Entries Tagged 'Photography' ↓

D.J. Premier Calls GrindXDesign “A Tunnel” To A Better Hip-Hop Future. (Plus, Register For Monday’s FREE GrindXDesign Preview Event!!)

Norway’s 15 1/4-mile Lærdal Tunnel, the world’s longest.
Photo by ping

D.J. Premier, right, is undebatably one of hip-hop’s treasures, and, with, Jay-Z engineer, Young Guru, one of the expert guests on our lead GrindXDesign event, this coming Wednesday, August 29, at 8 pm. In this 90-second piece of audio, he talks about why GrindXDesign is not just another event for him.

P.S. If this audio peaks your interest, you’re definitely going to want to join us for the FREE GrindXDesign Preview, “8 Success Secrets The Record Industry Definitely Doesn’t Want You To Know,” Monday evening, 8 pm, August 27—two days before our launch event. Details at GXDfree.com.

Fear Of An Un-Toured Planet: Chuck D and Questlove Join GrindXDesign!

“83 tours, 82 nations.”

That’s Chuck D of Public Enemy, right, giving a terse description of his career as a global artist.

In other words, he has steadfastly carried the flag “in the name of hip-hop,” as he often notes, to many places, just to firmly, lovingly plant it. That’s the best reason for having him co-lead the Wednesday, September 19th GrindXDesign.com tutorial on working as an international artist.

(When I asked Chuck to speak and take questions on this issue, he said “Yes,” immediately. Immediately. He doesn’t say yes, immediately, to anything, certainly not to me. So, in part, that’s when I knew I was on to something.)

That he’s been so many places, though, is not my only reason to host him. The other one is that he often took me with him, and he didn’t have to do it. Ghana. Australia. Hawai’i. France. Brazil. The aforementioned Germany, and many more places. (That, above, is a picture I took of Chuck, one morning, in Egypt, in front of the pyramids.) These, and others, were all sites I never thought I’d see, but did, doing so on behalf of the culture, and P.E., courtesy of Mr. Chuck. Thank you, sir.

Getting someone else to help Chuck carry the ball for GrindXDesign wasn’t a struggle, though. (I say his, despite the fact that far too many U.S. hip-hop artists give side-eye to touring overseas. It’s the food, they often say.) That’s because I reached out to the inimitable Questlove, of the Roots, and bandleader at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, right. (Before doing the TV show, his crew’s 200-shows-a-year churn was legendary, which is much of how they got so astounding as a live act.) In fact, when I DM’d him, Quest was, actually, on tour in Europe. Getting him booked required nimble mediation from his manager, Rich Nichols, to get it done, but it was.

Get on the horn and hear what these two giants have to say about this often overlooked aspect of being a modern musical artist. Purchase your ticket to the entire GrindXDesign series of 8 live, one-hour “modules,” presented one-per-week for eight weeks, by phone.

Tickets are $77 until midnight, tonight; $97 after that. (Save 20 bucks, spend it on more hip-hop.) Everything starts this Wednesday, August 15th, with Rap Coalition’s Wendy Day and Booth Sweet LLP’s Dan Booth. Subject: “How To Get A Record Deal.”

Getting High With T.I.

I can see my house from here: T.I. and I survey his domain.
Photo by Akwasi Prempeh

Rapper Clifford “Tip” Harris Jr. and I lock minds, above, in the Westin Peachtree Plaza’s rotating Sundial Restaurant, 72 stories over downtown Atlanta. We’d stopped at the second tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere (and 16th tallest in the world) for an upcoming edition of BET’s Food For Thought. It airs in September, shortly after the release of the artist’s upcoming album, King Uncaged.

How did the convo go? T.I. has a sharp mind. He was frank about the issues he’s faced and the challenges now before him. Plus, the food was good, and skydiving off the Westin’s roof was a blast. I’m kidding.

How I’d Like To Fly the Friendly Skies.


This week, Miramar, FL-based Spirit Airlines announced that, beginning in August, passengers would be charged up to $45 per bag, not to check luggage, but to carry it onto the plane.

Their foul money grab puts a cherry on top of what airline passengers have known, seemingly, for a generation: Unless you’re rollin’ solo, above, flying is the pits.

Not from outside the plane, however. It’s in that world, where flying’s grace and beauty is palpable, that aerial photographer Erik Hildebrandt reigns.

erikHildebrandt, right, has released over half a dozen books of his work through his own company, Cleared Hot Media, Inc. (The title is a military expression meaning one has permission to engage a target.) These include Anytime, Baby: Hail and Farewell to the U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat and his Front Row Center: Inside the Great American Air Show series, now up to four volumes.

