Banter on Tulips and a Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z and John Coltrane, Outkast and Othello.


It's Where You Been and Where You Be...

Cover Art From Mos Def's "The Ecstatic"

"Everybody act according to the season that they born in
Some in the night, some in in the morning.
Some at noon. Some in winter. Some in June...It's all cool."
- Mos Def feat. Talib Kweli, "History" (Now playing)

I was born on a September morning in a Center City, Philadelphia hospital. Just after 15 hours of labor, set off by the evening news the night before. A newly minted brown baby girl. The eldest child born to one who came from a lot. To another who came from a little. As it ended up, along the way, they met in the middle.
*hums* History, history

So, it's not hard to imagine that I am perpetually late, a former journalist, current news junkie and, well, (*considers how to reconcile my love for coonish reality tv shows and Be-Bop*) boughetto. Lol. In his guest appearance on Mos Def's "History," Brookylnite Talib Kweli raps that he lays down the law down like Leviticus. (Dope lyric, btw. Especially poignant considering that his brother was a Supreme Court clerk and is now a Columbia prof. Tight.) But I digress. Talib's musings always get me to thinking. This time I wondered what if he had decided to be a lawyer instead of a rapper? He would have robbed all of us of his witty, incisive repertoire just for the point of being like somebody else. That would have been a shame.

*hums* History, history

Now, I'm not a rapper. By any means. Not even a little bit. Lol. But daily-- and maybe Bar preparation has kicked my existentialism into overdrive so I apologize. Lol.-- I wonder if I might have been a better scribe in the past than I might be a lawyer in the future. I'm not certain whether stacks and stacks of memorization of countless minutae is for me in the same way that a great song is for me. In the same way a good book or great article is for me. In the same way a perfect verse over a great track is just, well, perfect. I hear Earth, Wind and Fire, Sarah Vaughan, Pete Rock and CL Smooth, John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66, I light up. I peruse James Baldwin or Nikki Giovanni or a good piece in the New Yorker, I'm sparkling all day. I read the law of Commercial Paper. Yeah, not so much. Lol.

I am truly thankful for these past three years. Law school has disciplined my mind and honed my analytical abilities like few other things could have. I can read a case without eyes crossed. I can write a memo. I can speak the language. And of course I'm thankful for the opportunities it has presented to earn filthy lucre and perhaps, like Willie Gary, more fame than *insert stage voice,* The Grrreat and Powerful Ozzz!! Lol. But I am more and more coming to grips with as Mos says, "where I been and where I be." Who I be.

Where I've been is everywhere. East Coast. West Coast. Midwest. I try to never forget how blessed I've been in life. In universities. Newsrooms. Covering political protests. Speaking to Grammy and Tony winners. Chillaxing on the Vineyard or in LA. Where I be now is always the harder questions for me, or I guess anyone, to answer. As OutKast says on "Synthesizer," "Life is full of evolution." As George Benson sang, "Everything must change. Nothing stays the same." I suppose the great guitarist and Big Boi and 'nem are right :-) With each change, there is loss and gain. A renting of the old garments to be able to properly don the new ones. But before we change clothes ("and go" - Jigga *smile*), It's always important to look in the mirror. Maintain our essential truths. Silence the noise and ask what God put you here for. What are my gifts? What are my goals? (And how do I line those up together and stay out the bread line? Lol) When we can answer that honestly, I think we're on the right train. One that properly acknowedges the promises in our future and the triumphs of our past. Cause "every soul got history: it's where you been and where you be."
-M. Elle