Universal Zulu Nation
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The Universal Zulu Nation is an international hip hop awareness group formed and headed by hip hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa.:101 Originally known simply as the Organization, it arose in the 1970s as reformed New York City gang members began to organize cultural events for youths, combining local dance and music movements into what would become known as the various elements of hip hop culture. By the 1980s, hip hop had spread globally, and the Zulu Nation has since established (autonomous) branches in Japan, France, the UK, Australia, South Korea and the Cape Flats in Cape Town South Africa.
The Zulu Nation has undergone changes over the past decade. From the late 1980s, at the height of the Afrocentric movement in hip hop (when artists such as KRS-One, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, the Native Tongues, and Rakim hit success), the movement seemed to be incorporating many doctrines from the Nation of Islam, the Nation of Gods and Earths, and the Nuwaubians. In the 2000s, however, its official Web site affirmed that the Zulu Nation has left the system of "believing" and instead adheres to Factology versus Beliefs, a philosophy and doctrine that can often be seen in, though is not always exclusive to, Nuwaubianism.
The imagery of the Zulu Nation has changed considerably as well. During the 1970s, and 1980s, Afrika Bambaataa and the Zulu Nation members would often clothe themselves in costumes representing different cultures of the world. These costumes were seen as symbols for the Zulu Nation's desire to help others regardless of nationality or skin color and also to symbolize people who were generally peaceful and good until they were oppressed by those who were not. Normal members, including whites and Latinos, would often wear necklaces or shirts depicting an outline of the African continent or a crude tribal drawing of a man's face. This was a symbol of the Zulu nations of Africa, from which the organization got its name. Nowadays, however, these things have been replaced by Egyptian symbols such as ankhs and pagan jewelry depicting pentagrams, though the older symbols and images can still be seen accompanying these.
Zulu Nation in France
The Zulu movement was introduced to France in the early 1980s by Afrika Bambaataa. The Zulu Nation was well received in suburban Paris since most African immigrants lived beyond the city limits. The growing popularity of Afrika Bambaataa's sound introduced hip hop music and culture to these poor suburban neighborhoods. The Zulu Nation's ties to the French hip hop community have waned since 1987, and few contemporary emcees continue to represent the ideals of the group, but since Afrika Bambaataa's successful tour of France in 2008 and a big Zulu Nation reunion in Paris, France, there has been a new movement of the Universal Zulu Nation springing up in different cites again throughout France. According to Veronique Henelon, "French rap specifically has been a multi-dimensional expression of ties with Africa." The Zulu Nation Web site reaffirms this notion in their report of the French hip-hop community. The first hip-hop television show reportedly appeared in France. It was called "H.I.P.-H.O.P.", aired by the TF1 channel and was hosted by "a guy named Sydney who also was the first Leader of The Universal Zulu Nation of France."
The Beliefs of the Universal Zulu Nation
As stated on its official Web site, the Universal Zulu Nation believes that in the new millennium it is time to abandon belief systems in favor of factology. The following fifteen tenets then represent the Zulu Nation of the last millennium:
- Belief in the Abrahamic God
- Belief in the validity of the Bible (Old and New), Qur'an and in the scriptures of all the Prophets of God.
- Belief that the scriptures have been tampered with
- Belief that history textbooks and other educational materials have been negatively influenced by white-supremacist doctrines
- "We believe in truth whatever it is. If the truth or idea you bring us is backed by facts, then we as Amazulu bear witness to this truth. Truth is truth."
- Belief that religion should not make adherents into a slave or zombie but should instead make them a fighter for freedom, justice, and equality for all human beings.
- Belief that racism is attempting to destroy civilization.
- Belief that humanity must stop destroying the environment.
- "We believe in the mental resurrection of the dead. There are many of the Human race who are blind, deaf, and dumb to the knowledge of self and others, and we feel the ones who know should teach."
- Belief that mathematics is the foundation of all reality.
- "We believe in the seen and what is to be known of the unseen. We believe in the power of the mind, and that knowledge is as infinite as God himself."
- Belief in equal justice for all.
- Belief in peace unless provoked.
- "We believe in power, education in truth, freedom, justice, equality, work for the people, and the up-liftment of the people."
