Friday Night Rap Battles at Union Square

The 99% vs. The Army of the 1%
Who Will Win?

When: Friday, March 30 at 11:30pm
Where: Union Square, South Steps

Tonight and every Friday this spring, Occupy Wall Street will host Friday Night Rap Battles, pitting the song, dance, slam poetry and beats of the 99% against those of the army of the 1%–the NYPD.

Join us this Friday at 11:30 pm on the south steps of Union Square where political and local rappers will engage the cops in a freestyle rap battle to talk about police brutality and other issues that affect marginalized communities across the city.

Occupy Wall Street has occupied Union Square since March 17th, the movement’s six-month anniversary, but the NYPD violently push us out of the park every night at 12 am, closing this public space for the first time in New York City history. For the past two weeks, the NYPD has used dozens of barricades, hundreds of officers and tens of thousands of tax dollars to guard this park overnight so that neither Occupy Wall Street nor the greater New York City community can enjoy one of our city’s few public spaces.

However, by stationing NYPD officers at the park overnight, the police department has provided us with a stage that we are using to draw attention to the systemic problems of police brutality as an enforcement mechanism for racial and economic injustice.

The Friday Night Rap Battles began last week when, in the face of this absurd state violence and control at Union Square, Occupy Wall Street responded with creative resistance. Ten minutes before the cops erected their barricade, we constructed a People’s Barricade of hundreds of cardboard boxes and announced that we had successfully sealed off the park to protect our city from the gang of armed thugs that we heard had been roving around the city beating people up and shooting them.

People cheered! We announced a Rap Battle at the barricades, where people provided entertainment to pacify the police and make sure they didn’t escape. As we lifted our voices to talk about Stop and Frisk, surveillance, racial profiling and police violence in our neighborhoods, the rap battle turned a space of injustice into a artistic expression of solidarity and resistance.

For the second Friday Night Rap Battle, the rules of the competition are simple.

1: Issue the Challenge: A 99%er stands up from the crowd and challenges a police officer of their choice to a rap/song/dance battle.
2: Express the Beef: The contestant expresses his or her grievance with the police through rap, song, dance, or poetry, supported by beats from the crowd.
(3) Request a rebuttal: After completing his or her performance, the 99%er requests a rebuttal from their opponent,The NYPD, who is given 10 seconds to respond. If the NYPD doesn’t respond, victory is proclaimed for the 99%.

We oppose inequality in all forms and fight for the liberation of the 99%. The police are not our enemy, but they serve the interests of the banks and corporations, corrupt politicians and ruthless police chiefs. We have called for the resignation of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and we stand with Trayvon Martin, Ramarley Graham, Sean Bell, Jatiek Reed, and all those who have been the victims of injustice at the hands of the police.

Join us tonight as we lift each other’s voices and empower people to break their silence, and call in to Hot 97.7 all day to request rappers and share stories about your own experiences with police violence. Together, we are transforming the violent repression our communities face into an artistic expression of peaceful resistance every Friday night at Union Square.