Asynchronous Blog Post on Raza Interrupted (Pages 123-132)

Ed Morales argues that Nuyoricans were/are equipped to engage in a project of multiculturalism while preserving their local, human, and urban culture and traditions. These traditions come mostly from the Taino, African and Spanish heritage as well as the many hybridizations of US society. Morales defends that more than assimilating to Hispanic (in its original European sense) or US American culture, Nuyoricans responded and at times contested and added complexity to these identity formations. (Pages 131-132)

The questions that follow address some instances in which Nuyoricans have become central influencers in the development of NYC’s arts and communities at the end of the twentieth century.

ASYNCHRONOUS BLOG POST 

Instructions

In the comment section down below, write a (200-word minimum) response based on ONE of the following prompts (Deadline 11/18 before the class):

OPTION ONE

Discuss the involvement of Nuyoricans in the creation of Hip Hop.

OPTION TWO

Morales argues that Benjy Meléndez’s story illustrates the multicultural intersections at the core of Hip Hop. Why? Expand.

OPTION THREE

Describe the input of Puerto Rican artists to avant-garde visual arts scenes in New York.

OPTION FOUR

Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses. Do you agree with their points and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about “Raza Interrupted” do you want to bring into the discussion?

26 thoughts on “Asynchronous Blog Post on Raza Interrupted (Pages 123-132)”

  1. Option 1: Discuss the involvement of Nuyoricans in the creation of Hip Hop.
    The Nuyorican’s had a huge hand in the creation of Hip Hop. It was almost similar to the Chicanos in the early years of Los Angelos punk rock. They both played significant roles in the development of experimental and alternative visual art. They used the innovation of Nuyorican’s poetry. They also have crossover with the theatrical work. This in turn help institutionalize the Nuyorican’s poetry into a spontaneous and natural expression in its culture. Hip hop was a Muti cultural movement but due to it consolidating and becoming an archetype that only rappers can represent it became Afrocentric. Not only that the Nuyorican was also dominant in breakdancing and graffiti writing. Another major reason was why the Nuyorican was heavily y impacted by the creation of hip hop. There were two movies and one such movie was called the flyin’ cut sleeves which tells a tale of Benjy Melendez who was a part of a gang. The tale followed him and his gang when his trusted lieutenant was killed and instead of him lashing out. he called for a peace treaty and transformed turf protectors into political organizers to help set the stage for hip hop. While Hip hop was inspired by him, he had no connection or an understanding of the genre.

  2. OPTION ONE
    Nuyoricans were involved in the creation of Hip Hop. They played a significant role in the creation of Hip Hop with the help of a similar yet different form of expression. They transformed a traditional form of poetry. Nuyroicans elevated poetry and created something modern and electrifying. This distinct form of poetry was intended to be spoken with true power. Their poetry was said to have consisted of a performative character. Performative characters express’ a message to a target audience to incite a response or reaction. This poetry was spoken with power and emotion. The character structure of Nuyorican poetry helped to legitimize a new form of poetry called street poetry. Street poetry was known for spontaneity and genuine expression of the Latinx culture in New York. This poetry sparked hip hop and it began to emerge in the Bronx.

    Nuyoricans were also involved in Hip Hop due to Hip Hop’s natural four elements as well as other popular media. Hip Hop elements were rapping, MCing, breakdancing, and graffiti writing. Nuyoricans were heavily involved in two of those elements. They were dominating breakdancing and graffiti writing which also were described as b-boying and spray painting. Nuyoricans were also highly represented during current movies at the time. Movies were developed with Nuyoricans as the main character. These movies connected Hip Hop and Nuyroicans.

    1. I agree. I would like to add on, Nuyoricans got their inspiration from hip-hop through negritude. I believe negritude played a significant role in their role of Hip-Hop because they are a part of the African culture. The name itself, “Nuyoricans” gives you a clear indication of the culture Puerto Rican was a part of, and that was New York City. New York City is a very urban, concert setting that you can’t get anywhere else. Since Puerto Ricans migrated from their homeland to a very distinct environment, Nuyoricans adapted to the culture. But also not forgetting their heritage, the reading explains the involvement Nuyoricans had with Hip-hop. It was through poetry, to summarize, Nuyoricans began Hip-hop by writing poetry but turn it into a rising phenomenon. Hip-hop, at the time, incorporated more emotions by spreading a message to the audience. Also, it got physical by adding breakdancing, MCing, and graffiti writing. Hip-hop over time became more visual in the arts because of the influence of New York and African culture.

