#NowPlaying at the Progressive Pupil office

 solange a seat at the table

Enjoy this custom playlist by our outreach director Shannon Shird. Lemonade a Seat at the Table

Icons: The Wu Tang Clan

Wu Tang Clan founding member Rza, rendered as the Buda by artist Yuko Shimizu.  Image courtesy of Yukoart.com

Wu Tang Clan founding member Rza, rendered as the Buda by artist Yuko Shimizu. Image courtesy of Yukoart.com

Wu-Tang Clan gained wide-spread notoriety for their unique sound and lyrical skills when their self-produced single “Protect ya Neck” was released in 1992. Shortly after, the group signed with Loud/RCA Records and released the album “Enter the Wu (36 Chambers)” in 1993. The album’s signature style was designed as a complete artistic package inspired by themes from Kung-Fu movies of the ‘70s and 80’s, like the 36th Chamber of Shaolin, and Shaolin and Wu Tang, among others. The album had a mix of samples from these films and their lyricism was humorous, vivid and spoke of some of the hardships faced in Staten Island, NY, which the group nicknamed Shaolin.

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San Quentin, May You Rot in Hell

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Johnny Cash gives the finger while performing a concert at San Quentin State Prison. Photo by Jim Marshall.

In February 1969, prisoners in San Quentin State Prison cheered while treated to a live concert by the man in black. Johnny Cash, with his characteristic bravado, brazenly declared, “San Quentin, may you rot in Hell.” One of the prisoners recalled of the performance: “He had the right attitude. He chewed gum, looked arrogant and flipped the bird to the guards—he did everything the prisoners wanted to do. He was a mean mother from the South who was there because he loved us. When he walked away, everyone in that place had become a Johnny Cash fan.” The performance was memorialized by a U.K. film crew and became a feature-length documentary. Cash was not new to concerts behind bars; he had been playing in prisons for years, most famously at Folsom Prison. However, this time, Cash performed songs specifically written for prisoners, including the title track “San Quentin” and “Wanted Man,” co-written by Bob Dylan. When Cash took the stage, his audience consisted of men designated as dangerous criminals. Most were poor and White, with many serving life sentences or awaiting execution. San Quentin has not surrendered its infamous reputation, and it remains the “most populous antechamber in the U.S.”

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The Natural

Abbey Lincoln, photo taken by Pieter Boersma during a 1966 concert

Straight Ahead

The road keeps winding…

Bumpy road

Confuse a body

Lead a trusting soul astray

For some, this road is easy

Traveling high without a care

But if you got to use the back roads

Straight ahead can lead nowhere.

-Abbey Lincoln: actress, jazz singer, civil rights activist in her song, Straight Ahead.

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