Keary Kase created a legacy not only for himself but Oregon with his classic record “Oowee.” And with recording artists the biggest influencers in the world, during the current widespread of a social issue known as Black Lives Matter, Kase dedicates his star power to bringing awareness to the importance of unity against police brutality and social injustice. Now not a time to make people dance, Keary Kase is here to wake people up.
“We, as humans, have evolved to higher consciousness,” he says. “In the last 5 years, we have experienced a re-awakening. We are aware of our connection to each other and the detrimental effect that negative vibrations have on our development. The days of praising the lord in one breath and cursing the devil in the next are reaching an end. It has become obvious that both of those forces, however, you choose to address them, exist inside every one of us.
The universally recognized symbol of balance, yin and yang, depicts a white shape with a bit of black at its core and a black shape, with a bit of white at its core. That symbol masterfully describes the human race as we are today. Unfortunately, we have a group of people who want to continue with the current version of slavery that allows them to move with a level of impunity and shields their families from everyday struggles endured by those outside of the group for generations to come. The shackles are off. They are not going back on.”
While there have been plenty of celebrities joining the protesters in the streets around the world. There are a majority of celebrities who have shy away from getting involved due to commitments with endorsements and branding. Keary Kase is definitely not one of those individuals and frowns upon those who are more concerned with their bank account than morality.
“I’m definitely not afraid to align with the BLM movement. We saw artists release songs and videos in the days following George Floyd’s murder. I watched Nick Canon’s “I Can’t Breathe Again,” for the first time with one eye opened. I was afraid the Comedian might soften the intensity of the moment. Instead, he came off on point with it. We need more straight talk from artists, now, more than ever. I’m with it 100% and my music will reflect my support.
My only issue with the movement is that it may be providing a cloak for any individual or organization wanting to undermine the true BLM agenda. We see politicians attempting to pass legislation at the Senate by feigning support of bills like the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act while attempting to pass bills designed to lynch us. Love goes out to Senator Kamala Harris, btw, and the finger to Senator Small Paul.”
More than just a protest, Keary Kase involvement in the current movement is extremely personal, like most Black men in America, he ‘s been on the receiving in of police misconduct his entire life. Traumatic experiences due to Police’s abuse of power and authority which has become the normal understanding for Black America.
“When I meet a black man over the age of 25, I assume he has been wrongfully accused, arrested, prosecuted, beaten, judged, and mistreated. Often to the point of ruin (felony), leaving him with very few options to proceed with. Similarly, we are viewed by many white people in just the same way. The only difference is, they assume we are criminals by nature and that we have been justly convicted of any crime found in the record of our criminal history. They believe that aggressive arrests, beatings, and deaths occurring during infraction driven encounters are justifiable incidents in which a person of color did not comply.
When I was old enough to drive (16), I became exposed to police bias and harassment. Several times each month, I would get pulled over and asked to get out of the car so the officers could illegally search my car for drugs and weapons, which I told them I did not have. There is a suburb to Portland called Lake Oswego, which is known by EVERYONE as ‘Lake No Negro.’ If you are “driving while black” in Lake Oswego, you will be followed by the police. If you stay on one of the two main streets that pass through, they will escort you to the city limit and make a u-turn. If you happen to have an ‘intermittent tail light,’ you might get pulled over and hit with multiple tickets. This is Lake Oswego’s way of discouraging black visitors. The Lake Oswego Police Department should definitely be defunded. The first time I had to physically defend myself against police was age 17. There was a biker bar in Southeast Portland where my friend, his wife and newborn child lived. We would walk by the bar going to and from the store, throughout the day, as teens do. One night, as we were walking by, someone standing in front of the bar said ‘NIGGERS.’ We looked across the street where three older white guys, maybe in their 30’s-40’s, were standing and provoking us. We crossed the street to engage them and the entire bar spilled outside to surround us. A fight broke out and the police were called. When they arrived, the 6 or so police officers immediately started hitting us with their batons. I remember getting beaten by 4 officers, while I was on the ground, before being cuffed and placed in the back of a cruiser. Once the officers ran our names and realized we were mostly minors, they drove us home. None of the people in the bar were beaten, cuffed or questioned. It was Just-us. As an adult teen, I was convicted of a crime that I did not commit. The detectives told me it did not matter if I did not commit the crime. They said unless I told them who did commit the crime and the guilty party would verify that I was not involved, I was guilty.
In my twenties, I was shopping at a notoriously racist branch of a store called Fred Meyer, in Beaverton, OR. I had just purchased a karaoke machine and was waiting by the door for my friend to get out of the bathroom. A security officer told me I couldn’t stand there and I needed to leave. I told him that if I was going to be treated that way I was going to go to customer service and return the item. He said I could do it another time but I needed to leave immediately. I walked to the customer service desk where they refused to return the item I had just bought. The security officer grabbed my arm, I reacted and he fell, breaking his glasses in the process. Another security officer grabbed me from behind and put his arm around my neck. I started to blackout and was taken down. The police were called and I was arrested for trespassing. In the police report, they said I had damaged the karaoke machine and demanded a discount. It further said that I started yelling and making threats, then attacked the security officers as they addressed me. Again, I was convicted. After court, the first security officer approached me and said ‘see what happens when you go against us?” I replied, ‘yeah, you get your glasses broke.’
I often ask myself if that really happened because it makes no sense. Police are not our masters. They do not have the right to arrest us, beat us, or kill us when we don’t agree with them. But it’s not just the police who abuse power to the detriment of people of color, it’s the entire judicial system. The police are just the spear’s tip. Arguably, everybody gets the tip but we, especially black people, always end up getting the shaft.My friend, Sgt. James Brown was killed by county jail staff in El Paso, TX while he was serving a 2-day sentence for a DWI. In his final moments, while struggling with the 5 officers who were restraining him, guess what his last words were. Years later the video of his murder was released. I watched my friend, who had just been honorably discharged from the Army after 2 tours in Iraq, gasping and shouting repeatedly, “I CAN’T BREATHE.” He begged the officers, who were killing him, to help him. I became friends with his mother and stepfather in the years following his death. It is still hard to look into his mother’s eyes to this day. Justice for Sgt. James Brown.”
In a radical mood, Keary Kase supplies a soundtrack to the current climate with new music in the works. Displaying that same energy and impact that created classic songs like “Change Gon’ Come,” “What’s Going On” and more, Kase’s knows that today’s music can deliver a similar impact. He explains:
“I won’t be writing any love songs for a while, but for black people, being killed by police, former police, and the likes has become a condition of our reality. This is not news to us. If you listen to Hip Hop from the ’70s, when it was created, all the way up to the hip hop of 2020, (pre- George Floyd) you will hear a steady flow of lyrics about police bias and brutality and the killing of black people at the hands of the police. We don’t even call it “murder” because, until 2020, they were never convicted or even charged with the crime.
Speaking against the system through our music is what we have done since our ancestors were slaves. Today’s field calls may be repeated by a rifle.”
He further elaborates, stating:
“Thanks to the internet, fans will be impacted by the artists of today even more than they were by our predecessors. Whether or not the message will be delivered and who will deliver it is still a question. All of this is still so recent. As an artist, I observe life, collect data, and translate through my perspective. I’m still taking it all in. If other artists are in the frame of mind that I am right now, fans should be expecting to hear some of the most inspirational music they have ever heard from us.”
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