Erik Hildebrandt is the guest today on this rebroadcast from my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, April 9, at 2 pm ET. During our talk, we discussed the process of making pictures, how airplanes are built, the notion of warfare and the reasons for it, and more.

As well, in a few weeks, in a never-before-aired, upcoming piece, I’ll talk to him about his work as a self-publisher, that being an increasingly meaningful preoccupation in this era of media independence.

You can learn more about his work by visiting his Vulture’s Row web site, or by tuning in today at 2 pm ET. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

A Public Enemy Sure Shot.

screen1Photo by Christy Aumer/The Daily Iowan—Inset photo by Harry Allen

screen2You’re watching one of the highlights from a great day in Iowa City, and Fear of a Black Planet, Twenty Years Later, right, hosted by the University of Iowa last week.

As yours truly gestures, above left, event organizer Kembrew McLeod, Keith Shocklee, Hank Shocklee, and Chuck D eye a monitor from the table. It displays that black & white, composite photo, by me, of momentary levity from our WBAU days in the early ’80s. In that image are, l-to-r, Chuck, Keith, radio show host Bill Stephney, Andre “Dr. Dré” Brown, Flavor Flav, Tyrone “T-Money” Kelsie, and his unidentified friend. Good times, friends, front and back.

Black is Definitely Back: Chuck D, Hank & Keith Shocklee, and I Invade the Heartland, Armed with Historic Photos and Fear of a Black Planet.


250px-jamestkirkThis is amazing: I’m back in Iowa; the Breadbasket of the Nation; the state that Ashton Kutcher, Ann Landers, Slipknot, T-Boz, gymnast Shawn Johnson, and Elijah Wood all call home, and that, in 223 years, will be the birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, right.

Why am I here? Well, tomorrow, April 1st, marks one year to the day since I last visited the University of Iowa, to screen photographs that I took during my early life with Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Hank Shocklee, and others who formed our pre-Public Enemy crew.

I do this as part of a presentation I’ve been giving at schools around the country, titled Shooting the Enemy: My Life in Pictures with the People Who Became Public Enemy. (For example, last week I spoke at the University of Wisconsin: Madison, and had an excellent time.)

Well, this time, the University of Iowa has upped the doggone ante: For three months, now through June 27th, prints from my archives—ranging in size from 11 in. x 14 in. to 30 in. x 40 in.— will be shown by the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA).

It’s part of UIMA’s exhibition, Two Turntables and a Microphone: Hip-Hop Contexts featuring Harry Allen’s “Part of the Permanent Record: Photos from the Previous Century,” curated by UI professors Kembrew McLeod (Copyright Criminals) and Debroah Whaley, and on display at the Iowa Memorial Union’s Black Box Theater. (Here’s an interview with me about the images, my thoughts on hip-hop, and more.) That morning, I’ll even be talking with a photography class about the work!

800px-herky_and_tigerhawkThis, in and of itself, is incredible to me, and would have been more than reason enough to return to the original home of the indigenous Ioway people, and now the Hawkeyes, right. This is the first showing of my work since the 2007 Eyejammie show that got the ball rolling.

But McLeod didn’t create that über-cool graphic, above, just for me. Here’s the really ill part; the detail that throws this all up to the level of major sickness:

today2At 7:00 p.m. in Iowa City’s historic, 98-year-old, recently restored Englert Civic Theatre,
right, I’ll be lecturing and showing some of those those images, again, but with a twist: I’ll be doing it as part of a live panel, featuring Chuck, Hank, and Keith Shocklee, that then leads into a discussion on the making of P.E.’s 1990 album, Fear of a Black Planet.
Released on April 10 that year, this new month marks the work’s 20th anniversary.

publicNot only have I never done a, no pun intended, public event on Fear, right, not to mention one with its original creators, but I’ve never presented my photos—of them—with them in the audience! I may break down in tears from the emotion of it all, y’all. Then, to top it off, there will be a rare, live performance by the Bomb Squad…which definitely takes me back to the era of my original pictures of Hank, below, Keith, and Chuck.

Though I know some of you won’t be in Iowa today, check this out: the four of us will be appearing on KRUI, the university’s excellent, student-run radio station, at 1:30 pm ET/12:30 pm CT, and the conversation will be streamed live, so definitely hit that.

hankwtmk0000And, don’t forget: If you go to, or are associated with, a university that would welcome seeing Shooting the Enemy, right, please get at me. Or, if you’re a scholar or programmer who values primary voices, and would like to have me present at your school or in concert with your department, this year or next year, please let me know: Drop me a note at HAllen@HarryAllen.info, or tweet me @HarryAllen, and, as Chuck D says, let’s get it on.

