Luminous Flux: An Interview

Luminous Flux

AWOL: Explain the significance of the name Luminous Flux?

Tysha: My surname is Lightfoot. So I was looking up light in the encyclopaedia and when you think of time travel... they say if you can go the speed of light, then you can time travel. I saw Luminous Flux and the definition was "the rate at which light can be seen hitting the surface," So I said, " Damn, that's precise!" Plus the two separate words: Luminous; shining, bright; Flux; motion, movement. We trying to make things happen.


AWOL: When it comes to hip hop, a lot of people focus on some of the negative aspects of hip hop, particularly the violence against women, the degradation and disrespecting of women and the idea that sisters in hip hop got to "strip" to "sell" so to speak. How does Luminous Flux deal with these issues?
Luminous; shining, bright; Flux; motion, movement. We trying to make things happen.


Tara: I think that as long as we're not the ones in control of the companies that's putting out products and distribution, all we're gonna see is what they think can sell. It really doesn't bother me too much: I know the game and I know why that's out there. As long as we stick by one another, we wouldn't have a problem, we would have diversity. I have a problem with the individual, with people not being who they say they are, but I don't think it will last for very long; it's been long enough already.

Tysha: One of our colleagues had the experience of putting a project together, and a DJ literally said there ain't enough killing and bullshit in the rhyme; so we ain't gonna play it. So I think that's another aspect to the game, once we get in, we just conform to what the adversary wants you to do and we don't wanna let nobody in that's gonna bring some kind of substance. So I think that record companies need to be stepped to, the deejays, the radio stations, they need to be stepped to because it's destroying the community. Now you got little kids just repeating these things because they think it's sweet like that.

AWOL: Being that a lot of young artists start out talking about social issues like police brutality, militarism and self-determination, but in order to get signed they have to trade in their consciousness for the other script that so-called "sells;" how do you deal with that?

Tara: Throughout my life, I have been exposed to many different things, cultures, people and places, so when somebody offers me money in exchange for giving up something, I don't see it like that. I see it as "Ok, well, we can't do business together, because I can't do that right now, that's not in me, I can get that from somewhere else."

It goes back to ignorance, you prey on people that you know you can get over on. Those are the people that they prey on, and these people never had anything before, they don't know that if you get $100,000, your problems don't go away. Your bills might go away, but then you create more bills, cuz you think you a millionaire but you only have a $100,000 and you just create a bigger debt.

Tysha: I been rhymin since 16 and I think I've been fortunate that I didn't get a deal, because I have more of a sense of self, and purpose in doing this. So may of us just want to pay the bills, that's not an issue for me, I can pay my bills, and I'm eliminating bills through the knowledge I'm obtaining. That's what it boils down to, if you don't have self determination, then you gonna give up yourself and you won't mind.
What's the point in going on tour, having a record contract, and you don't do the music, you don't do the mixing, you don't do the recording, you don't do the distribution, no mastering or duplication? So you go on tour, everybody known your name but you make $25,000 for the year, you could have worked at the post office and had better benefits

AWOL: What part does spirituality play in your music?

Tysha: Spirituality is the basis of everything in my life. The creator has blessed us with information that we can move forward and be self sufficient, that what it's all about: being free, being sovereign, and speaking for yourself.

Tara: What's the point in going on tour, having a record contract, and you don't do the music, you don't do the mixing, you don't do the recording, you don't do the distribution, no mastering or duplication? So you go on tour, everybody known your name but you make $25,000 for the year, you could have worked at the post office and had better benefits.

Tysha: And less aggravation!

Tara: Then somebody's asking you to ultimately be somebody for the rest of your life, and you know you're going to change and grow and they not going to change with you. Then you stuck in playing role and acting for the rest of your life, being somebody that you have no desire in being.

AWOL: Can you talk about some of the activist or community service aspects of yours music and performance?

Tysha: We did some stuff for the children around my area in Nicetown. We talked to the children about culture, community, respect, responsibility all of the things that we are discouraged from. We as adults have to give these young people as a clear picture of what's going on. It's our responsibility to educate the young people.

As you know I'm declaring my nationality, which we have been totally lied to about. When you ask a black person who they are they like, "I'm black and I was born here," well black is not a nationality, so that's basically my political focus on self-determination claiming our heritage and history as our own.

