I have always been in love with O’Shea Jackson. The way he carried himself, that street-borne braggadocio mixed with literary genteel, a marred Dionysus not outdone by our screwed up society. The crushing weight of discrimination, heavy to bear, yet O’Shea kept his shoulders up, his head high, never quite frowning. Bothered, but not broken. His Jehri curl, perfect.
Cradled face on twin bed as my heart sighed towards the telly, ankles crossed, marking the beat for Straight Outta Compton. The rest of the clan: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Yella, MC Ren, they were alright, but not the focus of my tween attention. Ice Cube was bad, but not bad meaning bad…well, you know the rest.
Of course I went and watched the documentary this past weekend, of COURSE I did! And please, whatever is causing you to be scared to go, don’t believe the hype. It’s just like Coal Miner’s Daughter. A story of struggle against the status quo, of artistic starvation, of personal definition. The moment Loretta Lynn decides to write and perform a song about birth control, wanting to take back womens’ right to be a human being and not society’s brooding sow, she is forever marred. Instead of being recognized for her bravery in speaking out for the oppressed, she is demonized; her music, considered dangerous.
As I pass the movie lobby poster making note of ‘the most dangerous group in the world’ or whatever, I smirk at the thought of, who labeled N.W.A. as such? They certainly didn’t. What they did with Fuck The Police was utilize momentum to take back the right to be acknowledged as human beings and not society’s kicked down domesticated dogs. There was a scene that was so agitating for me I squeezed my man’s hand really hard, then realized he was angrily squeezing mine back. Damn right, fuck the police, we both expressed in pissed-off embrace.
I knew I was going to cry once E got sick. His voice, his crowd command despite his tiny build, reminds me of my monster days. I let the tears flow then broke a selfish smile at the thought: “I bet you would’ve liked I Blew Up Juarez, E.”
Straight Outta Compton the documentary did everything right. Honored Eazy and Dre; made me smile as I learned more about my tweenage boyfriend’s skills as a writer.
I had my demigod Oprah’s ‘a ha!’ moment at an early age, listening to West Coast rap albums, following Ice Cube’s skyrocketing career, putting into practice what Cube was extolling: people are out to placate, not celebrate, dark individuality. My a ha was realizing everything is not unicorns and rainbows, and I’d be lying to myself if I even attempt to write prose or poetry without darkness. After all, that’s the point of “gangsta” rap: tell the ugly truth, expose the pretty lies.
Great documentary; I will likely own it once it’s out on Blu-Ray.
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