As many of you know, last weekend was a busy weekend as I was covering the 10th annual Afro-Punk Festival in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn. With their being a continuing examination of what it means to be Black in America, in light of the Trayon Martin murder case, the Afropunk Festival takes on a deeper importance as it helps redefine what Black is by straying as far as possible from media saturated stereotypes. Of course, like any institution should Afropunk has been re-examining itself a bit and has been criticized by some for various issues – mainly the fact that there’s less punk and more alt/indie stuff. (That’s another issue beyond the scope of this post though.)
In any case, I managed to be in the media tent for some beer or to say hello to one of my fellow photographers/bloggers when I came across the legendary Chuck D. of Public Enemy being interviewed by a website whose name I missed in the fray of things. Sadly, I didn’t catch all of it – there was one part in which the interviewer asked him about Kendrick Lamar and Chuck replied. “Everyone is talking about this one verse. Not a whole song. One verse.” He went on to say that if emcees really want to compete out there, that they have to “dictionary their game up.” (I still have that phrase in my head and it makes me laugh. But it’s so very true.)
In this brief segment that I did catch, Chuck D. schools us all on live performance, reminding us that the audience can and will rip you the shreds if you don’t bring your A game. He also reminds artists that having an awful, unprepared show is an affront to the audience, that even if it’s a free show, wasting someone’s time is a terrible thing; time is money after all, he says. (Chuck Chillout, who’s standing right over his shoulder chimes in every now and then. Adding to the impromptu and kind of surreal experience for me. As a fan and as a blogger, this was something I never thought I’d experience.)
So check out this brief segment of the master teacher Chuck D. You’ll learn something from the man, I promise.