Lupe Fiasco performs with a Palestinian flag and Occupy Wall Street shirt at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards

Israel/Palestine
on 15 Comments

Bet Hip Hop Awards 2011

Lupe Fiasco holding a Palestinian flag throughout his powerful performance of Words I Never Said in front of millions in the 6th Annual BET Hip Hop Awards warms my heart. Sami Kishawi @ Sixteen Minutes to Palestine says of Lupe’s nationally televised performance :

Watch this stunning performance and smile. The Palestinian cause is a people’s movement that will continue to grow in popularity. We are mainstream and we will stay that way.

I’m smiling and Sami’s right.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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15 Responses

  1. Dex
    October 12, 2011, 6:43 pm

    Word.

  2. muzz al atesta
    October 12, 2011, 7:04 pm

    The Palestinian cause is a people’s movement that will continue to grow in popularity. We are mainstream and we will stay that way.

    damn right!

    the tables they be a turnin’

  3. rob
    October 12, 2011, 8:39 pm

    Outstanding Annie!!!! Great find!!!!! This is great PR!!

  4. RoHa
    October 12, 2011, 9:14 pm

    I’ve never heard of Lupe Fiasco, but if millions have then this performance is a Good Thing.

  5. Real Jew
    October 12, 2011, 10:36 pm

    Big shout out to Lupe!!! He is an incredible artist and incredible human being. Hip hop has an immeasurable amount of influence on our society today and touches the lives of millions Americans especially the young. The hip hop community has always supported the Palestinian cause and this sort of mainstream support from such a powerful sector of our society is tremendously helpful and inspiring.

  6. Philip Munger
    October 12, 2011, 11:46 pm

    Although I’m known as a “classical” composer, I’ve had a longstanding interest in hip-hop, particularly female artists and their music-poetry. Hip-hop was a “social network” long before my space, facebook and twitter. Many texting and sexting terms have been stolen from rappers, and the interchange is now a two-way street.

    The video embedded above shows the great BET Awards performance from Lupe Fiasco and his band. Interesting to me is how his presentation and song have been [mis]represented in the media, not least by the BET TV web page. Very few articles in the hip-hop version of the MSM even mention, let alone cover the OWS and Palestinian rights angle.

    First of all, even better than the youtube above is Lupe’s speech, highlighting Palestinian rights. I can’t quite read the crowd’s reactions. They appear to be mixed.

    Second, Skylar Grey, who sang the icy song part to the original hit, was subbed for at the awards by Erykah Badu, who was magnificent.

    Third, here are the lyrics to Words I Never Said:

    “Words I Never Said”
    (feat. Skylar Grey)

    [Skylar Grey]
    It’s so loud Inside my head
    With words that I should have said!
    As I drown in my regrets
    I can’t take back the words I never said
    I can’t take back the words I never said

    [Lupe Fiasco]
    I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullshit
    Just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets
    How much money does it take to really make a full clip
    9/11 building 7 did they really pull it
    Uhh, And a bunch of other cover ups
    Your childs future was the first to go with budget cuts
    If you think that hurts then, wait here comes the uppercut
    The school was garbage in the first place, that’s on the up and up
    Keep you at the bottom but tease you with the uppercrust
    You get it then they move it so you never keeping up enough
    If you turn on TV all you see’s a bunch of “what the fucks”
    Dude is dating so and so blabbering bout such and such
    And that ain’t Jersey Shore, homie that’s the news
    And these the same people that supposed to be telling us the truth
    Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist
    Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit
    That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one either
    I’ma part of the problem, my problem is I’m peaceful
    And I believe in the people.

    [Skylar Grey]
    It’s so loud inside my head
    With words that I should have said!
    As I drown in my regrets
    I can’t take back the words I never said
    I can’t take back the words I never said

    [Lupe Fiasco - Verse 2]
    Now you can say it ain’t our fault if we never heard it
    But if we know better than we probably deserve it
    Jihad is not a holy war, wheres that in the worship?
    Murdering is not Islam!
    And you are not observant
    And you are not a muslim
    Israel don’t take my side cause look how far you’ve pushed them
    Walk with me into the ghetto, this where all the Kush went
    Complain about the liquor store but what you drinking liquor for?
    Complain about the gloom but when’d you pick a broom up?
    Just listening to Pac ain’t gone make it stop
    A rebel in your thoughts, ain’t gon make it halt
    If you don’t become an actor you’ll never be a factor
    Pills with million side effects
    Take em when the pains felt
    Wash them down with Diet soda!
    Killin off your brain cells
    Crooked banks around the World
    Would gladly give a loan today
    So if you ever miss a payment
    They can take your home away!

