Moving on: lately I’ve been encouraged to continue my life of culture and cultivate my talents with people that reflect the same goals and dreams; I would have included values, but my recent journey has taught me that the importance changes with the environment; there is no need to hold on to something that won’t translate in a new world. This is just apart of growing or recognizing the need to grow; I have a dream and need to pursue it.
Chicago: I’ve been telling people that the city is a first step for a midwesterner; It’s close to home and big. I intended on making Chicago my home for a few years, but thankfully I came to some early conclusions: people who aspire to make films focus their efforts in NY or LA. and that’s where all the other counterparts go to be apart of the industry. So, the city never fit my need as a filmmaker, however as a photographer, my advertising gig was fruitful and I came across many clients. I can be thankful that Chicago taught me how important networking is; I will need it in New York.
New York: Following your dream requires gumption — balls! One can’t succeed with out taking some risks. Thankfully, I have acquired a taste for not settling for just a comfortable lifestyle. Recently, I’ve found that living as a minimalist grants certain freedoms to travel — I chuckle when I hear my friends talk about keeping and moving their furniture they’ve had since college; it’s unnecessary weight — minimalism increases the scope of the journey. The main thing is that I have ideas; I have some contacts; I have the will.
May I not look back, but look forward to achieving what I set out to do.
An offensive, embarrassing, and shameful incident of privilege and racism happened while I was a customer at your store (Urban Outfitters: 00017) on Monday, September 2, 2013.
I’m there for shoes and maybe some pants – but, lo and behold, a long thread of extremely racist ‘Nigger’-laced, post-West-Coast hip-hop comes blaring through the speakers. They must have had eight rappers on there, spitting their angry hearts out.
As a customer of many of your stores in the Chicagoland area, I’m usually confident that the music being played will fit a certain standard – one not intended to offend any potential customer. I’ve even heard that some retail stores receive a stream from headquarters with choice words ‘bleeped’ out.
Someone’s choice to play this song in a store where there seemed to be an all-white sales team, put me and any other present persons of color in an embarrassing situation. Being a young black man and particularly, a young black man living in Chicago – I’ve learned to let things roll off my shoulders. Other options become a losing battle, as a young black man raising his voice about racism is easily tagged as militant, self-righteous, or even worse – the Angry Black Man stereotype. People don’t listen when a stereotype speaks.
So continuing to shop I thought to myself: “This song will be over in a few minutes. How long could it possibly be”.
But as the song went on, my head dropped further to the ground. I asked myself, “Do I, now, have to be ‘that black guy’ – in the middle of all these Lincoln Park white people – that has to tell the manager to please turn that music off?”
Felling isolated, as if I had a camera on my back, I just sank. ‘Nigger’ after ‘Nigger’ after ‘Nigger’, while I was hoping that the song would end – and then, finally, it did. But! The next track came on and continued to use that damn word. I almost got the courage to tell the people behind the desk to turn the music off, but being so angry, would I just reinforce the stereotype of that Angry Black Man? I swallowed my anger, along with my dignity.
Finally, someone must’ve caught wind of the bad vibe and turned off the next disgusting song, mid-track.
I need to let you know why I was offended and embarrassed by that crude song that filled your store for what seemed to be 10 long minutes.
I was offended because of the sales people that were at the store. Forgive me for assuming and I may be wrong, but I don’t believe anyone working at that store understood what it’s like to really be called a ‘nigger’. I don’t believe they know what it’s like to have that word weighing on their shoulders every day. They don’t know what it’s like to be black and walk in Lincoln Park and have white runners do all they can to avoid you. Do they know what it’s like to have to dress a certain way in order to NOT be confused for a ‘nigger’?
The word NIGGER is offensive. It doesn’t matter if a black person is saying it or a person of another color is saying it. It doesn’t matter if Kanye West’s lyrics contain it or Johnny Cash’s lyrics contain it. Quentin Tarantino might use it in his movies, but that doesn’t change the history of the word, it’s meaning, or the impact it can have.
Please don’t be confused by what’s popular and please don’t be confused by the frequent customers you get at your store that THINK they are down. They are not and you are not.
