Sunday, December 11, 2005

My Main Man, Richard Pryor

Ya'll just don't realize how much I love Richard Pryor. I've never met him and I've never seen him perform live and in person. The only thing I know about Richard Pryor is what I read and see through mass media. His movies, his television appearances, his albums. Man..his albums.

I got hooked on to the black comic jones via the stash my dad kept at the house. If they printed it on vinyl, he had it. His LP collection was serious and his 45's racks could take up a nice afternoon sorting through and listening to. When it came to black genre, soul music, Motown, R&B, them cool az n'gaz like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, that Isaac Hayes album where he's stretching out his hands with no shirt dad had it all.

There was also comedy albums, Flip Wilson, Redd Foxx, Pigmeat & Moms Mabley..if you've never listened to these artists work, you need to check em out. Cuz when Pigmeat starts talking that 'Here come tha judge!' or when Moms start talking that nasty talk, you're going to find yourself laughing. Those n'gaz are WILD.

But still, to me, I was strongly biased. I used to stare at Richard Pryor's 'Was it Something I said?' album all day long. I'd stare at the cover photos and then I'd listen to his jokes and it would make me laugh so hard, but I had to keep it inside. Because listening to Richard Pryor albums wasn't something that my dad did when we were around. We had to listen to Rich 'on the cool'. When mama and daddy were gone and we were home by ourselves.

That's one of the reasons I realized I had to get all my freak sh't out of the house and destroyed today. Because my kids are at the age where we can leave them home alone for a few hours and I know if they are anything like me and my sister, they're looking through me and my wife's sh't while we're gone.

Nosing through your drawers, opening up that mysterious can with the lid that daddy keeps in his closet. You definitely don't want them finding your porno stash. That'll twerk their mind FO REAL. Make em start tripping and looking all crazy in the eyes, like they know what's up. And after the drawer search and under the bed prowl for porno, dope stashes and/or sex toys. Mmmhmm..don't sleep. Those kids today are slicker than Spy Kids. You might THINK you hid something good, but these lil n'gaz know how to get codes and passwords and sh't like that now!!

N'ga. That's a pivotal word when you talk about Richard Pryor. When you listen to all of his earlier work, you'll see the word used quite liberally and quite hysterically. N'gaz laughed hard at Rich when he kept it real around those honkys. There was a GREAT skit that Rich did on Saturday Night Live with Chevy Chase..or was that Dan Akroyd? Hmm..I can't remember, all those Canadian honkies look the same to me anyway!! (laugh)

But in this particular skit, the Canadian honky is giving a word association test to Richard's character who was trying to get a job. The words play up more and more confrontational via racial slurs, when it gets to a point where Richard's responses are 'Honky!' and when that 'n' word is throwed out by Chase, Richard gets all agitated, buckeyed and crazy nervous n'ga looking..

Chevy Chase: "Jungle Bunny!"

Pryor: "Honky!"

Chase: "Spade!

Pryor: "Honky Honky!"

Chase: "N'ga!"

Pryor: "Dead honky!"

You know how Rich could buck up and act like he bad, but all the while the comedy is found in his transperently obvious underlying fear. Think penitentiary entrance scene in Stir Crazy, "That's right...we bad. Unn-huh." Rich was scaid to death, but he was never afraid to be real with his audience.

And when you consider Richard Pryor the comedian/philosopher, you have a b.a. and a.a. grouping that he must be considered in. Before Rich made that trip over to the mother land of Africa, he liberally used the word n'ga in his material. It could be a room full of white folks, Rich didn't give a sh't..he kept it real to what he knew.

But there was a change that took place within Rich once he returned from Kenya in 1979, and as he explained to the crowd as he paced that stage on the Sunset Strip, he was marveling at the beauty of Africa. Of the land, the animals, the people, it was truly a glorious site for Rich to behold. A place where even all the airline pilots are black. And Rich's revelation as he looked acrossed the beauty of the mother land, was that the whole time he had been in the country enjoying the culture and the people, he never once saw one 'nigger'.

