“Can’t do the same thing then expect to make a difference” ~Chris COMRADE Goodman
I’m not sure how I ended up there, but one day I found myself attending a forum on my then-campus, Morgan State, discussing the “school to prison pipeline”. The discussion highlighted (if I remember correctly) the inadequacies of the education system, the chronic state of underfunding in inner city schools and the low achievement, high dropout rates that correspond with high rates of youth imprisonment in certain communities. Organizing this event was a passionate young activist who I had seen leading protests on campus. That in itself was impressive.
Yet Chris COMRADE Goodman had so much more up his sleeve. This young activist is not only out on the streets speaking out against social injustices, he’s got a lot to say in the booth as well. An extremely talented hip hop artist, COMRADE has combined his lyrical skills and social awareness to create a movement that’s far bigger than hip hop. He has produced some fantastic music videos, using the internet as his medium for making his work known. His videos, which tell great stories, can be viewed on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/officialcomrademuzic. Chris has recently released his first professional album, Raw Re Cord which is available for free on his website http://www.comrademuzic.com.
I had the opportunity to ask this inspiring man one question: What impact do you hope to have through what you do? This was his answer...
Megaphones & Microphones
I remember when I was 15, it had to be about seven of us at the School System Headquarters on North Ave; I was a young organizer for the Baltimore Algebra Project preparing for my first major protest. All of the meetings and civil disobedience trainings helped me feel confident about the situation I was getting into but the emotions were pretty overwhelming sitting in the office of Baltimore City School’s CEO. The secretary asked us if we had a meeting scheduled we told him No, but we were here to meet with the CEO and we were not leaving until we met with her. Within seconds, it seems like, the police stormed in and had us in handcuffs. Six high school students and the Director of the program were heading to the basement of the School System Headquarters which is ironically a Police Headquarters as well. Looking back on the Sit-In, it revealed a glimpse of the power youth hold to really make a bold statement for social justice.
As we were being processed, police officers were insulting us saying we were stupid and were throwing our lives away, not knowing that we were well prepared and spent months organizing the Sit-in. Within 20 minutes we were released and no charges were filed against us because the Police Dept. and CEO Dr. Copeland did not expect high school students to organize a Sit-IN with hundreds of students outside of the School System Headquarters with news cameras on the 50th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education. That following morning we had a formal meeting with CEO Dr. Copeland.
These experiences are the roots of COMRADEmuzic. My writings are inspired by my political frustration. As the writings turned to rhymes at 16 years old, my bold statements took the form of songs. The growth of the “muzic” movement entails the struggles, emotions and happiness of the global, multifaceted, experiences of Comrades and Comrets.
COMRADEmuzic is a global soundtrack, it’s a movement. Before Comrades go out and march, you can listen to a song and get into that warrior mood. You can hear a song that inspires creativity and a new way of viewing things. There’s no real box, just pure expression of natural emotions and social movement. So at the end of it all I want my music and my life to inspire, empower and activate Comrades and Comrets throughout the world around the understanding that we have the power to love, heal and create new realities.