What does our colonial oppressors fear the most? Unsanctioned thought and behavior. This is the main point that Jared Ball's new book, I Mix What I Like: A Mixtape Manifesto, pounds into the reader's skulls. The book documents how the fourth arm of the military, mass media, is truly the tool for the power elite and how all that is popular is fraudulent. Mass media, internet included, with its goal of limiting the range of acceptable thought in order to limit and destroy the idea of revolution is both meticulously scripted and forced down the throats of every watcher and listener into a submission that the vast majority simply does not recognize and indeed scoff at when opined by those who do.
And that is one of the major points of the book for me. The fact of the matter that colonialism strives to be so encompassing in its theft of both culture and material (through mass media) that the language to even explain African predicaments is threatened. The perception of humanity to our threatened existence and lack of sovereignty in any land or even our own lives is what needs to be limited or destroyed by the colonial elite who wants the access to culture/material and the ability to reap and define the wealth accumulated from their thievery. The mass media is a bomb that kills more consciousness than any nuclear explosive can kill bodies.
On constructive criticism: the book is highly repetitive. While that may very well be the point, after a while the concept of limiting ideas/actions should be a given. Likewise, chapter 13, which was the actual chapter Ball used to defend is concept that the mixtape was the tool to use against the powerful was sorely disappointing. Who uses a failed attempt as an example of a successful theory? Dr. Ball could not even find one example of a likeminded attempt that had better outcomes than his own? Not one other African centered hip-hop enthusiast tried using the mixtape as a libratory medium? Simply put, that chapter was subpar is relationship to an awesome book and awesome activist concept of mixtape radio.
In the end, I Mix What I Like is indeed a continuation of great scholarship in the same vein of Franz Fanon, who Ball uses as a guiding torch in this book. It makes colonial theory important to the US and Africans within this country. Indeed, as Ball tells us, if we accept that the US is a colonizing force within itself and around the world, then we would also have to accept that it cannot and does not create, or even attempt to create, democracies outside itself, but empires abroad and subjects within. I appreciate this book, Jared Ball for writing it, and his other venues such as Black Agenda Report, Voxunion, and WPFW's The Legacy Addition to We Ourselves. And I would be remiss to not shout out all of the political prisoners who will benefit from all of the proceeds of this book.
Dr. Jared Ball has a finger on the pulse of everything that is relevant to grassroots movements all over the country. Legitimate questions and legitimate common sense solutions. Excellent writing and a refreshing read from a brilliant thinker.