From the Sept. 4 edition of Street Roots.
The song is infectious. A bouncing celebration of drum-n-strum bliss — and love, the cuddly kind, love between a boy and a girl, shakin’ it on the dance floor.
Michael Franti and Spearhead’s hit song “Say Hey,” isn’t angry; it’s not seething with the venom of a disenfranchised generation. It isn’t about seizing the day and thwarting regret — well, actually, it is — but the other stuff, Franti’s bread and butter, has never made it this far, this fast. Franti has carved a career out of politically charged lyrics and emotionally powerful works that both scold and embrace, if not entrance, the listener, because his activism — on issues of homelessness, war, and climate change — is inseparable from his music, giving him a cult following among throngs in both the hip hop and social justice movements that has never been jeopardized by commercial or corporate interests.
Until now. “Say Hey” is big, getting bigger. Mainstream big, unlike anything he’s done before.
But then, just as the song cracked Billboard’s top 40, perhaps out of rebellion or in an effort to put the man’s feet back on the ground, Franti’s appendix exploded. Continue reading
They say rain is headed our way, which means bring a plastic bag when you head out to pick up your new copy of Street Roots. These colors don’t run, but the paper gets sticky when wet. Here’s what’s fit to print this week:
Will success spoil Michael Franti? The hip hop/reggae rocker of Spearhead has his first megahit riding up the charts, but he’s keeping his (bare) feet on the ground with his grassroots activism. Joanne Zuhl spoke to Franti in advance of the band’s concert at the Roseland.
Healing lessons: How the U.S. can adopt a health care system that’s fairer and costs less. Adam Hyla interviews “Healing of America” author and researcher T.R. Reid.
Reuse, recycle, respect: Portland re-use artist Taylor Cass Stevenson reports on her travels and the obstacles for urban recyclers in the Third World.
Children of all ages: Portland photographer John Ryan Brubaker stopped by The Circus Project’s rehearsal in advance of their debut – a show o benefit the nonprofit’s work with at-risk and homeless youths.
All this and a crossword puzzle! Yes, you clamored and our vendors delivered the message loud and clear. Each edition of Street Roots will now feature a crossword puzzle on the back page, and we hope to hear from you as we work to put a Street Roots spin on each one. Thanks for your input and your support of our dynamic vendor team!