Interview with Leroy Moore

by A’ishah Hils

Image of Leroy Moore, smiling, with his arms crossed over his chest. He is wearing a black t-shirt with a skull and crossbones.

Disability Right Now is extremely excited to welcome Leroy Moore onto our blog for an interview.

Leroy, a Black disabled writer, poet, and activist, has done amazing work around disability and the music industry, especially Black disabled hip hop, and around police brutality against people with disabilities. Leroy is the co-founder of Sins Invalid, a performance art project celebrating disability and sexuality, and of Krip-Hop Nation, a group of disabled hip hop artists. He also writes for POOR magazine and has published many articles and poems.

You can find more links to his work at the bottom of the interview.

A’ishah: Could you talk about your background and how you came to doing work on police violence against disabled people and people of color?

Leroy: Being Black and disabled and growing up in an activist house, I was introduced to activism when I was only 8 years old. Realizing that I was the only Black disabled young man in all of my disability activism, I saw and been involved in many cases of police shootings of Black males with disabilities from mental health disabilities to people who are autistic. How can we, poor and people of color with disabilities, enjoy laws, services for the disabled community when we have to deal with police brutality? Since the early 80’s I was involved with Cop Watch chapters, October 22nd Coalition, idriss stelley foundation and Poor Magazine in SF and families in protests, hearings and wrote about this issue. Now-a-days I have been doing more cultural activism around this issue with Krip-Hop Nation and my writings.

A’ishah: What musical artists have inspired you? Are there leaders in the disability and black communities who have inspired or shaped your work? I know for many of us you are really inspiring.

Leroy: Thank you! Musical artists that inspire me are more than musicians like the late Curtis Mayfield who not only did music but also made sure that he owned his work. Rob Da Noize Temple who is the co/founder of Krip-Hop Nation for keeping it real about disabled musicians. Ray Charles who is my man! When Ray Charles was on my mother’s record player when I was 4 years old I got up and started dancing. That was big because doctors at that time told my parents that I would never walk. The power of music! I love Public Enemy, Last Poets, Gil-Scott Heron, Sugar Hill Gang, The Fat Boys and the list goes on.

Loving Krip-Hop artists but need more women disabled Hip-Hop artists. I’m a groupie of Wheelchair Sports Camp and Kounterclockwise both are in Krip-Hop Nation. Also love metal band, King Snyder whose lead singer in a wheelchair user. Loving my girlfriend’s voice, Darla Lennox. I can go on and on. In the Black disabled community we are so separated that it is hard to get to know what each of us are working on but check out:

The National Black Disability Coalition as for writers check out Gary Norris Gray, Allen Jones, and the late Adarro Minton, Jane Johnson, Alika Hickman and one of my favorite poet, Ayisha Knight and for Hip-Hop artists check out: Keith Jones aka Fezo, MF Grimm, Toni Hickman and the list goes on.

A’ishah: Would you share about your involvement with disability justice and how it has shaped your work?

Leroy: Patty Berne, Director of Sins Invalid and a good friend coined the phrase, Disability Justice with a hard intersectional theme and since then I now have a name and political frame for my work. However before framing of Disability Justice, I think my street activism with Poor Magazine, the Black community and others was about social justice not identity politics because I saw and learn from other communities that people with disabilities deal with racism, sexism, homophobia that stir ups hate crimes, police brutality, segregation in special education and it also creates pockets of isolation that have creativity in a strange way. With my cultural activism it’s about shinning light on injustice and at the same time showing the world the talent of many of us in a package that the masses can listen, read, dance to while thinking about change.

A’ishah: How did you come to write for POOR magazine?

Leroy: I always wrote poetry and articles on race and disability but back in the late 80’s and early 90’s nobody wanted to published my articles or poems. Only Amsterdam News in NY and San Francisco Bay View Newspaper (Both Black newspapers) published my articles. In the hey day of the San Francisco Bay Area spoken word/open mic scene in the early 90’s I was doing my poetry all over the Bay Area. One open mic I met Lisa “Tiny” Garcia and her mother Dee who are the founders of Poor Magazine. After they heard my poetry, they offered me to write for them. At that time the first article was about a police brutality/killing of a Black houseless woman with a mental health disability, Margaret Mitchell of LA. We named the article, Illin in LA so we called the column Illin-N-Chillin. Illin-N-Chillin was and is the only online regular column about race and disability. Now Illin-N-Chilin has been up for more than ten years and has expanded to Krip-Hop kolumn. Thanks Poor Magazine!

