Like so many, New York had a pull on me even before I moved there. The benefit of growing up in the 90s meant there was SO much good music, hip hop specifically, happening there that I had to go even when I had no idea what I was going to do there. I grew up, really, in New York even though I was raised in Detroit and born in Pasadena. New York made me an adult.
If it hadn’t been for the Native Tongue movement, Jazzmataz and Digable Planets, I have no idea what kind of person I would have turned out to be. Scratch that. If that music hadn’t affected me like it did, I don’t know what I would be now. The whole idea that there was a quest for identity and a consciousness that nobody else seemed to really need except for a selected group of us, was an amazing moment to be connected to.
I get weary of docs about that time because, well, if you didn’t love it and didn’t feel like it was pulsing through your veins, then it’s hard to capture. Michael Rapaport obviously loved it as much as many because his doc “Beats Rhymes Life”, all about the journey of A Tribe Called Quest, captures it like he was taking a picture of each lyric, each loop, each crazy concert where we all nodded our heads so hard that we came away dizzy.
I can remember most of my growing up moments with this soundtrack underneath. I remember Pierre Bennu giving me a tape of a De La Soul album and playing it until it broke. I remember listening to Midnight Marauders in my Shockwave extra bass Sony Walkman, the joint vibrating, while sitting on the 4 train to Brooklyn. Bonita Applebaum set a standard for how I wanted anybody to step to me. It’s just clearly amazing to remember these moments and how they’ve built up like muscle in my whole being. Like jazz, this kind of hip hop will never leave me and I’m so grateful for that.
Every group that is formed should watch this doc. Not just hip hop groups but any time you work with people you start off caring about like family and then realize that sometimes, when you grow up, the dynamic doesn’t always keep always keep you on the same page. And that’s okay.
Hopefully folks won’t view the non-beef between Phife and Q Tip as an impetus to watch some dramatic tale unfold. It’s really about how art can be so collective and it’s process can be so dividing. At the end of the day, what lives is the music, thank whatever diety that’s over that. The group succeeded because they are still at the top of the major playlist of so many around the world. It’s just life.
I stan this video, this song, this choreography, this…oh just this.
thanks to Bossip
(Please note, this post is heavily influenced by the emotionality of PMS - it’s real)
This weekend, sparked by a couple of events, made me aware that times in our lives are like cities we live in for a time and the move on through. I was remembering people that I used to be
so close to and how heavily dependent (or so I thought) my life was on my relationship with them - friends, friends close as family, etc. This isn’t about missing or regret because neither of those feelings came up. This is more about realizing that I’ve grown as a human being beyond anything that I could’ve imagined for myself. Think expansion more than being “better off”. I’ve been able to look back at my old self and see events and relationships that served a specific purposes and been able to put them in their appropriate photo album.
Life really does feel like a journey lately.
I’m remembering people like sights to visit on a vacation. I’m remembering how once seeming large events are now put into perspective and letting them fade into the scenery. It’s kind of nice to realize that you don’t need to grasp on to people as you if they would leave if you let go. Sometimes it’s good to let go so you can let yourself go and you can expand.
It’s funny to feel or realize that you have friends in your life who are moving in a direction that you’re not going into. And it’s okay. I feel like at the end of the day/month/year/decade, maybe you can pow wow about two different experiences and share.
This post is so vague and esoteric - internal - what a welcome back from a long break of blogging. But it’s necessary for me anyways to document for what used to be years’ long guilt of not going above and beyond to stay in touch with certain old friends. I’m letting myself be okay with doing what I can and allowing life to charter on.
I feel grown. Deep.
Anyways, this to send love to all of those whom I never talk to but used to regularly. I hope life is whipping great joys up like a cotton candy machine!
This video is Kill Billy Genius. Even for “older” women like myself, the dancing totally takes me back to when people really memorized routines for videos. Even if you don’t get Lady Gaga, you have got to admit that she has put her own box around herself and nobody else is able to penetrate it. Everyone else is damn near xeroxing each other. Hell, she even made Beyonce avant garde (off page that is - we all know Miss Thing loves to pull some “Mahogany” shots on the regular)…not so much for the acting though. Sorry, B. I stan for you but you need to pull a Marilyn Monroe and get some more method training. Tyrese…just thank them as many ways as you can, brother. Pray to the relevancy gods…
This is my friend/web designer’s lovely portfolio. She was doing me a favor and I decided to keep this here because it’s very nice and the world needs more nice.
It may very well be that I’ve hit that age that my parents kept telling me about when I was young. When I would do the latest dance that I peeped from from RapCity (back when BET played videos), my father swore up and down I was having an attack. When I insisted I needed the following: big black boots, a pair of coveralls from my dad’s job at Ford, several 40 Acres T Shirts, jeans that would slide down without a belt and a man’s jogging suit (not to mention all the t-shirts that mysteriously disappeared from my dad’s closet and the big gold hoop earrings my mom swore she just bought), my parents were concerned. Why didn’t I wear dresses? Why didn’t I wear my size? How come all my sleeves got pulled down past my fingers? I wrote them off as not being in style. They realized that they had crossed the line of fashion. Under no circumstances were they going to dress like TLC (not the channel, kids, the group) or Father MC. I think that’s when they realized they were grown.
