Archive for June, 2009

I had a problem with the BET Awards…and I blame somebody’s Mama!!

Posted in Music Industry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2009 by djvinceadams

Soulja Boy Gets “Familiar” With Himself On-Stage at The BET Awards 2009

So, here I am awake at 4am after djing at a party and I can’t stop thinking about the colossal mess called the BET Awards.   If you watched the awards, you can’t help but have strong feelings about the show.  If you missed the show, consider yourself lucky.  If I had to say what percentage of the show was good – that would be about 30% good and 70% “are you serious.”  If I had to sum up the entire show in a sentence it would be “the BET Awards set African-American progress back to a period that would make ‘white and colored’ water fountains an everyday siting.”  Pretty sad to say and if it were not for the hundreds of tweets that I received on Twitter during the show (twitter.com/djvinceadams) , I would have tuned out long before the end.

It was apparent to me during the “Red Carpet” pre-show that there was some very “sub-standard” production value that I hoped would improve as the show progressed, but it didn’t.  I was surprised throughout the entire show how Jamie Foxx, Ving Rhames and other “adults” who should “know better” were acting is if they didn’t have the slightest idea that this could possibly be the highest rated BET Awards broadcast ever given all of the media attention that it received (i.e. CNN pre-show coverage, Satellite Radio simulacast, etc.)  I expected for the younger performers to not show decorum, but I was beyond shocked at many of the things said and done.  You would think that if these were the “elite” of the black entertainment world then we would be properly represented.  I won’t even go into tons of specifics, but I’ll just say that the grown folks should have known better.

I was excited to see the awards when I heard that there would be a ton of “surprises ” that were planned.  After viewing the show, I was wondering would those surprises be when Don Cornelius talked us to sleep?  Would they be Guy and BBD looking, breathing and sounding like they were over the hill in their early 40’s?  Maybe it was the decision to have Ciara sit and sing one of the more obscure Michael Jackson songs that you’ll find in his catalog (Ciara is a performer and not a singer right?)  Oh, I know, maybe the surprise was the one that my man @DJ_Fokis pointed out on Twitter – they did a Michael Jackson tribute show that didn’t feature any uptempo hits or serious MJ dancing talent.  Between the idiotic things that happened, the “what the hell just happened” things that happened and the “I can’t believe that just happened” things that happened – its fair to say that the buzz word for the night was “awkward.”

Let me touch on what for me was the most “awkward” part of the night.  It wasn’t only awkward, it was bittersweet.  That would be the arrival of Janet Jackson on stage and the speech that she gave.  So, let me understand the BET Awards producers…after Janet gets the courage to come out and grace the world with a word during her moment of grieving, you put her on stage immediately after Drake sings “Best I Ever Had” (the song is not about donuts by the way) FOLLOWED BY Young Money, Drake and Lil Wayne being bleeped for the entire “Every Girl” song (and no they don’t want to just “HUG every girl in the world”) THEN FOLLOWED BY Baby and Lil Wayne doing “Stay Strapped.”  So, after sex and violence you bring out the guest of honor in her moment of grief??  In that moment, I literally felt ashamed that she was put in that position.  She handled it with grace and dignity.  I think that the tweet from twitter that summed up my feelings at that moment came from @ThePBG and it stated “I wish BET died & Michael Jackson did a tribute to them .” I personally think that FOX or NBC saw this whole ship sink and somebody’s planning a MJ tribute show that will be so incredible that BET might have to consider scrapping their entire awards concept.

I find it extremely irresponsible of BET to not hold themselves to the same discretion level and talent quality as The American Music Awards at the very least.  I can understand if they don’t have the same budget, so there’s a reduction of the production value – that however is no excuse for poor judgment and bad taste.  I do think that they have a budget for some level of quality assurance.  Obviously, its not money well spent.  I have even stronger feelings about someone not pulling T-Pain aside and saying “hey Bruh, with the level of spotlight for ‘us’ tonight, take off the big ass chain (that reads ‘BIG ASS CHAIN’).”  As for Jamie Foxx, I found myself missing past BET Awards Show hostess Monique who I think would have globally handled the night with laughter and the sensitivity that the evening needed – Jamie missed the mark for me on too many occasions.

