Rappers Fight Police Brutality Via Benefit Concert

Ozomatli, Freestyle Fellowship join jazz, soul, rock, spoken-word artists for annual all-day event.

LOS ANGELES -- The salsa/funk/rap group Ozomatli and members of the

hip-hop posse Freestyle Fellowship will be among the artists performing here this

weekend at a music concert and visual-arts event organized in protest of police brutality.

The second annual edition of ArtSpeaks! -- an all-day, multi-stage event -- will be held at

the Vision Theater in Leimert Park on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 19). It will showcase

more than 30 underground and rising Los Angeles-based performers, including jazz,

funk, reggae, hip-hop, Latin and spoken-word artists.

Spoken-word artist D'Lo, one of the performers and an organizer of the event, said that

the purpose of the show is to raise awareness and inspire action to prevent police

violence.

"A lot of the artists who are performing have been involved in the culture of resistance but

haven't had a lot of exposure," said D'Lo, whose politically oriented poetry focuses on

empowering women. "This is an opportunity to get their artwork out there and promote

them, but more important, to raise awareness about police brutality and move toward

eliminating the percentage of stolen lives. ... I believe art is the best medium to get a

political statement across and to actually move [the] masses."

Proceeds will go to the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and

the Criminalization of a Generation, as well as to the concert's presenter, Artists Network

of Refuse & Resist, according to Mari Matsuaka, a representative for the Artists Network.

Other performers will include jazz pianist Horace Tapscott, soul-jazz artist Dwight Trible,

reggae act Big Mountain, funk-punksters StrangeFruit, the Latin blues-rock outfit Blues

Experiment and the hip-hop act Medusa & Feline Science. The show will end with a jam

session, with all of the participating artists uniting onstage.

ArtSpeaks! '98 will also feature a variety of visual art. As part of the event, 16 crews of

graffiti artists will each paint a mural live; a video featuring parents of people who were

allegedly killed and brutalized by the police will also be shown.

There will also be a video of Fugees rapper Wyclef Jean speaking out against police

brutality, Matsuaka said.

Officer Dwayne White of the Los Angeles Police Department's media relations office said

he was unaware of Saturday's concert and would not comment until he has researched

the event.

Additional artists scheduled to perform include Leon Mobley and Da Lion, Lysa Flores,

Quetzal, Treadwell, CVE Legion, AK Toney, Jerry Quickley, Sista Yo!, Merilene Murphy,

LaNola, Yvonne de la Vega, Angelo-Dr. Madd Vibe, Raquel Salinas, Ken Scott, Maria

Elena Galtan, Michael Datcher and 17th Parallel.