Wednesday, I woke up on a mission. Like most days, I wake up with that sense of fulfillment because I know that I am pursuing a positive vision for the future with my work. But yesterday was different. Nicki Minaj was in town and one way or another I was going to see my sister when she came to town. I did get to see her. So I’d say the night was an overwhelming success.
You see, I equate The Pinkprint to being a classic like The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Now, now before y’all go jumping on my areola, I will just say that Nicki encapsulates reality in a way that may only be recognized by many in years to come. She’s ahead of her time. I put The Pinkprint up there with 2014 Forest Hills Drive, Beyonce, and Reasonable Doubt. It’s that timeless.
So the day started with me trying to straighten out my financial situation, just like every day unfortunately begins. You see, more often than not, when you have been imprisoned or confined to a mental institution your finances end up in ruins. On top of that, all of your trust relationships break down and re-form gradually, but that’s a discussion for another day. While I was locked up hundreds of dollars were stolen from my account. Not just once, but three times. My financial institution did nothing about it despite my best efforts to get the situation rectified.
So I woke up with two things on my brain Wednesday morning. Firstly, how am I going to afford food and cigarettes for today, and second, how the fuck am I going to get my stressin’ ass to the Nicki Minaj concert?
The answer came to me around 430 p.m. Pawn something. So I looked around the room, found something to pawn, and well, I pawned it. If you’ve ever had to struggle you know the pawn game. And now I know it well. It’s funny though, I’ve been struggling for days and I didn’t even think to pawn something until the idea of seeing Nicki came to my mind. That’s love. You see Nicki’s music got me through some of the toughest times. Nicki’s music got me to sing again.
So after the pawn shop, I hauled ass home, got changed, ate whatever I had left in the fridge, managed the physical symptoms of the medication that I am legally mandated to take for a mental illness that I don’t have, and then I was off! Or so I thought…
I left my apartment with more than enough time to get to the stadium before the box office closed, but God had other plans. When I got outside I found an abandoned and highly abused dog. I instantly got onto the phone, started trying to track someone down to help the poor creature. He was a Chocolate Labrador like my baby Penny, very ill, stumbling around as if almost drunk, and limping on his back leg. To say that I was both heartbroken and pissed off as all hell that someone would allow an innocent creature to get to that point, is an understatement. Finally the dog led me to his home and he looked at me, started crying, and then limped his way back into the house across the threshold.
So I left. I waited for the phone call from the animal assistance agencies, followed their directions and made my way to the stadium. Then I checked the time. 8:45 p.m. Fuck. The box office was closing in 15 minutes and there was no way that I was going to make it unless I caught this bus. At that moment, I looked up and the exact bus that I needed was passing by the exact bus stop that I needed to be at. Great. Well then I thought, what about a taxi? Nah, even taking a taxi won’t get me there before 9:00 p.m. So I walked. With my spinal injury that I have it wasn’t exactly the best decision, but regardless it was the decision I made.
A lot happened last night in my efforts to see Nicki and Meek, but I can’t capture it all without losing your attention so I’ll try and get through the next bit being a bit more direct.
So I get to the stadium, walk in and the security tells me I’m not allowed to be there. I get rejected with the ticket I ended up finding, and then told that I must go around the building (2 ½ blocks away) to speak to someone. I explained to them why I was late. I offered to show them the video of the dog that was abused, and literally begged these assholes to let me in for the last 30 minutes of the concert. So the dude around the building tells me to go to the small box office, he gives me a code to give the security and off I go. I show up, pissed off as all hell that no one is showing me any kindness when I just hopefully saved an animal’s life but either way…I’m in! I got into the stadium so I could hear the concert!
The best moment happened when security was escorting me to the small box office (something that happens to me practically every where I go). I forget the song Nick was performing but as I was walking by an opening from the hallway to the stage, I got a perfect view of Nicki in all her glory and I jumped up and screamed “Ya!” The best part? Nick jumped at the same time. It was a beautiful moment for me.
So I get to the small box office desk and this girl is asking me question after question, and I’m answering them all as if she’s some serious authority. I tell them to look me up in the system because I’ve got J. Cole tickets and I am 100% in there. “No,” they say. They can’t find my name. I troubleshoot spelling…nothing. I try and appeal to their moral compass. Nada. Shit man, some people are just dicks.
So while I’m standing at the small box office, people start pouring out of the stadium and flooding the hallway before the final song has been sung. Insanity to me, but true nonetheless. Then I heard screaming. Lots of screaming. I turn to my left and see about 8 security guards in blue rushing a woman that is passed out with a ventilator on a stretcher. Then I hear it…laughing.
Laughing. People were laughing at this poor girl on a stretcher. They were laughing at the security’s serious demeanor, and they were laughing at her expense.
