Monday, August 24, 2009

There's Nothing Wrong With A Little "Bump"-n-Wine. Or Is That Bump And Grind?



I 've seen the images of junkies on television. I watched Frank Sinatra in The Man With A Golden Arm. I saw the mug shots of Nick Nolte and Robert Downey Jr. I've witnessed the distant gaze of Keith Richards and Ozzie Osborn. Who hasn't seen Jungle Fever and watched Samuel Jackson do his crack monkey dance in an effort to obtain a bump? Pookie, played by Chris Rock, was a shining example of a crack head gone wrong. Marvin Gaye asked What's Going On. And we all saw his demise. I think it safe to say, all the above were looking for a little "bump" - of something. I wonder if it was a bump of life? You know, a sparkle in their otherwise boring life. While they were on their grind, they bumped into a mean thang! There IS something wrong with a little bump-n-grind - ain't it?

I've often said that I don't write much social commentary. But today I have to go there. Today I read a wonderful article on D'angelo http://soulsummer.com/ezine/feature-stories/black-pop-kool-aid-dangelos-left-right/ . Well, the article was tight. It was extremely well written, it was exciting, it was delicious, it flowed, it made me pause, it was voluptuous. Yet, it was ultimately sad. That article focused on a video shoot. The video was to accompany the release of D'angelo's CD, "Left and Right". Redman and Method Man were there, so was George Clinton. It appears Rick James should have been there. Its been reported that George Clinton was unabashedly smoking crack cocaine while standing in full view of everyone at the gathering. This is the same beloved George Clinton that some televisions and radio stations allowed to do commentary over the Micheal Jackson memorial. Like Marvin Gaye asked, What Going On?

The images, journey and fate of the D'Angelo's of the world are common. All of their journeys offer a story that is not new and carry a stereotypical message. There is an outward display of self-destruction and loss of respect. Have we as a culture placed ourselves in a social caste system? Most readers stratify themselves far above the George Clinton's, Michael Jackson and D' angelo's of the world and others like them. In this system, are we not simply denying the truth that each of us has a piece of them within ourselves. Is that why we excuse all the social ills in our neighborhoods. Are we afraid of pointing a finger at ourselves. You know, ain't nothing wrong with a little bump-n-grind, err'body gotta get paid - right?

Why do we quietly excuse our "Talented Tenth"? Why is their drug use only highlighted as a subplot to great stories of triumph and fame?

I am reminded of the time a member of the Temptations "graduated" from a treatment center and proclaimed that he was cured. At that time, he was in a battle with a seasoned professional and had only acquired what amounted to a G.E.D. He died with his undergraduate degree firmly tucked under his arm, along with his crack pipe. Who knew Etta James had a habit? Why are we so nieve and misinformed of the gripping affects of substance abuse?

Should we say poor D'angelo and poor Michael Jackson or pour me another drink? I don't know what's going on but something just ain't right. I do feel a little guilty. Well, while I was writing this post, I was playing D'angelo. But aren't drugs and alcohol the ugliest scrounge in society. Have we given up on the war on drugs? Should we just close our eyes or build a war zone like District 9?
Like so many others, I have few answers and less solutions. Pour me another drink. No, don't, tell me what's on your mind. What about you, do you have any answers? Do you know someone that has a problem? Have you been there? What's going on? I wasn't being totally truthful when I said I didn't have any answers. And if you'll show me yours, I'll show you mine.

13 comments:

A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

I don't know what's going on. I only pray that I make a small contribution to someone who may need my help and that I'm in the right place at the right time. I have a friend addicted to drugs. She was the only one I trusted w/all my secrets and now she won't even talk to me. She was beautiful, talented and smart. There was a time when I wanted wanted her life...

Love, peace and blessings for a great day Mr. Carey-Carey.

Danie said...