And here I am at the crossroads. I’ve just been reading all of my fashion magazines and, for the first time in ages, my nose stayed wrinkled up the whole time. Why is I think all these models look like 1980 suburban housewives - except in stick versions? Because they do. And that’s the style. Except not for me. Sure we’ve all experienced a time when the “season” wasn’t for us. We find ways to tie us over. We make sure our bootleg jeans are in good condition. We make sure the t-shirts stay soft and layered and you ride it out. Except I just saw a plethora of MC Hammer pants and I fear that I may not be able to ride this one out.
It could be that, pre-rap 1980s was not a good time for me. I didn’t like neon anything. I was not a fan of jewel tones (in fact, my dad insisted that I didn’t own one bit of color in my all black wardrobe - and for a few years, he was right!). I don’t want to look like I fell out of a Wham! video. Boy George could wear enough color for me and him. I would hold it down on the neutral side. That was the beauty of Madonna. She wore outlandish things but mostly in monotones. White. Black. Naked. Whatever. The Lego colors have got to stop. We are grown people! Casual 80s prom is not a fashion style - it’s a distant memory. A time when you can laugh about spiking the punch ball or lamented with Molly Ringwald about how unfair life was (even though she had a more exciting life than any parent). Dressing like teenagers will not give us our youth back. If anything, it will make us like the Michael Jordan that came back from retirement - sad and forgettable.
I implore you to rebel, people. Write your local fashion editor. Send Twitters to Anna Wintour. Tell Lady Gaga to put her teacup down. Stop encouraging these people! If you choose not to listen to me, go ahead with your ugly pumps and short frump dresses. See if I care. I’ll just be that out of style chick insisting you guys are having an attack.
I am all for people staging protests. In fact, it’s actually kind of cute when these people are mostly folks who’ve decided what their reality is, generally don’t have solutions to current problems and specifically didn’t have much to say when the basis of our current havoc starting floating around many years ago. It’s almost starting to get cliche - our politics. Democrats/Liberals/all around non rich people who have a certain entitlement issue about them are usually pummeled for voicing their opinions about trickle down theories, budget favors for major corporations, going to war when we’re broke over reasons that aren’t transparent. I mean the list could go on but I’d really sound like Michael from Archie Bunker. Nobody ever won that argument. It just ended in offensive yuk yuks. Hey, wait. I think we have something here. Maybe that’s what the tea parties are. Offensive yuk yuks. Me and every other person who feels like our current President is really trying to make a difference here (what happened to all those conservatives who didn’t criticize George Bush because they were taught to respect their current President - was that hogwash?) have wondered when the solutions instead of the “nos” from the other sides will come in. Is tea going to help the economy? I wasn’t a genius in high school but I do remember some Econ 101 (with my orange crazy curly haired Magnum PI wannabe teacher). The money has got to come from somewhere or else that lovely “super power” title that we all hold so dear is going to get crowned to some other country. How would you like them apples? Like Obama said, “no money, no customers, no customers, no business.” Instead of pouring tea in the water, why don’t you go buy some more tea? And cake. And a vacation. And a car. And a house or something. Pull that dough out of your mattress and give it to a local sign maker instead of being cheap and putting your magic markers to poster board and holding it up at Veteran sites (see Kansas Vet Memorial sites).
Here’s a little ditty pulled from the Cato Institute:
President Bush has presided over the largest overall increase in inflation-adjusted federal spending since Lyndon B. Johnson. Even after excluding spending on defense and homeland security, Bush is still the biggest-spending president in 30 years. His 2006 budget doesn’t cut enough spending to change his place in history, either.
Total government spending grew by 33 percent during Bush’s first term. The federal budget as a share of the economy grew from 18.5 percent of GDP on Clinton’s last day in office to 20.3 percent by the end of Bush’s first term.
The Republican Congress has enthusiastically assisted the budget bloat. Inflation-adjusted spending on the combined budgets of the 101 largest programs they vowed to eliminate in 1995 has grown by 27 percent.
Wait, I thought you Republicans wanted less government. How did your boy get to grow it more? Confused? Me too. Here’s a listing of the past 8 years of debt from the Bureau of Public Debt (we have some folks tracking this stuff, kids):
What exactly is your protest about? Is it about keeping your business as usual at a time when there is no such thing as usual or are you throwing party tantrums? If it’s party thing, drink your tea and buy some cake so you can stimulate the economy and stop running your mouth about stuff you don’t want to understand.
Please unretrograde yourself. It’s not nice.