And from that time on, you never heard Rich use that word in any of his material. I find that a feat in itself that I want to be sure to have on the list of my things to do in life. (But a n'ga just ain't there..yet :) my main man Richard Pryor, I will miss you brother. You was a wild az n'ga that had some balls the size of cracklin pots. Mudbone is still alive. Cool Breeze and those brothers hanging out on the corner around the fire, singing harmonies, sipping wine, and telling lies, they're all still there. Your grandma is still around, "Now KNOW you can be doing better than what you doin." "Yes'm".

Rich was able to make us laugh as he described details from racial disparities, divorce, drug overdoses, domestic violence, firing a weapon at a motor vehicle...

"Then that vodka said, "gone and shoot some'n else!!""

Rich talked about some real az sh't.

Rich had that walk, Rich had that move, Rich knew that hip lingo. Rich was a cool cat jack and everybody knew that. But I'm sure if we could have a moment of reflection, as we commemorate brother Rich moving on to that other side, we should reflect on the funeral scene, in which Rich is consoling his father at the cemetary, as they're burying a close relative..

"It's go be alright Dad..she's in a better place."

"Better place? N'ga I'm not talking about her..I'm talking about's COLD out here!! Rev need to gone and finish this up so we can gone and get inside the house where it's warm!!"

Here's a good read on Rich..I learned a few things about him that I never knew.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Leaving the World Behind

I have a question for ya D.

Aiight..go ‘head.

I read what you wrote about your road to Damascus ..and I could really feel the part about you doing your club, drank, smoke thang.’s like the 5th Ward Boys song says, “It seems to satisfy us all.”

Yeah..but look question is in the hell do you go from being THAT n’ga, to being a Bible man???

(laughing) A ‘Bible-man’??? know what I’m talking about..reading the Bible and going to church and leaving all that freak stuff behind. I mean..I FEEL ya..cuz I’m THAT n’ga..I’m in the club at least 3 nights EVRA week..but it’s a part of me that feels that that’s just ME..that’s just how I am. I mean, you may LIKE the club lifestyle..but I LOVE the club lifestyle!! Ya feel me??

Yeah..I feel ya.

So I see how you made that move and switched some things up in your life and it seems all well and good for you..I’m happy for you. But how does a n’ga like ME..the kinda n’ga that not only loves them girls, but I love them girls that love them GIRLS..we can all get in the bed together! Ya feel me?? How does a n’ga like that get to be one of them Biblemen??

Well..first of all..(smiling) you WILD n’ga!! You ‘love them girls that love them girls???! Wooowee!!, You go have to pray A LOT!! But before you can have any change in your life, the first step is to acknowledge that you have a problem.

A problem? If loving women is supposed to be wrong, then I don’t want to be right!!!

See..that’s what I’m talking about right there. As long as you think running women is ‘okay’ and it’s not a ‘bad’ thing, you’re going to continue living that unrepentant lifestyle.

But it’s not like I’m married!! I’m not cheating on my wife or nothing like that!!

Oh..well… I could tell ya, but your path is going to be different from mine, cuz I came on in AFTER I was married. I never lived the life of a celibate single man. I mean, I might have THOUGHT I was practicing celibacy for a minute, but I realized that those were just my ‘dry spells’, cuz whenever something fine and cute crossed my path that gave me that ‘look’? I was hooked like a dope fiend.

See! That’s what I’m talking about!! At least you’re keeping it real! So you agree, a regular n’ga ain’t even MADE to be no upright, celibate, no dranking, no smoking and no getting yo freak on type of n’ga!!

Uhh..naww, that’s not what I said. It’s just that our society is made to make most men, especially black men, adhere to the hunter mentality.

Hunter mentality??’s some of that deep rooted sociological type stuff that started even back when we were young boys. It’s like..even when you’re a young boy, maybe pre-teen or early teenager, you’re going to start feeling this pressure from society for you to get you 'some'. Your podnas are all lying about how much they’ve had already and then the capper comes in with the older generation. How the older men will tease the younger men, “How many girlfriends you got boy??” If you don’t say at least 5, then they’re going to start looking at you all funny, almost questioning your manhood. “I DO like girls..right??”