I wish I had the answers but I don’t. I grew up in a family full of entertainers. All of them drank way too much but on stage came alive with presence and power. They say out of great pain comes great art and unfortunately some of the greatest artistic minds make that statement ring true

Rich Fitzgerald said...

Hate to get all preachy, but it's interesting that Satan was the chief musician in heaven before he got the boot. It would seem that he still reigns supreme in the lives of many musicians because many of them turn to drinking and drugs. It's a tough row to hoe.

Creativity may come a bit easier when one is under the influence, but there is always a price to pay. I guess D'Angelo is just paying his dues.

CareyCarey said...

My man Rich, go ahead and preach my brother, you know I don't mind - AT ALL. You know I welcome all views. But for those (not you) that have a hard time with opposite views, they might want to look at their words before they speak *wink*.

In another forum, I had this to say at a comment similar to yours ....."That seems to be true C******. But there are thousands of people with enormous talent that don't fall into this trap. Then again, there are thousand more that do but we just don't hear about them as frequently as we do entertainers and the such. And therein lies my problem with this issue. The majority believe the demons that D'angelo and the fellows are fighting, only happen to a small segment of society. I personally know this to be false. I've been in the company of FBI agents, CEO's of fortune 500 company, heirs to tremendous wealth and government officials that experience the same problems. But their stories are never told or if they are their told with less frequency. The dying message is, it can happen to anyone!"

Well, like you said, Rich, Satan was one of God's right hand men.

Point being, it's not alway "he", it could be "me" or him and him and him and .......

Hey, good post on "people we don't like"

CareyCarey said...

Hi Miss Butterfly and Danie.

I was to busy running my mouth to Rich tha tI forgot to address you two.

I too have friends in the storm. Some I have conversations with and others I avoid like the plague. Seriously, I've come to believe that they will convert me before I can motivate them to change. Sometimes it's necessary to hear a different opinion but sometimes I have to look real hard at my purpose for being around the wrong spirit.

I lived the life of a fool for a long time. All the things that people were telling me that made me uncomfortable, I ran from. I was so entrenched in my own opinion that I didn't want to hear what they had to say. The devil's playhouse is comfort.

FreeMan said...

It's just a tradition of drugs. Most creative people whether that be in music or any other arts seem to think drugs releases their creativity. They cite millions of other junkies who have done it and died from it like some of their greatest work come before their so called untimely death.

It's just a tradition that is reinforced by followers who have artistic talent. There is no rhyme or reason except to say the artistic culture has drugs floating around it and thus pass it on to the next generation of followers.

Now most groupies or fanatics don't want to admit that their so called idol is actually just as weak as the cat on crack in Watts. To them it's a tragedy they watch unfold without the normal restraints someone may force upon someone they love heading straight to death.

What's going on is a dumb tradition!

CareyCarey said...

Looky here, the freeman has sufaced! What's going on my brother. Tell me you've been out making a few million.

You said a mouth full. It's a dumb tradition that the next man "thinks" he will be able to conquer. But, as history and tradition tells us, only a few survive - a very few!

A bigger issue is, people don't know all the dangers UNTIL they try to get out. I don't care who you are or your profession, facts don't lie. Most never make it out after they cross the bridge.

FreeMan said...

@Carey - on the road to millions but I'm returning with a money BlogCast starting on 8/31 at www.riseandgrind.com I just needed to take the summer off to finish some projects.

What makes it more shocking to me is folk see it play out in front of them and they still try. I mean there is hardly a cat who hasn't seen what drugs can do to a person and yet millions more sign up. My mother calls it the second middle passage saying the ones who die off will leave a stronger race of people.

This just goes to show you that the strength tied into a person's will is bigger than their physical strength.

CareyCarey said...

@ Freeman ....Man, I need to have you come with me on some of my "talks". You talked about will and physical strength - that's huge. Again, the core problem is misunderstanding and lack of knowledge. Like you said, we would think that after watching millions fall to substance abuse, only a few would be stupid enough to jump in. The problem is many believe it's mind over matter, but once the drug enters the soul - it don't matter. The mind has now given control to the substance. It's a hard pill for most to swallow and that's why your mother's analogy rings so true. Only the strong will survive.

