SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA---Sunday night I escaped by my lonesome to the great Parkway Speakeasy Theater in Oakland and saw a movie called "Brown Sugar". It had a chewy middle that resembled a love story, but on the outside were the layers named Hip-Hop and Now-and-Then. SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA---Sunday night I escaped by my lonesome to the
great Parkway Speakeasy Theater in Oakland and saw a movie called "Brown Sugar". It had a chewy middle that resembled a love story, but on the outside were the layers named Hip-Hop and Now-and-Then.
Earlier in the week, before deciding whether I was going to stay in the Bay Area or fly down to Miami, I read up on a lot of Allen Iverson "I'm scared of the Philly police" stuff. As people, we always seem to have the need to put others in boxes or categories, and Iverson has been thrown into the hip-hop carton.
He talks about trust and perception, and that's a toughie because, as I'm beginning to learn about it more and more every day, it's either there, or it's not. A couple of mistakes, his overturned conviction dealing with that bowling alley incident in high school, which he served five months in jail, and a weapons charge in 1997, has got him branded by Joe Public.
These are the influential days where a simple mistake could cost you for a lifetime if you let it. There's two ways of those with the trust issues should handle it: 1) Either pack up your horse and go and make the world better for yourself, or 2) Begin to build that trust because you're making the un-trusted feel faithless about the world he encompasses.
Iverson has been called every name in the book, but after a while, you snap, and you have to find some space on your own to settle the demons who continue to giggle in your head, telling you that your mistake, or mistakes will never be exonerated. Not to say that the Philly police doesn't have a Jones for him, but his branding by others and perception of himself through the eyes of the rest of the world, has officially made him paranoid.
For him, it's you're either for me, or against me, and who could blame him?
If you have people around who aren't 100% on your side, and are with you one way face-to-face, then another way when your back is turned, you can't help but to keep your guard up on a continual basis.
No large amount of money or big house can keep away the scrutiny of feeling watched.
I live in the land of alleged tolerance, and I'm dealt with a one-way battle almost every time I take Bay Area transportation. My invisible friend and I ride the BART or MUNI to wherever we need to go, and the seat next to me is, like clockwork, the last to be inhabited. Hence, my "invisible friend" analogy, because there has to be a better reason than ignorance to explain why I've been on crowded buses or trains at times, and people would rather stand.
I thought about changing the mouthwash, maybe going to a different deodorant, but I'm pretty sure it's ignorance that keeps me second-guessing the thoughts of others about me. I don't have cornrows or tattoos, but in a strange way, I know how Iverson is living right now.
I go back to my old neighborhood in the Bronx, and after checking out who's got himself or herself spray-painted on the "tribute wall", surrounded by a scripture from the bible and a little anecdote about when they were around, I hunt down my old friends. Most are still there, and I didn't exactly grow up with those kids from old Brady Bunch episodes.
Some of these dudes were just as rough as the kids Iverson grew up with, and we've seen people shot, stabbed, beaten up, and die. My first up close death came on New Year's Eve when I was 10, and a kid was stealing a bag of potato chips, and the store owners riddled his body with bullets, and the kid laid on the ground for about 25 minutes before a cop or ambulance came to bag him.
Your friends are your friends, and it's up to you to choose to do silly with them or not.
Larry Platt, who wrote "Only