  3. Nuyoricans played a significant role in the creation of hip hop, and it all started with the flourishing of Nuyorican poetry. The rising popularity of Nuyorican poetry in the Bronx helped establish street poetry, becoming a method of expression for Latinx New Yorkers. Also, the blend of poetry and theatrical performances inspired what would become known as hip-hop. According to Ed Morales, “…the work of Young Lord Felipe Luciano in the performance group The Last Two Poets, Tato Laviera, and Pedro Pietri clearly prefigured rap” (124). Poetry became a way to express one’s culture, thus facilitating the emergence of rap. Morales explains that hip hop was constructed around four main components: rapping, MCing, breakdancing, and graffiti writing. Nuyoricans dominated breakdancing and graffiti writing. Due to this, many movies about these street styles would show Nuyoricans as the protagonists, putting them in the center of the creation of hip hop. Morales also brings up that hip-hop roots were affected by a Nuyorican family whose family practiced Judaism. Melendez, a practicing Jew, would immerse himself in American culture, deciding what he thought suited him and represented him. Although he had no understanding of the genre, he soon became fundamental in the street and party culture that inspired hip-hop.

  4. Option 1:

    Nuyoricans are New York Puerto Ricans. Nuyorican poetry was a guide for hip-hop. Some key elements in hip-hop are rapping, MCing, breakdancing, and graffiti writing. Nuyoricans were dominant in breakdancing and graffiti writing. Widespread poverty was a critical aspect that contributed to the creation of hip-hop. The two films Flyin’ Cut Sleeves and From Mambo to Hip Hop allowed Nuyoricans to have a bigger impact on the creation of hip-hop. The first film was based on a story by Nuyorican Benjy Melendez and he started a peace summit with multiple gang leaders. Melendez worked with a group of community activists that focused on Puerto Rican independence and it was called United Bronx Parents. Although Melendez did have a big role in hip-hop, he didn’t strongly connect to it. Afrika Bambaataa is a progenitor of Zulu Nation and was presenting at the peace summit. He started parties at his house to help remove the aggressive and violent acts of gang members. Instead of violence, gang members would rap, dj, breakdance, and graffiti. Bambaataa also worked with other artists, such as Fab Five Freddy and DJ Kool Herc. Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock” is one of hip-hop’s first classics. Musician Carlos Mandes changed his name to DJ Charlie Chase in order to blend in with hip-hop groups. The idea of name changing allowed Puerto Rican hip-hop artists to avoid disrupting the market that aided hip-hop.

    1. I agree that Nuyorican poetry was a guide for hip-hop, especially the more active movements you listed and the more expressive culture such as graffiti on walls and trains as a form of art. In addition to that, the growth of poetry and the interaction of poetry into Hip Hop. with the rise of Nuyoricans in the Bronx having such an impact on the development of Hip Hop, created a form of expression for not just minorities as a whole. Still, it allowed for a select group of people to mix two different cultural backgrounds.

  5. Option 3
    In addition to directly influencing the hip-hop music scene, Puerto Rican artists have contributed to the avant-garde visual arts scenes in New York. For instance, Nuyorican (New York Puerto Rican) Rafael Montanez Ortiz participated in the first Destruction in Art Symposium in the mid- 1960s centered around the element of destruction perceived in the Vietnam War. Ortiz’s work in the avant-garde scene established a voice for Puerto Ricans in upscale art but it also allowed for attention to follow him into his more local scene with him becoming the director of the Museo del Barrio, which aimed to preserve the Taino identity of Puerto Ricans by showcasing Taino objects. The subsequent director Marta Moreno Vega promoted African and indigenous tradition as well as US-born Latinx artists, expanding on the complex Puerto Rican identity. Other important Nuyorican art figures and spaces include curator Geno Rodriguez’s Institute of Contemporary Hispanic Arts, and the Alternative Museum, or Papa Colo’s gallery Exit Art in SoHo, a space primarily for alternative politics. Not to mention a prominently featured artist in these spaces, photographer Adal Maldonaldo, who did graphic projects related to the Spirit Republic of Puerto Rico. These places might have appeared as lavish displays of a rich culture, but they also were central to art’s gradual ascension to mainstream culture and served as a means of survival for voices so often left out of traditional exhibits.

