A Not Quite Defense of Inconsideration

Earlier this year, yet again, iconic musician Ms. Lauryn Hill as she insists on being called was late to a show. Two hours to be precise. This time, she left us with a reason, and that reason was, as it was posted on Facebook, as follows:

I don’t show up late to shows because I don’t care. And I have nothing but Love and respect for my fans. The challenge is aligning my energy with the time, taking something that isn’t easily classified or contained, and trying to make it available for others. I don’t have an on/off switch. I am at my best when I am open, rested, sensitive and liberated to express myself as truthfully as possible. For every performance that I’ve arrived to late, there have been countless others where I’ve performed in excess of two hours, beyond what I am contracted to do, pouring everything out on the stage.

Because I care so deeply about the artistic process, I scrutinize, have perfectionist tendencies, and want space made for spontaneity, which is not an easy process, with the many moving parts on the road. Some days we are more successful than others re time.

Now, many people, including myself initially, called bullshit. And it is bullshit because you don’t have people pay to come to see you and you disrespect their time and money by being two hours late. As a consumer, I consider both of those things to be valuable (one much more than the other) and to have them both be wasted is the best way to secure my everlasting dislike of you.

However, because I was thinking of it like a consumer, I didn’t think of it as an artist, as a creative. I didn’t emphasize with her from the point of view of a person who needs to be constantly recharged, especially in a world that seeks to drain every last bit from you. Like her, I am at my best when certain conditions are met. I’m my best at night, when the distractions of the world are minimal. I am my best when I am rested, fully charged. I could rarely get a charge with the type of work I did and due to that I self-medicate(d) a lot just to get through. Even now, even still, I often find myself lacking the energy to be creative, even though I am no longer under the stress I put myself under, because even the distractions are draining (yet I refuse to put them down, but that’s another post for another day).

So what I’m saying is that I understand where Ms. Lauryn Hill as she insits on being called is coming from. Sometimes I can’t be creative right on the spot, on command. For me it’s different because my creativity so far does not require me to be in front of a lot of people, so I can use the excuse. I understand having to be in the right place mentally, emotionally, even spiritually and if that’s what Ms. Lauryn Hill as she insists on being called needs to do in order to perform then I support it, because I get it.

Still, you should not leave people waiting for you for two hours and then come out so late that the venue has to cut the mic because of curfew. When it is time for me to perform to higher expectations that come with running a television show, writing novels or delivering a finished cinematic product, I, knowing how I am, have to do what I can to work within, around and in spite of those character quirks. If I know I have to be in a particular head space to perform, to operate, to let the creativity flow freely through my body, then I will do what I can to get into that space long before it’s time for me to go on. If my office has to be right, my home life, my work life, what ever it is. I will fight the attempts, I will resist the attempts to get me into the zone, but when such a responsibility rests on your shoulders, maybe it’s just me, but I know that I have to rise to the occasion. I could be simplifying it. I’m not 100% in the industry right now, and the only pressure I have is myself, whereas she probably has tons more pressure on her.

Overall though, I can’t condone keeping people waiting, especially when they paid to see me. I can be an inconsiderate person at times, but that’s just downright rude. I’m glad she knows herself, as do I. But because we know ourselves, we have to be prepared and that doesn’t mean getting prepared two hours into a show. No amount of making it up to fans can get them that time nor money back.

P.S. A perfect example of me having to be in the right head space: Ms. Lauryn Hill as she insists on being called committed this faux pas back in May and I’ve just now, in July, had the mind to even write about this subject.

P.P.S. The featured picture is courtesy of Ms. Lauryn Hill’s Facebook page, which you can access here: Ms. Lauryn Hill on Facebook

I Don’t Have the Answers

You know, it’s wild, I thought I had a post lined up for today and I didn’t. Maybe that was a stroke of creative luck because I have something to say that I didn’t plan on saying.

I found out about Alton Sterling’s murder in Baton Rouge, Louisiana last night before I went to bed. To say that I have grown weary of this narrative is an understatement. It takes a little bit of you every time it happens, the murder of a Black American at the hands of White Supremacy, whether it be cops or vigilantes. It takes a piece of your soul because it’s senseless and it hits extremely close to home. My father is a Black man, my grandfather, my uncles, my cousins, my friends, my 16-year-old nephew is a Black boy (despite the narrative that denies childhood and adolescence to us). That could be one of them. I’m reminded of the men and women dying in police custody and think back to how I spent the weekend at the Carson Sheriff’s station several years back. If things were different, that could’ve been me dead in a cell with no answers as to why it happened. It could be my mother, my nieces, sisters…we are all Black in America and any one of us are a potential target.

And it’s a sad reality to live under. That you are a potential target for no other reason than you try to live life as you should live it, free. You see we’ve never really been free in this country, yeah, we don’t have chains around our necks and wrists and ankles, but ever since we were dragged to this piece of rock rooted between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans we have been oppressed. It didn’t stop when our ancestors were symbolically freed from the chains of slavery because we still got Jim Crow segregation afterwards, and it didn’t stop after the gains of the 1960s, because our leaders were assassinated, our movements infiltrated and destroyed from the inside out and the outside in, drugs and guns were flooded into our communities, and families have been torn apart since we got here. It never stopped, White Supremacy and its faithful agents have never let up and even in 2016, when we’re supposed to be enlightened and post-racial (lies) and we have a (half) Black President we’re still being killed. They may not be using ropes dangling from trees and they may not be mutilating our bodies, but they still murder us. They still leave our blood to run red in the streets, our bodies to sit as a reminder, a warning not to step out of line. Know your place.