Angie Stone's song ...."Play with it and you just might get it"

I'll be checking out your thang, Freeman. It's good to see you haven't ran off with some white chick. Wait, maybe you did *lol*

FreeMan said...

@CareyCarey - I never had a girlfriend the color of cooking flour!

RiPPa said...

This is a damn good post Carey -- sorry I'm late. Being an ex-drug abuser (I hate the term recovering addict)I can say that it, like many other vices are all a means of escapism. As human beings we all have modes of said escapism that affect our lives daily.

Not trying to make excuses because excuses aren't reasons and neither are reasons excuses. But, is it any wonder why Black artists are "outted" more than White artists?

That's one to think about right there and I'm sure you know the answer. The war on drugs has long been an assault on our minority population that feeds and facilitates the pipeline (pun intended) of the prison industrial complex.

We can say what we want about George Clinton, D'angelo or whomever. But there's a crackhead in every family...Black and White. Lets be honest, drug use and abuse is nothing new. But somehow (you know how)the face of the abuser somehow happens to be a person of color.

But yet nobody says anything about the gov't making LSD and testing it out on citizens, right? Or how at one point in time cocaine was prescribed by doctors to White women (and men) who had issues back in the day. So lets keep it honest and not make this out to be a sub-culture associated with musical artists. Hell, Black men were given cocaine in an attempt to keep them awake and energetic to pick cotton back in the day.

Didn't mean to take up this much of your time but I had to try and cover all bases as best as I can after reading this. Besides, I'm addicted to the internet these days, and some say not even that is healthy.

jjbrock said...

Carey great post! As a mother who have watched her only son become a drug addict...It's alot of pain.

When I would ask my son why he chose to do drugs he never had an answer...I would ask him if it happen to others why don't you believe it will happen to you...Silent!

CareyCarey said...

@ jj brock ...I am so grateful that you stop by and share your comments. You ALWAYS come with an open heart and a fearless spirit. Not many people would come by and say what you did on an "open board".

I don't know if you've noticed but this issue has a passionate place in my heart. You said it ..."why would you try it after seeing what happened to others. I don't want to go off on this but I can. Biggest problem, few can grab the concept that once the drug is digested, the person is no longer in control. Most individuals believe "they" can control the drug which makes no sense at all. Again, when the drug (alcohol, crack, blows, toots, herion etc,) hits the brain and the central nervous system, the drug has envaded the mind. Look at it like the body snatchers. Even weeks days and months after a person has taken their last "whatever" the drug and the brain is waiting to be feed. Few understand this phenomenon and so the beat goes on. THEN!!! Getting out only happens for a few. Most die from the problem or get locked away in mental institutions and jail - facts. MOST!

Ann, hit me when you feel like talking about this one.


Big RiPPa, man, you nailed this one. You flushed out all the little side messages. Yep, it's not news because people are making money off poor people that spend a disproportionate amount of their money on drugs and alcohol( white people too). Yep, sell it to the poor and then make more money off of them by sending them to the new plantation - the Big House - Prison.

RiPPa, you even sniffed out my color theme. Bingo! I've been to "institutions" where there are nothing but hundreds of white people that have a problem with smokin' shootin' drinkin' and wallowing in drugs. Drugs don't discriminate but for some reason (you know) the faces change on the news.I didn't say this in my post but I've talked with FBI agents and a CEO of a fortune 500 company that had a substance abuse problem. Not to mention airplane pilots and government official. I am not suppose to tell anyone that, so keep it under your hat:-). well, I didn't say any names.

Dang man, you even threw in a little drug history. Do you know (you probably do) why herion was "invented". Who made it and what was it's purpose? No, don't listen to the news and the CIA, a black man didn't do this one.