Yeah, I know what you mean. My uncles and older cousins was on me ALL the time with that kinda stuff.’s some deep seeded mental stuff, because as long as you believe that your strength and worth is determined by how many women you’re knocking down, then you’re going to be ‘caught up’ in that okey doke trap that the devil lays for so many men.

The okey doke trap??

Yeah..the devil is going to make you believe that as long as you have a natural desire for something, that by satisfying that desire, you are responding within your nature and God will not hold you accountable for what you do.

That’s not true??

Naww that’s not true!! Sin ain’t free homey!! You gotta pay for that! And the capper for me, came when I realized that some of the sins that I commit, will not only effect me, but it will also effect my children and maybe even my unborn grandchildren.

Whoooaaa!! Now what does ME going to the club and getting my freak on have to do with my kids???

Sometimes that’s just how it goes. We are all born with a sin nature..born in sin. You might not have done anything wrong when you first came into this world, but you have that sinful nature..because it’s passed down through your biological father. That’s why Jesus’ virgin birth was so important. Since He was not conceived by a mortal man, He was born sinless. Unlike us mortals born of man and woman, we are born into sin.

See..I was just asking you about the club, and now you flipped the game and put this heavy sh’t on me. I’m not saying you’re lying, but it just doesn’t seem right that God would take out His anger at what my daddy or grandfather did on me!!

Well..I’m just telling you what the Bible says. You might not like it, but it’s a real pill to swallow. the hell is a n’ga that’s been freaked out like me supposed to just magically ‘be cured’ and start acting the way that the Bible says I should act?? I said, first of all, you gotta WANT to, because you can do ALL things through Christ! Second of all, you gotta pray and develop and build your own relationship with the LORD. You gotta know Him for yourself. And once you make that decision to follow the path that Jesus laid down, then you gotta get out there and walk that walk. You may not be able to control all of your ‘natural’ urges off the bat, but what you can control are the environments and places that you put yourself in. If you KNOW you have a problem with them ‘girls that love them girls’, then you don’t need to be at the freak club every Friday night.

See..this is the kinda stuff that makes people throw the whole Bible/God/church thing the deuce, 2 FINGERS out the roof! Cuz n’gaz ain’t trying to be RIGHTEOUS like THAT!!

You’d be surprised how God will move in your life once you start making those steps toward Him. Don’t think you’re the only one that has those weaknesses..we ALL have em. But it’s all about the positions you put yourself in and the choices you make. you trying to tell me that you don’t miss that freak world AT ALL?? know, I live in the same world you live in. I might be at the gas station or at the grocery store and see something real nice to look at cross my path, but I’m not flagging her down trying to hook up. I can just enjoy the beauty of a woman and leave it at that..without staring her down and trying to figure out what she’s got going on underneath her clothes.

So you trying to tell me..that if a chick that looked like Beyonce walked up to you in a store and asked you what’s up…

I’d smile at her and tell her I was happily least I THINK I would. Cuz if she looked JUST LIKE Beyonce?? I’d probably have to start praying to the LORD for strength. (smiling) gotta go through all that, and you’re a married n’ga!! Just imagine, if you were single, you wouldn’t even CONSIDER turning somebody as fine as Beyonce down.

Well..yeah. But think about it like this. If I wasn’t married and I hadn’t committed myself to walking that walk that Jesus laid down for us..then you wouldn’t be reading what you’re reading right now. I coulda been on the pen years ago, but I wasn’t ready to step into this blessing, until I had submitted myself to the LORD’s will. You could have an even bigger blessing in store for you, but God isn’t going to break you off your blessing until you start walking toward Him.

Yeah..that all sounds good on paper, but it’s a different thing when those fine girls are in your face smiling and looking you up and down like you’re a superstar.’s one thing to talk it (or write it) and another thing to live it. All I know is that I wanted to line myself up with the LORD, because I realized that the decisions that I make wasn’t just about me, it affects my children and even my unborn grandchildren. I just don’t want my kids to miss their blessing because of me.

Well..that’s all well and good. You just go have to pray for me D..cuz I don’t know if I’m the kind of n’ga that can walk THAT line.

I feel ya..and I will..but you make sure you pray for ME too!!