It is this reality we live under where as soon as tragedy like this strikes, we protest, we pray, we create hashtags. Those are all worthwhile gestures, needed gestures, because the conversation needs to be had, we do need to let people know that we will not be silent about this like White Supremacy wants us to be. But I fear that with the level of evil that we are facing, that will not be enough. However, I understand that to take such an extreme stance should not be done without careful consideration. You cannot go forth without a plan, because there will be consequences no matter what. Turning the other cheek has only resulted in more bullets. Voting doesn’t save us, especially when we are voting in a system designed against our best interests, hell, designed against its own best interests.

I don’t have the answers though. My opinion is just that, an opinion. It’s not totally practical, but then the other, more peaceful methods have only done so much. What’s the answer? How do you combat White Supremacy when it’s so invasive, sewn into the fabric of this very country, it’s documents, it’s way of being, it’s entire existence? How do you combat something that has invaded and colonized our minds so much?

Alton Sterling had five children, and his oldest son, 15-years-old, broke down at the press conference this morning and called out for his father while his mother stood there and held it together. And I know someone looked at that and had not an ounce of sympathy or empathy for that young man and his family. As it has been passed around this morning, they take our fathers away from us and then deride us for being fatherless. This young man’s father was taken away from him, and for what? Because White Supremacy is some nefarious shit, it is destructive, there is no good to be had in it, it is as if this is the ultimate manifestation of Satan himself, to spread havoc the world over and to terrorize. But we are supposed to just sit and take it. No more.

I Almost Had to Throw Captain America to the Bushes

Warning: I’m giving y’all a spoiler alert just in case many of y’all haven’t seen it. I won’t go too much into it, but if you really know what lead up to the Marvel Civil War prior to this film even being made, this may not be an issue for you. Even still, out of respect for those that have not seen the film, I’m putting this up. This review (I guess it’s a review) isn’t spoiler heavy, but there’s enough.

Continue reading “I Almost Had to Throw Captain America to the Bushes”

#RhythmandBluesVarietyHour Vol. 3: Living in Insanity

When I say I’ve been dealing with this monster in my head for years, I mean it. This piece goes back to college, but I probably had the melody and some of the words for it down in high school somewhere.

If I have to say so myself, this is one of the most honest things I’ve ever written.

Continue reading “#RhythmandBluesVarietyHour Vol. 3: Living in Insanity”

Happy Birthday to Me

Hi, I’m Dominique. Today I turn 27 years old.

It’s honestly an age I really didn’t think I would get to, but that’s only because I have a fatalism about my life, like somehow I’ve defied the odds and made it despite myself. But this isn’t going to really be a discussion about mortality, I accepted my fate years ago. But as I am prone to do, this is a reflective piece, because that’s 75% of what I do with my brain. Continue reading “Happy Birthday to Me”

Body Slams and Hard Cams

Cross posted on The Dominate Wrestling fancast main site

I just got my mind blown by Cage versus Willie Mack in the opening match of the season finale of Lucha Underground, one of the best televisions shows on the air right now. Television shows, not just wrestling shows. The storytelling is impeccable, the attention to detail, something we constantly deride the WWE for not having in this day and age, is refreshing. The talent- many ex-WWE stars and stars of Mexican promotion AAA (Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion)- is top notch. The presentation is clean. All of this makes for a very enjoyable program.

Continue reading “Body Slams and Hard Cams”

#RhythmandBluesVarietyHour Vol. 1: Shame

*Note, this is an excerpt from the yet to be published collection Everything But the Kitchen Sink. I’m putting myself out there y’all.

Shame

            So this is a duet. Two ain’t shit partners who realize that they collectively ain’t shit. The perfect relationship.

Shame Written 2/16/05

1

This ain’t another break up song

That’s the last thing we need

But tell me why do you keep on killing me

I want you in my life

I want you in my heart

But you can’t seem to see

And you act like you’re in the dark

Cause it’s a goddamn shame

That you like to act this way

I don’t know what to do

For the sake of me and you

I want you in my heart

I want you for myself

Can’t stand being alone

Don’t want to be with nobody else

2

I ain’t the one tripping

You’re killing me inside

Because you keep coming back late at night

You look right past my face

You keep on playing games

If I’m doing wrong

Then we’re one in the same

Cause I cheat just like you do

Play the game by all the rules

I don’t know what to do

For the sake of me and you

I can’t see how you can look at me

Tell me all these damn lies baby

1

I can’t see how I’d allow you to drive me crazy

You want to break me down, break me down

2

Cause it’s a goddamn shame

That you like to act this way

I don’t know what to do

For the sake of me and you

I want you in my heart

I want you for myself

Can’t stand being alone

Don’t want to be with nobody else

Tell me now

Is this the way things are supposed to be

I wonder how

I ignored this problem, I just couldn’t see

Us falling

Into despair

You’re not being fair

To what I want

Or how I feel

1

I can’t see how you can look at me

Tell me all these damn lies baby

2

I can’t see how I’d allow you to drive me crazy

You want to break me down, break me down

Cause it’s a goddamn shame

That you like to act this way

I don’t know what to do

For the sake of me and you

I want you in my heart

I want you for myself

Can’t stand being alone

Don’t want to be with nobody else