Tag Archives: money

What is our legacy?

I do a lot of thinking about where we alleged hip hop generationers are headed. 

I’m a little obsessed with it. And not just as far as race, but relationships particularly. And I’m understanding that hip hop gen’rs aren’t relegated to blacks. Those of us who were raised around it and it’s infiltrated our psyche’s.

Coretta Scott King died today. What does that mean for us? What has that legacy left for us? The idea of “Black Leadership” is so obsolete because it assumes a homogeny that has been obliterated by the progress made during the civil rights movement. Our moving from the back of the bus into “mainstream” society has mainstreamed many of our ideas and behaviors as well. And these behaviors don’t have a single point of reference to be a rallying point as they did before desegregation.

So what happens when we can go anywhere our money can take us? Well that getmore to the point. I believe our segragation is now based on economics. I was raised middle class but my life choices don’t support my tastes and mores. What about poor people? This is real. We don’t like talking about poverty- real poverty that doesn’t’ have anything to do with how much money you have. The poverty that lives in one’s mind.

Money Can Suck It!

Okay, I know I’m supposed to bless money or whatever but right now, I honestly believe that money is something assholes created to piss people off. Okay, maybe not honestly. And when I have money I look down my snobbish nose at poor people. I’m an ass. That’s clear. But this week money made me cry. To be more precise, lack of money made me cry. And my pop once again offered me a chance to come live with him, help him with his business and money up so I can go live in Paris. But the idea of being a 34-year-old woman with an advanced degree leaving my apt of 12 years to have to move in with my dad sent me bawling. It didn’t help that I was cutting up my cucumber dinner. And I’m still fat. At least let me be thinner lord. But I don’t really want that either. I just want something different. I want a change and me sitting up here playing poker on Facebook isn’t going to get me anywhere. So I guess money isn’t the one who can suck it. It appears to be me.

So I’ve not left the house since Tuesday. I went to have a drink at my local watering hole, had a seltzer and cran with some homies and had to leave because I was about to burst into tears. I was so hungry. And the place smelled like meat and cheese and deliciousness and my mouth actively began watering. And it was someone’s anniversary and I thought about how I’m not just temporarily low on cash, but alone. Then that made me think about my choices. Left turns, right turns, returning phone calls, not blowing someone off, seizing an opportunity here or there. All these things got me here. Fear got me here. But that’s not true either. (Oh and I’ve begun lying a bit too.)

After I cried it out and my aunt (who’s also manic) talked me down, I drank the wine I had in the house and it came to me. I don’t regret a single choice I’ve made. Could I have done things differently? You betcha. But who couldn’t have? Really? I should ask John McCain. He really knows what it feels like to be a loser. I just feel like a loser, he really is one.

So in the Zen way, I know money’s coming to me and I’m open and willing to all the money I desire, but it can still suck it right now.

I got my hairs did

For the last two years I’ve been unimaginably MOC (mit-out-cash).  I’ve had a couple of jobs here and there but not nearly enough to actually throw money at the bills on the “other coffee table”.  The one far away from where I’ve holed up on the daybed self medicating with television (among other things).  I don’t even have to go to that part of the room.  It’s like my dressing room- a no mans land of stepped out of pants and shirts that have to be smelled to determine if I have to stand next to the subway doors or can hold the bar to avoid blatant offense.

And my hair has suffered the consequences of my temporary poverty.  But no more.  I’m a Leo.  I slam doors and won’t go outside if my hair is all fucked up.  I can’t live like this.  When I was a teenager, and door slamming was not part of my mother’s deal, she’d ask what my problem was and I’d say, earnestly, “have you seen my hair?"  She’d then tell me to "just call Caroline,” “I can’t afford Caroline, I don’t have any money” (I’m sensing a theme here- but then I was only 15), to which the response was inevitably…“just call Caroline and get outta my face!"  Caroline, my hairdresser from 12-21 was my savior.  And she did Mavis Staples hair, so that tells you how laid my bouncy Oprah perm was.  Then at 21 I cut it all off. 

Well, I didn’t cut it off.  A great big ole lesbian I found in the West Village came to my dorm room at Columbia and cut it off for me. She’d overheard me ask a girl with a dope assed TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro) on a payphone (payphones y’all) where she got her hair cut and the girl gave me her ass to kiss.   After she’d brought her wife and kids to my room to make sure there was no funny business, she HOOKED MY HEAD THE FUCK UP.  My mom was in Zimbabwe at the time and after the deed was done called saying that it’s my mane and I have to keep it.  Whoops, too late.  Maybe you shouldn’t have decided to run away to Africa for a year- ON MY 21ST BIRTHDAY!