A’ishah: Could you share some info about the latest Krip Hop Nation CD? I saw in a recent interview that you are working on a book about Krip Hop Nation…we would love to know more about that too!

Krip Hop Nation Logo - A wheelchair with a turntable in the wheel, a person breakdancing, and the words Krip Hop in black and purple

Leroy: This latest Krip-Hop/5th Battalion CD has been in my brain for over ten years. I wanted to take my street activism around police brutality against people with disabilities and spread it into the cultural activism and music of Krip-Hop Nation. There are so many Hip-Hop artists spiting about police brutality cases but not one mainstream artist did a song about people with disabilities and police brutality so I always wanted to do this CD but at the time of the 90’s Krip-Hop Nation was not around. When I started Krip-Hop Nation five years ago, I saw my chance. Collaborating with DJ Quad of 5th Battalion pushed me to really do it. At the time last year Krip-Hop Nation got involved with Neli Latson’s case of police brutality and had start a cultural campaign for the freedom of this Black autistic young man from wrongful incarceration and police brutality. All of the above led to a Hip-Hop CD with all disabled Hip-Hop artists/poets from US, UK, Germany and New Mexico. Please readers buy this CD we have boxes of them. Drop me an email at kriphopproject@yahoo.com. About the Krip-Hop book I’m teaming up with professor Terry Rowden who wrote a book about Blind musicians and wanted to write more on blind Hip-Hop artists but didn’t know about Krip-Hop Nation at the time. We met in NY and just felt that it was right to collaborate on the Krip-Hop book that I was in the beginning stages of writing. At this time the market is wide open because there is no book like Krip-Hop book will be. So far I know of only two books that is by a disabled hip-hop artist. The Krip-Hop book will have not only the politics and history of Krip-Hop Nation but interviews by Hip-Hop artists with disabilities from around the world and more.

A’ishah: How did you come to be involved with the Neli Latson case? Could you talk a bit about the case?

Leroy: I saw Lisa Alexander (Neli’s mother) video explaining the case on YouTube. I think if you listen to Kounterclockwise’s track, Neli Latson Story and look at the music video on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suie9JQXsbM

A’ishah: Do you see police violence against PWD and the recent euthanasia debate as related? Could you talk a little bit about how police violence is related to the recent murders of PWD by parents and caregivers?

Leroy: Yes I think so and the problem is that our community is not loud enough with our activism and art on these issues. If we can’t get the masses respond when individuals like parents and caregivers who kill and abuse us then what can we do when the state i.e. police, teachers and other workers kill us? This is nothing new. I saw it happened in the late 70’s late 80’s and 90’s. The items that I see are common in theses cases are:

1) The mainstream attitudes against people with disabilities are still negative like people with disabilities are burdens on society, we are a sight of fear who needs to be put in control, even some parents call police for help to get their disabled child “under control.”

2) With this view leads to more negativity, hopelessness, isolation that creates most of the times drastic measures like killing of daughters and sons.

3) On the other end we, people with disabilities especially us of color living in poverty are seen as dangerous, out of control, a threat and costing a lot thus giving the green light for police and other state workers to abuse us on the streets, at schools, in group homes, in our own homes and in other public arenas. About two years ago I was profiled four times in one month because of my disability. Check out the poem below. I also saw how these abuses and killings of people with disabilities increase when the economy is down. In the UK some of Krip-Hop artists told me that politicians have gone on record saying “People with learning disabilities (Developmental Disabilities) are a drain on our society.” The sad thing that it is so ingrained that the mainstream and right leaning media, politicians and even some artists continue to incorporate hate language, imagines in what they put out. From Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum who said that his disabled daughter cost a lot to movies like 21 jump street in which Ice Cube makes fun of people with autism to many musicians from Hard Rock to Hip-Hop who continues to sing lyrics like “What a waste like a cripple…” This ingrained culture is hard to fight because people with disabilities don’t have the resources like Fox News’ cameras or celebrities’ foundations but more than resources we, the disabled community, are so separated and many of us don’t want to rock the boat, don’t want to get beau crates or politicians mad because we relay on what comes from their red tape like SSI, In Home Support Services etc. We think we can’t take on Fox News, Hollywood, and the entertainment industry. We fall back into identity politics and don’t work on build strong collaborations with other communities in great numbers. However it’s not only our fault it goes both ways but the question is in these times where killings of people with disabilities, hate language is everywhere, mainstream media misrepresentation of us and the fast cultural digestion of us, we have no choice but to united before they find a way to wipe us out for good.

