Jrnl Entry No. 3.8.2001

I went to a poetry / prose reading last night featuring Nathaniel Mackey in Philosophy Hall at Columbia University. I have never heard of this guy in my life. I was just going to have something to do, to get out from  my apartment and perhaps meet some intelligent black people, or better year, intelligent black women. It was to start at 8 P.M. I got there at 7:15 P.M. I left home early in anticipation of traffic. When I got there, the room was empty except for a few people who were setting up a video camera and the speakers, etc. I just chilled and figured I’d wait for a fly honey to come walking up so that I could get my conversation on with her. I waited, and I waited, and I waited, but none arrived. As time reached 7:45 P.M., I sat down behind the girl running the camera and waited for the show to begin.

In walked this tall light skinned man and his son who was just a little shorter than he was. These two white women who were sitting a seat down from me started looking over there at them and started having a conversation. “Oh, look at him, he looks like a young man, not a kid anymore. He looks like his father, look at him.” They were so fascinated with this kid. He came and sat next to me and asked me was I a student at Columbia University. I told him no. Then he asked me was I a student period. I told him I was twenty-seven years old, graduated from college. He said he was 17 deciding what college to attend; Columbia, where his dad is professor or Jazz Studies or something like that, and he could go there for free. He was thinking of Hampton University to get the black experience and party with black kids, as not to be bored to death like I was in college for the most part. He said he wanted to get away from his parents. I told him that New York was the ultimate experience. He’s not gonna experience much that he already hasn’t seen or heard in New York. It would be good to see how different another place is from New York, but for fun and excitement, nothing tops the NY.

I told him my story of moving to New York to become a producer. He said that he raps occasionally but nothing serious. I told him that I once wanted to be a rapper when I was his age. He asked what type of rap I like. I told him that Pharoahe Monch was my favorite MC at the time, and he quickly agreed. He told me that I should go to some Hip Hop thing that takes place on Sundays. He gave me the name and street that it was on. Right before the show started he asked me to kick a rhyme for him so I spit a verse that was a year old. He said it was hot of course. See people who don’t know me or meet me first as an MC, they respect my skill. But if I don’t let people know that I rap, they never suspect it and don’t take me serious when I say I can. Of course of I can, I been doin’ this shit for 14 years now.

The show started with Nathaniel Mackey reading some poetry he wrote in relation to a couple of jazz artist. He read some of his published stories made up of the character “N” who writes talking about his experiences with music and his Jazz band. Mr. Mackey read different stuff for about an hour then they opened the forum up for questioning. I asked was his character “N” inspired by Langston Hughes character “Simple”. He said yes indirectly, and threw some other name at me that it was inspired by. “Simple” is what it reminded me of since I had read some “Simple” stories about six months earlier. When the show was over they had a few refreshments at a table: some cheese and crackers and soda and orange juice.

I was going to talk to the kid some more. His name was Doug. He told me that a lot of people there knew him because his dad was a professor at the school, and I guess a very sociable guy with white people and had his son around them a lot. I couldn’t talk to him though because over came the two white ladies who sat next to me during the reading, and they surrounded him while he was getting refreshments and I was waiting for him to get off line. So I stood over to the side and just ate my food and looked around the room at the people. There were no intelligent black women there who met my taste so I didn’t talk to anyone. I was just waiting to talk to Doug but these ladies didn’t seem to want to leave him alone talking about college and what school was he gonna go to. It was like in the Spike Lee movie “He Got Game” with everybody being so anxious about Jesus Shuttlesworth and what college he was going to play basketball at. At one point I started feeling like these ladies were guarding him from me, the black Hip Hop guy with no education, just a thug off the street who happened to wonder into the room. I was the only one in the room who looked Hip Hop, but that’s the way I roll, and even though a little uncomfortable I repented myself to the fullest. The one lady seemed infatuated with him. She was the one who said he looked like a young man and not a kid anymore. I wouldn’t doubt if she wanted to fuck him or give him head in the near future. That is how much she seemed to be into this kid. So after standing there for 15 minutes I went over and interrupted the ladies and told Doug that I was about to go and I wished him good luck, shook his hand and left.