  6. OPTION ONE
    Discuss the involvement of Nuyoricans in the creation of Hip Hop.
    The Nuyoricans in the twentieth century, now known as New York Peurto Ricans (or Peurto Rican Newyorkers), played a hand in the creation of the hip hop genre. Their “involvement…in the creation of hip-hop…paralleled the key participation of Chicanos in the early years of Los Angeles punk rock”. This genre comparison shows how influential they and hip hop is in the Latinx community and bringing this form of art into a new light. The hip hop genre blossomed from the Nuyoricans innovation of poetry. These poetry performances helped poetry be seen in a new form/light. These performances helped shape poetry to be “spontaneous” and be seen as a “natural expression”. The genre of hip hop was created from four elements such as rapping, MCing, breakdancing and graffiti writing where the Nuyoricans excelled at breakdancing and graffiti writing. There are two films called Flyin’ Cut Sleeves (a secret jewish Nuyorican and gang member who calls for peace with a rival gang after his trusted lieutenant dies) and From Mambo to Hip Hop that showcased how Nuyoricans were at the center of hip hop genre emerging in the Latinx community and how essential they are to the hip-hop development.

    1. I agree with what you said about Nuyorican being the biggest impact on the creation of hip hop and would like to add on to say negritude had also played a major role with them making songs to explain there culture and there past. Also if it wasn’t for the rising popularity of Nuyorican poetry in the Bronx they wouldn’t of made hip hop because it was used as a method of expression of one’s culture. Morales states key components that hip hop was constructed around was MCing, graffiti, breakdancing and rapping and the Nuyorican’s were the masers of graffiti and breakdancing so they gained publicity and had movies made about those types of neighborhoods that described them being a key component to the making of hip hop as a whole along side the widespread poverty that made them make poetry about there lives.

  7. Option 1:
    Nuyoricans are commonly known as Puerto Ricans that live in the United States, especially in New York City. This group of people had heavily impacted the starting of hip-hop, however, hip-hop is a multicultural movement in which not only the Nuyoricans, but blacks, whites, and Asian-Americans all participated in. Hip-hop is mainly constructed of four elements: rapping, MCing, breakdancing, and graffiti writing. Nuyoricans alone dominated two of them: breakdancing and graffiti writing. They represent these two words in the hip-hop world. Henry Chalfant, a well-known American photographer and filmmaker, directed the films Flyin’ Cut Sleeves and From Mambo to Hip Hop. Both of these films involve Nuyorians which then placed them in the center of attention in the newly emerged hip-hop world. The film Flyin’ Cut Sleeves involves an influential Nuyorian named Benjy Melendez who was part of the Ghetto Brothers. At the beginning of the film, Melendez’s lieutenant was killed during an argument with another gang. Instead of seeking revenge, Melendez called for peace and all of the gang members went through the politicization process and became closely involved with hip-hop, something that allows them to represent their culture and who they are instead of being known as part of the “gang”.

  8. OPTION ONE

    Discuss the involvement of Nuyoricans in the creation of Hip Hop.

    The multi-cultural melting pot of New York City was the perfect place for Puerto Ricans to flourish and contribute to the liberation of Black people, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and more. The complex background of Puerto Rican’s in New York City have also made a big impact on the onset of postmodernism, particularly the socioeconomic aspect of postmodernism, by using stripped down tools and using the dissatisfaction from the government’s actions as meaningful symbols to stand up for their rights. With Puerto Ricans being perfectly complex enough and devoted enough to stand up for communities that needed help in not only America, but especially New York City; so called “Nuyoricans” meaning the Puerto Ricans that have been born in New York as well as stand up for New York’s rights– played a significant role in the development of visual arts, poetry, and especially Hip Pop in the Bronx at that time. Hip Pop was constructed from four different things, rapping, MCing, breakdancing, and graffiti art. Nuyoricans have been a main involvement of this multi-cultural movement of self expression that helped to fight for good causes. There are not only many Nuyorican influences, but the Caribbean in general that have had an ever lasting effect on Hip Pop culture in the Bronx. An example of Caribbean influence in Hip Pop is the turntable element of of DJing, which was dominated by talents such as Grandmaster Flash and DJ Kool Herc.
    Nuyoricans were also strongly represented in the act of Breakdancing- as well as graffiti art.
    With the act of white flight to the suburbs during a period of poverty, and landlord abandonment in the South Bronx during the 90’s, Hip Pop was used even more as a movement by Black American and Caribbean talents (especially Nuyoricans) to make a positive change for POC who were abandoned, and struggling to get attention due to the mistreatment of the Government.

