Carolyn Baxter Resume
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Thugs Against Violence
July.01.2008 - by: Matthew Sheehan
New York is the birthplace of what's now politely referred to as "urban culture," or hip hop. Rap music became popular in the early 1980s thanks to the efforts of its Bronx-born pioneers and the breakthrough albums of Queens-based Run-DMC.
But the rap and the "urban culture" that I knew twenty years ago is long gone. What passes for hip hop today is a sad shell of what once was a vibrant and intelligent musical form. Today's rap has degenerated into a clownish and violent imitation of rap's original promise.
Not that the majority white culture has many of us swelling up with pride, but for blacks and Hispanics, who suffer disproportionately from poverty and crime and a culture that helps fuel both, popular culture should produce something a little better and more purposeful.
Someone needs to be there to cut through the bullshit and speak truth to the powerless. Someone with some wisdom and talent and real experiences with street life and prison ought to be out there producing books and music and presenting an alternative to the hip hop minstrel show that the mainstream media feeds them. That's where Carolyn Baxter aka ''Kulcha Born'' comes in.
Carolyn Baxter grew up in New York and frequently visits the city today from her home upstate near Poughkeepsie. She dropped out of school at 15, and unlike the celebrated rappers of today, she did real time in prison. Her six years behind bars were due to what she calls "adolescent dumb stuff".
One of the things she noticed about prisons is that the arts programs didn't appear to be very relevant to the people in prison. She also noticed that a lot of people who were coming out of prison were often going right back in.
After she got out, she became a nurse specializing in treating HIV patients, Rehab, and is a Psychiatric nurse to this day. She took an interest in writing as a teenager, continued to write while in prison, and has had two books published and Numerous Essay's and Hip-hop articles Published.
‘'The Hunt is On and Black men are the Prey was part of a Washington Post series on Contemporary Black men. ''Snoop Dogg and Imus in Bed on Welfare was on Various internet sites. After Imus was bounced out of Talk radio for Racist remarks.
While in prison, she wrote her first book of poetry, Prison, Solitary and Other Free Government Services. She's written two other books. Assata and the Baby Gangster, Vol. 1 is based on her life and prison experiences, including meeting radical black activist Assata Shakur (a.k.a. Joanne Chesimard). Currently seeking a Publisher.
Her latest book is called Platinum Dreams Lead Reality. "When I hear that young black and Hispanic men are safer in the war in the middle of Afghanistan than on a corner in the South Bronx, it's like a stab in the belly, of a proud culture, forever pregnant with creativity, and intellectual innovation, killing its young," she writes. While championing rap music, Baxter is disgusted with the way rap music is marketed to young people.
"It's a whole image of the black thug gangster-is Racist,and Sexist. It's a brainwashing tool she say's. That's where ''Thugs Against Violence'' steps in.
Her idea for an Organization called ''Thugs Against Violence'' is to appeal to young black and Hispanic kids to turn their life around and avoid prison. Hearing from someone like her, who has been to prison and lived the kind of dangerous street life that most gangster rappers only have wet dreams about, will make more of an impact on kids.
"I tell these guys, when I work with gangs, You rise Together but you fall alone. they're not going to win with this. The System has a Custom made cage just for them. I tell them my experiences and I'll tell them about people that I have known. I don't preach to them. I'll tell them about someone that lives three blocks from them."
She aims her efforts at black and Hispanic kids. "The black kids have it a little different," she says. "The white kids who listen to rap are not shooting each other."
Working as a nurse on movie sets got her small acting roles,and entrance into the Screen Actors Guild (S.A.G) her roster of celebrities that she's met gives Baxter another way to keep young people's attention. She's worked in and had small roles in films Starting with a Whoopee Goldberg movie ‘'Eddie''. Others including The Basketball Diaries, Copland, Sleepers, The Devil's Own and Many others.Shes worked with stars such as Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt,Mark Whalberg, Leonardo Dicaprio,Harrison Ford,Denzel Washington,Silvester Stalone and many others.
Baxter sees rap music as being co-opted by wealthy producers who care only about the bottom line. "You have these guys who are completely materialistic and capitalistic," she says. "They are the worse of the worst." She mocks the wealthy elites of the rap music industry, like Def Jam mogul Russell Simmons. "Russell Simmons-he's not really a
Updated: April 29, 2009
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