There is this certain motivation that came over me while I watched Barack Obama's legendary speech on race.
It reminded me of when I heard Rapper's Delight for the first time back in 1979. I remember clearly the moment I put that record on. It spoke not just for me but in a way was speaking from me, saying the things I wanted to say and the way I had wanted to say them but hadn't known how. At the moment I- as I would realize later it was my entire generation- had a voice. I felt the exact same feeling as I watched Barack give his speech nearly 30 years later.
There is a certain complacency that comes with watching history happen right before your eyes on the TV and computer screen nowadays. I remember watching something hit one of the Twin Towers live on my TV when I thought I was turning on the Today show back in 2001 and then later that day going out to dinner with my then girlfriend and commenting on how beautiful and serene an evening it was in NYC with the bridges and tunnels closed off. I believe that one day people will look back at the first decade of this new century and know that these ten years have changed our perspective on the world. I say all this to say that I'd be lying if said tears fell from my eyes during Barack's speech. But there was a moment that I remember, clear as a sunny day, that I felt finally there is a politician/ human representative that clearly was thinking and saying what I had thought and wanted to say.
So Now that Sen. Barack Obama has won the Democratic Nomination, or more pointedly Hillary Clinton had dropped out and endorsed him, the reality of the first black President is starting to take form. This is an email conversation with a female friend regarding whether or not he'd be willing to take Hillary as his running mate:
mums-yeah it's seeming more and more like a bad idea but I just feel that he might have a hard time with a lot of people if he doesn't take her. in either case its obvious she wants it. I got really frustrated with all those people who were saying that they'd vote for anybody else other than Obama, including McCain, if Hillary doesn't get the nomination. I just think that is crazy. 18 million people did vote for her. he can't just sneeze at that. But I am convinced she is Crazy though.
FF-yeah.... i know what you mean. crazy but true: my own mother said she’d vote for mccain if obama was the democratic nominee. i was appalled. my liberal dad said he’d vote for obama but didn’t like him (and when i said obama’s the kennedy of our generation, and that kennedy was equally ‘inexperienced’ when he ran, he said there was a big difference because ‘kennedy had a lot of state government experience when he ran for president’ !!!??!)
i just worry that a lot of people dislike hillary so much that they’d be really disappointed in obama if he picks her. because, conversely, i spoke to A LOT of people (more obama supporters than hillary supporters) who said they’d refuse to vote for hillary if she was the nominee. will they then think obama’s full of shit for saying she doesn’t represent ‘change’ if he picks her as vp? i think he’d do better to choose strickland... or someone equally experienced but who doesn’t already have as big a negativity rating as clinton...
anyway, if i remember correctly the bet had to do both with obama picking her but also with my contention that she wouldn’t accept and wasn’t interested... and you said she would and was. so i think if he DOESN’T pick her but she already said she wants it, it’s a tie. what do you think?
mums-ahhh... a tie, yes... anyway I can get some Sasabune, I'll take it. :)
I watched some youtube clips from West Virginia about people saying they'd never vote for Obama. some are clearly racist but there is something else going on I think. My own black mother said she refuses to vote for him. Other than obvious racism, I think there is a thing that the older generation has against him. I've watched every speech, every debate and listened to pundit after pundit from CNN to MSNBC to the Huffington Post to Politco to the New York times and even Fox news! There aren't many who know more about what is going on in this race than me and I still cannot see what is unlikable about Barack Obama. But last week there was a string debate in the opinion section of the daily news of whether he was the anti-christ or not. I understand my mother not voting for him because she is a conservative and is Christian and pro-life. so McCain represents her issues but she was ready to vote for Hillary now it's McCain. But for any pro-choice people to switch to McCain just because they hate Obama is just ridiculous. and visa verse for Obama Supporters even though you can explain away the distaste in the mouth for Hillary Clinton a lot better. I really believe for People over 55 Obama represents Culture passing them by. I can understand it a bit. I had a brief moment where I was mad because I couldn't learn the new dances the kids were doing. silly.
By the way we had a bet about an Obama/Hillary ticket. I said she's wants the VP slot and would take it. She said that Hillary wouldn't want it and wouldn't take it if offered. The prize is a sushi dinner at Sasabune which is hands down some of the best sushi I've had in my life. It's melt in your mouth good. I think I won but It's up in the air. I think she's trying to sneak a 'tie' past me.
So now I'm inspired by the progress of Barack Obama. The reality has always been I can be anything I want to be if only I just put my mind to it. But being a Black man in this country has furnished me with a shit load of valid excuses I'm pretty dependent upon for not living up to my potential. That's right I said it. I think it can be said for a lot of us that there is a certain comfort in that dependance. "Why should I do anything, I ain't allowed to be nothing in this country no how". But now forty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther (The, like a lot of white politicians like to mistakingly say) King, a man of African Heritage is the Democratic Nominee for President of The United States. I can do anything.
And now that I'm sure I can do anything I'm realizing that the getting up to do it is the hardest part. A good friend passed on a book to me called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Once I opened the front cover to read it I finished it that day, jogging around the block in between. I haven't jogged again since but I DO think about it everyday. Maybe I'll go in the morning.
And Barack has become the topic of conversation with all kinds of people on many different levels. I ran into my old friend
The Mighty Mos Def
He was chilling in the village out front a popular health food store drinking a smoothy, listening to some tunes, this past weekend. We spoke for a good hour, maybe more. The conversation started with the traditional, "what up man how you been? Chilln Chilln, right". But it took a sharp turn towards some sensibility once Barack was mentioned. After the, "yo son did you EVER believe we'd see it in our lifetime" wordless look we gave each other the conversation turned to the environment, health and self-worth issues in the black community, how our gifts as artists can really make a change in the world. I even found myself confessing something I've wanted to say to him for some time now. In brief, I told him about the depression I had fell into as an artist a while ago watching his success along with Jill Scott's, Erykah's, Talib's, Saul William's, Alicia Keys and many others whom I came up with in the most invigorating part of my artistic life, and not having it truly realized it on my own. It was a pleasure to have my friend MosDef aka Dante Smith that I've known for over 15 years, remind me of my strength and worth in between saying hello to random fans. "Just keep doing you muMs. keep pushing, grinding. Right now is a beautiful time. It's a beautiful time". He kept saying that. "It's a beautiful time". It is. It is a historic and beautiful time.
In some more inspired time, I found myself surfing the net. I came across this documentary about a floating Island of garbage in the Pacific Ocean the size of Texas. We may have already signed our death warrant as humans. We make plastic that isn't degradable. We throw it away. It gets in the ocean. The fish ingest it, We eat the fish. hahaha... oh shit!