The Official Iowa Caucus: The State That Elected Obama Casts Their Vote For Public Enemy, Chuck D, the Bomb Squad, and the Media Assassin in a Black Planet Summit.


Stay tuned! More details tomorrow!

The Forest Will Be With You. Always.


Love fauna? Love the Force? Well, prepare to feel more than a disturbance in it: Animals with Lightsabers photoshops blazing plasma swords into the paws of what are, arguably, already pretty well defended creatures. The result, thus, gives them an even more deadly edge. Ever seen a curious dog yelp after a cat or some other smaller animal scratches his nose? Here’s betting that this Black Lab, above, doesn’t have a clue what’s coming next.

[via core77]

Shooting the Enemy: My Life in Pictures with the People Who Became Public Enemy.


That’s the title of a presentation I’ve been giving at schools around the country. In it, I show some of the photographs I made in the early 1980s, before I started writing. These images—of Chuck D, Flavor-Flav, Bomb Squad leader Hank, above, and Keith Shocklee, as well as others—were created several years before Public Enemy existed, and long before their place in music history was assured. So, they’re a real insight into an important part of music history in its raw, unformed state.

(In the image, above, Shocklee briefly looks up from twiddling knobs at a fraternity party at Hofstra U. in Long Island. It was the kind of event Spectrum City mobile d.j.s, Hank & Chuck’s crew, hosted fairly often during their so-called “salad days.”)

When giving the talk, I speak about getting involved in photography; meeting Chuck D and the rest at Adelphi U.; and growing in hip-hop with them—my education at the feet of, arguably, some of the culture’s most potent masters.

Audiences who’ve seen the images—whether at my original Eyejammie Fine Arts exhibition in 2007, or at these lecture events—recount the innocence and freshness of the images, their humor, and how black & white pictures, which we see less and less these days, project a sharp, visceral quality.

I’ll be speaking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tomorrow, March 23rd, as a guest of the Department of Afro-American Studies, led by chair Dr. Craig Werner (Higher Ground; A Change Is Gonna Come).

Then, next week, I’ll be returning to the University of Iowa for the knockout: A museum show featuring twenty-six of my photographic prints, then Shooting the Enemy with Chuck, Hank, and Keith, directly followed by a panel with them on the making of P.E.’s Fear of a Black Planet, celebrating its 20th anniversary April 10th. (More on this in a week!)

If you go to, or are associated with, a university that would welcome this cultural-history-discussion-with-pictures, please get at me. Or, if you’re a scholar or programmer who values primary voices, and would like to have me present at your school or in concert with your department, this year or next year, please let me know: Drop me a note at HAllen@HarryAllen.info, or tweet me @HarryAllen, and, as Chuck D says, let’s get it on.

No Wonder Rielle Hunter Felt Sick When She Saw Her GQ Pictures.


Is it me, or does former Presidential candidate John Edwards’ paramour, Rielle Hunter, above, give off a certain, I dunno, trashy, ‘coon-eatin’ vibe in her decidedly un-erotic pictures for Gentleman’s Quarterly?

According to Barbara Walters, on today’s The View, Hunter called the doyenne aghast and in tears over her own photos. (This despite footage released by the artist, Mark Seliger, showing Hunter enjoying the shoot and the images.)

Yet, says HuffPo humorist Andy Borowitz, that’s not the worst of it, and far more extreme responses to Hunter’s pics have been widely noted:

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – In a move that many in the magazine world called unprecedented, GQ today recalled the entire print run of its new issue after a photo spread featuring John Edwards mistress Rielle Hunter was found to cause nausea and in some cases projectile vomiting.

rielle3“We at GQ want our readers to know that we are doing everything in our power to avert a public health catastrophe,” said magazine spokesperson Carol Foyler. “And if that means tracking down every last copy of those Rielle Hunter pictures [right] and destroying them, that’s what we’re going to do.”

As emergency rooms across the country overflowed with people who had unwittingly opened the latest GQ and seen the Hunter photos, fresh concerns were raised over the existence of a John Edwards-Rielle Hunter sex tape.

Rand Deckle, press spokesman for the National Institutes of Health, issued this statement on the matter: “Given the health crisis that the Rielle Hunter photos have created, it is imperative that every copy of that sex tape be secured and buried in the center of the Earth.”

I’m tellin’ you that they…wait…no…Bobby!! Put DOWN that DVD!! DO NOT PRESS “PLAY”!!!!!