So I bounce. I say peace to the girl that’s been grilling me like I’m some sort of criminal and I just leave. But there’s an afterparty and Nicki and Meek are supposed to be there is what I’m told. So what do I do? I stay downtown and go. Man, you know when Lupe says “feelin out of place like Peta at a fur store?” Ya it was like that. I had my headphones in the whole time, smoked rig after rig, and went to the dance floor for one song “Headlines.” But around 2 a.m. I realized Nicki and Meek weren’t coming, so I left. That was the first time I stepped into a club in over 3 years…safe to say I won’t be doing it again any time soon.
So I walk part of the way home and then negotiate with a taxi driver a fair price to take me home. He takes me a couple of blocks in the wrong direction and lets me off. Cool, at least I’m closer to home now, I think. Then I get home. And collapse. Literal physical pain that was so debilitating I couldn’t walk the dog right away upon getting home. (The lesson there: domestic violence is a situation that you need to get out of as soon as it is safe to do so).
But back to the night, because there are many reasons why I am telling you my story of last night. First of all, I only missed the concert for one reason: because I was trying to save a life. And when I arrived at the Bell Centre with my evidence of my story in tact, they had no sympathy for my situation. What kind of a world do we live in where activists are shunned? I’m sure if I had told them my Mercedes broke down they would have had more sympathy.
“My E430 broke down, and I had to take the…the…the subway!”
“My goodness ma’am, please come with us, we have a seat available in VIP.”
I don’t know if people are paying attention close enough to recognize what is going on in the media. And by media I mean the news. I mean the real news. I mean like the President’s speech in Kenya that talks about gender equality and human rights at length in a precise and direct way. I mean like the Drake and Meek beef (look closely). But back to the President, because well, we all know I’m probably the biggest Obama fan out there.
POTUS said “the future of Africa is up to Africans.” Deep. He continued on to say “many focus on the outside for salvation.” Case and point. We are all looking to someone else to be our personal saviors when in reality we are our own. It is up to Africans to save the continent, just like it is up to Americans to save America from the direction many want to take it in.
If you’re not up yet, let me open you eyes for you. 5 Black women have died in police custody this month alone. Black men are practically killed like game. Latinos are targeted. Members of the LGBT community are harassed and animals are being locked up in cages, and euthanized daily.
Don’t get it yet?
OUR WORLD IS CRUMBLING IF YOU DON’T STEP THE FUCK UP. I am the most outspoken person I know and it brings trouble, don’t get me wrong, there are systemic consequences but fuck it. My dog has been kidnapped before. She was in a puppy mill. She has been abused by people she was supposed to be able to trust, and my poor baby is sad and traumatized.
I don’t know what happened to her while I was locked up this past time, but she was in rough shape when she got home. Our communication that we have worked three years on developing was obliterated because of whatever she experienced being separated from me while I was placed yet again in a psych ward for the article that I wrote on THUGLIFE.
While I wrote the THUGLIFE article, much like how I’m writing this one, I had the inkling that I might get locked up for what I wrote. Freedom of speech is real, but the system is realer. I got respect for a lot of our systemic infrastructure though. In wanting to re-design the system collectively, I don’t want to scrap it, just improve it, for everyone. Human rights work is not to be laughed at.
Last night as I was smoking outside the afterparty at Laboom on Stanley, I spoke to a few girls about the concert. I was trying to get an idea for how people found the show. One girl told me it was “poppin,” and another said she was just there to see Nicki at the afterparty. The second girl, a beautiful girl who looked just like Angela Simmons, complimented my hair color. Thank you I said, and I returned with a compliment of her beauty myself. Then after she found out I was a writer she goes, “So your job is stress free.” I just looked at her, blankly, humored her with some sort of conversation ending response and off I was to blast “Out On Bail” by Pac in my ears to take me away from the ignorance of the moment. Pac is the solution to 9/10 problems.
I would say that having my dog, who I consider to be my daughter, kidnapped, because of my line of work does not constitute a “stress-free” job. Just because something is a passion and you pursue it, does not mean that it’s stress free just because it’s natural. A vision, as Russell Simmons has put it, is a message from God. I didn’t choose this path, but I’m on it. I’d suggest you start listening to what God is trying to tell you before it’s too late.
In “Talk That Talk,” Jay Z says to the listener “they say that money talk, tell these other n****s speak up.” I’m doing that, right now. You want change? Start with your wallet. Purchase things from companies that are trying to further progress. You want for your child to walk the streets with a genuinely free mind and overall positive experience one day? Speak up! Just talk. Talk about your concerns, talk some real shit, instead of frontin’ on Meek for not responding in the right way to Drake’s diss tracks.
– Arielle London