Black Culture Saved My Life

Photo I took @ the #BLM protest in London Ontario.

How do I start this… how do I start to write a blog simply to express my feelings on the current situations and events when in fact…. I can’t…. I can’t express my feelings because there are no words that would describe them well enough to make anyone reading this understand exactly how disappointed I am that in 2020 a blog like this still needs to be written about how people still need to fight to be treated equally…

I suppose I should start by apologizing to those that follow my website only. I’ve been fairly active on my social media platforms but never enough here.

Secondly I want to dive right into why this blog needed to be written. I am a 35 year old white male. I have a small native bloodline but that’s not relevant to this. I am a hip-hop and R&B artist. I sing, rap, produce, engineer and perform hip-hop and R&B music. I haven’t profited (monetary wise) from the culture as of yet, I’ve actually probably invested more money into it than I’ll ever make back but I wouldn’t change a thing. Making hip-hop music and being a part of the hip-hop scene has given me many great experiences and allowed me to meet some amazing people. Performing hip-hop music has given me opportunities to travel, meet and rock for some of my hero’s. One of my best friends Reggie Retro gave me the tools and knowledge I needed to create my own music and expressions back in 2004.

When I was young I didn’t have much. I didn’t come from a wealthy family and at times we struggled to survive. I remember sleeping in front of space heaters with the oven on in the middle of winter on a Christmas Eve to stay warm cuz the gas company shut the heat off once. I’ve been homeless and hungry, I’ve slept on the streets, I’ve been to jail, I’ve been shot at… I’ve had to rob other people just so I could eat… But even at my lowest, when I thought suicide might be the best option.. I could always find someone to relate to in hip-hop.

When Pac said to “hold on, be strong, cuz after every dark night, there’s a bright day after that”…. I cried. When Cube spoke about a corrupt system and police brutality, I felt that, when bone thugs sang that budda love ballad I blazed to that and felt like maybe everything would be ok. It wasn’t just hip-hop either, it was black music in general. I fell in love with many 60’s & 70’s soul musicians like Curtis Mayfield, Nina Simone, Bobby Womack, Bill Withers, Al Green, Ray Charles, The Isley Brothers and so many more… There was just a realness, a pain and sincerity that couldn’t be found or duplicated anywhere else. The weight of oppression, the pain of the struggle, but most importantly the courage and strength to keep pushing forward even when all the odds are stacked against you. This is why black culture saved my life… There is no voices that spoke to me more than those of black artists. They were my hero’s. People that came from nothing but built empires on honesty. It gave me hope. It gave me courage and confidence. If it wasn’t for those voices I can honestly say I wouldn’t be here right now. It was a black man that taught me to make beats, record and helped me express myself through music. It was black culture that welcomed me as a guest to participate in it’s creation and entertainment and it’s black culture that I will stand up for when it comes to racism and systemic racism. If you need to know my position I think it’s pretty clear.

I think it’s sad that after over 100 years people still have to fight for equality. I think it’s sad that the people we pay to protect us, kill people in the streets over… Nothing…

I watched that video a few weeks ago when everyone else on the internet did. It made me so fuckin angry. “I can’t breathe” the man said, “I was hungry, my stomach hurts”…… I’ve been hungry…. I know what it’s like when your stomach hurts from hunger. I’ve done much worse things than write a fraudulent check for food… The only difference is I never had to fear for my life if the police showed up.

What happened to George Floyd was a travesty and an unfortunate example of what black people have to fear everyday. People love to dig up records of transgressions that happened 10+ years ago and say “well he was a criminal!”…. Does that mean he deserved to die? No, he was a human being and just like any human being he deserved a fair trail. It was up to the court to determine if he was a criminal, but George never got that chance.

I attended the protest in London Ontario on June 6th. I have asthma, an autoimmune disease and a pregnant wife but I wore a respirator and took the risk of being there because it’s my home town and it was the right thing to do. I salute everyone and anyone who also took the risk to join the mass protests during this pandemic. I didn’t take many videos or pictures, I was there for the cause not self promotion. It was beautiful. 10,000 people of all different cultures and colors attended and marched the streets of London peacefully. I’ve never seen my city gathered together in such solidarity, it made me proud. Watching the protests all over the world I think it’s become evident that a change needs to happen. Hopefully the bricks we lay today build bridges to better tomorrows. To everyone involved in the fight, I salute you, let’s make the change together!!

#BlackLivesMatter

#BlackCultureSavedMyLife

RIP George Floyd