Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ask Skip Gates if he Got Silk? (Part 2)

So the Tribe launch was a big event, and the "Skip" Gates arrest was also a big event in the States, because it sparked a nationwide discussion on race relations. Now, granted, my experiences with law enforcement have not always been positive, and I can testify to unfair treatment, but in the same breath, I don't think that all police officers are racist, and it doesn't mean that this particular cop was racist, because that would be a broad generalization. I won't really get into it further, because I think history speaks for itself, when looking at race relations in America between African-Americans, or just black people in general, or any other minorities and Law Enforcement.

I also find it very funny, when some people say that "race isn't a factor," but the whole thing started with a white officer responding to a call that two black men were breaking into a home, which happened to be Skip Gates and his driver. After that, the first black female mayor of Cambridge apologized to Gates, but the white police officer refuses to apologize, because he felt he was following procedure. Then the first black president, Barack Obama, said in a press conference that the officers acted "stupidly" in arresting him. Then to counteract his comment, four white presidents of four separate police unions, hold their own press conference to support the white arresting officer, Sergeant James Crowley, and demand that the president apologize to all law enforcement officials for his comments.

I'm not going to say much more on the subject, but forgive me if I don't believe the four white union president's statement that racism and racial profiling doesn't exist in the Cambridge Police Department. What I will say, is that I'm glad it has people revisiting the whole issue of race relations, because believe it or not, some people in America really genuinely believe that racism no longer exists, and often use President-elect Barack Obama as an example, right...

There is always two sides to every story…
(just like the whole incident with Luciano and Freckles in Kingston, google it breddren, google it...)
…so I'm not going to act like I was there, but this is my version of what happened.

When the police officer asked Professor Gates for proof that he lived there, he felt like Allison Hinds in her song, Roll it gal, that moment:

When dem fly up in yuh face Gates
Mek dem know dem place
Numba 1 inna di race yah
Could neva replace...

When Professor Gates followed the police officer, James Crowley outside to the door, demanding his name and badge number, Crowley probably felt like Destra in her song I Dare You, at that moment:

Tonight I'm not in de mood, (so you can gwaan shout and behave rude)
So anyting yu want to do, I dare you, I dare you.

When really what they both need to do, is accept that "things will never be the same, that's just the way it is," like a Tupac remix...

...and so how are the two incidents related, I think the first is the remedy for the latter, or in other words Gates and Crowley should go down to Trinidad for Carnival 2010. Carnival will solve everything, because after Jouvert morning, jumping carnival, and waving dem flag for a week straight, the whole incident would seem less important.

We Jamaicans have reggae, but I have to give it to the Trinis, they definitely have Carnival. When it's carnival time, you forget about all your problems, all your worries, all your fears, and if you don't like somebody, you too busy jumping up and wining, to even remember why you don't like the person. Just enjoying life, even the most hardcore yaad man forgets that he's been listening to Soca 120 hours straight, and might even shout out "Pull-up" once or twice, and bang on the wall at a fete. How do I know all this, well let's just say that I left Piarco International Airport with a big "Quench-Aid" or "Kool-Aid" smile back in 2007, but that's a whole other story...

So my advice to Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley is simply this, go to Carnival and feel like Machel Montano in his song with Beenie Man back in 1999, Outta Space (UFOs), and at that moment, both of you should just:

Jump around like yuh gone insane


Ask Skip Gates if he Got Silk?

Before I start, you say: "Hol on, yow Coppa, is wha kinda title dat?"
And I say: "Alright, cool no man, let me explain."

So for those who don't know, last night was the launch of Tribe's costume line for Trinidad Carnival 2010 (damn, it's 2010, we living in the future, like George Jetson, but no flying-saucer cars, robot-servants, imagine that...)