Until we do that, you just have no idea who you are, so I think, in hip-hop and seeing its growth, we constantly allow ourselves to be redefined by the dominant culture. My political stance is I am a Freeman, Muur of the Washitaw nation and we helped build this nation and that's what I'm claiming and that's what I'm putting out there, cuz people need to know. '

Tara: Word up. Our business is our business not nobody else's business. You got beef with me, you come and see me, You don't go see Time or People and let them play this person against this person.

AWOL: Do you feel like with the industry trying to create this other genre or his new classification hat they are trying to dilute hip hop?


"M.C. No Skills" -- Phat Lip 4.2




Tysha: Yeah well you see the N' Syncs and the Back Street Boys. We've been lulled to sleep in doing all these videos, everybody bling blinging and showing they have cars; there's no creativity, and these white folks have been studying us for the past twenty years and now they're coming out with our steez but they're being creative with it. I'm so tied of seeing tits and ass. I'm a woman and I don't need to see that. I wanna see something creative, I wanna see you do something with your music and make me a move. So now we got Eminem, winning awards for being the most creative hip hop cat.

Tara: It's a lot deeper that what some people realize. We did a show at the Wetlands in New Tork and I was just amazed. There was a handful of black people in a 400-500 crowd, everyone else was white and Asian, Asians with locks and tans and Rastafarian hats. I had to touch the one guy's hair to make sure what it was, I couldn't believe it. Then we get up on stage and they're standing there in amazement. They might as well have pulled out notepads, pens and just took notes because all they did was watch us, the old Crush Brothers, C. Boogie Brown, and then went back and told their friends about us what we did, how we did it and they gonna come out and take our stuff, do it and not put any of us on.
these white folks have been studying us for the past twenty years and now they're coming out with our steez but they're being creative with it. I'm so tied of seeing tits and ass. I'm a woman and I don't need to see that. I wanna see something creative, I wanna see you do something with your music and make me a move. So now we got Eminem, winning awards for being the most creative hip hop cat.


Tysha: The hook that they heard that night was "life's a ghetto game, I want my name to raise you up, to a clear vision of the adverse effect will have you in a mental prison, dependent on a system set up for failure but hip hop is 'bout to bail you out" and they was just like duuuuuh!!!

AWOL: We are in a situation today where young people of color, particularly Latino and African youth, are being targeted by the US military, more so than any colleges or any employers. Coming from the reality of us building their nation to now defending their nation, what kind of light can y'all shine on that?

Tysha: My grandfather was in WWII, and these brothers went out to fight for this country, and when they came back they couldn't get jobs! And it followed suit with every war, and it's not just black people: It's white people too.

I mean, on our money we got "In God We Trust," but you can't mention God anywhere or somebody's gonna get offended, you're going against their right to be atheist or whatever, and I think it falls back to the nationalism thing. If you don't know that you're on Washitaw land, along with your history you ain't gonna get it. Now we're looking at an era in time where a lot of young people are having children and if they are not being properly educated, the same nonsense is going to repeat itself.

It all comes back to knowing who you are, knowing the truth and recognizing it when it's smacking you in the face. We got a lot of brothas and sistas, Christians and Muslims, they wearing they garb, but the religious aspect is only part of it, you claiming some religion: but you need to claim your nationality. For them to keep putting this garbage in our heads, it's keeping us way down, we got to recognize the nationality issue. We gotta claim who we are, the Latino brothas and sistas gotta know they the same thing we are, you a person of color first, and until we get together on that note, we gonna continue to be raped as a people.

Tara: It's all a game cuz they play people and putting them in position where they have little financial income and all the negative issues they constantly throw out there, and people are in that situation and then it comes back to now. That's why Blacks and Latinos are going into the military more than college. It's like playing basketball: "Yeah I go into the military I'll get education, I get to learn guns, I get to travel, and they give you some money; I go play basketball and I might not get to make the big money." So it's just another way of putting some money in somebody's pocket, making them happy for the meantime and by the time they realize what's going on, they too tired or old to fight or do anything about it.

AWOL is a project of the Central Commitee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO) and Revolution Out of truth (ROOTS).

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