“I want CHANGE for my Dolla’.”
It’s a fundamental belief for songwriter and Atlanta native “Queen Nandi”. “A Focused Few control many, because Economic Power controls Political Power controls State Power controls Media Power controls Social Power.” For her, the pathway to socioeconomic change and equality seems clear to understand although it is surely a little more difficult to implement. She says “If you’ve got a dollar, you’ve got a certain level of economic power and potential for shared political, state and social power. These are the places where justice is granted or denied.” She believes that it doesn’t require racial strife or even uncomfortable political friction; it just requires a focused community who understands the objective, which is to increase economic leverage of the community by incrementally spending more money within the community. But still she says, “That is only half of the equation”.
On the other side, we need to stop the economic leakage. This is what I mean in the hook of the song when I say, “I’ve got a dolla hey hey hey hey, I’m gonna pass it to my brotha’ and my brotha’s gone say hey”. It then goes on to say…I’m gonna pass it to my sista’….pass it to my partna…and so on and so on. This is about stopping the economic leakage. It’s like a child putting pennies into a piggybank so they can ultimately get what they want. It’s a very basic and powerful foundation that we all understand. I take the dolla’ I earn and I spend it with someone who I trust. I then trust that person or business to do the same. We then take that trust and those dollars to the negotiating table to leverage for what we want.
This is about stopping the economic leakage. It’s like a child putting pennies into a piggybank so they can ultimately get what they want. It’s a very basic and powerful foundation that we all understand.
So, when I ask why she believes this hasn’t happened yet consistently and why do members of her community spend more outside of the community than in it?
She says, “It’s usually because either they don’t believe they will get the same quality of product or service or they believe that the product or service they need doesn’t exist within the community. We need to address both the reality and perception of those things by focusing on service, identifying the goods and services that we don’t have and working to help to fill those gaps. We also need to help each other to cross market our businesses so the people know we’re there.”
So how big of a role do you think the government has in making sure that everything is economically equitable, particularly with respect to African Americans?
The government has the role of making sure everyone plays by the rules, kinda’ like a referee. Outside of that, the people will always fight back against the government if they believe the ref is trying to actually be too big of a player in the game or is showing favoritism to one team or the other. People will only let the government go so far before they start raisin’ hell. Quite frankly, in their misguided anger, they’ll try to kill you, either because they think you’re trying to take something that’s theirs or because they’re pissed ‘cause they think they you are not gonna pay them what they believe they are owed. That’s what they’re all fighting about.
As now she’s re-captured my full attention, I move closer to the casually light-hearted, but deeply serious Big-Afroed MC from Metro-Atlanta as she describes her take on the political and social climate of the day. At that point, I’m compelled to ask her
“Who is they?”
By “they”, I mean all of them. It doesn’t matter what color they are. They are conservatives and liberals, black and white and they are all angry about the same thing. They are trying to keep people from taking what they believe is rightfully theirs or they are angry about not getting what they believe they are justifiably owed.
There are people out there fighting that fight every day and a lot of those fights have legitimate reasons to be fought, but at this point, I’m focusing on taking the path of least resistance and working with people who want to work with me and on the things we have in common. I’m focusing on Intercommunity Dependence. There are numerous racial and ethnic groups in the US who are doing this successfully without a lot of social or political friction. The Indian-American, Jewish-American, Pakistani-American, and Chinese-American communities all have vibrant and focused economies within the American economy like I’m describing. The beautiful thing about this is that when those sub-economies are strong, it adds to a stronger US economy, and that generally makes the greatest number of people happy. So, my focus is the spending and economic messaging within my sphere of influence.
When I ask her, as a rapper, how do you actually believe you can change things?
Well, first I really don’t consider myself to be a rapper…. I mean, I rap and I enjoy it, and there are definitely a lot of dope rappers out there who are breaking down barriers, so I absolutely don’t mean that disrespectfully. But, I really don’t favor calling myself a rapper.
So, what title do you prefer?
…A writer, a poet maybe, a Rhythmic American Poet or perhaps even an artist.
Is there a reason why you don’t like being called a rapper?
It’s not that I hate it or that I don’t like it per say, I just don’t favor it, because it feels like a box sometimes, both creatively and politically. It seems like whenever a “rapper” tries to voice his or her political or social opinion to the mainstream or do something creatively “different”, it gives the opposition some sort of worn out pathway to limit them, discredit their political voice, or to minimize their understanding of the issues. That’s why I favor creative titles that have traditionally had the most impact on me and on society, and to me those are the writers and the poets.
Anyway, I’m sorry, back to your question about how I actually believe I can help change things as a rapper?
I can do it with my voice. I can do it with my writing. I can do it through my platforms and businesses. I can do it with my dollars. I can do it with my community. I can do it through God. I can do it scared. I’ll do it through faith. I can do it now. And I HAVE to ALWAYS remember to do it with love. But what I can’t do ….is do it alone”.
“A Focused Few control many, because Economic Power controls Political Power controls State Power controls Media Power controls Social Power.”