...but yeah, back to what I was saying, Tribe's costume line launch in Port of Spain, and I say "line," because the ting did set like a toppa-toppa fashion show in Paris, tu juice. So how did I know about the launch, you ask, well let's just say that someone very close to me (who's identity will remain concealed, because of her addiction) is a Carnival addict. One of hundreds, if not thousands, of addicts living overseas, who all stalk the various Trini websites, blogs, etc. together, to try and get the first look at all the costumes from the different bands, and keep up to date on all the events before Carnival. It's basically like a massive cyber-orgy, a virtual countdown to Trini Carnival, you can call it "6-month foreplay" before the big climax February in Port of Spain, when the whole city gets "mad," literally.

And for those of you who still don't know, on July 16, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a renowned black Harvard University professor and scholar, was arrested by a white police officer in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for disorderly conduct, because they were responding to a call about a break-in. If you don't know about Trinidad Carnival or Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, then google it, so you can be up to par, because it would take too long for an explanation of both here.

So now the big question, how are the two related. Well, first off, the Tribe launch was a big event last night, it was broadcast through a live web cast and viewers could comment live online as the event took place. Which by the way, not sure what the deal was with the light, but it kept going out on the stage, which I guess, was not a good look for Tribe, and the best part was all the models kept going, but nobody could see the costumes, maybe they were going for a candle-light effect, set the mood...

Nevertheless, as far as a complete marketing/publicity campaign, Tribe have the ting lock, the motto or catch phrase for this year is "Got Silk?" in reference to the title of the whole costume line, The Secret of Silk. This apparently, according to my source, was the first year it was broadcast live online. So it was a big ting, apparently, and I wasn't complaining, because who would complain about half-naked girls walking up and down the stage, yeah man, big up all my Trini women, I'm like Trick Daddy, except Trick love the kids, but "Coppa love the woman dem."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Memories, Don't Live Like People Do...

Memories dont live like people do
They always 'member you
Whether things are good or bad
Its just the memories that you have...

Before Mos Def made it a hook on a DJ Honda track, I use to beat down the wall when this Beenie Man tune use to play back in the day, the dance use to get, that's when Merciless use to be the "Gal Dem Gizzada" and people use to do the Body Basics to "Go Go Wine, it would be like 8-10 people dancing, and everybody else in a circle ..." Dance use to nice dem time why are we taking this trip down memory lane, you ask? Well, I owe it all to my man Jay-Bee...

There I was, working diligently, sending some music-related e-mails out, because that's what I do, you know I'm a musician right, what's your name girl? Oh sorry deh, excuse me por favor, I was having a bad case of the tour flashbacks ...Where was I...So yeah, I was doing some work online, and I was listening to my man Jay-Bee's show, Supasounds, on WRGP 88.1 FM (FIU needs to send me a check)and I couldn't finish my e-mails, because he kept rinsing some dutty classic hip hop, the type of tracks that make "grown men cry," loose they mind, the type of tracks that mek you get mad, sick, head gone...and beat down the wall like back in the Beenie Man-Memories-Days...If you are a true connoisseur of all things hip-hop, or just music in general, and you have a genuine love for superb word play,beats, and rhymes, then you'll get where I'm coming from, here is a sample of his playlist...

Rakim - Microphone Fiend
Souls of Mischief - From 93 till Infinity

ODB - Brooklyn Zoo
Biggie - Biggie Smalls - It's Unbelievable

Nas - Represent
Group Home - I forget, I think it was Up Against the Wall
Raekwon - Incarcerated Scarfaces

Craig Mack - Flava in your Ear (Remix)
Talib Kweli - The Blast

Smif N' Wessun - Sound Bwoy Buriel
Fu-Schnickens - La Schmoove

Mad Lion - Shoot to Kill
Beatnuts - Watch out Now

Wu-Tang Clan- I think it was Protect Ya Neck, I don't know, I was too busy aligning my neck back in to position....By the time he played the Souls of Mischief, I was done, I rolled over, felt like smoking a cigarette like they do in the movies, taking the sheets off the bed, turning the fan on, kicking the socks off, it was a done deal...

