God Bless the Child That's Got H.E.R. Own
John over at Tofu Hut has been musi(cki)ng a lot on family. He blessed the blog happy peoples with a brief clip from the brilliant but deeply conflicted comic Richard Pryor. Here's a transcription of the tail end:
A little white kid who lived down the street, hung around, liked the way we talked.
He said, "Really a soul brother fellas. ain't I fellas? Ain't I got a lot of soul?"
"Yeah man, you really a soul brother. Let me have 2 dollars."
Drumroll please. Funny but particularly resonant today having played hooky from my part time while there. For reasons or pure boredom and the desire to be doing my own thing elsewhere (preferrably courtesy of a Mega Million win) I checked out journalist extraordinare Jeff Chang's blog. He had been posting recently about The Source, which, yes, I still enjoy reading. Today he followed up by linking to Hip Hop DX's comprehensive 3 Part Interview with former Source Music Editor Reginald Dennis. In telling The Source's story, Dennis inevitably outlined Dave Mays sketchy character and I can't help but think, from Dennis' accounts, dude sounds a whole lot like that little white kid who lived down the street from Richard Pryor in Peoria, IL.
For all of his love of the ghetto he never learned lesson one of surviving in the hood: Under no circumstances are you to you ever give your lunch money to a bully. It is far better to take the ass whoppin’ than to be some niggas personal ATM. But Dave never seemed to figure that out and that is why he is in the dire straits that he currently finds himself. I once met a man who introduced himself to me as “Dave Mays’ future extorter.” Really, now, is that what you want to be known for? It’s worse than pathetic.
But beyond insight into the Mays and the original Mind Squad, Dennis forecasts a bright future for hip hop culture. A tune seldom heard slipping from the lips of hip hop veterans. "Hip hop is dead," they say. 'The glory days are gone. Revel in the detrituts if you want but your culture, your music, your time is wack.' And along comes Dennis, old school by hip hop accounts but refreshingly new in approach to this officially official cultural behemoth,
Things won’t get better if the best idea that someone can come up with is to try to turn the clock back to 1983 or call the late 80s – early 90s the “golden age.” It’s 2005, and you should be doing your best to make sure that 2005 is considered the best year ever.
From my vantage point I see too many hip-hop intellectuals out here missing the point. I see too many hip-hop elitists who fear change and feel their status as experts will diminish if things move into new and exciting directions. Worst of all, I see too many people wearing the uniform, but who can’t even be bothered to learn anything significant about the culture they claim to love so much. The information is out there, so there is no excuse for ignorance. If you aspire to be a hip-hop journalist, you might want to have a working history of hip-hop journalism. You might want to own a record collection. You might want to have an understanding of the things that are going on in the world today, let alone yesterday. This stuff is important and if you can’t be bothered to accurately document the life and times of your generation and your individual life, then believe me, no one else will. So don’t take any of this stuff for granted and don’t expect someone else to do it for you. Hip-Hop is something that is to be lived, so turn off the radio and the video show and get out there and be about it.”
Faithful to the end.