Thursday, March 5, 2009

Taking A Look At Everything Part 1.....The Music

I remember there was a time when I always seem to be struggling financially. No matter how much money I made I never seemed to have enough to make it until my next payday. One day I came to the realization that going out a few times a week and buying rounds of drinks and lap dances probably isn’t a good economic plan. I had to cut back or eliminate some of that behavior because I couldn’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. I never stopped liking those things. I just knew I had to sacrifice some of that if I wanted to see changes.

We are having a struggle in our community with violence and murder. Everybody wants to talk about it but it doesn’t seem like no one wants to give up anything to get different results. It’s time to try some different outlooks and make some small sacrifices. One of those things may have to be our music. Now before everybody thinks this is an indictment of hip hop let me say this is bigger than that. There are songs where singers are singing about worse things that the rappers or rapping about. I love music and especially hip hop. I would never stop listening to it. You have to ask yourself however that in a time of crisis like this is it really a good idea for kids to be listening to music that glorifies the very behavior we are all stressing to find a solution to? I can’t remember a time in our history where the music didn’t reflect the mind state and ambitions of the people.

Since slavery we have been singing about whom we are and where we are going. If I am feeling a little down and want a pick me up I listen to a little gospel. If I want to relax I throw on some jazz. If I want to be romantic I am playing Luther. It makes sense that maybe some people listen to derogatory lyrics to validate their mood. I don’t think you can listen to a woman be called a bitch or a whore all day long and not start to think of a few them like that. I also don’t think you can listen to people brag about killing each other and not become desensitized.

I don’t give the music any blame for creating the environment or the circumstances that led to this problem but at this point what can it hurt to take some of this out of the equation and see if it changes the vibe. It can’t hurt anything and at this point everything should be on the table to help find a solution. I’m going to have to work on this one myself because nothing goes better with riding through the city at night like an good old school angry Tupac CD. I still love Scarface, Ice Cube, UGK, and Juvenile but I am willing to do without it if we need to put it away to get these brothers minds off killing one another. We should at least get if off mainstream radio. Since my baby started riding shotgun with me when school started I have come to appreciate the fact that you can be a responsible man and father without compromising your love for the music. When you are dealing with this kind of drama you have to take a look at everything.

1 comment:

Anita said...

I found your blog by accident and became interested. So I have read it through over this past week and I am especially impressed with the way you write about how your thinking keeps developing on some of the things you blog about.

I enjoy reading many of our New Orleans writers who've blogged about our post-Katrina world. Reading them has been partly a way to feel a bond with our shaken community. But it's also a way for me to try to understand people and learn about the things that tear our society apart, all those "isms" and try to find out what I can do to help.

Your blog seems very special to me because you are telling of the growth of your heart and your spirit in the midst of some very difficult years. That you are starting to examine the music you enjoy for how it might affect the development of others, is such a beautiful example of ethical thinking.

I'm sure you have already thought, of course, about your little sidekick and the kind of lyrics you want her to hear you listening to.

Clifton, your journey that you are writing about right now just takes my breath away. You're growing so much and it seems to me you just keep getting it right on so many fronts. Please keep asking the hard questions and coming up with your Cliff-wise answers.

The only thing I could possibly tell you is, as an old person, I know you don't ever get to the place where you don't have to grow anymore. The only thing you have to decide is whether you're in it for the long haul or not. And I already know you are.

My best wishes to you and yours.