  9. Option 1:
    Nuyoricans who are known as New York Puerto Ricans had a major influence in the creation of Hip-hop. Hip-hop first started to emerge after the innovation of Nuyorican poetry which was becoming more performative and characterized. Furthermore, Hip-hop is composed of four main elements: rapping, breakdancing, MCing, and graffiti writing. Nuyoricans were seen as being dominant in the aspect of breakdancing and graffiti writing meaning they excelled in key components of Hip-hop. Benjy Melendez a Jewish Puerto Rican also helped to set the stage for the dawn of Hip-hop after his lieutenant of his street gang was killed but instead of an altercation he called on for a peace summit between multiple gangs and was able to transform the Ghetto Brothers into political organizers. Despite all this Melendez did not feel a strong connection to the genre. Afrika Bambaata who was a founder of Zulu nation held weekly parties at his house to shift the violent member’s behavior towards rapping, DJing, breakdancing and graffiti writing.

  10. Option 1

    Discuss the involvement of Nuyoricans in the creation of Hip Hop.

    Nuyoricans are the Puerto Ricans who live in New York. Nuyoricans have a major influence and contributor to Hip Hop, it helped to push the creation of Hip Hop. Nuyoricans and Hip Hop are similar in some ways because they’re good at something in common. Hip Hop has four key elements, and they are rapping, MCing, breakdancing and graffiti writing. And Nuyoricans are good at breakdancing and graffiti writing. The Nuyoricans innovated traditional poetry and incorporated the character of drama. The Nuyoricans’ innovative poetry is called street poetry. Street poetry is a new form of poetry. The expression of street poetry is more characteristic and natural than that of traditional poetry. Nuyoricans make poetry more possible, it makes poetry a better form of expression and it has promoted the development of Hip Hop. There are many films that also helped promote hip-hop, such as “Flyin’ Cut Sleeves” and “From Mambo to Hip Hop”. “Flyin’ Cut Sleeves” is the story about Benjy Melendez and he is Nuyorican. “From Mambo to Hip Hop” is about the development of Hip Hop. These films associate Nuyoricans with hip hop. These movies helped more people learn about Nuyoricans and Hip Hop.

  11. Option One
    The creation of Hip Hop was heavily affected by the involvement of the Nuyoricans. The first influence towards Hip Hop was expressed through poetry which was used to help express their culture and issues they were facing in society. Poetry was compared to salsa because it was “building a national consciousness for a nation that was no longer defined by a national territory.” (Morales 112) The Nuyorican’s involvement with hip hop in the Bronx played a significant role in the development of experimental and alternative visual art scenes. By taking on the roles of performing characters, poetry began to increase in the Bronx. The work of Young Lord Felipe in the performance group The Last Poets, Tato Laviera, and Pedro Pietri prefigured rap. Additionally, Nuyorican’s poetry performances helped to create street poetry to express Latin American cultural traditions. Hip Hop was constructed around four elements which included rapping, MCing, breakdancing, and graffiti writing. Nuyoricans were strongly represented in breakdancing (b-boying) and graffiti writing (spray painting). Two films created by Henry Chalfant called Flyin’ Cut Sleeves and From Mambo to Hip Hop place Nuyoriucans at the center of hip hop. Melendez illustrates the multicultural intersections at the center of hip hop.

  12. Option 1

    Discuss the involvement of Nuyoricans in the creation of Hip Hop.