- "The Universal Zulu Nation stands for knowledge, wisdom, understanding, freedom, justice, equality, peace, unity, love, respect, work, fun, overcoming the negative, economics, mathematics, science, life, truth facts, faith, and the oneness of God."
It's important to understand that though the Zulu Nation website for the American branch states that these beliefs represent the Zulu Nation of the "past millennium," many Zulu Nation members and branches(old and new) still follow the 15 Beliefs as factual. Thus it can be understood that the Zulu Nation's adoption of "Factology vs Beliefs," was an effort to reorganize the Nation to be more accessible by more people of even more different belief systems, due to the ever expansion of Hip Hop culture worldwide causing a bigger need for a much more universal Hip Hop preservation society.
The Hip Hop Declaration of Peace
This Hiphop Declaration of Peace guides Hiphop Kulture toward freedom from violence, and establishes advice and protection for the existence and development of the international Hiphop community. Through the principles of this Hiphop Declaration of Peace we, Hiphop Kulture, establish a foundation of Health, Love, Awareness, Wealth, peace and prosperity for ourselves, our children and their children's children, forever. For the clarification of Hiphop's meaning and purpose, or when the intention of Hiphop is questioned, or when disputes between parties arise concerning Hiphop; Hiphoppas shall have access to the advice of this document, The Hiphop Declaration of Peace, as guidance, advice and protection.
- First Principle: Hiphop (Hip´Hop) is a term that describes our independent collective consciousness. Ever growing, it is commonly expressed through such elements as Breakin, Emceein, Graffiti Art, Deejayin, Beatboxin, Street Fashion, Street Language, Street Knowledge and Street Entrepreneurialism. Wherever and whenever these and future elements and expressions of Hiphop Kulture manifest; this Hiphop Declaration of Peace shall advise the use and interpretation of such elements, expressions and lifestyle.
- Second Principle: Hiphop Kulture respects the dignity and sanctity of life without discrimination or prejudice. Hiphoppas shall thoroughly consider the protection and the development of life, over and before the individual decision to destroy or seek to alter its natural development.
- Third Principle: Hiphop Kulture respects the Laws and agreements of its culture, its country, its institutions and whomever it does business with. Hiphop does not irresponsibly break Laws and commitments.
- Fourth Principle: Hiphop is a term that describes our independent collective consciousness. As a conscious way of life, we acknowledge our influence on society, especially on children; and we shall forever keep the rights and welfare of both in mind. Hiphop Kulture encourages womanhood, manhood, sisterhood, brotherhood, childhood and family. We are conscious not to bring any intentional disrespect that jeopardizes the dignity and reputation of our children, elders and ancestors.
- Fifth Principle: The ability to define, defend and educate ourselves is encouraged, developed, preserved, protected and promoted as a means toward peace and prosperity, and toward the protection and the development of our self-worth. Through knowledge of purpose and the development of our natural and learned skills, Hiphoppas are encouraged to always present their best work and ideas.
- Sixth Principle: Hiphop Kulture honors no relationship, person, event, act or otherwise wherein the preservation and further development of Hiphop's culture, principles and elements are not considered or respected. Hiphop Kulture does not participate in activities that clearly destroy or alter its ability to productively and peacefully exist. Hiphoppas are encouraged to initiate and participate in fair trade and honesty in all negotiations and transactions.
- Seventh Principle: The essence of Hiphop is beyond entertainment: The elements of Hiphop Kulture may be traded for money, honor, power, respect, food, shelter, information and other resources; however, Hiphop and its culture cannot be bought, nor is it for sale. It (Hiphop) cannot be transferred or exchanged by or to anyone for any compensation at any time or at any place. Hiphop is not a product. Hiphop is the priceless principle of our self-empowerment.
- Eighth Principle: Companies, corporations, non and not-for-profit organizations, as well as individuals and groups that are clearly benefiting from the use, interpretation and/or exploitation of the term Hiphop, (i.e. Hip Hop, hip-hop,) and the expressions and terminologies of Hiphop, (i.e. Hip Hop, hip-hop,) are encouraged to commission and/or employ a full-time or part-time certified Hiphop Kultural Specialist to interpret and answer sensitive cultural questions regarding the principles and proper presentations of Hiphop’s elements and culture; relative to businesses, individuals, organizations, communities, cities, as well as other countries.
