2006)
 
If you want to know more about hyphy, you can get rapper E-40's chart-topping release, "My Ghetto Report Card," with graphic praise of meaningless sex in songs like "Just F**in."
 
You can lurk at almost any late night Oakland sideshow.
 
Or you can go to Youth UpRising, a community center next to Castlemont High School, which, according to the LA Times report, "teaches turf dancing and rapping skills as an after-school program" and helps teens hire out as dancers for music videos celebrating the street disruption. We will presume that none of the Youth UpRising teens performed for the video of "Just F**in" after they learned to "be a part of this dance style that comes from the streets of Oakland" – in other words, from sideshows – as Youth UpRising describes the "Turf Dancing Class" on its website.
 
Youth UpRising Promotes Hyphy With City Money

You might not care for hyphy, but you are paying for it. The Oakland city council gave Youth UpRising $1.5 million over five years in Measure Y money, the parcel tax that was supposed to get us 802 police but has instead seen the loss of several dozen officers. Meanwhile, so-called violence prevention money in Measure Y goes to Youth UpRising.
 
How did the City describe such things as running an employment agency for sideshow-celebrating music videos? "Youth UpRising offers comprehensive, fully integrated health, wellness, educational, career, arts and cultural programming." (Dept. of Human Services report to council, April 25, 2006) Isn't bureaucratic language wonderful?
The idea is to slap the tail of a vehicle as it spins around, then get out of the way. Photo: LA Times

Youth UpRising also expects "$175,000 per year for two years from Oakland Fund for Children and Youth (OFCY)" for "a youth to youth grant making program." (Same report) More great bureaucratic language: youth making grants to youth, the same game practiced with City money by the notorious agency PUEBLO, whose officers embezzled at least $185,000.
 
It is one thing to connect with youth. It is another thing to help them compete in behavior whose main venue appears to be sideshows. It is one thing to know what youth are doing so you can talk with them. It is another thing to hire youth out as dancers in videos purveying a culture of disruption and disrespect.
 
Next time you are about to scream in pain and helplessness as a series of "boom cars" passes your house, thank the Oakland city council for selling you Measure Y and giving a chunk of its money to Youth UpRising.
– July 21, 2006, updated July 24



Youth UpRising Instructor Promotes Sideshow Video

The Youth UpRising website lists its classes, including:
Street Hop
Days : Monday & Wednesday
Time : 4:00pm-5:30pm
Location : Physical Arts Studio
Instructor : Jeriel Bey, founder of The Architecks
Actually, Mr. Bey spells the name of his business as The Architeckz. It "consists of co-ed dancers ages 8 to 22," according to a profile written about him. The website for the business offers dancers for videos. The "hyphy" page includes a link to a video by E-40, "Tell Me When To Go," asserting that The Architeckz provided dancers for the production. The video displays, teaches, and celebrates all the reckless sideshow driving and crowd antics that plague our streets.
 

 
Among the sideshow-glorifying lines in the lyrics:
 
    Dancing on top of chariots and turning tight ones
    ...
    Some Henny, some Swishers and some Listerine strips
    Dr. Greenthumb lift, just to ease my thoughts
    Not just the cops, but the homies you got to watch
    ...
    Sitting in my scrapper, watching Oakland go wild... Ta-dow
    I don't bump mainstream, I knock underground
    All that other sh*t, sugar-coated and watered down
    I'm from the Bay where we hyphy and go dumb
    ...
    I slid past on the gas, b*tches looking at me
    ...
    Ghost-ride the whip
    Now... Scrape
    Put your stunna shades on
    Now... Gas, brake, dip, dip
    ...
    Doors open, mayne
    Now... Watch em swang
    Go stupid, go (dumb, dumb)
 
A street dance instructor at Youth UpRising, recipient of City and County violence prevention grants, runs a business hiring out young dancers for videos, including one celebrating "hyphy" disruption on our streets. Sideshows are a special plague in Oakland. Mr. Bey is welcome to run his business, but why did Youth UpRising bring him in to be a "street hop" instructor and role model for students?
– July 25, 2006



Resident Blasts Pandering to Degradation

A resident who lives near Youth UpRising replied to Mr. Anthony and those who defend using Measure Y money to promote sideshow culture:
 
I live near Youth Uprising. I don't have to be told about the "culture," the sideshows or the violence in East Oakland. I live with it every day and hope the bullets don't come through my wall. Several of the most recent murders occurred within a few blocks of my home, so "my ghetto report card" is in order.
 
At the Youth Uprising website I found this:
"From music video shoots with rappers E-40, Keak Da Sneak and Lil' Jon to Dance Battles with celebrity guest appearances that attract upwards of 600 people, Youth UpRising is the only facility that offers entertainment choices of this caliber." (http://www.youthuprising.org/events.htm)
I really appreciate my tax dollars being given to promote E-40! Mr. "40" is middle-aged and now lives in Danville, but he still promotes the sad, degrading lifestyle I see destroying the children in this community.
 