    Nuyoricans is usually called Puerto Rican. Nuyorican’s poetic innovation has had a huge impact on hip-hop. The genre of hip-hop has four elements: rap, breakdancing, graffiti writing and Mcing. Nuyoricans is best at breakdancing and graffiti writing. “The two films “Flyin’ Cut Sleeves ” and “From Mambo to hip hop” are both about Nuyorian. The first film “Flyin cut sleeves” tells the story of a Nuyoricans , Benjy Melendez. He is a member of the gang Ghetto Brothers. When his trusted lieutenant passed away, he Calling for the conclusion of a peace treaty, gang members have gone through a process of politicization and transformed turf protectors into political organizers to help set the stage for hip hop. And “From Manbo to hip hop shows How Nuyoricans became the center of emerging hip-hop genres in the Latino community and their importance to hip-hop development.

  13. Option 1:
    Hip hop is heavily represented by Afrocentric character, just like Ed Morales described. However, Nuyoricans dominated a specific area of hip hop, break dancing and graffiti, while Caribbean talent was more prevalent in DJing. These leaders of each area of hip-hop were able to go from street gangs to politizing their groups, with the involvement of the Black Panthers and the Puerto Rican Socialist movement. This genre was more of an identity to its members and with the politicization of their group they were able to go from “hooligans” to a group that represented their people. The Nuyocrucans were able to turn their poetry into a way of life for many people, along with every group of people who made hip hop what it is today. It’s more than just music, it’s the way these people live their lives, it can be through rapping, graffiti, break dancing, and more.

  14. Option 1
    New York Puerto Ricans also known as Nuyoricans, played a significant role in the creation of hip hop. it started with the poetry of Nuyoricans which then emerged into street poetry. not only did poetry play a part of this but also theater. Both of these came together creating what is now known as hiphop. This then became a way to express ones culture. the text states that there are for main concepts to hip hop: mcing, breakdancing, rapping, and graffiti writing. the Nuyoricans were best at break dancing and breakdancing and graffiti writing. films were then shot surrounding the creation of hip hop and showed the Nuyoricans in the center of the creation of hip hop.

  15. Nuyoricans played a large role in the creation and popularization of hip hop. This was mainly through the Nuyorican poetry style which included many themes of blackness. By creating a new, unique, and exciting form of art, Nuyorican street poetry was able to become a popular way to express latinx culture. Especially in the Bronx, street poetry became very popular. In addition, Nuyorican culture had a large overlap with hip hop’s main four elements, Since they were heavily involved in break dancing (or b- boying) and spray painting. In addition, Nuyoricans were greatly featured in many movies at the time, which connected them to hip hop culture even more. An example of this connection is the movie, “Flyin’ Cut Sleeves,” which told the story of Benjy Martinez, who was in a gang, and called a peace treaty which set the preparations for hip-hop music to become popular.

  16. OPTION ONE-Discuss the involvement of Nuyoricans in the creation of Hip Hop.

    Nuyoricans is a term used to describe Puerto Ricans in New York, they heavily and directly influenced the creation and influence hip-hop had. Throughout latin/caribbean history things like poems, raps, and music were all tools that these latin people used to express their feelings through this art form. they would use this art to create a platform to stand up for rights their countries stripped them away from. With this being part of their history they were able to bring an influence to hip-hop in new york. In this they found the natural talent of break-dancing and having popular influential poems, these poems would be turned into rap songs . They spoke/ expressed their struggles as people of color living in the bronx,at this time there was huge poverty and these people were being left and abandoned. the. mistreatment they faced during this time gave them all the reason to make the best of their time by enjoying themselves with breakdancing, freestyle raps, and even sharing of the poems.

    1. I agree i believe that the Nuyoricans played a significant role in the creation of hip hop, and it all started with the flourishing of Nuyorican poetry. The rising popularity of Nuyorican poetry in the Bronx helped establish street poetry, becoming a method of expression for Latinx New Yorkers. Also, the blend of poetry and theatrical performances inspired what would become known as hip-hop. By doing this they were able to express the issues that they were facing as a communty in a way that people were able to enjoy and spread to others

  17. Option 1 :
    Nuyoricans played a major part in the involvement in the creation of hip-hop. According to the text, “The involvement of Nuyoricans in the creation of hip-hop in the Bronx paralleled the key participation of Chicanos in the early years of Los Angeles punk rock…”. Nuyoricans influence of hip-hop developed in the Bronx. Their form of poetry was significant to hip-hop. Their poetry was very emotional and had a story behind it. Nuyoricans poetry was rhe cataylyst for many different forms of poetry to come. Hip-hop had four components to it and two of those components the Nuyoricans were doing. Thos two were graffiti and breakdancing. This was a way to express themselves and be who they are.

