Latino quadriplegic and hip hop artist harassed by police

Brutalizing Disabled Hip Hop Artists
Quadriplegic Latino Hip-Hop Artist Racially Profiled by Roswell police
by Leroy Moore Jr. Dec 26th, 2008

I met Marc Anthony Romero aka King Montana online at myspace after finishing a three part radio series on Hip-Hop artists with disabilities in 2006 at KPFA in Berkeley, CA. I was blown away by his musical talents and since then we have stayed in contact working on Krip-Hop Project, sharing frustrations on how the music industry and the general public treat people with disabilities and also celebrating our achievements. So when I read that this political social conscious Hip-Hop artist was racially profiled and arrested by police officers of Roswell Police Department in New Mexico I was shocked!

Marc Anthony is one of the hottest Hip-Hop artists in New Mexico rolling around in his wheelchair on stage, in the studio and on tour. He just finished a show in Albuquerque, NM where he met another Hip-Hop artist with a disability, Rob DA Noize Temple, the DJ for the legendary Sugar Hill Gang. Both artists are in the Krip-Hop movement (Hip-Hop by artists with disabilities) but didn’t know each other until I realized that they were scheduled to perform at the same venue on the same date. After successfully meeting Rob Da Noize Temple, the Sugar Hill Gang and performing, the promoter of that show was impressed and booked King Montana for a gig in Roswell, New Mexico that’s when King Montana, Baby Bash and other Latino Hip-Hop artists were living what they write and rap about in their songs, racial profiling from police.

King Montana’s debut CD, In My Shoes, is clearly a mirror that reflexes his life as a Latino disabled politically aware artist\activist who is singing about his people and his own life. Just like Tupac Amaru Shakur laid down some real and painful lyrics about his life, his community and Black people, King Montana also laid down some sharp but real views about being Latino and disabled in songs like Freedom Fighter and In My Shoes to name only a few. And like Tupac, many songs of King Montana are unfortunately reality to Latino, Latinas and other people of color especially those living in poverty.

Reality of anti immigration policies targeting Latino community, state violence through law enforcement like federal agents, I.C.E., Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the roll back of social services and racial profiling are all in King Montana’s lyrics but when songs become reality more and more often how can we as society deal with it? Do we take artists like King Montana as a prophet who is telling us something or do we turn our backs until the lyrics become news headlines?

Well, news has broken and the first headlines are from King Montana, himself, in his press release. A portion of his press release is as follows:

On Sunday December 7, 2008 rapper Baby Bash, along with King Montana and other artists were booked for a show in Roswell, NM. During the show the Roswell Police Department attempted to stop the event. They arrested the Promoter "Julio G" from Fusion Promotions. Shortly there after the Roswell Police Departed raided King Montana's hotel room, and detained several others. The manner in which the police acted was inappropriate. They racially profiled King Montana, threatened him with false charges and made racial remarks. It did not stop there members of the Roswell Police Department shocked "Rich Rap" of the Stooie Bros. with a taser and continued to violently beat him. They blatantly targeted the artists for humiliation. The Roswell Police Department issued King Montana a citation for possession of marijuana, with out any evidence. The next day he pleaded "No Contest" in the Roswell Municipal Court. The reason for this is King Montana refuses to pay the City of Roswell more money after the way the Roswell Police Department acted.

I just talked to King Montana and he told me that he has a lawyer and was told to not give any more interviews until the case is looked into. He sounds like he has support and also at the same time he is still shaken up by the incident. In King Montana’s press release he writes, “this is not going to be unnoticed constitutional rights were violated.” King Montana will be suing the Roswell Police Department.

Local media in Roswell, NM is now shedding their cameras and releasing their black ink on this story. As the founder of Krip-Hop and journalist, I, and the Krip-Hop nation will continue to support our brother, King Montana and will keep this story in the face of the public. King Montana will be in the Bay Area in February and Krip-Hop Project will be setting up some gigs and media coverage for King Montana. Some shows will be a chance for King Montana to talk about what happen in Roswell. A working title for King Montana’s Bay Area tour could be Police Brutality Hip-Hop & Disability. For more information drop Krip-Hop Project an email at kriphopproject [at] yahoo.com or myspace.com/kingmontana505

Leroy F. Moore Jr. Founder of Krip—Hop Nation http://poormagazine.org

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