“I come up in the street around some real wild brothers, with more than one name and more than one baby mother”-Yasiin Bey.
But some of them–us–flipped shit around. Writing just “some” instead of all is far from endearing, but it’s certainly better than nothing. I tend to recognize where such people came from, and how pretty easily, there’s something instinctual about it. Something more than the black dude head nod when I’m vacationing, though the gratification is less simple. Basketball courts and the army are gold mines for meeting ex-hood niggas. All those dudes who got several women pregnant when they were teenagers but failed at convincing them to terminate, the guys who peddled any drugs they could religiously even when it was less profitable than taking a shitty job, the bullies (especially that dude Terrance who was the first to break my nose, he didn’t make it though but you get the point), those who couldn’t stop smoking weed for one fucking week so someone could hand them one of those “good hospital jobs,” the dudes who had a problem with me walking in their neighborhood even though only lived a block away and everyone caught in between those scenarios.
Sometimes those people, my people, actually grow up. That doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t call me an Uncle Tom or whatever, but it does mean that we can work together, share beers or they can get that ass bust (burst? bursted? bussed? someone help me out here) on the court and violence or law enforcement won’t be a guaranteed ending. And that’s good. When I see people I knew, or sometimes even hoped would be dead by now buying homes, taking care of their families, sometimes even reading. Fucking reading. And talking about education, about what they should have done or will do right from now on (introspection, I know it hurts. I’m in pain every day). It brings me to tears. I’m almost thirty and it feels good to turn to someone else who had no parents, no schooling, no love, no hope and say “we fucking made it!” (Well, sort of, by any other future calculations).
And then something happens that makes me remember. Like when Young Thug expectedly released another poop tinged album. Now normally, I wouldn’t even notice when the music industry sharts out its most recent duplicate of mindless zombie gangster vomit for suburban white kids to bump as a practical representation of black life, but this time. This time, Young Thug was wearing a “dress.” I mean, personally I can get down with the kimono inspired, Samurai Champloo esque outfit more than what I typically see rappers wearing, but that’s just me. More importantly, in all this enlightenment and growth I was happy about coming from ex-hood niggas, I have to say there is a long way to go on homophobia.
I mean damn, it’s like I was transported into a Baptist church or something when the album dropped. It was all “but the kids will see this,” and “he’s teaching my son to be gay,” or worse “a girl.” Real quick though, do any of you people have mothers, sisters, daughters? Wives? Empathy? Humanity? Damn. Being a girl is still at the bottom of your list of respectables huh? (I’ll have to address this in a later, longer post). But yea, Young Thug was a “faggot,” (that one brings back memories) and every derogatory name one might think of for even mildly gentle black boys, and believe me there are plenty. There was this infinite tirade surrounding the implications of Young Thug and his outfit and what it meant for the black community and how people were going to stop listening to his music.
Really? Had you started listening, well trying to listen to his music before that? Granted I’m using the term music loosely but still. I had generally accepted the fact that sure, some people would like him, but some people like black licorice or reality television or centipedes. To each their own right? But if you liked Young Thug’s music up until he wore the dress on his album cover but you’re all reformed, personal growth, better man, looking towards the future, value education, positive living for you and the kids, acceptance of others/one with the world and let’s not forget my personal favorite #moves and counter moves, you might want to help check that rampant homophobia we’ve got looming around if you want a more perfect tomorrow.
I do love those memes with Young Thug in different anime fight scenes though.