Shifting his ever-focused attention from Hip-hop to home-schooling, William Upski Wimsatt is changing perceptions and mixing people up like no other. “We’re turning the education system on its head and making it do headspins!” Billy announces proudly. As a graffiti artist-cum-youth activist, Billy criss-crossed the country on a two-year tour promoting his latest book No More Prisons (Soft Skull, 1999).
This is not the first such tour on which he’s embarked. When he found that school wasn’t teaching him the things that he wanted to learn (he dropped out of Oberlin College), Upski dropped out of college in order to learn more about the current state of things. He hitchhiked across America, stayed in so-called “unsafe” neighborhoods, spent time with as many disparate types of people as he could and wrote his first book. That first volume, Bomb the Suburbs (Subway & Elevated/Soft Skull, 1994), was a plan. A plan for the reconstruction of America’s suburban mentality that has led us further and further away from each other via highways, given us intractable suburban sprawl and gutted our inner cities.
Upski is a child of Hip-hop culture and it shows. Not because he can sling the slang with the best of them, but because he embodies the essence of Hip-hop’s adaptability and raw power.
No More Prisons tells the story behind the publishing of Bomb the Suburbs and its aftermath. It also continues the plans for community restructuring started in that book. This isn’t Bomb the Suburbs or even Bomb the Suburbs, Part Two, but it does continue a lot of Upski’s great ideas, as well as pointing out the demise of what he thought were great ideas.
William Upski Wimsatt is one of America’s great new intellectuals and one of our best new writers. Educate yourself!
[Originally published by Disinformation]
[photo by Sean Walling]