I spend a lot of time discovering music regardless of when it comes out, so I don’t get around to listening to new music until the year after it’s released. That’s why it’s a “playlist” and not a “top” list. I enjoy seeing my list change from year to year.
(in no particular order).
No Idols - Domo Genesis
Whole City Behind Us - Domo Genesis
Roosevelt Island - Eleanor Friedberger
Early Earthquake - Eleanor Friedberger
I Was Playing Drums - Efterklang
Fall Creek Boys Choir - James Blake
Once We All Agree - James Blake
Stop What You’re Doing - James Blake
Love What Happened Here - James Blake
Ineweyu (with Njaaya) - Aurelia
Tio Sam - Aurelia
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out - Otis Redding
A Waste of Time - Otis Redding
Rella - OFWGKTA
Poisonous Darts - GFK
Bass - A$AP Rocky
It’s a Long Way - Caetano Veloso
Nine Out Of Ten - Caetano Veloso
Couch - Earl Sweatshirt
Earl - Earl Sweatshirt
Dat Ass - Earl Sweatshirt
Over Again - Eilen Jewell
Death of an Electric Citizen - Edgar Broughton Bad
Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan
Back On The Motorway - Metronomy
We Broke Free - Metronomy
Leather Head - Wolf Haley
Summertime In England - Van Morrison
You Don’t Pull No Punches, But You Don’t Push The River - Van Morrison
Why Don’t You Try - Leonard Cohen
Dress Rehearsal Rag - Leonard Cohen
Chloe In The Afternoon - St. Vincent
Nutmeg - GFK
Wassup - Tiara Thomas
Clobber - J Money
Duke - J Money
Yes - Sebatian
Black Gold - Foals
Total Life Forever - Foals
2+2 - Ty Segall
Cents - Ty Segall
Destroyed Fortress Reappears - Thee Oh Sees
Barry Bonds - Kanye West
Paranoid - Kanye West
All Of The Lights - Kanye West
FAKUOY - MellowHype
Gun Sounds - MellowHype
Your Cheatin’ Heart - Hank Williams
Lovesick Blues - Hank Williams
After All - Cristian Scott
South Side Of The Sky - Yes
Heart Of The Sunrise - Yes
Stop the World - Mexwell
California Dreamin’ - Bobby Womack
Let Me Be The One You Need - Bill Withers
Money Folder - Madvillian
Lost - Actress
The Tourist - Gonzales
Fax Shadow - Toro Y Moi
The Militia - Gang Starr
The World (Is Going Up In Flames) - Charles Bradley
Lovin You, Baby - Charles Bradley
Songs for Women - Frank Ocean
Super Rich Kids - Frank Ocean
Sierra Leone - Frank Ocean
Glaciers Of Ice - Reakwon
Mama, You Been On My Mind - Johnny Cash
Orange Blossom Special - Johnny Cash
So Near, So Far - Miles Davis
Video Game Characters - Neat Beats
Kung Fu of the Astronaut Drunkards - Neat Beats
Politicians in my Eyes - Death
Bullshittin’ - Hodgy Beats
Ave. - Hodgy Beats
Transylvania - Tyler, the Creator
Cult Shit - Ace (Tyler, the Creator)
Elijah - Alela Diane
I Never Picked Cotton - Johnny Cash
Karma - Waka Flocka Flame
A Closer Walk - Fred Hammond
Drover - Bill Callahan
RE: DEFinition - Black Star
Ya Know - Internet
Down ‘71 (The Getaway) - BONE
Hold Me Back - Rick Ross
3 Hours - Emika
Yoga Flame - Lupe Fiasco
Intro/Hard Work - Dom Kennedy
Hey Love - Sa-Ra Creative Partners
Powa - Tune Yards
Anything to Say You’re Mine - Etta James
My Heart Cries - Etta James
Guitars, Cadillacs- Dwight Yoakam
The Circle Married the Line - Feist
Do Right Woman, Do Right Man - The Flying Burrito Brothers
Victim - Candi Staton
My Name is Trouble - Karen Ann
White Rune - Iceage
Tiliaden Osamnat - Tinarwen
Are you… Can you… Were you? (Felt) - Shabazz Palaces