My Right To Tell The Story - MTV Blog

When asked why I do what I do by MTV Staying Alive, the answers seemed pretty simple...

My Right To Tell The Story

Guest blogger Dwain Lucktung has submitted this piece about how he uses his passion for journalism as a form of expression; as part of our “Right To Be Me” series in the run up to the International AIDS Conference 2010 in Vienna...

Censorship occurs around the world – padlocking the voices of freedom and expression. Whilst certain powers that be continue to pursue this oppression, I believe journalism (and more so online journalism today) remains the key to unhinging the strangle-hold some corrupt bodies have. I embrace my right to expose the lies and speak the truth, and my passion enables me to do that and share that information with my peers – so why stop now.

Journalism is something I’ve always seen myself doing and something I now do with great pride. It’s so much more than reading, writing and reporting. It’s about communicating, networking, really getting out there, adapting with the world’s audiences and living the stories you write about.

The best students don’t necessarily make the best journalists… I learnt that pretty swiftly following my 3-year crawl through university. I hated mundane lectures, exams and alcoholic/monotone professors, but I lived for the REAL aspects of journalism – the stuff they can’t teach you; bundling your way through a mass protest (for that perfect snapshot), exposing government corruption (with that dangerous frontline atmosphere), reviewing Vancouver’s finest on the music scene to interviewing kids on the streets of the Democratic Republic of Congo – and all to bring home a compelling story.

Come to mind, I doubt I could do anything else even partially as well. I’m way too fidgety a person, boredom strikes too easily (yes I was that student dozing off at the back of the lecture hall), but journalism is a 24/7 game I think I’ll be able to play for at least a few more years.

When I was a nervous, stuttering, chubby teen writer bustling through east London, one of my lifelong mentors always told me, ‘Find your voice, and find the power of journalism’. Sounds like a very soppy Spiderman-esque life motto, but that is exactly why journalism is such a personal thing, you are communicating a story that may resonate with so many, yet is so personal at the same time. I still won’t undermine the sensation of seeing your name (however small and italic) credited for a stunning, thought-provoking little piece of media. I think any author, blogger, writer and journalist would get the jist of that cheesy thought…

But there’s the life lesson that I hope to leave for the next generation of budding street reporters. Exercise your right to live and breathe your passion and you will find that not only will you empower yourself but you’ll capture others in turn. And don’t worry about the bags under your eyes, like me – embrace them with a stiff cup of coffee and scheduled power-naps.

Click for the full link here.


Editor's Blog: Gender Power, Platform2 + Snoop Dogg - Ctrl.Alt.Shift

Have you heard of the Robin Hood Tax campaign?? If you haven't you definitely want to get on board this 'steal from the rich to give to the poor' in-your-face activist project. It's all about demanding the big boy bankers to give a tiny proportion (0.05%) of their transactions to those needing the most 'small change' in order to combat the biggest problems of climate change and poverty...

Watch the video below, which features in my Ctrl.Alt.Shift monthly round-up. It's about fighting tax corruption, bigging up the feminist activists shouting proud, the great on-ground work of overseas volunteering programme Platform2, and rubbing shoulders with hip hop's finest - Bizarre to Snoop Doggy Dogg:

Editor's Blog - Gender Power, Platform2 & Snoop Dogg

It's been a while since I did a round-up - blame the hectic world of Ctrl.Alt.Shift (and the ruthless distractions of the World Cup and Wimbledon; of which I lost a bit of pride, and a larger bit of my wallet through various winner-takes-all sweepstake bets).

However, speaking specifically from the CAS editor's hotter than hot seat - I can say it's been nothing short of an exciting and rather blurry first couple of months, with much credit due for the fantastic, ever expanding batch of contributors to the website. With the merely impossible task of listing every bit of content that sent that tingle; here are my recent highlights, in and out of these stuffy CAS walls…

GENDER EMPOWERMENT – as strong as ever on the agenda. The creation of the UN Women body seems solid proof that whilst progress has been made since the days of grave oppression and ‘No vote if you’re a skirt!’ - the job is certainly not done; especially in regions of the world where females remain second-class citizens… still, it’s another step in the right direction, as described here by Adizah Tejani.

