Editor: Tef Poe is an artist from St. Louis City. Through powerful imagery and complicated honesty, he has earned a reputation as one of the best rappers telling the story of St. Louis, which is about much more than one place. Poe has been featured in music publications such as XXL and Urb Magazine. His newest project War Machine 2 was released on June 5th and will be followed up by a full-length with DJ Burn One entitled Cheer For The Villain. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get War Machine 2 here.
I fell in love with hip-hop because when I was younger the music had tones of social change and progression that I couldn't find in other art forms. Certain issues are unique to our community and hip-hop was the tool used to describe these issues to the world. If you listen to rap music nowadays, you would assume we as a culture do not view women with much high regard. I have made it my duty to try and show the public a side of hip-hop that does value our women.
I am friends with local blogger and human rights activist Kristian "Blackstar" Blackmon. A few months ago Kris contacted me about a new women's rights organization she decided to start. She spoke over the phone to me in a very passionate and convincing tone. She was upset about the way the media portrayed or ignored certain crimes against women. Kris decided to name this organization "Invisible No More." Kris is certainly a true school hip-hop head. So even though her organization was created in the name of activism, she waves the flag proudly in the name of hip-hop and social change merging together to paint the complete picture. She is the bastardized stepchild of women such as Queen Latifah and MC Lyte.
When I was younger, songs like Tupac's "Keep Your Head Up" and "Brenda's Got A Baby" served as the theme music for moments like this. These songs went the extra mile to show us a side of the story we may not have been aware of. The music has inspired people like Kristian to find their place in making this world a better place for us all. I know Kristian personally, so I can say undoubtedly this type music is her gasoline. A few months ago Kris reached out to me and voiced her concerns about the lack of assistance she has received from local media concerning her plight to raise awareness about the disappearance of a young lady named Phoenix Coldon. For the last few months Kristian has been driven to assist this case in any form or fashion possible. She's thrown fundraising events, spoken word poetry shows, and even blogged about the case. Her Facebook stats are often overflowing with info and inspirational quotes aimed at finding Phoenix.
I supported the first initial event Kris put together in the name of the cause, but I sat on the fence unsure about how I could truly help out. I had thoughts about writing a song dedicated to Phoenix, but I wanted to seem genuine in my approach. We always use the music and the opportunities the music has gifted us to do more than meets the eye. I've learned this year more so than any other time in my life: let the music open the door for the dialogue and you follow up with some sort of action in physical realm. So I decided to dedicate this column to Kristian Blackstar and her plight to help the family of Phoenix Coldon.