I had the good fortune last week of being invited to several premieres and debuts of works of art created by Black artists. The first piece was a one man performance by ROGER GUENVER SMITH titled ‘Who Killed BOB MARLEY?’ I can’t even begin to tell you about the kind of pretension that was in the air, but for those of you that know Black people… That really, really know Black people… To you folks I say that the room was filled with liteskin niggas with no moustaches. ‘Nuff said.
The second function was being held at the museum for the City of New York and that fact alone meant that the snobbery might be at a high level here as well. The Museum of the City of New York drew my ire when they installed this exhibit called ‘Black Style Now’. I take umbrage with anyone and anything that attempts to codify what ‘Black’ means. When you enter the museum you are greeted by five black mannequins fully clad in clothing meant to illustrate five pop culture music icons. KANGAY WEST, BeYONCE, LENNY KRAVITZ, LIL’ KIM and The King of All Jigs, DIDDY. The mannequins are dressed in outfits that these stars purportedly wore at some time. None of the outfits were created by Black designers. The museum also had the nerve to say that the POLO Ralph Lauren rugby on the KANGAY mannequin was the same one in the enlarged photo that stood behind the display. Any true representative of the ‘lifestyle’ could tell that wasn’t the truth. So from the gate the ‘Black Style Now’ exhibit was really a celebration of white fashion designers and the jigs who love to play dress up in their shit.
Thankfully, I wasn’t here to pick apart the museum and their faux negro nonsense. I came through to celebrate the book release of ‘BLING: The Hip-Hop Jewelry Book’. The book is an illustrated documentation of the evolution of rap artist’s fascination with jewelry. It’s a light-hearted tome meant to follow the progression of jewelry trends within the rap music industry. You see how these artists describe their self-value through their adornment. There are stories inside about some of the legendary jewelers that were necessary tradesmen in attaining rap artist status.
Leave your politics at the rally in front of Tiffany’s. This book isn’t meant to educate you on the diamond trade or the precious metals mining process. If you want to see kids missing appendages then you are missing the point. The rap music business is filled with men who were raised by women and therefore they are attracted to shiny necklaces and baubles like their mothers are. Instead of condemning these young men for what you perceive to be their lack of global-socio-economics you should just buy this book from Amazon. I’m mad that I didn’t. I could have saved more than one third of the money that I spent in the museum’s book shop.
The best part of the book is that there are photos of some of the Gods in the rap game when truck gold was the shit. RAKIM, ERIC B, BIZMARKIE and SLICK RICK. There’s a photo of GHOSTFACE wearing the ‘Wonder Woman’ bracelet, but what was even more illmatic was the pendant he was rocking that was the size of a manhole cover. The history of grills is shown which should help some of you youngbloods learn that New York City had hit it, quit it and shitted it before the Derrty even could get with it. The other good point of this book is that both of the authors have moustaches, albeit slight ones. The biggest lesson I learned from this week was…
Never trust a Black man without any facial hair.