It’s that time of week to hear the best Overheards in NY! No city like it in the world.
The best Overheard in New York quotes from last week, by your votes:
Confused man: Does this train stop at 48th St?
Four random people, in unison: No!
Train conductor on loudspeaker: The next stop is 48th Street.
(confused man looks even more confused)
–Downtown V Train
Overheard by: jonescicles
But He Wrote It under the Pseudonym “Anne Frank”
Redhead: Do you keep a standard diary?
Redhead: You should. Winston Churchill did, and Winston Churchill won World War II.
Brunette: I think Hitler had a diary, too.
–Fort Greene Park
Overheard by: Lulu
Weren’t You Jamaican Yesterday?
Teenager: I don’t know if I would wear a fur coat, ever.
Friend: I know I would, just as long as it wasn’t raccoon…raccoons are just gross.
Hobo with heavy Russian accent: In mother Russia raccoon wear you!
Random girl: Mr. Smith*, you should come see the play tonight. I’m playing a retard and a Barbie!
Teacher: That must be quite a stretch for you.
–Bard High School Early College
I Thought This Was a Bus
Conductor #1: We are sorry for the delay, there is a stalled e train at 7th Avenue. We will be going uptown on the…uhm…which line are we going on?
Conductor #2 (exasperated): I have no fucking clue.
Overheard by: So how am i getting home?
Soon I will be 35 and I could write this and say I had all these expectations about where I thought I’d be by now but really I’d be a liar because I’ve always harbored the deep dark secret that I see time lines as blurry dream sticks that just bounce around. My dad asked me what I wanted to be when I was kid and I said lawyer because I knew he wanted to hear either that or doctor but I had no desire to see any blood on purpose any time soon. We’d just come back from a field trip to the morgue at Wayne State University (still trying to work out who thought it was a good idea for sixth graders to go the morgue). Did I see years of schooling for this default legal field that was never to be mine? No. I saw LA Law on TV all the time though.
I actually like the age I’m in. I feel adult. I feel sound. I feel like a newborn baby raw with emotions still. And, since my father’s passing three and a half years ago, I feel like I’m more open to guidance. Especially from him. It’s almost necessary in my daily life. He being gone on the physical plane has made me more of a child than ever. Perhaps also I feel so akin to him now because our birthdays are ten days apart. He’s sort of guiding me by ten days! And, as an added bonus, I get a younger brother who thinks he’s older because he’s taller. But he is definitely a wonderful product of this continued spirit rearing I’m getting from Larry Robinson!
Once I thought I’d be married with a kid by now, that much I can admit. I always knew that my writing would take awhile to hit a level of success that most are familiar with. But the family part was something I thought was inevitable. With my big changes this year, I find this place I’m in kind of funny ironic. An ex who’s married with a kid. Me in a loving relationship enjoying the present moment and hoping for a lifetime of continued joy. I don’t have many “supposed to be like this” markers anymore. In an effort to not end up in the situation my mom was in, at an early age, I think I was trying coerce some of the actions of my life to be a certain way (with good intentions of course. children should go further than their parents!) much to no avail. The good things are that I am still loving, that I would love to still have babies, that I am still writing.
I realize it’s been a while since I posted a blog! I blame Facebook. It’s addictive. Updating my status every few hours made it impossible to come up with something fresh to write, in my mind. It’s like lazy writing that Facebook. Plus it’s dangerous, this internet networking thing. I am convinced it set the course of a few “coincidences” from past relationships that led to their demise. I’ll never know for sure but it is dangerous boundary to feel safe in the privacy of your own keyboard as if you weren’t really touching people across the great internet divide. I still feel raw about it sometimes but then I breathe and realize you can’t know what you don’t know until you know.
Another scenario is that of the faux business networking on the internet. Lord knows I love to email folks as the day is long. I’m shy (no, really, I am) and don’t love cold calling new potential managers/agents, etc. I hide behind my @ sign on the real. Except when it comes to be approached to work on new projects. This has happened to me a few times but particularly one instance comes to mind since somebody found me online and approached me to work on a potentially good idea with them given my background in entertainment. Great! Except when I’m invited, especially over the www, I like to feel welcomed and not like I have to re-earn my invite after I sat down and pulled out my wares. Sensing the resistance and the interrogation spotlight coming, I pulled out to finish my damn new screenplay. I mean seriously. I’ve come a long way to allow myself to make these kind of decisions. There was a time where I felt like I had to take what came since it came but I am getting too seasoned for that now. It’s not a boast because I’m not making money off of writing yet but I also didn’t just pick up a pen either. I have to set my internet boundaries this year to avoid these things I am looking at closely with one eye open…it is a condition of the future coming quick I suppose.
Lastly, I just had a thought. Writing is cheaper than therapy. And sometimes I’m just as resistant to each! But not anymore. Life is too short. Pop was here for a reason and that was for me and some others to learn to live. Here’s to being present right now!