Saturday, August 18, 2007

Why I Hate Spoken Word/Minority Report

As a black woman this is a traitorous statement. As a graduate of Howard University, former resident of Washington, DC and a writer, this is a blasphemous statement. But I do! All of the shows I have seen (and I've seen WAY more than I want to, I'm always being dragged to one, it seems) have been boring and recycle trite, stale, over-sexed statements that make all the women in room OOOHHH and AHHHHH and Umm, hmmm, girl! Not really my scene. And another reason I hate it, there's always some ridiculous name for the va jay-jay being worked into every single performance. Like honeypot or ocean of chocolate or some other asinine euphemism. The men are always saying things like my beautiful black queen and the women seem to love using warrior, soldier, and African prince a lot when describing men. And PLEASE don't get me started on the smoking. Yea, not at all my idea of interesting, entertaining or enlightening. But, please, prove me wrong. Invite me to a half-decent spoken word event and I'll give you a crisp $100 bill. Well, actually I won't because I don't have one, but I will put a symbolic bill in your had.

BUT, with that said, I love to analyze the lyrics to my favorite music (ridiculous segueway, I know). The closest thing to poetry I'll ever actually enjoy. You also have to know that Jay-z is one of my favorite artists of all time. He made only one good song on his latest album, well, one good song that I liked.

Minority Report is Shawn Carter all the way and at his best exploring some of the issues surrounding Hurricane Katrina and his reaction to the crisis ("Sure I ponied up a mill, but I didn't give my time /So in reality I didn't give a dime"). The MTV video is here.

The song is so powerful, with Ne-Yo singing his remorse and sounds of wind and water in the background. But the lyrics themselves are even better. Read.

People was poor before the hurricane came
But the down pour poured is like when Mary J. sang
Every day it rains, so every day the pain
But ignored them, and showed em the risk was to blame
For life is a chain, cause and effected
Niggas off the chain because they affected
It's a dirty game so whatever is effective
From weed to selling kane, gotta put that in effect
Wouldn't you loot, if you didn't have the loot?
Baby needed food and you stuck on the roof
Helicopter swooped down just to get a scoop
Through his telescopic lens but he didn't scoop you
The next five days, no help ensued
They called you a refugee because you seek refuge
The commander-in-chief just flew by
Did he stop? No, he had a couple seats
Just proved jet blue he's not
Jet flew by the spot
What if he ran out of jet fuel and just dropped
hu,That woulda been something to watch
Helicopters doing fly-bys to take a couple of shots
Couple of portraits then ignored 'em
He'd be just another bush surrounded by a couple orchids
Poor kids just 'cause they were poor kids
Left 'em on they porches same old story in New Orleans
Silly rappers, because we got a couple Porches
MTV stopped by to film our fortresses
We forget the unfortunate
Sure I ponied up a mill, but I didn't give my time
So in reality I didn't give a dime, or a damn
I just put my monies in the hands of the same people that left my people stranded
Nothin' but a bandit
Left them folks abandoned
Damn, that money that we gave was just a band-aid
Can't say we better off than we was before
In synopsis this is my minority report
Can't say we better off than we was before
In synopsis this is my minority report

So many times I'm, covering my eyes
Peeking through my fingers
Tryin' to hide my, frustration at the way that we treat
(Seems like we don't even care)
Turn on the TV, seein' the pain
Sayin' such a shame
Then tryin' to go on with my life
Of that, I too, am guilty
(Seems like we don't even care)
So we send a lil' money, tell 'em it's alright
To be able to sleep at night
You will pay that price
While some of these folks' lost their whole life
(Seems like we don't even care)
Now it wasn't on the nightly news no more
Suddenly it didn't matter to you no more
In the end almost nothing changed
What the hell, what was that for?
(Seems like we don't even care)

Peace Out, My Beautiful Black Brothers and Sisters :)


Moses said...

Nono. I believe you have the wrong way of looking at spoken word. I understand the reasoning of this, and I don't ignore the fact that what you pointed out is very popular in spoken word artists, but you must look in the correct places to find more spiritual poets, who work more with reasoning in there words and use more to define a certain creature than to refer to them in overused exemplifcations. Just google/ask search spoken word events. Generally the events that are a certain date, or certain day every week; are a chance of finding more variety to your spoken word findings.. Give it another chance, theres lots to be gained and discovered.

epiphany said...

I understand where you are coming from within your words of this blog, I do. I have never been to "spoken word" but I've always wanted to. Where I live, we have more of a conservative surrounding here but I know a couple of spots to go and chill I just haven't given it much thought because of what I have seen in the movies and how its portrayed. Maybe ill be a little bit more open...?