Fishbone frontman ‘counts down’ to racial harmony
By Gaby Mora
Daily Bruin Staff
Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream. Dr. Madd Vibe (a.k.a. Angelo
Moore of Fishbone) has reason to try and make that dream a reality
this weekend at the Civil Rights Festival Benefit.
The lead singer cites violations of his own civil rights, both
in his personal and professional life, as an impetus to support
King’s dream by standing up for himself in everyday situations. And
despite the fame he has gained headlining national acts like
Lollapalooza and abroad, Moore still faces the same racial tensions
and lives like any other guy Â with a mowhawk and tattoos.
"I’ve never really done anything like this benefit before," says
Moore, "but I feel that I fight for civil rights by voicing my
opinion wherever I may be. I just hope people will pick up the real
meaning behind the lyrics and slogans that we use."
Although Fishbone’s "Fuck Racism" T-shirt logo is more blunt
than anything King would have said, the message is still
essentially the same. This time, however, the message will not be
delivered through marches or fashion Â just dancing and
singing. In the spirit of community pride, the festival will
incorporate musical talent along with visual art and a wide array
of vendors in an effort to promote racial harmony.
Along with Fishbone, artists on the roster include War, MC Lyte,
Solomon Burke with a 17 piece orchestra, Nona Gaye, Des’ree, The
Watts Prophets and The Charlie Musclewhite Band. In conjunction to
the festival, sponsored by the International House of Blues
Foundation and the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC),
is "Countdown to Eternity," an exhibition of photographs of Martin
Luther King by Benedict Fernandez, and "Beyond the Dream," an
exhibition of photographs, film and memorabilia about Ted Watkins
So while some people might attend due to the popularity of the
bands and performers, there is a purpose to the evening other than
good music. Ending society’s racial strains is not a new topic for
Moore, who has extended his talent to another form of expression
through spoken word performances.
As he read poetry to UCLA students in the Ackerman Grand
Ballroom earlier this year, Moore related his experiences as a
black "rock star" in what is considered a white music genre. He
also speaks of encounters with Fishbone fans who enthusiastically
refer to him as their "favorite nigger."
"That’s the kind of thing that really gets me," he explains,
"because I never know who my true friends are. I always have to be
extra cautious, and I really only have a few good friends, despite
the many people who know me."
Moore is also cautious of the fact that the House of Blues
sponsors events in Watts, yet is located in Beverly Hills, an area
he describes as, "the most plastic place of all." He is cynically
amused at the fact that people will go see artists from the ghettos
so long as they are brought into their plush and safe community
Â one reason why he favors the benefit being held in Watts
over any other location.
"In my music, and in my poetry, I just tell the shit how it is
on the streets. And that’s usually not what kids are used to. All
the television shows they watch day in and day out are feeding them
a load of shit. But it’s sugar coated shit, so its easy to
swallow," says Moore in his typically descriptive way. "If they
would just turn the television off for a couple of days and walk
around L.A. they would maybe realize what they have been
With the ethnic food available along with the entertainment, the
benefit is a perfect way to do just that Â turn off the
television and put something better in your stomach, mind and
CONCERT BENEFIT: Countdown to Eternity: A Civil Rights Festival
Benefit. Saturday Oct. 15. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at WLCAC headquarters
10950 S. Central Ave. in Watts (three blocks north of the 105
Freeway). Admission is FREE. For more information call (213)