As active members of the Hip Hop community it has brought Say Word! lots of joy to see this community get together and rise up against injustices that we’ve been living for far too long. The article entitled “Dire Non au Hip Hop pour avoir un Permis d’alcool” published March 22nd 2012 in La Presse Canadienne really brought light on a deep rooted issue that has existed in this city for years now. Though many of us knew this and had our own suspicions about its root, this article really exposed that this discrimination was being enforced and supported by our own government, more specifically the SPVM and the Regie des alcools des courses et des jeux. This far more than unacceptable so the community has rounded up the troupes to fight back. There was an initial Protest in front of the Palais de Justice on Tuesday April 3rd at Noon, which was a grand success and got us the media required to push this movement forward. There is still much more actions in plan and work to be done so please join the movement. You can get more info Here.
In honor of this movement, Say Word dedicated its two past shows to the cause so that the message could be spread. For both episodes we had the honor to speak with K-Rim [MC and Member of MHM] about the events to come. Click here to check out Part 1 and Part 2.
Here’s a copy of MHM’s mission statement:
The Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec and the SPVM are encouraging cultural discrimination.
The urban scene community (Hip Hop, Rap, and Reggae), organizations from the Quebec Black community and groupings of Quebec citizens are asking Ms. Christine Ellefsen, [president of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec (RACJQ)] M. Robert Dutil, [Minster responsible for the Régie and Minister of public security], M. Gérald Tremblay [Mayor of Montreal], as well M. Marc Parent [Chief of the Montreal Police Service (SPVM)], to put an end to the discriminatory practices used against artists of the Hip Hop and Urban music genres in Quebec.
For many years now, the artists and followers of the urban scene of Quebec have been subject to many forms of discrimination based on prejudices regarding their cultural adherence, ethnic origins and skin color. This has all been encouraged and feed by the different police units and by the RACJQ
Based on certain clichés that systematically associate the entire Urban and Hip Hop community with crime, the different police units of this province have stigmatized and encouraged its criminalization. In fact, this propaganda from the police and the RACJQ, that fright bar owners and criminalize an entire culture, has lead to many consequences for its artisans and partisans:
– The impossibility to find venues that will allow their performance
– Augmentation of security fees at the venues who do accept to receive them on condition of unreasonable extra security methods because of the pressure exerted by the police
– Interdiction of access in bars and clubs of people who adhere to the Hip Hop fashion because of fear of the culture due to biases instated by the police and media
– Exclusion and rejection of the urban and Hip Hop community within the Quebec cultural field.
Under these conditions, how can one practice, promote and live their art and culture?
The artisans who are victim of this cultural discrimination and prejudices therefore cannot emancipate through their art nor promote it. Consequently, they are prone to more financial instability as well as profiling from the police units than any other music culture. All these factors lead to social exclusion of citizens who are trying to express themselves and participate in the social sphere. This marginalization causes a rift between the youth that claim this urban culture and the governing forces of social order.
These facts are well-known within the Urban and Hip Hop community, but have recently resurfaced publicly following a publication of an article in La Presse Canadienne published on March 22nd 2012 entitled “Dire non au hip hop pour avoir un permis d’alcool”. This title depicts exactly what our artisans have been denouncing for a long time now.
This article sheds light on police implication at the heart of decision-making within the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec. According to Ms. Joyce Tremblay’s comments on the affaire it seems that the Régie does not want to take responsibility for the decision that was made. In fact, she explained that she did not see this contract as discrimination since the police are regularly consulted for conditions made concerning liquor license distribution and that we must understand that a liquor license is not a right but rather a privilege: « a ensuite demandé d’adresser les questions à ce sujet au service de police local. Nous sommes les gardiens du permis, et un permis n’est pas un droit, c’est un privilège». May we add to that comment by stating the obvious in that declaration: That this is a ‘privilege’ that not all members of this society have equal access to. On what recognized studies, research and facts is the Régie founding their argument to exclude artisans of Hip Hop and Rap? This is open discrimination against a culture and music genre that the Régie is conveying through owner of venues who find themselves cornered into this injustice so that they may have access to this ‘privilege’.
This is another method of prohibiting access of festive areas to a specific culture and restraining its emancipation on Quebec soil based on clichés, stereotypes and prejudices that are being spread by governing bodies that should on the contrary be concerned with the elimination of this stigma. The Quebec government is now bearer of a discriminatory message that oppresses its citizens and goes against its own charter of rights and freedoms.
We’d also like to remind the mayor of Montreal, M. Tremblay as well as the chief of the Montreal police service, M. Parent of their previously stated commitment to instate strategies to eradicate racial and social profiling afflicting the SPVM as stated in the « Plan stratégique en matière de profilage racial et social (2012 – 2014) ». The police are criminalizing an entire culture and music genre based on prejudices. M. Tremblay and M. Parent must absolutely terminate these discriminatory practices no matter what form they may take and reprimand any members of the SPVM that encourages them.
We reiterate that the discriminatory practices inflicted on artistes of the urban and Hip Hop scene as well as the different injustices that artisans and partisans of those cultures endure are contrary to the values of the charter of rights and freedoms of Quebec and must be ceased immediately.
Signed: Montreal Hip Hop Movement (MHM)