On Monday I lost it.
I never loose it - especially not in the presence of 100 kids watching and confused. Maybe I sounded like a teacher, I scared myself. Here's what happened.
I have been a part of this program called the 411 Initiative for Change that creates tours to inform young people about various issues that they might covering topics like Bullying, Racism, HIV and Girls Rights. Monday was the final show for this program that will be ending after 10 years of bringing artists and media personalities into schools to promote positive change and give kids a forum to speak their minds. The finale show brought together all the artists that have been a part of 411 Initiative over the years including DJ Dopey, Dsisive, Eternia, Rochester Juice, Dwyane Morgan and myself.
Earlier in the week I was watching Chief Keef's "Don't' Like" as a result of a friend sending me a South African parody, The Kwanzaa Krew's "Do Like". The joke video made me laugh. The real video made me want to move to a Shaolin Temple high in the hills to meditate and pray for all of humanity. I understand dumbing down popular culture, but we've reached a level of such staggering stupidity any slower would be leave us soul-less. I guess that might be the point.
Chief Keef "Don't Like"
Kwanzaa Krew "Do Like"
Back to what happened…
Some kids in the front rows were just being kids. They made distracting noises which they thought could be funny creating pops and clicks across the room to one another. Seriously no big deal - there are always others that ARE listening. The host of the show, Ivy Prosper was bravely pushing through the interview in spite of also being distracted. I only saw her lips move without sound and suddenly felt a wave of emotion; anger, worry, passion, power, love - consumed me at once. I turned to the people and said:
I know some of you may or may not take what you see here today seriously. I want you to listen up. The artists that have come here today have taken time out to do so because they want to show you something different from what you are fed from your tv, radio & computer screens everyday. Please show them some serious respect. You are spoon fed so much CRAP (I had to stop myself from saying Bullshit - that was the most PG 13 word I could think of to replace it) that you forget what is bad or good anymore. There is so much negativity that is glamourized. Leave here today knowing that you don't need to keep feeding into the negativity, you can do something good that will put some positivity out there.
I felt so embarrassed. The children cheered.
Then I thought about the message I've been telling girls while on tour with the 411 Initiative. Be honest, be yourself, stand for something.
But I didn't want to sound like a teacher. Wait, maybe I am a teacher.
I've bullied and been bullied, run with gangs, seen the drug game, chilled in Hollywood back stages, dodged casting couches, taught in poverty stricken townships and used Hiphop and music as my passport through all of it. It makes me so angry to witness that which tears down the human spirit be promoted and glamorized repetitively until we no longer recognize the lies that we are sold. We buy, support and share links for these lies. Hey kiddies, pay attention. No clicking noises, no lectures. Stop putting your money, time and most importantly your gift of life into the pockets of irresponsible donkey-crevices that are selling you crap. Don't buy into the ignorance, you're better than that. Pay attention to GOOD in yourself. Be good. Do good. If the stereotype is stupid, then break it and never stop learning.
Sorry for the outburst. Next time I'll write it in a rap song.
"The people that are trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off. How can I?" - Bob Marley.