Apparently Mr. "40" feels that all our kids need is more empty sex, fatherless children and enough drugs and alcohol to kill the pain. But don't take my word for it. Read a portion of the lyrics of "Just F***in'" from his latest creative effort, "My Ghetto Report Card."
 
Here's a "bleeped" sample from E-40, a Youth Uprising "mentor":
 
[We deleted the lyrics. Those who need to see how repulsive they are can go to http://www.lyricsmania.com/lyrics/e-40_lyrics_8223/ my_ghetto_report_card_lyrics_27474/just_f***in_lyrics_300475.html
Put on one line, remove the blank and replace the asterisks
]
 
Do we really want our tax dollars spent to expose minors to this garbage so that E-40 can live in luxury in a chi-chi suburb? Is this all we can do for our kids?
 
Mary M., District 7, Elmhurst
– July 25, 2006



Youth UpRising Director Speaks

The executive director of Youth UpRising, Ms. Olis Simmons sent the following email:
From: Olis.Simmons@acgov.org
Date: July 29, 2006, 8:54 a.m.
 
Greetings,
 
Again, Helen, thank you for the support. I wanted to shared that yesterday YU had a "Hotter Than July" blockparty, which was attened by hundreds of community members, from Grannies to babies. There was face painting, a jumper, cotton candy, board games, and live entertainment, all to old school Stevie Wonder type music.
 
This block party and our first event that intentional reached out to a multi-generalational crowd. It was such a joy to see mothers with their children, kids in the jumper, elders under the shade tree, and a mix of older and young men playing chess.
 
I'm sharing this joy to reflect the reality that love exisits, even in the face of the violence that plauges our communities and the negativity the people in pain, like Charlie Pine, create. What's funny is that Jacky (an amazing, sweet, deeply caring young white woman on my staff) called Charlies yesterday to reach out, build a relationship, offer again a tour- Charlie is still "considering" if he wants to tour YU...that's makes me laugh because it reflect that Charlie has no shame about frabrication and blasting a negative piece about YU in the absence of any reliable iformation. Like the young people committing senseless crimes, its wasted energy that if re-directed could make Oakland the City we dream of!.
 
I'm all about relationship building, educating, growing, and nurturing, so Charlies, whenever you want to step into the light of truth, fairness, and community building, I'm here...the and every Sunday is the brunch, so come join us.
 
Peace,
 
Olis Simmons
Executive Director
Youth UpRising
Youth Leadership. Community Transformation.



ORPN Replies: Get Back to the Problem

Let's be clear about the problem: A music video celebrity, E-40, makes a video glorifying sideshows. The man who apparently provided dancers for the video promotes it on the website of his business. His business recruits 8- to 22-year-olds as dancers for such videos. The same man is welcomed to Youth UpRising as a "street hop" instructor and role model for the youth. We raised one question: Since Youth UpRising is financed in part by Measure Y violence prevention money, is this an appropriate activity?
 
Ms. Simmons says we have "no shame about f[r]abrication." She does not tell us what the fabrication is.
 
Ms. Simons dwells on whether or not we take a tour of Youth UpRising facilities. Until we do, we do not have "any reliable information." Apparently, a guided tour is the only way to "step into the light of truth." That's convenient for director Simmons, but we already documented the video, the instructor, the class, and the youth-recruiting business.
 
We put out the facts. We are waiting for Ms. Simmons to specify our "fabrication" – or deal with the specific problem. Instead, we have a shocking email from director Simmons. She sent the email from her Alameda County email address. Before heading Youth UpRising, Ms. Simmons was on the payroll of the Alameda County Health Department, Child & Youth Services. Youth UpRising is funded largely by County and City of Oakland money.
 
Ms. Simmons pairs "the violence that plauges [sic] our communities and the negativity the people in pain, like Charlie Pine, create." It is wrong for this government official to engage in such psychological profiling. Mr. Pine is no different than the several hundred thousand other residents of the Oakland flatlands who suffer when "boom cars" make it impossible to enjoy a quiet evening at home, when drug dealers take over street corners, and yes, when sideshow participants (adult and youth) jump on your car and destroy it. Above we posted a comment from a resident who lives near Youth UpRising; would Ms. Simmons condemn her "negativity" and pain, too?
 
Ms. Simmons' reply evades the specific issue. It has the tone of expecting people to be "true believers" who accept things without question. It is not an appropriate response from a government official, and it does nothing to address the specific problem regarding sideshow culture at Youth UpRising.
– July 29, 2006




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