  18. Option 3:
    Puerto Rican artists contributed to avant-garde visual arts scenes in many ways. In the mid-1960s, Nuyorican Rafael Montanez Ortiz participated in the first Destruction in Art Symposium. It was focused on the element of destruction that was evident in the Vietnam War. He became the director of community-based Museo del Barrio. It was essential to preserving the Taino identity of Puerto Ricans through the exhibition of Taino objects. Marta Moreno Vega and the museum promoted a vision of New York Latinx culture that foregrounded African and indigenous tradition along with US-born Latinx artists. In addition, Papo Colo’s gallery in SoHo acted as a space for alternative political art and expression. Many influencers from different origins centralized their contributions in New York to promote others to embrace their background because assimilation has caused many of the Latinx community to lose that part of themselves. Through the showcase and visual representations in museums, many Nuyoricans can continue to keep their cultural traditions and diversity intact.

  19. Option 3

    Benjy Meléndez’s story illustrates the multicultural intersections at the core of Hip Hop, because despite being Puerto Rican who was living in New York, Nuyorican, Yellow Benjy was also Jewish, who was secretly practicing his religion with his family for a great amount of time. As his family originated from Marranos of Spain, they were prohibited to openly practice Judaism. However, around the 1980s Melendez became active in the synagogue. In addition, he, as a gang leader, called for a peace summit between different crime organizations, even though those gangs had long lasting conflicts, and had different ethnicities and races represented in them, they all came together to support and improve their communities. This resulted in setting the stage for the newborn Hip Hop which would later be spread around the Bronx and the whole New York City, despite the fact Malendez never really fully understood the genre. So, Melendez was at once a practicing Jew racialized as a Puerto Rican person of color in New York and grew up immersed in American pop culture, picking and choosing what he could reformulate into some- thing that represented him and other Nuyoricans.

  20. Option one:

    Nuyoricans are New York Puerto Ricans who have had a major influence on the creation of hip-hop in America. Many immigrants faced racism and discrimination when they entered America so they used hip-hop as a way to express their creativity and expose the issues in society. Aside from hip-hip, Nuyoricans used poetry which later evolved into street poetry to help them express their culture. Hip-hop was constructed around four elements: rapping, MCing, break dancing, and graffiti writing. All types of people including blacks, whites, Latinos, and Asian Americans participated in the movement, but Nuyoricans were strongly represented in break dancing and graffiti writing. The two films called “Flyin’ Cut Sleeves” and “From Mambo to Hip Hop” place Nuyoricans close to the center of the emergence of hip-hop.

  21. Benjy Meléndez’s story shows the multicultural intersections of hip hop because of all the different cultures that were involved in the emergence of hip hop in new york. Benjy Meléndez was a Jewish Puerto Rican from the Bronx. He who was in the gang “Ghetto Brothers” after a turf war hey became peaceful and started to politicize themselves and Benjy Meléndez became associated with the Black Panther Party and the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. Benjy Meléndez illustrates the multicultural intersection of hip-hop because hehe was a part of different identities that all contributed to the emergence of hip-hop with the roots of hip-hop being partially affected by a Nurotican who practiced Judaism. Benjy Meléndez was also inspired by American pop culture and strived for inclusivity. When he saw that the Hells Angels did not accept black members he started to dislike them. Benjy Meléndez also participated in mutual aid for his community helping all cultures in the Bronx. He was a central force in the atmosphere that inspired hip-hop.

  22. Option 1:
    Nuyoricans were involved in the creation of hip pop in New York City and played a role in the other forms of expression such as dance. Nuyorican poetry in the Bronx is what the hip hop now derived from. Street poetry become popular in New York and that inspired a blend in which helped create hiphop as we now know it. There were films created called “Along with it came breakdancing, rapping and graffiti writing all major parts of New York culture today. Films such as “Flyin cut sleeves” and “Mambo” were apart of what helped bring attention to it aswell.

Leave a Reply