Disabled Profiled

Verse 1
Yeah I’m a Black man
Known about racially profiled
Two Black hotel workers
Same race but in my face

Chorus
Disabled profiled
Making assumptions upon appearances
Blocking the entrance
Can’t be race because we are both Black

Verse 2
Black Disabled Man
Must be a drunk
Slur speech drugging feet
Must be begging for money

Chorus
Disabled profiled
Making assumptions upon appearances
Blocking the entrance
Can’t be race because we are both Black

Verse 3
Must protect others from this bum
Got to do my job
I summed him up from across the street
Poor cripple homeless beggar

Bridge
Confused, disabled and black
The fear builds
As he approaches
Looking at him like he’s a roach
Firing out questions upon questions
No not racially but disabled profiled
Here in the home of ED Roberts

Chorus
Disabled profiled
Making assumptions upon appearances
Blocking the entrance
Can’t be race because we are both Black

Verse 4
Mocking my walk
Didn’t read my tense body talk
Friends saw my anger,
“Mr. We’re together!”

Verse 5
Disabled Profiled
And I’m tired
Twice in one week
Its not race it happened from Black & White

Outer
Disabled Profiled
And I’m tired
Twice in one week
Its not race it happened from Black & White

Disabled Profiled
And I’m tired

Disabled Profiled
And I’m tired

I’m so tired

By Leroy Moore
Yes this is a true story!

A’ishah: Thank you! I’d love to hear about anything else you’d like to share, from your own experience or about the work you’ve done. I was also wondering if it’d be okay to share some of your videos from Krip Hop and Sins on the blog as well.

Leroy: Krip-Hop Nation is also working on a documentary about police brutality against people with disabilities with a retire NYPD officer who is also disabled and a poet and play writer, Emmitt Thrower. We hope the documentary will be done at the end of the year. Go to http://www.whereishope.webs.com to follow our progress. Krip-Hop Nation has become international with the creation of MWD Mcees With Disabilities. We have artists from all over the world and we are working on another CD with artists from all over the world. We are working on a song blending metal to Hip-Hop with Kounterclockwise and King Snyder. Professor Terry Rowden and I are writing a book about Krip-Hop Nation. So there are many things that I’m working on and of course Sins Invalid that I think you all should interview. Patty Berne, is just incredible. Go to http://www.sinsinvalid.org for more of Sins awesomeness. Last thing Krip-Hop Nation and my work are not about the bling bling it’s about education, activism, paying respect and at the same time building relationships. Please please women with disabilities come out more with your music and art because we all need to hear, read and look at your art, music and activism.

Leroy Moore standing in front of a sign that spells "LeRoy Crip Stadium."

Links to Leroy’s work and videos:

MWD/Krip-Hop Nation’s Web Links
Krip-Hop Nation Police Brutality Music
Krip-Hop Nation Music

Facebook Groups
Krip-Hop Nation Worldwide
Krip-Hop Nation FB group
Musicians with Disabilities page

Binki Woi music page
http://www.reverbnation.com/binkiwoi
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR_I_ETP_ZA

Leroy’s music activism page
http://activistnews.ning.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Jjawd7N1GI

Binki’s music page
http://soundcloud.com/binki-woi/tracks
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=1170541

Diversifying Hip Hop: Krip Hop and Homo Hop
Krip-Hop Nation in Seattle Performance
Krip-Hop Nation in Seattle Police Brutality workshop

Leroy Moore and Preachman (Poet/Rapper) speak to CUNY Students about Krip Hop Nation of Disabled Rappers and Hip Hoppers.
Filmed and Edited by Emmitt Thrower for http://www.artistmagnet.com

Krip-Hop MWD @ DADA Festival Liverpool UK 2009
Krip-Hop -Nation -M.W.D (MCees with Disabilities) are fantastic !The raw energy and talent that they have is phenomenal . Krip -Hop is a synergy of their talents . A nicer more altruistic Artistic bunch you couldn’t find anywhere. They are also truly international meeting up only twice before ,so what we were seeing was the ultimate live Artist performance, which sparkled and got everyone dancing and moving as well as touching hearts and minds with their lyrics and obvious stance . This really was a “Happening they just did it and the love and respect they have for each other and talent and joy at being at dada Fest 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEhSyXvfAZQ
http://youtu.be/3Jjawd7N1GI
http://youtu.be/hMxWK_HHxU8

Krip Hop Promotional Trailer Video
Promotion of Krip Hop Event at Georgia State University
Showcasing people with physical disabilities talent in Hip Hop
Footage Taken by N’Spi Media Productions
Concept & Video Editing by C.C.

5 thoughts on “Interview with Leroy Moore

  1. Pingback: The Lead On Update » Blogs & Social Media Update

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