Anyhoo, I do believe it’s my mane.  But after several hairstyles- mohawk, which lead to a practically slick dome (which lead my Grandma Charity to ask if I was gay-good story), a gigantic multicolored Afro, twists, braids, and finally locks.  I had a hairdresser I trusted implicitly to do whatever he wanted to my hairs.  Garvin was an artist.  An artist that went from $65 when we started to $165 by the time I quit him (and after he left me waiting for him for 4 HOURS when I was in grad school and every minute counted).  I went to a different stylist to start my locks and only got them done by professionals two times after that (once by Garvin who charged me $150 to do what I’d been doing to myself for free- fuck you dude).  I couldn’t afford it.  I live in Brooklyn and they wanted $100 to step in the door.  I don’t have health insurance anymore, but if there was hair insurance, I felt like I’d paid into my retirement hair plan.  Social Security for my hair, because when it’s outta wack -I’m outta wack.

So with these here locks, my other locked friends keep telling me it’s never gonna not be fuzzy.  I hate fuzzy.  It drives me crazy.  And then I get mad because I said that I’d cut them off if I lost 20 lbs before they hit my shoulders.  They’re at my bra strap now and I look like I’m on steroid medication. And the hairs got more and more unruly.  Thursday after depositing money that should go to to the bill people, I caught sight of myself in the glass.  I looked CRAY CRAY.  When did it become acceptable to me to look like this?  My Grandmas must be rolling in their graves.  I asked myself "Would you walk around Chicago or DC like this?” HELL TO THE NO!!!  So why does Brooklyn get such blatant disrespect?  Hasn’t Brooklyn earned the right to your beauty. Come on blood, give it to the people.  I’d tried to go to a salon that had $45 lock special in the window the day before, but…black people… the girl who does locks wasn’t there.  I made an appointment for the next Tuesday, then saw myself, then walked straight to the salon.

I say all that to say, I got my hairs did.  And I feel like I can take over the world.  I’m going to go into places I want to work and tell them I want to work there because I feel confident and sexy and my hair’s so pretty, who wouldn’t want me around so they can airstroke it (cause don’t go touchin’ my head) and dream about how great their lives would be if they had my hair.  It’s like money in the bank.  I’m even sleeping better.  No tossing and turning cause that’ll rip my scarf off and mess up the whole thing.  Today I’m going to the Auto Show and I’m sure I’m going to find a man who wants to take me to dinner so he can stare at my pretty hairs (and not the ones on my chin either…). 

There’s no stopping me now.

Dispondant

I guess I don’t write because I don’t feel like I have anything to say. I’ve started a storytelling night at my local bar, but still don’t think what I have to say is important. It’s a problem. I don’t even have a story to tell next Monday, and it’s my damn night. Arghh.

I feel like all of this is bullshit. What’s the point of any of it? I’m feeling very doomsday machine about the entire existence. I guess that’s what depression is, but the side effects of the anti depression meds sound like a hangover to me and drinking’s much more fun. 

I kinda want to tell a story about sex, but really? I can scant remember what that’s even like. What about my childhood? Well if I’m drunk enough, which already says a lot about that story. I don’t have any new stories to tell except what lives in my head. Not having much cash has limited my movements. FALSE. Freaking out about money and having the darkness living just over my head has limited my movements. This is NYC and I’m smart enough to find free shit.

What do I want to say? That I don’t believe in the life I was bred to live. I think the whole system is going down in flames so why try to run a losing race? I can see through the illusion of a middle class ideal and what I interpret as the plastic boringness of it. It seems stupid to continue applying for jobs I don’t want that I never hear back from anyway. The questioning of the choices I’ve made. Fighting hard to move forward and find my own way. All with $37 to my name. 

I’m exhausted and feel like it’s only going to get worse. I don’t believe that all the time and it’s not ingrained in my core. Yet the active part of me gets paralyzed and overwhelmed by it. I have no security anywhere. I have no job, my rent’s always late, my family’s moved from my childhood home, and the part that makes me mad to write- I’m single. 

It makes me mad because I don’t like to identify with the idea that a man would make any of that easier. [Yet see the sex comment above.] 

