Aug 22, 2014

ROOTS & RHYTHM: "Oh MY God" - Tribe Called Quest

"Listen up everybody . . . the bottom line . . . I'm a black intellect . . . but unrefined . . ." - Q-tip

Ask anyone, who knows me, who my favorite rap group is - they will say, "Mel loves A Tribe Called Quest"! Anytime life gets hard, or I need to clean up, or I need to write, I turn on my Tribe Called Quest playlist and I get into my groove.

So, as this week progressed and the situation in Ferguson got even worse, I found myself praying for Mike Brown's family and listening to music that soothed my soul.  So what better than Tribe Called Quest's song than "Oh My God"? Because I literally said "Oh MY GOD!" every time I watched the news this week. But it's deeper than that.

The video opens up with the group going to the local bodega (convenience store) and joking with the owner. This is the same thing that police are saying Mike Brown and his friends did - except, they are saying he robbed the store.

In the video, everyone gathered in the streets to celebrate the filming of this video - no fear of police, just having fun. In Ferguson, everyone is gathered in protest - plenty of fear but plenty of solidarity.

Looking at this video, I see young black men, ready to take over the world. Looking at Ferguson, I see young people compelled to change the world, but scared of a world that doesn't want change.

This tone and vibe of this song and this video are a firm reminder of my past fun, freedom, and antics. Knowing I was poor, but not letting it define me. Why can't we, black people, kick it with friends, act the fool, and live life without fear of being misrepresented, shot at, or arrested? Why can't we be 'black intellects - but unrefined?" Oh My God - indeed.

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