My daughter Janelle and my mom came and stayed with me for two weeks. It was love having my daughter around. She’s not a bad child at all. I thought I was gonna see another side of her that I couldn’t see during our weekend or day visits in Ohio, but it was just the same. She likes to play and talk and eat. She doesn’t bother shit that she is not supposed to like tapes or CDs. She also likes to watch movies. We watched Toy Story every night before she went to bed. I read her stories before she went to sleep. She wanted to take a bath every night and put her jammies on, as she calls them. At times when I didn’t feel like giving her a bath, she insisted, so I had to oblige.

I took her to Sesame Street at Madison Square Garden and she enjoyed the show. I’d take her out just about every night with me to the grocery store or where ever. We visited my friend Tilly and played drums over his house. She said she was gonna play with his cat, but when we got over there she was scared of it and crying an jumping around on the couch every time the cat got near her. I rode her over the Queen Bridge where she could see all the city lights in the sky line and she liked that a lot. You can see the city from outside my apartment in Queens and she asked me could we go over there the night I was bringing her back from Tilly’s house. I took her over there because she wasn’t sleepy and ready to go home. I rode through the Met Life Insurance building and she liked that a lot also. I took her to the FAO Swartz toy store where I thought she was gonna go crazy asking me to buy her stuff but she didn’t. She asked me to buy her this $60 Angelica sing-a-long doll which I couldn’t afford at the time. I got her a slinky and a saxophone that plays notes and songs of Sesame Street when you push the keys. I took her to walk around in Times Square where I took a few pictures of her. She didn’t complain one time that she wanted to go home, which means that she loves me and my company just as much as her mothers’. That is a good thing that has come out of me fighting in court to see her and spend as much time with her as I can. It was wonderful. I could keep her if I needed to with no problem. I had to do her hair because the braids her mom had put in her hair before she left Ohio started to frizz up like after one week. I did it pretty good too.

I used to do her hair when she’d stay with me for the weekend in Ohio, but I thought it would be different since her hair is longer, but I did pretty well. I was proud of myself. I took off work the two Fridays that she was here to spend the day with her. I took her to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum on the last Friday she was here. She didn’t like it and neither did I. It was pretty boring. She ate good while she was here: oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and mostly chicken for dinner because that is all I cook these days. I’m looking forward to her coming back to stay another two weeks with me. I may just take a week’s vacation next time I get her and drive to Atlanta or something to see my dad or maybe to Mississippi to see my folks there.

I wish I could have had a family, but I guess I’m just an unfortunate one. I ain’t trying to have no mo kidz. I’m about to try and get my balls clipped, which will mean I won’t have kidz by my wife if I ever get married. I think it is bullshit that you can fall in love and get married for practically nothing if you go to the justice of the peace. But when you want to get out of it, you have to pay $700 – $2000 in lawyer fees. You might have to pay alimony, etc. I don’t want to get caught in all that shit. And I’ve learned dealing with Victoria that a woman’s baby is her baby. A man only has rights through a court room and a judge. When it all goes bad, if you don’t have a court order in regards to your kidz, you ain’t got shit. I ain’t gonna be like stupid bitches who have three kidz by niggaz who don’t want to be bothered, trying to be humanitarians, giving birth to beautiful children. I’ve learned from this one experience and I ain’t gonna experiment again, weather it could come out good or bad. I ain’t takin’ another chance.

Jrnl Entry No. 9.13.2000 “MY HIP HOP STORY” PART VI

When my friends and I would drive to New York we’d spend like half the day on 125th, and the other half at The Fulton Mall. We didn’t even spend the night in the city because we thought hotels were too much, and plus we didn’t know anywhere else to go anyway, no clubs or nothing like that. One time my friend Burton and I went for New Years. I think it was New Years 1993. We got a $40 room on 125th Street. One of those places with the bathroom down the hall. Except for the bathroom situation, it was a pretty comfortable room, nice and warm. The heat was kickin’ so, we had to open the window to survive.