So, yeah, big up to my man Jay-Bee, breddren, you killed it tonight, set well played...So in honor of the Supasounds Mixshow, here is some behind-the-scenes footage from my stint as a co-host on Suapasounds...PEACE to DJ Lady Bullet, respect for the filming, and Mr. Frank Nitts...They were both in the building...As far as I, don't mind me homie, I'm just trying to beat life, cause I can't cheat death, from 93 till Infinity...Word...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Right Now, I'm Not Where I'm Supposed to Be...

Right now, I'm supposed to be at the Vagabond... taking in Stone Groove...but because of the events on June 25, 2009...instead, I am stuck at the yard...With the third replay of Michael Joseph Jackson's funeral playing on the television...stuck with all these thoughts, these reflections on life, and the lives we live, because inspiration can come in many forms, and for every end, there is another beginning...

Many people have many opinions of the man they called the "King of Pop," but the one thing you cannot take away from him, is his catalog of work, his dedication to his art, his work ethic, you can't tek dat from the man...Straight...As an artist, you realize that he started performing at age 5, and continued performing, 45 years strong, now that star, is what dem call true dedication...he performed, literally, till the day he died...and no one can deny his humanitarian is just sad, that when the man was alive, they tore him down, every chance they could get, and I feel like he was never able to truly enjoy his success, because, it sometimes seemed as if it became his burden to carry, and, yo, I know, there were all the allegations, and if they are true, then more fire, but I don't claim to know the truth, but you can't tek whe di man legacy...."He without sin, come cast the first stone" so I'm not here to judge...

With that said, PEACE to the living, Jah bless the deceased, God bless the deceased, REST IN PEACE to all who have passed...not just the famous, but the everyday regular people, the same people that Arrested Development use to sing about...all the mothers, the fathers, the sons, the brothers, the sisters, the daughters, the cousins, the nephews, the nieces...Bless your soul...

Every artist, whether he or she wants to admit it, yearns for immortality, proof that all the pain they endured was not for nothing, that people can remember long after they are gone, the words they left behind, their works of art, their sculptures, their paintings, their children, their buildings, their civilizations, pieces of the soul for the ones closest to enjoy, and if you're lucky, for the entire world to enjoy, and maybe these words,these pieces, will ignite some form of change, perhaps a revolution, maybe the strength to endure the unbearable, the motivation to improve one's self, just make a change, some way, some how, all artists yearn for this, some secretly more than others, they all yearn for proof that they existed...proof that they were here, proof that it was real...

So if you're still reading this...Here is a piece I wrote a few years ago, it seems more than ever, relevant today...A little piece of my soul...Enjoy...

Note to self:

Every day, every night, I leave trails to my existence, so my words can unite, and forever spell R-E-S-I-S-T-A-N-C-E

So I write & ignite, so the people can remember, all my thoughts and my life, when I see my last December

It's my gift to the world, and I hope that she can hear it, on a tape, or CD, so the people, they can share it

Or in print, in a book, for my children's education, so they know how to act, in the face of their frustration

And it's true that my words, may never reach your radio station, but beware when my words inspire generations

Words never die, so do know this - this is just proof that I did exist...

The only thing I want in life is proof that I existed, so when you hear my name, breddren, don't get it twisted

I fight with my music, hit the track double-fisted, so when my life has passed, I hope I never say "I missed it...damn"

This is just a self-declaration of the existence of my generation, simply put, this is just how I feel, and sometimes I feel like life isn't real

Counterfeit, maybe just an illusion, so I had to clear up any kind of confusion

I'm writing, between the blue lines I'm fighting, to prove I was here, words fit for reciting

If I lose my life tonight, the proof I was here is the words that I write

Enlightening myself, the proof of my existence, so when they reminisce, my god...They'll reminisce on my resistance...

My life extends through the ink in my pen, to connect the words so my thoughts live again…In hopes that they all one day comprehend, that all I need to know is I exist in the end...

Whenever that time does arrive, this is just proof that I really was alive

My soul lives on in the words that survive; the soul never dies between the blue lines...memba dat

This is my story, I hope you caught the gist, that this is just proof that I did exist...

Sincerely yours,

Coppa Stone