Also embodying female voices of inspiration - check out HIV activist Carol Grayson's stunning blogs for us. And keep an eye out for writer Jacqueline Campbell; slightly off the CAS radar (though soon to find a home on our blogroll), she is as outspoken as it gets, hitting hard on gender issue case studies, relentless in the fight for the equal rights and justice for women. Stay tuned, her voice is set to rumble our stage…

Activism spans across all global and social issues which passionate people believe are worth fighting for. Queue the Climate9 crew who I’m thrilled to have on board. The climate change activists (from Plane Stupid) are undeterred by arrests and possible prison sentences (occupying Aberdeen airport was worth it!), and now, fresh from their court room drama, they’re set to deliver a grand series of blogs to demonstrate how they get down. Check out their CAS contributions so far, an interview with C9 member Dan Glass and the beauty of civil disobedience by Richard George.

All the Postcard From The Edge writers (new and old), offering their diaries from across the world, are still going strong.

As are the mass of Platform2 volunteers who are doing a heap of collaborative actions with CAS, from writing for the site about their ten week experiences in developing countries, to launching a stunning EP called ‘I Am The Change’ , to running events and exhibitions; the next one being the ONE : SIX : EIGHT : ZERO art showcase at Proud’s Strand Gallery in central London on July 23. It’ll be free – it’ll be inspirational – it’ll be emotional and memorable. So come on down for a mingle…

My Video of the Week award goes to the latest Robin Hood Tax campaign viral, featuring Sir Ben Kingsley and old CAS ambassador, actor Noel Clarke. This is how you go street on tax corruption and global poverty:

Finally, celeb gossip always lightens the mood, but unlike Now or OK!, here at CAS we ask the questions that go beyond the glitz and glamour and into the pits of fighting injustice and mentalities towards poverty… the good stuff! – so many thanks to our latest targets, Matisyahu, D-12 rap artist Bizarre, K’NAAN (and the many more to come) for stepping up for a CAS Q&A grilling.

Note: The legend that is Snoop Dogg would’ve been a nice addition, however my 1-on-1 with the ‘tha Doggfather’ last week was specifically for RWD (which can be read here). Still, one can dream what the hip hop God would’ve responded to other less conventional questions surrounding poverty, climate change, corruption, HIV stigma and the rest. Nevertheless, beyond chatting about fashion and smashing it up at festivals, it was good to hear Snoop talk about the positive influence of music: “I think music brings a positive change in anybody. Look around at some of these artists, and not just rappers - but those who have come from hard backgrounds and tough lifestyles, or some sort of struggle to get to where they’re at; they’re able to create music to make people understand and appreciate.”

From Glastonbury action to CAS action - we hear that Snoop.

Words: Dwain Lucktung. Editor, Ctrl.Alt.Shift.


Snoop Dogg Interview - RWD Online

The legend was laiiiiid back. The 15 minute sesh flew by as he sat behind his shades spouting quirky remarks. For such a pivotal figure in the hip hop industry, it was a slightly more humble performance than I was expecting by Mr Gin & Juice; who confessed herbal tea was actually his poison of choice before showtime (that part didn't make the cut in this publication - so there's your exclusive).

'Don't meet you heroes because they always disappoint you' is a common phrase amoung journos. And whilst d-o-double G is far from my personal idol, I've got to say the gangsta rapper of hip hop royalty stepped up to my plate as the undisupted Doggfather. Here's the Q&A for RWD online:

Online Interview: Snoop Dogg

After topping the UK singles chart (alongside fellow California-bred Katy Perry), tearing it up at Shepherd’s Bush Empire and smashing the Wireless and Glasto fests – Snoop Dogg remains perched on top of the hip hop food chain. Dwain Lucktung catches up with The legend, Tha Doggfather, to talk about his latest projects, including the Malice In Wonderland album and why he’s the only gangsta rapper to be a Jedi in adidas’ Star Wars spoof…

How did it feel to be part of the adidas Star Wars Cantina project?
It was cool. They were looking for a villain to do his thing ya’ know – and I was the best person for the job.

What’s it like being back in the UK?
It feels good to be back here – happy to finally be able to perform for the people; a lot of the people here appreciate what I do, so I’m very honoured to be back in the UK.

Favourite place to hang?
In London…? Probably my hotel room [laughs].

Have you seen any fashion trends in London that you’ll be taking back to the US?
I just love the whole vibe of London – that’s why it’s always been one of my favourite spots to come; I’m just trying to marinade and take it all in so I can take some of it, whatever, back home with me.