We got there on a Friday night and New Years Eve was that Saturday night. Late in the night, I went walking around 125th and the surrounding area. He didn’t come with me because either he was scared or cold, or tired. I had had a forty of OE and I was wired, not tryin’ to go to sleep. I just walked around. It felt good to me to walk around the streets of New York City. I was fly too. Come to think about it, I could have gotten robbed. I had on some $80 Brand X Girbaud Jeans, some black chuckers Timberlands, a red black and white long sleeve Tommy Hilfiger shirt, and a green and blue check goose down Nautica coat, with a green and black hat with the flaps over the ears to match the coat. I ran into some Spanish kids and we were talking. They asked me if I liked Hip Hop, and of course I said yeah. I told them I was from Ohio, etc. At about 3 A.M. that night, I returned back to the room and went to sleep. We got up that morning and took our bath in the bathroom down the hall. It was disgusting, but hey, a nigga had to wash his ass you know that.

He had an appointment to get his dreads done at a shop in Brooklyn on Vanderbuilt called Tendrils. We found our way there. We were talking with the lady who was doing his hair, asking her where was a mall, like the ones we have at home? While doing his hair, she told us to drive straight up Flatbush Ave for about 45 Mins to an hour and we would run into a mall on the left hand side. We had heard on the radio about this bomb concert that we definitely were attending later that night. It was A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and The Souls of Mischief. We loved all of those groups, especially The Souls with their debut album. The way they flipped rhymes on that album was incredible to us. So after his hair was finished, we went driving down Flatbush and we ran into the mall. Just as I was about to run left, a car came along and scrapped against mine. DAMN!

So this guy gets out his car talkin’ loud, saying for me to give him $300 or something, or he hopes that I have insurance or I was going to jail that night. I got back into my car because it was cold, and the talk of jail scared me. I was stretching down toward the floor, and he thought I was reaching for a gun. He started saying that he had one too. I think my car was still running. I just put it in drive and made a break for it, I WASN’T GOING TO JAIL! FUCK THAT! So it was on. He ran back to his car and started chasing us. Burton was in the car calm and cool saying, “why are you doin’ this, we goin’ to jail, we goin’ to jail.”

In the chase, I slid and hit the back of a parked car. I backed out of that, and then on my next speedy turn in the snow, I ran off the road and hit a brick wall. I backed out of that, and the guy got out of his car and started running toward my car. Burton said he had a nine cocked to the side ready to fire, but he didn’t shoot. I was driving off and I guess he just gave up and stood back there outside his car.

I went and parked my car in a parking lot, and got out and hid for a moment to calm down. After about 15 to 30 minutes we got back into the car and started driving trying to decide if we should attempt to go back into Manhattan to try and go to that concert. We came up with all kind of crazy country shit that probably wouldn’t have happened. Like we were thinking there would be cops at the Brooklyn Bridge waiting to see if we tried to get on or off the bridge. And we were also thinking that maybe a cop would spot my car in Manhattan while parked and at the concert, and when we we’d get back in the car they’d surround us and arrest us.

We decided not to take the chance and that we should head back home, but the problem was, how did we get back to route 80 from Brooklyn? See, we usually headed straight down Amsterdam from 125th St and drove to like 178th and see a sign that said George Washington Bridge, hit 95 South, which turned into 80 and go home.  We just started driving and somehow we got back to 80. I still don’t know how we did to this day. We passed the Science Center and seen that statue of the guy with the world on his back where Tribe and De La shot the video for “Award Tour.” I live here in New York now, and that is on the Grand Central Parkway. To get from the Grand Central Parkway to 80, you have to cross the Tri-Boro Bridge which cost you $3.50, and I don’t remember paying to go across it. I don’t remember crossing the Queens Boro Bridge neither, so I don’t know how we got back on the road to get to Ohio but we did; made it back like right around 12 or 1 A.M. just as the New Year was coming in.

When we got back, I told my mom that someone hit the car while it was parked on the street at the hotel we stayed at.