I’m going to see Liza tonight and maybe her abject crazyness will inspire me to get over myself and stop the voice that tells me it’s all worthless.

Happy post Kiddo, happy post.

It Ain’t Free

I wrote this in 2004….

Irony’s always ironic.

America pumps it’s market driven interests throughout the globe only to naively ask, “Why do people hate us?” and then answer their own question with “because we’re free”. Now I now one true fact about my life – IT AIN’T FREE.

Art ain’t free. It’s very expensive when working within the capitalist model. Working outside that model? Here in the US that’s called underground. To be an underground artist takes work and perserverance and either rich parents or a job that’ll pay a living wage. Not that it can’t be done- but we’re talking about models here. Sure the underground model can work. It builds prestige, a market base and respect among comrades. The most important product of this work is the integrity the artists feels about the art s/he’s creating. The integrity of the work, the spirituality of the creative process, perhaps even the illumination of truths are indeed rewards in themselves to the artist. But will it support you? Probably not. And I’m sure there is somebody this has worked for but I’m talking about large monetary scale support. But how much money does one really need? Does the truth sound better or ring truer when delivered in a Bentley?

Underground is what it is because it’s outside the radar of populust consumptionist culture. Any hip-hop created outside the states is underground in the US. Any art aimed at communities of color that isn’t commercially marketed is called underground. Once the underground moves into the light of success it loses the edge- some argue the truthfulness- of it’s alleged pre capitalist roots. Finding diasporic artistic movements and contributions is an effort to Americans. To find out about different (read as non American) forms of artistic revolutions takes effort. It takes time and desire to experience something else. Why when bred in a culture that tells you that you are what everyone else on the planet either wants to be or destroy, would you look outside to find other modes of artistic expression? MTV et al barely show non mass produced music and images from within the US. When you’re told that art is either an imitation or a negation of what you believe to be art, why would you not believe that your expressions (and for a lot- not all- of this generation of “urban” youth it’s hip hop) can’t be translated into a global struggle against oppression?

Why can’t we Americans get up off of that? Because it’s a “Lovely Day” when the Gap tells us to all look alike like most proletarian/ elite models. We see through the unitarianism of our systems, not specifically governmental, but the transnational bent of American corporations the need to create a consistent market base for their products. Products! It’s sad to think that James Baldwin, Fela Kuti, Gil Scott Heron, Nina Simone, etc could be thought of as product. But when looking at the current cultural landscape of mass produced “artistic” endeavors… you have to wonder if you would even have heard of them today. When we make an effort to move through cultural differences it’s apparent that colored artists all over the world living in “decolonized” war zones are moving in a similar rhythm.

True power comes from controlling one’s own destiny. Money is not (always) the answer to that problem. Changes in policy, educational curriculum, early cultural and media studies education are some of the steps to freeing the minds of youth of color to see the links they are in the struggle for the global destruction of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Moving past methods of control and searching for ways to find truth and integrity globally through art could be the key to bridging power structures leading to the bonding of the links to personal freedom.

This economy is some BS

So I’m trying to find somewhere to lay my kinky head in Paris and this Euro to dollar conversion is a heartbreaker. Aren’t we the leaders of the free world?

Yesterday, the world’s most corrupt real estate manager said in a press speech that the economy is still growing.

WTF? IS HE ON CRACK? Every country on the planet is doing better than us. Mexican pesos are catching up with dollars. PESOS!! So I’m trying to be all international like and as soon as I buy a $1200 tix to Copenhagen and Paris… the news says, “not the right time for a European vacation”. Oh, really? Thanks for the NEWS!

But more than that, are people even aware of the isolationism happening? If Americans, who are terrible travelers, can’t make their annual sojourn to Europe, will the Europeans have to stay home and enjoy summers in their native land?

NAH.

Cause Manhattan is still cheaper than Paris if you get paid in Euros. I want to get paid in Euros. I really wish I’d done this traveling when I was younger. I wouldn’t care if I had bedbug bites or if I had to share a toilet down the hall with a bunch of weird Germans (i mean… they’re weird- they just are). I’d have been fabulous and free and tossing Francs around willy nilly. Or even when the Euro hit the scene and it was like pesos. Ahhh, the 90’s.

So I’m going to stay with two of my friends for a few days all cramped up in a tiny French apt. in the 13th (maybe 11th) and when they leave I’ll be able to stretch my legs and bring home strange Frenchmen. Good Living.

But he’s going to have to buy the wine.