    [Skylar Grey]
    It’s so loud inside my head
    With words that I should have said!
    As I drown in my regrets
    I can’t take back the words I never said, never said
    I can’t take back the words I never said

    [Lupe Fiasco - Verse 3]
    I think that all the silence is worse than all the violence
    Fear is such a weak emotion that’s why I despise it
    We scared of almost everything, afraid to even tell the truth
    So scared of what you think of me, I’m scared of even telling you
    Sometimes I’m like the only person I feel safe to tell it to
    I’m locked inside a cell in me, I know that there’s a jail in you
    Consider this your bailing out, so take a breath, inhale a few
    My screams is finally getting free, my thoughts is finally yelling through

    [Skylar Grey]
    It’s so loud Inside my head
    With words that I should have said!
    As I drown in my regrets
    I can’t take back the words I never said

    Fourth, sort of reiterating, getting back to media coverage of Lupe’s presentation: Not just BET TV, but the hip-hop and other media in general seem to be slow or unwilling to cover the statement, or the thrust of the song presentation’s imagery as newsworthy. Allhiphop.com’s story, that highlighted the pro-Palestinian presentation, has been pulled. If you google for stories about the Palestinian aspects of the performance, there are no news stories at this time. Yet the band’s continuing efforts to support OWS are being covered.

    • Justice Please
      October 13, 2011, 2:39 pm

      “I can’t quite read the crowd’s reactions. They appear to be mixed.”

      I’d say they’re overwhelmingly positive. Cheers for Palestine, Boos for Obamas veto.

    • Memphis
      October 13, 2011, 3:08 pm

      I’ve been posting on Allhiphop.com ill community for years and years and years. Majority of posters on there adamantly support Palestinian rights. I find it strange that it would be pulled. I created a thread on there asking why it was pulled from the front page. I want to know why.

      • annie
        October 13, 2011, 3:36 pm

        thank you, please report back to us

  7. American
    October 13, 2011, 12:27 am

    This is huge.

  8. Justice Please
    October 13, 2011, 2:43 pm

    This is not necessarily a break-through, it’s more of a one time event.

    Lupe Fiasco as an extraordinarily brave, honest and thoughtful rapper. He has something to say about Palestine and he has something to say about 9/11 and WTC7. That separates him from many most rappers, even from some of the most socially critical of them. Most of them will maybe say something about the poor and the guns and the drugs, but not about Palestine.

    When in the next year, Jay-Z or Kanye West are performing, you won’t hear a peep about Palestine or 9/11, and all is back to “normal”.

    • annie
      October 13, 2011, 3:11 pm

      justice, i don’t one can get much air play in the US by rapping about palestine but that is not the case in europe/UK. for example lowkey has over 36,000 followers on twitter and his single palestine on the album best of lowkey rose to the top of the charts in the UK and i think Obama Nation is popular too. he is a massively popular rapper and there are others like immortal technique, The Narcicyst and other rappers who introduced his songs on his albums (i am not a specialist on rappers) but do you really know that world? there are many political rappers. many.

      so, even if it is difficult for these rappers to get contracts the implications of this performance at BET, which stands for Black Entertainment Television, is huge. it’s not just the world of hip hop, it is the american black culture embracing this which is very significant. they are trend setters in america in terms of social movement imho.

      • Justice Please
        October 13, 2011, 5:04 pm

        I know what BET stands for, thank you :-)

        I’m not as much into hip hop as I was 5-10 years ago. So I won’t claim to know them all. But if you make a diagram where you cross mainstream popularity and social activism, I would say Lupe and Immortal Technique are the only two who at the same time are rather popular and pursuing true justice.

        More succesful rappers stick to safer themes like the general poorness or maybe the bad corporations. Look at Mos Def for example, he’s very socially conscious. But I don’t see him or similar types applauding Lupe and announcing on BET that he wants to tour with him or something.
        While rappers of high ethical integrity are far less visible in the mainstream media.

        Btw, this is just how it is in all entertainment areas, not just music/rapping.

        Please note that I’m very thankful for Lupe. This performance inspired me, and thanks to you and MondoWeiss for reporting on it.

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