Fight the Power 

Musician Works To Change Hiphop's Reputation

The weekly "Luv Jonz" at the Ohm was one of the last places you would expect a fight to break out. Featuring freestyling romantics backed by the smooth Reparations, it was a way more mellow lounge sound than angry rap. But a fight did break out several weeks ago and, in its wake, the Ohm canceled the weekly show.

In response, David Parks, the Reparations' drummer, decided to do something about hiphop's reputation with city and state officials. Like many DJs and hosts of hiphop shows, he believes that the music's perceived reputation for violence has allowed OLCC agents to deny liquor licenses for shows and club owners to shy away from hosting hiphop events.

To remedy this maligned reputation, Parks has organized an unprecedented forum this Sunday at Portland State University (5 pm at Smith Memorial, rm. 236). Business owners, police officers, musicians, the OLCC, and city administration have been invited as well as the general public. The eventual result, hopes Parks, will be a working relationship that will allow for more public access to hiphop and other types of mainstream black music.

The lack of hiphop in Portland has been a conspicuous and embarrassing issue. Even as the music's popularity continues to explode and fans diversify, venues like the B Complex and now-defunct Rockafella's have faced denial of OLCC permits based in part on the suspicion that the music would spark misconduct. Recently, Jezebel's, one of Portland's only clubs regularly featuring hiphop, abruptly changed its format; some cite problems with the OLCC as the cause.

"It's almost unlawful for a group of blacks to get together," says Parks. "If Portland's going to become a 'millennial city,' we have to start finding ways for people to brush up against each other. The nightclubs are the one place where all those factions are going to mingle."

Parks notes that the agencies he has invited have been receptive.

Comments (0)

Subscribe to this thread:

Comments are closed.

From the Archives

More by Marjorie Skinner

Most Commented On

Top Viewed Stories

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC

115 SW Ash St. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97204

Contact Info | Privacy Policy | Production Guidelines | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy