Letters to the Editor

The Master Race

World-class or world clash? As a fan of hip-hop and someone who works with youth in Denver, I thank Todd Witcher for "After the Fall," his excellent story in the May 31 issue on Mix Master Mike and discrimination against the city's hip-hop community by the police, politicians and the public.

For a city that touts its supposed "world-class status" and "quality of life," perhaps it's time that we ask what those terms really mean. Do they mean that drunk football and hockey fans can riot while hip-hop fans, mostly young African-Americans and Latinos, can't even find a club to go to on a weekend night?

The recent spotlight on racial profiling by Denver police (which Witcher wrote about earlier this year), isn't so far removed from the struggles of hip-hop performers, DJs and fans to simply have a good time. That a letter of protest against a hip-hop venue comes from an out-of-touch politician who is African-American makes no difference here. Selective targeting of venues that play hip-hop and attract youth of color is a form of racial profiling and youth profiling as well. It seems that, for many, the only acceptable place for youth of color to be is locked up in their homes or locked down in jail.

With all of the racial profiling, missing evidence, "accidental" murders of immigrants and easy treatment of white state representatives breaking into ex-girlfriends' homes, is it any real surprise that the Denver police would be keeping a secret list of venues singled out for additional harassment? The police should apply the rules evenly and stop discriminatory policing, or else the DPD can expect more community distrust and costly legal settlements.

As for the rest of us, let's stop the paranoia that seems to hit too many white and older minority folks whenever a group of young people of color congregates. There's nothing "world-class" about that.

Bill Vandenberg

Missing in action: Props to Westword and T.R. for trying to cover the hip-hop club scene in Denver, but a couple of things are a bit misleading. First off, from reading the article, it looks like there was no hip-hop in Denver before Mix Master Mike (R.I.P.) stepped on the scene. DJs like K-Nee, Style N. Fashion and Jam X are the pioneers of the hip-hop club scene, and if it weren't for them, the Fab Five wouldn't have anything to work with. These cats set the stage for the scene here, and it was wrong to not even mention them in the article. I mean, Al Your Pal never even used to play hip-hop back then.

In addition, DJs who came up through the ranks in the mid-'90s, such as DJ Chonz, Javio and Dijon, have put in a lot more work and paid more dues than the DJ who claims to be "the best in Denver." For example, Chonz has been a competitor in two DMC World Mixing Championships, finishing third and second, respectively, behind DJs who didn't even live in Denver. During Mix Master Mike's hiatus, these DJs were the ones keeping the scene alive and possibly giving Mike the hunger to return to the game. And while all their clubs were being shut down every weekend, these DJs kept the ball rolling at spots like Soapy Smith's, the 15th Street Tavern and the club now called Lucky Star. Of course, they fell victim to some of the same things (fights, not enough patrons, etc.).

You have to give credit where it's due. The Denver hip-hop club scene does not and will never revolve around the Fab Five. There are other DJs, promoters and clubs. Peace.

Quibian 'Q' Salazar-Moreno

The Hits Just Keep on Coming

Thanks a plot: I was mesmerized by Alan Prendergast's "The Hit Man Nobody Knows," in the May 17 issue. I don't read Westword all the time, but I am going to have to start checking it out more often. Prendergast's story was fascinating and very well written. He makes a great investigative reporter!

I hope to start seeing a lot more stories like this one, interviewing notorious criminals and uncovering government plots. Thank you for giving me a bit of a history lesson.

Karen L. Kelly
via the Internet

Waiting for the End

Death with dignity: Julie Jargon's May 31 "Dying Wish" was enlightening about the comparative business practices of two hospices in Denver. However, I have nothing but praise for the work both of these women do. In particular, Jan Bezuidenhout and Namaste helped a friend in the final month of his life last year.

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