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B-Boy in Baghdad: KPFK Producer Jerry Quickley On Alternative Media Coverage in Iraq

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We speak with Jerry Quickley, a renowned performance poet and the host of the popular Pacifica Radio show, Beneath the Surface on KPFK. He was in Iraq twice last year most recently in the fall doing independent reporting and shooting a documentary about the Iraq conflict and war from a hip hop perspective called B-Boy in Baghdad. [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy now! As we turn to alternative coverage of what’s happening in the war, Jerry Quickley has been with us in our New York studio when he returned from Iraq, escaping the bombing there. He is one of the programmers on Pacifica station KPFK, and he joins us in our studio today here in Los Angeles as we continue with our Exception to the Rulers tour. I think it’s fair to call Jerry Quickley one of the Exception to the Rulers. Welcome, Jerry.

JERRY QUICKLEY: Hi, how are you doing, Amy. Thanks for having me.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. The coverage today of Iraq, what you think needs to be told and who needs to be telling the stories?

JERRY QUICKLEY: I think the stories need to be told by the Iraqi people so you can hear what’s going on. You don’t just have policy wonks and talking heads coming on. The coverage has been woefully inadequate in the American news media. You travel abroad and it’s like the coverage from other countries. You wonder are they covering the same conflict that we see here in America.

AMY GOODMAN: What are you doing now, as you organize with other alternative reporters in coverage of Iraq?

JERRY QUICKLEY: Right now, I’m raising funds to go back to Iraq to do further coverage and also to get more footage for my documentary called “B-boy in Baghdad,” which is a coverage of the conflict from a hip hop perspective.

AMY GOODMAN: What would be different?

JERRY QUICKLEY: I think what would be different is it is coverage from the ground up and talking to the Iraqi people. When I would talk to people in Baghdad and other cities. If there was a kid in the street selling gasoline, that’s the kid I wanted to talk to. A guy selling cigarettes looked like he was broke and down to the last dollar, that’s the person I wanted to talk to and those are the people that I interviewed. You get a different take from talking to those people than talking to wealthy student at Universities and policy wonks. “B-boy in Baghdad.” B-boy is a devote of hip-hop culture, and I just liked certainly the word play of how it sounds, B-boy in Baghdad. It seemed like a natural fit for the perspective of the film and what I hope to cover in the documentary.

AMY GOODMAN: I look forward to seeing you tonight. Jerry quickly is going to read some of his work at tonight’s celebration of Independent media, KPFK, tonight as we continue with the Exception to the Rulers tour. We’ll all be at the Emmanuel Presbyterian church at 3300 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Thanks, Jerry.

JERRY QUICKLEY: Thanks, Amy. Thanks for having me.

AMY GOODMAN: That does it for today’s program.

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