Jay Electronica-Born in New Orleans (Magnolia Projects)-He rarely releases albums, instead leaking singles-”When the levees broke” goes beyond the mourning of a natural disaster: it is a critique of the man-made disaster that followed
Themes From The Lyrics• Life in NOLA post- Katrina [Although Hurricane Sandy will also be remembered for its destruction, Katrina exposed politics of racism] Kanye West was vilified in national media for making an impromptu statement on live TV, thus sparking a national debate.• 4 police officers were convicted in fatal shooting of unarmed teenager and a disabled man in post-Katrina chaos, however, none faced murder charges. [legal brutality leads to the kind of bad faith that is described by both MLK and Mr. X, as well as Elijah Muhamed]
More Themes• FEMA and corruption in federal government response vs local response• “Wicked contractors” , corrupt cops, mass incarceration, insurance companies, food vouchers are all referenced• Redevelopment of NOLA driven by economic ideology and monied interests; Jay says “they closed down all the projects” in one lyric
Post Katrina• By August 31, an estimated 80% of New Orleans was underwater. The power, water and sewage systems were knocked out and the city was rendered uninhabitable.• Law and order across the city broke down as people began looting stores and homes. Many were in search of food and water, but some were taking the opportunity to steal non- essential items.
Class and ethnic politics in USA• Many critics, including almost all of those presented in this class, address the economic power structure of their time.• The same group of partisans who had botched the response to Katrina did likewise in Iraq post-invasion. Within the USA, a widespread distrust of George W Bush (after Katrina and Iraq) fed into a belief in class warfare and disaster capitalism
• One writer described post-Katrina as “terrifying nihilism that has been catalyzed in and around New Orleans is a hot thing, geysering to the social surface the deficiencies in our government and the prejudices in our own society”