Beats and Breath - The intersections of culture, politics and the everyday experience. The beats and breath of life.
Archivist, storyteller, reporter, filmmaker and editor, Jackson Allers has focused the majority of his work on the subcultures of his surroundings. He has documented the plight of farm workers in rural North Carolina with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Coles (Duke University 1990-1994); advocated for the legal rights of the Roma population in Kosovo as the media adviser to the former Ombudsman, Marek Antoni Nowicki; created digital-audio archives for a book on ancient Bedouin stories in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, and spent the better part of 25 years writing about and documenting independent arts and culture movements – namely hip-hop and its musical predecessors.
For the last 7-years, Jackson has been based in the Arab world (Beirut, Lebanon) where he has been reporting on politics, and the independent musical trends in the Arab world for outlets like The National, Rolling Stone ME, Al Jazeera English, Democracy Now!, National Public Radio, Red Bull Music Academy Magazine, Free Speech Radio News, Red Flag Magazine, and primarily on his blog Beats and Breath. He is the Managing Editor of the prestigious global hip-hop news and culture website – World Hip Hop Market (est. 2004), and his work on Arab hip-hop in the region has been cited frequently as a reference point in numerous academic settings. Jackson is currently writing a book and the rise of the Arab hip-hop movement, and he continues to crate dig for records in the flea markets and antique stores around the Middle East and North Africa.
IN THE NEWS
My work has been published or aired in places as diverse as: The National, Le Monde, Democracy Now!, Al Jazeera English “People and Power”, Arte, Rolling Stone Magazine ME, Free Speech Radio News, Public Radio International, Interpress Service (IPS), The Project Syndicate, Menassat(dot)com, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Zawya Dow Jones, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Electronic Intifada, LA Weekly, Red Bull Music Academy Magazine, and Radical Media.
Since launching the site, Beats and Breath has been featured in publications like TIME Magazine, The National, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Star (Lebanon), and several regional culture websites. Television and radio appearances include interviews for National Public Radio, Swedish TV, CBC, Arte, France5, Pacifica Radio, Free Speech Radio News, Channel4, BBC, Re-Volt Radio, KPFT 90.1 Fm (Houston, Texas), KPFK 90.7 FM (LA, California), KPFA 94.1 FM (Berkeley, California), Radio du Liban 96.2 FM (Beirut, Lebanon), and several local Arab satellite TV channels.
From 1996 – 2000, Jackson and Carlos put together some of the most seminal musical collaborations in LA-history – inter-generational events bridging the divides between hip-hop culture and the elders that made them – jumbled in with the new soul springing up in between. Think: Horace Tapscott, Billy Higgins, Pharoah Saunders, Gil Scott-Heron, Brian Jackson, Gary Bartz, Les McCann, Eugene McDaniels, Derf Reklaw, Dwight Trible, Kamau Daáood, Terry Callier, Phil Ranelin, Charles Owens, Jessie Sharps, Dr. Art Davis, Leon Mobley, etc. hip-hop generation DJ Prince Paul, The Original Scheme Team (Divine Styler & Cokni O’Dire), Saul Williams, DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, DJ Nu-Mark, Abstract Rude, Aceyalone, The Beat Junkies (J-Rocc, DJ Babu), Anti-pop Consortium, BLK Sunshine, Rob Smith, Mike Ladd, Sonic Sum, Huge Voodoo, and the beat goes on…
Although Jackson turned to journalism full-time late in 2002, he has maintained his connections to his past as an events producer. Since the Spring of 2006, he’s lived and worked in the Middle East as an editor, journalist, and documentary filmmaker. He’s currently working on a book about the rise of Arab hip-hop in the Middle-East and the Diaspora, and has spent the last 4-5 years focusing particularly on the Lebanese hip-hop movement.
In 2010, he completed a 15-minute documentary film with Lebanese filmmaker Siska (edited by Wissam Charaf) about two young rappers from the Palestinian refugee camp south of Beirut – Bourj al Barajneh. The film – “Life from the BBC” – is about the group I-Voice and their struggle to find a backup power generator at their home studio in the camp.
“Life from the BBC” premiered at South by Southwest Music Festival in March 2010 and was an official entry at the Houston Palestine Film Festival in May 2010 and at the Human Rights Film Festival in Beirut, January 2011. In August 2011, “Life from the BBC” also screened at the HBO New York International Latino Film Festival, and in 2012, the film was one of 9 films in the 2012 Norient Musikfilm Festival in Bern, Switzerland.
Jackson continues lecturing on alternative-independent music trends in the Middle East and their intersections with politics, and has concentrated much of his work on the role of Arab Hip-Hop and independent Arab music in the rapidly
- World Hip Hop Market - Est. 2004 – Your Destination for Conscious Global Hip-Hop