Krip-Hop Nation uses hip-hop to expose disability issues

Leroy Moore, a founder of Krip-Hop Nation, performs a piece of his art at Kane Hall during Saturday night’s Krip-Hop event. Photo by Janel Erickson

A disabled hip-hop artist, Daniel “King Khazm” Kogita, scanned the audience at the Under 1 Nation event at Kane Hall this past Friday before closing his eyes to rap about the pain and struggles he’s experienced.

In the song, “Dear Diary,” Khazm delves into the adversity he has faced being biracial and disabled, and how it has affected his outlook on life.

“Dear Diary, help relieve this pain inside of me,” Khazm rapped. “I’ve been taken hostage from madness silently. Jaded, I readjust my vision and see the beauty from within the soul that I’m living.”

The Under 1 Nation event featured various hip-hop artists, including Leroy Moore, a disabled, African-American writer and activist. This event was one of two events the ASUW Student Disability Commission (SDC) held to expose and address the discrimination and injustice that the disabled face.

It was preceded by an informational workshop, Broken Bodies, PBP: Police Brutality Profiling, which was held at the Odegaard Undergraduate Library on Feb. 9.

The Under 1 Nation event is one of the first that has been held at the UW showcasing hip-hop talents discussing the neglect and ignorance people with disabilities regularly experience.

“This hip-hop movement is something I formally did not even know existed,” said Veryl Pow, a UW alumnus and attendee of the event. “It’s all about disabled voices speaking up. It’s not really the mainstream, money-making industry, if you really go down to its roots. It’s about oppressed folks and being able to use hip-hop as a medium to express your soul and struggle.”

Khazm founded 206 Zulu, which is a group advocating equality through hip-hop’s four elements, which are emceeing, DJing, b-boying/b-girling, and graffiti. The Seattle chapter was founded in 2004 and has grown to approximately 80 members.

Khazm is not the only one active in bringing to the surface and expanding awareness about instances of police brutality of the disabled through hip-hop. Originally from Oakland, Calif., Moore wanted to reach out to the Seattle community. He hopes the events will be a step toward bringing the issues to a national level. Moore explained how hip-hop can specifically get to the core of the issue that can touch people.

“The Krip-Hop movement really makes the pain the people feel visible,” Moore said. “It goes a lot deeper than what people can see.”

Many participants of the Under 1 Nation event also agree that the hip-hop movement makes the experiences of the disabled more concrete for the community.

“Hip-hop songs are able to reword the movement so that it’s more accessible and less academic-sounding,” Pow said. “It puts the issue into a more democratic format where people share their own experiences of police brutality.”

Though Pow is grateful for the events hosted, he feels more advocacy for disability rights is needed.

“It will take outreaching to communities, especially communities of color where police brutality is prevalent,” Pow said. “We need to also be hosting events to a non-academic audience in the central district of the south end.”

Although many agree that much work needs to be done, the events have already made a deep impact.

“These events were great because they help put the issue in a larger context,” said Noah Seidel, a UW alumnus who was a disabilities studies major. “Attending the events reminds me that it’s not just me that cares.”

Reach contributing writer Allie Choy at development@dailyuw.com.

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