- Ninth Principle: May 3 is Rap Music Day. Hiphoppas are encouraged to dedicate their own time and talent to self-development and for service to their communities. Every third week in May is Hiphop Appreciation Week. During this time, Hiphoppas are encouraged to honor their ancestors, reflect upon their cultural contributions and appreciate the elements and principles of Hiphop Kulture. November is Hiphop History Month. During this time Hiphoppas are encouraged to participate in the creating, learning and honoring of Hiphop's history and historical cultural contributors.
- Tenth Principle: Hiphoppas are encouraged to build meaningful and lasting relationships that rest upon Love, trust, equality and respect. Hiphoppas are encouraged not to cheat, abuse, or deceive their friends.
- Eleventh Principle: The Hiphop community exists as an international culture of consciousness that provides all races, tribes, religions and styles of people a foundation for the communication of their best ideas and works. Hiphop Kulture is united as one multi-skilled, multi-cultural, multi-faith, multi-racial people committed to the establishment and the development of peace.
- Twelfth Principle: Hiphop Kulture does not intentionally or voluntarily participate in any form of hate, deceit, prejudice or theft at any time. At no time shall Hiphop Kulture engage in any violent war within itself. Those who intentionally violate the principles of this Declaration of Peace or intentionally reject its advice, forfeit by their own actions the protections set forth herein.
- Thirteenth Principle: Hiphop Kulture rejects the immature impulse for unwarranted acts of violence and always seeks diplomatic, non-violent strategies in the settlement of all disputes. Hiphoppas are encouraged to consider forgiveness and understanding before any act of retaliation. War is reserved as a final solution when there is evidence that all other means of diplomatic negotiation have failed repeatedly.
- Fourteenth Principle: Hiphoppas are encouraged to eliminate poverty, speak out against injustice and shape a more caring society and a more peaceful world. Hiphop Kulture supports a dialogue and action that heals divisions in society, addresses the legitimate concerns of humankind and advances the cause of peace.
- Fifteenth Principle: Hiphoppas respect and learn from the ways of Nature, regardless of where we are on this planet. Hiphop Kulture holds sacred our duty to contribute to our own survival as independent, free-thinking beings in and throughout the Universe. This planet, commonly known as Earth is our nurturing parent and Hiphoppas are encouraged to respect Nature and all creations and inhabitants of Nature.
- Sixteenth Principle: Hiphop's pioneers, legends, teachas, elders, and ancestors shall not be inaccurately quoted, misrepresented, or disrespected at anytime. No one should profess to be a Hiphop pioneer or legend unless they can prove with facts and/or witnesses their credibility and contributions to Hiphop Kulture.
- Seventeenth Principle: Hiphoppas are encouraged to share resources. Hiphoppas should give as freely and as often as possible. It is the duty of every Hiphoppa to assist, whenever possible, in the relief of human suffering and in the correction of injustice. Hiphop is shown the highest respect when Hiphoppas respect each other. Hiphop Kulture is preserved, nurtured and developed when Hiphoppas preserve, nurture and develop one another.
- Eighteenth Principle: Hiphop Kulture maintains a healthy, caring and wealthy, central Hiphop guild – fully aware and invested with the power to promote, teach, interpret, modify and defend the principles of this Hiphop Declaration of Peace.
- Chang, Jeff (2005). Can't Stop Won't Stop. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-30143-X.
- Prevos, A.J.M., "Post-colonial Popular Music in France: Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture in the 1980s and 1990s." In Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA. Tony Mitchell ed., , pp. 29–56. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2001.
- Henelon, V. "Africa on Their Mind: Rap, Blackness, and Citizenship in France." In The Vinyl Ain't Final: Hip Hnoop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture. Dipannita Basu and Disney J. Lemelle, eds., pp. 151–66. London; Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press
- Welcome to The Official site of The Universal Zulu Nation
- The Beliefs of the Universal Zulu Nation, ZuluNation.com, accessed 27 June 2007.