My Tribe: An Ode to ATCQ

Peace, love, and light fam! It is my hope that all is awesome with you as always. I am still on cloud 9 after the release of my favorite hip hop group’s final album. If I need to remind you of who I am referring to, let me make it clear—the group is A Tribe Called Quest and the album is “We Got It From Here….Thank You For Your Service” and it is absolutely, unequivocally my favorite ish right now!!

If it sounds like I am a super fan please know that my love of Tribe defies any description. Some may think I exaggerate when I say their music saved my life, but it did. When I was living in a very dysfunctional situation and felt as though there was absolutely no hope for me, Tribe told me to keep going, that it was ok to be “Stressed Out”; that being a nerd, a linguist, was absolutely dope. So, this blog post is dedicated to A Tribe Called Quest.  I will share my feelings on them, some of my all time favorite Tribe bangers, and my thoughts on the new album and why I feel this purchasing this album is necessary for anyone who claims to be a real “hip hop head”.

So, let me say this, I am a lover of all things hip hop. I grew up during the Golden Age of hip hop and though I was undoubtedly a youngster during the 80’s, I was always mature when it came to music. My family is musical so I was exposed to the awesome music of Bloodstone, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Marvin Gaye, Howling Wolf, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and so many others. I have very sophisticated musical tastes even to this day. I fell in love with Tribe when I heard Bonita Applebum in the summer of 1990. I will not reveal how old I was , but I knew that I absolutely loved those guys with the locked hair and the tie dyed shirts. It was a hip hop love song and I was enthralled with them.

My favorite Tribe songs are of course Bonita Applebum, Electric Relaxation, The Hop, Jazz (We’ve Got), Check the Rhime, Sucka Nigga, Lyrics to Go, and Footprints. I love others but these seem to stay in my daily rotation. Phife Dawg was my favorite member of the group and as you all are aware he has transitioned from the physical. His spirit, however, is alive and well.

Their newest release is epic! They effectively applied their original formula and attacked numerous topics and issues within our community. The track titled “We The People” has a powerful  message, speaking of the affluent against the poor and issues we face daily. There were two tributes to Phife  on the album, one titled “The Donald” was bittersweet but so poignant and heartfelt and “Lost Somebody” was a tearjerker for me. I love the album and its message but it is heartbreaking to know that this is it for Tribe. No more albums will come forth. I am, however, very hopeful. Tribe has given rise to great artists and will always be the heartbeat of hip hop. Q-Tip, Phife, Jairobi, and Ali if this blog ever reaches your eyes, please know that this Sistar loves you all–deeply, honestly, and sincerely. Hmmm, I think it’s time for a poem to these pioneers. They deserve it, still trendsetting after all these years.

 

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

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Enough is Enough…

Peace, love, and light fam! Can you believe that we are nearing the end of 2016? I certainly cannot but 2016 was quite a year on my end! Anyway, this past week has been very trying for me which is why I have been mostly absent from my blog space, as well as YouTube etc. My laptop took her final bow and I have not gotten a new one yet but, I will soon!  So many things are on my mind but one thing that is particularly nagging me and that is the barrage of bashing of black women by black men online.

Let me start with this, I know that these men do not represent the majority (or I sincerely hope not!). Nevertheless, it is an issue that seems to be ongoing and not stopping anytime soon. I don’t know if they have mother issues, a string of failed relationships, or just terrible experiences with the sistas and personally, I don’t give a damn if they have! How dare any black man spew such hatred to the one who birthed him? There is so much wrong with this dynamic.

First of all, the Afrikan diaspora has been under constant attack since the first invaders hit the shores of our beautiful continent. We have NO room for disunity! We have enough outer enemies without there being battling between our own. The war is on and some of the brothers feel as though they are somehow exempt by choosing to lay with a woman that does not share the same experience as he does. No matter how many women he chooses to procreate or have relationships with, he is still an Afrikan and still a part of the struggle, whether he is fighting against the system of racism or fighting for comfort within the system of racism. Some of these men actually are bigger white supremacists than you could imagine.

Secondly, where is this hatred coming from because it could not have just started. And as a mother/sister/daughter, I have to make certain that I am not absorbing the negativity that I see and hear into my own psyche because it can be damaging. I almost feel as though the men who are attacking us are damaged themselves and instead of dealing with their issues, they have instead chosen to attack those who are closest to him—his mother, sister, lover, cousin.

And I will wrap this vent session up with a few points. It is heartbreaking to see some of the memes and discussions about how undesirable we are, how untrustworthy, how annoying, how disagreeable, how “everything negative that one could conceive” we are.  It is as though a huge target has been placed upon us and they are taking aim. Now again, I do know and understand that these men are not the majority but in the day and age that we live and with the continued attacks against our people, one would think that they would put their pettiness aside and rise above the bullshit. And yes, I said bullshit because that is exactly what it is.

Now, please do not misunderstand. I am in no way naïve. I know that not all black women are living to their full potential. I know we have work to do; we have women who would rather twerk than cook, whose full time job is going to child support court or the Department of Social Services.  But there is work to be done amongst the black men as well because we continue to have men who will not take responsibility of seeds that have created, whose full time job is playing Madden, and who have been in jail more than they have been free. We all need pruning!

In all honesty, I have had some absolutely terrible relationships, had a very dysfunctional upbringing with a less than warm step father,  yet you will not hear me utter “Niggas ain’t shit!”  I absolutely adore black men! They are my brothers, suns, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins. They are the strength of the community and are so needed.  Our community is in desperate need of weeding! Let’s weed out those who seek to destroy the nation.  Make them accountable for their actions and make consequences for their wrongs. The black woman has suffered long enough. Damn can she catch a break!!

 

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali