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Adopted By a White Family: A Conversation with Hip Hop Singer and Spoken Word Poet Michael Franti

StoryJuly 25, 2002
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For nearly a decade hip hop artist and activist Michael Franti has been a leading progressive voice in music. Franti grew out of the Bay Area music and political scene in the early 1990’s. In 1986 he founded the drum ’n bass duo the Beatnigs, paving the way for his next musical endeavor, the Disposable Heroes of HipHoprisy. His most recent musical project is the musical collective Spearhead, begun in 1994.

Franti’s distinctive style is infused with hip hop, soul and jazz influences and driven by his eloquent political lyrics. He has always used music to push social boundaries. He speaks out against sexual violence, encourages his community to prevent the spread of HIV, and sings about the hypocrisy of the US government.

Franti’s latest album, "Stay Human," proposes that grassroots community activists infiltrate, overthrow, and take the media into their own hands to get important political messages out to a wider audience. The album also takes on the politics and racism of the death penalty.

Michael Franti is in the middle of a major national tour, where he is playing to crowds of thousands all over the country.

But what people may not know about Michael Franti, as we talk about foster care, adoption and race today, is that Michael was adopted. Born to a white mother and black father, he was adopted by a white family.

Guest:

  • Michael Franti, lead singer of Spearhead and spoken word poet.

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