You’re always in an adidas tracksuits. Who’s your favourite person that wears a tracksuit?
It would be Run DMC. They were the ones to make it cool to wear anywhere, no matter what event it was. They were the symbol of the tracksuit, and they helped me figure out how that was what I had to be doing.

(Regarding your acting career) – Are there any UK shows you’d like a shot at?
Well my favourite show don’t come on no more – The Benny Hill Show. That was my favourite, I always dreamed of being on that show [laughs].

There are some rumours flying around about you making an appearance in Coronation Street… any truth in that?
Some big people in big places were trying to make that happen, so tell your mum it might happen. Stay tuned in…

What kind of TV shows in general do you like watching?
I like old school TV shows like Good Times, What’s Happening!!!, The Jeffersons – the latest show I liked was The Wire though; that was a great show.

What can you tell us about your latest album Malice In Wonderland and your various collaborations on it (with the likes of Jazmine Sullivan, Lil Jon, Soulja Boy and others)?
Malice was about my growth as an artist, and where I’m at right now. (As for the collaborations) I worked with certain artists that were appealing to me or anyone that I felt could assist on the song I was putting together. You get so far into the music industry like I am and it’s about making the right decision to continue to do what you’re doing, but working with people you like and have never had the opportunity to work with; and I never have a problem with calling and asking. If I love you and appreciate your music, I’ll tell you – “Hey, I love what you’re doing.”

You’ve got some crunk influences on Malice – is that something you’re planning to work more with?
Yeah, but I’ve always been a fan of music (in general), so it’s like no matter what country it’s coming from, whether the music is brand new or old school, I’ve always had a love for it and been able to take what is considered new and blend it in with the old (and always make it work).

From Boy Better Know, Wiley to Tinchy Stryder, we have a lot of really good grime acts in the UK – have you ever thought of collaborating with some of them?
Yeah definitely! I like Wiley – he’s dope, and I did a remix with Tinie Tempah, so I’m gradually moving my way into the scene here. I feel like that music is well respected here, and it deserves to have worldwide attention; so I’m looking forward to working with some more UK acts.

You played at the Wireless Festival the other day. How did it feel to perform at the festival in front of all those people?
I just love performing in front of people that love me. It doesn’t matter where it is. They always tell me when I did Glastonbury that there were about 90,000 fans or something like that. Whatever. I never pay attention to how many people, I’m more about the expression and the feeling people give me. If I perform in front of 5 people who bring a lot more energy, sometimes those 5 people can bring a better show out of me than 90,000.

You’ve broadcasted shows on YouTube before (Snoop Dogg YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/westfesttv?blend=1&ob=4) – how do you feel about the way websites like that and Twitter are changing the way artists communicate with their fans?
It’s a great way to get up close and personal with your fans, it gives them a chance to actually be with you in a stage moment – it’s not about a script, they see you being you. It also lets you see what the fans love about you.

You seem to feed off the love of your fans. Whether it’s hip hop or pop, do you believe music can be a catalyst for positive change in you, and people in general?
I think music brings a positive change in anybody. Look around at some of these artists, and not just rappers – but those who have come from hard backgrounds and tough lifestyles, or some sort of struggle to get to where they’re at; they’re able to create music to make people understand and appreciate.

You’ve been performing and producing music for long time. What keeps you going? What makes you stop from just laying back and enjoying what you’ve got?
I love what I do. Honestly, I take my job seriously, and when I do music, its fun for me too; I enjoy every minute of it.

What is left for Snoop Dogg to achieve?
Well I’m actually doing what I’m suppose to be doing right now, so it’s not really about goals or achieving things. I don’t have any goals – I just do what I do and it’s just a natural part of who I am.

So what’s next? Anything you’re working on that’s exclusive?
Yeah, I’m working on a new movie and a record called ‘A Woman’s Touch’. It’s a heartfelt movie and album which will be dedicated to all the women in my life including my grandmother, my mum, my wife and my daughter. It’ll be a soft tone Snoop Dogg record that you’ve never heard before…

What’s your advice for relationships, having been in yours for so long?
You’ve got to be friends first, whether that’s your opposite or soul mate. You’ve got to be friends because you’ve got to understand them and they’ve got to understand you.

Snoop Dogg motto?
I go hard. I don’t know how to go half-speed; whether it’s a scrimmage, a practice or a rehearsal, in front of a thousand people or rehearsing by myself – you can’t tell a difference because I always go hard.

Link to full RWD article here