CIVIL WRITES: Nightmares of Living Dead

I’ve got a confession: I have a strong dislike for people whom are content. To me contentment isn’t solely about satisfaction, much worse it smells of settlement. At the risk of sounding dramatic, settling in my eyes is synonymous with living deceased. I’ve always viewed life as a non-stop journey; there’s but one finish line, albeit countless checkpoints and benchmarks. So once you’re not active, whether forwards or backwards, you’re not living anymore. This is why after seeing the trailer to the beautiful Bill Withers documentary, Still Bill, early last year and hearing Withers repeat a quote from my favorite philosopher Henry Thoreau I sunk into a pool of sympathy. Withers said, “Most men lead lives of
 quiet desperation.” But the entire Thoreau quote is “Most men lead lives of
 quiet desperation and go 
to the grave with the 
song still in them.”

To clarify, the quote says that most men and women go through their lives yearning to be or create something in particular but never quench their desire. They spend their lifespan wishing upon a star but never see the sunrise; dream but never awaken. My bewilderment doesn’t lie in the fact that most folks don’t accomplish their dreams. It’s that most people do not pursue their dreams.

Now I’m very aware that many lives go unfulfilled due to sacrifices made for what or whomever­­––unplanned pregnancy, love, marriage, parent’s unexpected illness etc. Yet while life can be a bitch with an itch and shit happens, this tragedy of men, begins way before we’re old enough to be affected by adulthood’s dimly lit yet vibrantly colored funhouse. I feel people lead desperate lives silently because they aren’t raised to live for their passion aloud.

From childhood we aren’t encouraged, better yet discouraged from listening to our wants outside of school. Many of you are the children and grandchildren of migrated and replanted folk whose primacy was feeding their family with that promised American pie. They tell you to go to school (‘cause they couldn’t), get good grades (so you can go to college; ‘cause they couldn’t) and then get a job (so you can cut your own piece of pie). Rarely are your loves and/or talents considered. We’re trained to separate work from hobbies­­ (complete your studies and then you can “play”).

Now what if, as a child, drawing and arts & crafts were your heart’s desire? You couldn’t wait to finish your homework so you could sketch and play with Legos. That passion could’ve possibly gotten you outsourced by Marc Jacobs ala the twins Dee and Ricky. Or maybe your creativity began shining in pre-school: you had a penchant for giving your doll babies innovative hairstyles. If grade-school homework and playtime weren’t treated as antonyms your doll lover could’ve morphed into the next celeb coiftress Amoy Pitters.

It’s impossible for everybody to have a dream job but it’s unacceptable that everybody doesn’t aim for theirs. It’s criminal that the masses hate their job, but inhumane to hate your job because you never worked at your love. Life has and will continue to hurl curveballs, but we have more sovereignty over our lives than exercised. I’ve always felt you either tell life what you want or it will tell you (away with Liberal Arts!). Think the elderly custodian at your city's bus station loves his job? Who wants to clean up behind a city on the move...and their homeless...at age 60? Who wants to be the parent who encouraged their child to become a 60-year-old custodian via lack of encouragement?

Betting the farm on your passions may seem silly but only because we’re programmed to feel such. Ignore the fears and embrace the fantasy. This planet has enough superstars. It needs more comets…like your protégé, successor, siblings, children but most importantly you. Just don’t be scared. And for heaven’s sake, do not be silent.

Now who can say they’re doing what makes them happy? For those who answer no, what are you doing or not doing to obstruct your fulfillment?

 ___________________________________________

 

Bonsu Thompson has accomplished more in his career than most journalists dream of. The Rolling Stone 2001 “Hot Interviewer” has penned for mags like Details, XXL, Penthouse, SLAM and KING as well as notable brands such as MTV, VH1, Rocawear and Translation.

 

 


From the Web

More on Vibe

Rapper Bobby Shmurda poses backstage at Power 105.1's Powerhouse 2014 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on October 30, 2014 in New York City.
Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Power 105.1

Bobby Shmurda Returns Home After Serving 6 Years In Prison

After serving 6 years, Bobby Shmurda is finally out. The rapper, born Ackquille Pollard, was granted a conditional release from the New York state prison, Clinton Correctional Facility, on Tuesday morning (Feb. 23) and will serve the remainder of his 7-year sentence on parole. According to reports, Shmurda “will be under community supervision in Kings County until he completes his sentence on February 23, 2026.”

In true celebrity fashion, Shmurda was brought home in a private jet this morning. Earlier this week, Migos' Quavo told Billboard that he would do the honor of picking him up upon Bobby's release. "I'm going to get my guy. I'm personally gonna go pick up Bobby Shmurda. I'm bout to go get him. I'm gonna let him show you how I'm gonna pick him up, yessir. It's gonna be big."

And that he did.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by QuavoHuncho (@quavohuncho)

In December 2014, Shmurda was arrested at New York City's Quad Studios and was charged with conspiracy to murder, criminal possession of a weapon, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and reckless endangerment follow a two-year probe by the New York Police Department. In 2016, the former Epic Records signee and his childhood friend Rowdy Rebel accepted a plea deal and were sentenced to 7 years in prison.

