It’s been a while since I’ve been to a show as a writer. Normally out shooting as a photographer, I decided to muster up the courage to get out on a Tuesday evening with one of my best friends to see what Yasiin Bey still had to offer this once malleable hip-hop head. The reason for doing so was two-fold; I still have a special place in my heart for ‘real’ hip-hop, and because I’ve been following Mos Def (Bey’s FKA) and his career since the early Black Star days. I’ve always felt personally engaged and interested in what he stands for in his music and that his position and demeanor are both genuine and unique, so I was looking forward to seeing him perform solo. (David and I caught the dynamic Black Star duo at the 2011 Rock the Bells show). For me, the night was a roller coaster of entertainment, enjoyment and disappointment.
It started off with your typical ‘indie’ hip-hop show theatrics – more acts on-stage than originally scheduled, a late-by-design set of performances, and a questionable hype-man who faltered in between sets. The crowd began to BOO as comedian Chris Riggins decided to segregate and separate concert-goers by racially profiling fans. As if he had planned it all along, the ‘host’ called out to the crowd, asking, “Are y’all ready to see some real hip-hop tonight?” The response was not quite what he had hoped, so he decided to single out a fair skinned patron by asking him what his problem was. The man looked confused as he said, “What are you talking about? I’m ready,” while he smiled and put up his hands. (He was one of the few people actually engaged.) When the crowd grew even more silent, the host replied to the young man, ‘Yeah, whatever. My bad, white privilege.’ Read More