Jan 23, 2009
The Takeover and other Post-Inaugural Thoughts
Ok, now that a few days have passed since the inaugural, I'm on my stream of consciousness flow today as the rain drops fall in Southern Cali.
I just finished doing an interview with a journalist from the Chicago Tribune. The interview was about, for lack of a better description, the hip hop presence at the inauguration. This reporter seemed surprised by several things from Tuesday's inaugural festivities, including, for instance, Beyonce's singing, Obama gettin' his two-step on, and other visible examples of what she considered "hip hop." The reporter also commented on how others that she has talked to of a certain age felt equally surprised at what they saw. At one point she said something about a majority of the country not fully realizing what was going on. While I agree that a majority of this country doesn't know what's going on, I suspect that my reasons are quite different than those of the reporter.
First of all there was nothing necessarily "hip hop" about anything that happened on Tuesday. While it was cool to see mainstream acts like Beyonce and Kanye in the mix, hip hop itself has been at the center of American popular culture so long that this was far from being a surprise. It was to be expected. I'm not saying that hip hop is mainstream as much as I'm saying the mainstream is hip hop.
What I want to key in on here is the rise of a new generation coming to power though. Obama is 3 years older than me and for all the other reasons that I predicted his victory way back in 2006, I am perhaps happiest about my generation coming up in the game. I am also pleased to see the older WW II, Baby Boom, and Civil Rights generations recede into the ether of irrelevancy. For me the so-called "Greatest Generation" was never that great, the Baby Boomers were getting long in the tooth, and don't let me get started on the Civil Rights generation; I called them out in The New H.N.I.C. which dropped all the way back in 2002.
Yes, the dawn of the Obama age is a new day in more ways than one. It's actually more like a takeover. We won and with victory comes the right to talk shit, the way I see it.
And let me just add a few more thoughts about all things inaugural and post. I am happy to hear that the President managed to keep his Blackberry. While I rep the iPhone, Obama's beloved Blackberry demonstrates his need for connectivity which is something very much borne of this age. As for the inaugural itself, let me begin by saying that the very presence of Rick Warren was insulting. John Robert's flubbed his lines yet it seems that both he and Obama are being blamed for this. Joseph Lowery bought back some words that I hadn't heard since I was a little kid. The only part he left out was "if you're black get back!" And the yet the low point of it all was Elizabeth Alexander's overly enunciated poetry. Elizabeth is source of one of my most prized possessions, the vinyl of Iceberg Slim's album Reflections, but I gotta be real about it, she was wack! Sorry.
For me though, the most entertaining moment of it all was watching Jimmy Carter walk right pass Bill Clinton without even looking in his direction. The two former presidents, both southern Democrats, have been beefin' for a while now. It was most recently evident in the photo that all the living presidents took at the White House a few weeks back. Notice the distance between the two men. It's like Carter is taking his own picture. I think this is all quite funny, two former presidents beefin' as though they were rappers. What's the world coming to? "What's beef?/beef is when I see you/guaranteed to be in ICU."
And, of course, last but not least, my homie The Queen, Ms. Aretha Franklin, put on for our city, Detroit, as only she can do. This inauguration marks the departure of a real "chain of fools" from office, paving the way for Aretha to rock the house with her voice and with her hat game; both of which were equally off tha chain. You know how we do!