“They kind of did it dirty at the end of the day,” Bobby explained in a phone interview with VIBE back in 2016. “They had offered me five (years) but then they said if I take the seven, then I’ll be taking it so that they could give Rowdy seven because they were going to offer him 12. I didn’t want my bro to do 12 years because at the end of the day, we didn’t really do nothing, but they playing dirty. So I’m going to take one for the bro.”

Now that Bobby is out, he'll be spending time with family and friends and getting his head back into creating new music. Watch his FaceTime call with his mother, Leslie, down below.

Welcome back, Bobby.

Bobby Shmurda on facetime with his mom after being released from prison pic.twitter.com/YvdaBzo1Y4

— Bobby Shmurda Updates (@bodboybobby) February 23, 2021

Continue Reading
Fred The Godson attends the Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Launch at The Griffin on March 31, 2014 in New York City.
Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Fat Joe, Jim Jones and Bronx Community Celebrate Fred The Godson's Street Naming On His Birthday

Today (Feb. 22), the great MC, Fred The Godson, was honored posthumously with a street naming by his Bronx community and hip-hop industry comrades. Among the dozens of those that showed love to the rapper that passed away in April 2020 due to COVID-19 were BX native Fat Joe and Harlem repper Jim Jones. The street's South Bronx location of Leggett avenue and Kelly street will now also be called Fredrick "Fred The Godson" Thomas Way.

While snow fell heavily, the crowd of supporters and the organizers stood strong and watched as the sign was unveiled to cheers of joy. The Fred The Godson Foundation worked hard to make this day happen on what would have been Fred's 36th birthday. "Shortly after Fred’s passing, the Fred The Godson Foundation was created to carry on his legacy for his children and family, and the commitment to his dreams for the Bronx," says the foundation's mission statement. "The mission is to inspire, empower and nourish individuals, children and families in underserved communities, starting with Fred’s birthplace. The foundation will foster community unity through the common pursuit of wellness, prosperity, and opportunity."

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by FAT JOE (@fatjoe)

Known for having one of the most celebrated flows that included a barrage of double entendres and metaphors that were rarely matched, Fred was a respected MC with enormous skills that were able to get him featured on the famed 2011 XXL 'Freshman' class magazine cover along with Meek Mill, Mac Miller (RIP) and Kendrick Lamar. Jim Jones had some heartfelt words for the one named 'Gordo' at the ceremony, "Fred inspired me to do this music, a lot all over again. There was a time I really didn't want to do no music...and Fred would say, 'Nah, you gotta get in that booth Capo.'"

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Chanel Rae -TheCulturePrincess (@pqchanel)

The Thomas family announced thank you's and love to Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. of District 17 in the South Bronx, Bronx Borough President Ruban Diaz, NYPD's 41st Precinct, and the Bronx community for helping make the Frederick “Fred the Godson” Thomas Way street co-naming possible.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by jimjonescapo (@jimjonescapo)

Much respect to the legacy of the husband and father, Fred The Godson.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Fred The Godson Aka Gordo (@fredthegodsonmusic)

Continue Reading
Jay-Z attends 2020 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH on January 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation

Jay-Z Sells Half Stake Of 'Ace Of Spades' To Moët Hennessy In New Partnership

Jay-Z's Armand de Brignac aka Ace of Spaces has sold 50% of its stake in an acquisition by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). On Monday morning (Feb. 22), The two leading luxury spirits brands announced their new alliance which includes a global distribution agreement.

“I’m proud to welcome the Arnault family into ours through this partnership that began with Alexandre Arnault and continued with his father Bernard Arnault and Philippe Schaus, at my home in Los Angeles," said Carter in a press release. "It is a partnership that has felt familiar the entire time. We are confident that the sheer power of the Moët Hennessy global distribution framework, its unparalleled portfolio strength and its long-established track record of excellence in developing luxury brands will give Armand de Brignac the commercial power it needs to grow and flourish even further.”

Moët Hennessy's president and CEO, Philippe Schaus shared how his company has been a long-admirer of Armand de Brignac's success in the champagne and wine categories.

“Often referred to as 'Ace of Spades,' Armand de Brignac breaks barriers and reflects contemporary luxury, while preserving the traditions of the Champagne terroirs. Today, we are incredibly proud to be partnering with them and believe that the combination of our Champagne experience and international network coupled with Shawn 'JAY-Z' Carter’s vision, the strength of the Armand de Brignac brand and quality of its range of prestige cuvées will allow us to take the business to new heights across the world.”

Watch Jay-Z's sitdown interview with CNBC's Squawk Box (which aired shortly after the published announcement) where he talks about how the deal came to fruition and his growth since entering the wine and spirits space after boycotting the champagne line, Cristal back in 2006.

Continue Reading

Top Stories