Editor’s note: Two words… 40 and DIESEL.
Peace party people, I’ve been owing Dallas and the beloved community here at DP.com a drop for a minute. I missed out on Negroe Hiss-tray Munph and I actually had my shillz lined up to flip an ill gem on Billy Sunday’s etemology of the word “Neggar”. Don’t be lost on the Teutonic roots of the word because one of the patron saints of Germany is a “nigga” himself – St. Maurice. Do the knollie, even though they white washed JC the Nazarene the pundits at Nicea kept ol’ Mo as dark as a sack of African Black.
But I’m getting sidetracked. I was and still am struggling with some BS legal biz that I can’t speak on which kinda had your dude in the dumps, however I’m using this drop to say I’m back and I owe this in part to one man…
Sir Clarence Willams III – “The Last Real 14th Letter Bomb Alive”
I first came across C-Dubbz as a youngin’ watching ‘Purple Rain’ because I was too young to get in to ‘The Mod Squad’. I was intrigued and terrified by this white woman slapping, alcoholic, failed musician stuck on the south side of Minneapolis (it’s only now I realize as a man I’d probably pretty upset if I was stuck in cold ass pre-NBA Minny and had an androgynous son living in MY basement). Clarence Williams scared the shit outta me. With those intense glares and fucked up wig piece this dude meant business. Plus when his only retort to his hysterical wife was “DON’T I KEEP THE HEAT ON?”, I figured Ike Turner and Francis L. probably hung out when Ike was in town.
CW would continue to make appearances and I noticed this common thread in his performances. He seemed to always play this man who’s gotten his ass kicked by The Man, the world, the needle, whatever and no matter how broken the character, no matter how flawed, he always kept an air of dignity. It was this “I ain’t dead yet muhfucka” demeanor that made you have to give his due, because no matter his foibles he was still a man. For example:
|‘Deep Cover’ (1992)
C-Dubbz played the role of Taft, the outta touch detective who still thought he could save the world with his outmoded tactics of his badge and his Bible. Probably a running joke in the precinct but he stayed true, and Fish’s character knew he was right.
|‘Sugar Hill’ (1994)
CW3 went in as A.R. Skruggs, the cliched ex-jazz musician junkie and failed hustler. Though his sons are successes on the street and he’s a hot mess his sons still understand that he’s their dad. A.R. is the conscience of his children – the constant reminder of the ills of their trade..
Mister Clarence in the role of Bub Hewlett, the Negroe henchman of Dutch Schultz and “Uncle Tom” thug. Its hard out there for Bub. Constantly disrespected by his boss (“Don’t be proud!”) and the people of Harlem. No wonder he had a ‘tude. But he was not to be fucked with either and in the end helped engineer the Dutchman’s demise.
So all of this to say what? The roles of Clarence Willams III have done more to encompass the every man of black men in America. He represents the downtrodden man who’s become engulfed by the demons he’s taken on just to cope in this world. But even in the midst of this he retains a level of respect and manhood that he will not let you forget even in its darkest moments. We’ve all, friends seen uncles, cousins, oldheads in the barber shop, fathers & relatives of friends, and even ourselves that make the roles of CW3 that much more real.
What I’ve taken from the repertoire of Sir Clarence, is that even in your lowest moments, even when the rest of the world may view you one level about dog shit, you still have to steel yourself and keep that glare. That fire in your eyes no matter how small that cuts through all the judgmental bullshit, which makes a muhfucka think twice when he’s about to write you off. Because even if you cant say it, those windows of the soul lets everyone know that “I might be fucked up now, but I’m still a fuckin’ man and don’t you forget that!”
Thank you Clarence, thank you for reminding me when I had a lapse and was wallowing on my bullshit to keep that fire in the eye.