While David Yow has observed the paucity of black faces (in a manner of speaking) at SXSW, Detroit’s self proclaimed “Led Zeppelin Of Hip Hop”, The Blakkattak, would like to address a shortage of American MC’s north of the border. From the Province’s Elaine O’Connor :
More than 30 celebrities have been subpoenaed to testify in a $900-million lawsuit against Canadian immigration officials by a Detroit gangsta rapper who is alleging racial profiling at the border.
Jerome Almon, a rapper with The BlakkAttakk, the group responsible for songs such as “On Ya Neez B—-” and “How Stella Got My Backhand,” filed the suit in Michigan’s U.S. district court earlier this year.
This week, 37 witnesses — from rap stars and U.S. celebrities to Canadian federal ministers — were ordered to appear in court Sept. 22. to testify about their treatment by Canadian authorities. Among the witnesses are hip-hop icons Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, DMX, Diddy, 50 Cent and Eminem.
They will be asked to testify alongside Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Mick Jagger, Jenna Jameson, Condoleeza Rice, Heidi Fleiss, Kobe Bryant, Paris Hilton, Keith Richards, Spike Lee, Tom Sizemore and former Taliban officials Mohammed Hassan and Abdul Hanifi.
Former ministers of citizenship and immigration Judy Sgro and Dennis Coderre, retired CCRA minister Elinor Caplan and MP Belinda Stronach were also called, as were the president of Canadian Border Services Agency Alain Joliecour, Toronto Mayor David Miller, former head of the Ontario Human Rights Commission Keith Norton, and Selwyn Pieters, a Toronto lawyer representing racial minorities in human-rights cases.
The suit “seeks redress from Canadian government officials who have violated [Almon's] right to traverse the Canadian border without being repeatedly subjected to unwarranted, protracted and highly punitive detentions and interrogations as well as outright refusals to allow the plaintiff to enter.”
The 41-year-old rapper, known as Slikkfordays, told The Province that “Paris Hilton and Martha Stuart [sic] and Tom Sizemore are the most important witnesses. Those three were chosen because all have criminal convictions and two have done prison time and Paris Hilton has done jail time, but all three entered Canada with impunity.”
Almon said the reason for their swift passage was simple: “They’re white and they’re not rappers.”
I’m sure Almon knows what he’s doing, but the government can always point to Shea Hillenbrand’s banishment from the country in their defense.