In the end, it’s really supposed to be about the music and entertainment right??  Ahh, that’s right – it wasn’t very entertaining and the music wasn’t that good either (aside from the 30% of good that took place.)  In the end where does this all put us?  To take a wide left, I think this puts us in the position of being educators.  I don’t think that the crash and burn of the BET Awards on Sunday, June 28, 2009 was an overnight/one-show occurrence.  This has been a slippery slope for some time, which may have finally slipped off the edge this year.  So, how do we become educators??  Well, the BET Awards gets one thing right every year – the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Congrats to The O’Jays who looked far more impressive than the majority of the performers who were 30-40 years younger than them

I think that any real music fan or person of an age that would consider themselves to be “old school” owes it to the younger children and young adults to share what we would consider good music to be.  I admire that John Legend studied Stevie Wonder or that Ne-Yo studied Michael Jackson.  Today we have artists like Soulja Boy who studied 50 Cent and considers 50 to be old school.  To further add insult to injury, Soulja Boy I’m sure has made much more money in the few years that he’s been on the scene than Doug E Fresh has since his arrival 25 years ago to the hip hop scene.  The sad part is that Soulja Boy until this year had no idea of who Doug E Fresh was.  That’s not Soulja Boy’s fault, that’s his Mama’s fault.  As well, new singer Jeremih has a “hit” on his hand with “Birthday Sex”.  I would bet you that he is very familiar with R. Kelly’s Bump N’ Grind, but until this year Jeremih had no idea of who the group “Guy” was.  We, as the ones that know better, have to educate younger listeners so that their range of music isn’t simply the past 10-15 years, which by many is considered the most sluggish period in modern record sales and/or under-developed in regard to musical talent (or lack thereof.)

I could go further on this subject, but I think that the conclusion is obvious here.  In order for us to get better (from BET, artists or the industry as a whole) we have to play an active part in keeping the quality up.  We can all do it in our own way.  Some may write to BET and share their feelings about the quality of the show.  Some may expose a teenager to the Gap Band or Marvin Gaye and share with them what music is, not just songs.  I think that Alicia Key’s words of “we can’t do everything, but we can all do something” definitely applies to this situation as well.  The landscape of Black music as we know it today is being degraded at an alarming rate.  If you were in doubt of that, certainly watching the awards show brought the words “it ain’t like it used to be” to mind for many people.  Remember the magnificence of the “Motown 25” Tribute Show in the 1980’s (some of you can) and how they had a fraction of the resources and budget that BET has today.  The missing ingredient is talent.  It’s hard for the future singers, songwriters and musicians of tomorrow to know what heights can be reached if we don’t step in and expose them to what real music is all about.  I’m blaming these guy’s Moms, but it’s on all of us.  Share the gift – expose others to quality – you won’t just save them, you’ll save a legacy – our music.

Let the music play…VA

A Minute, An Hour, A Day, A Year Older…For Me Yes, Not So For MJ

Posted in Life Lessons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2009 by djvinceadams

VA-MJ Pic

Michael Jackson as a child/DJ Vince Adams as a child

This is my first blog posting for THIS blog.  I say THIS, because I have written several blog entries.  Some public, most private (which is more of a private journal, but still the same concept of getting things off of your chest.)  This is now the dusk of my birthday and I knew that I wanted to start “consistently” blogging and what better time than my birthday to get started.   In case you see a pattern, the use of the words “THIS” and “consistently ” is a direct implication that I have not always kept up the habit of blogging or journaling.  Anthony (Tony) Robbins has stated that if your life is worth living, then its worth documenting.  This is my attempt at one form of consistent documentation.

I’ve always been somewhat of a “deep” thinker for as long as I can remember, so I am pretty sure that my blog will be long and tedious for many and not “made” for everybody.  For those that prefer short bursts of information, feel free to follow me on twitter.com/djvinceadams.  This is not Twitter, therefore my thoughts probably will not be “micro-blogs”, they will be more thought out and heartfelt expressions of what’s going on within me or just observations about the world in general.

It may strike some people as odd that shortly after the midnight of my birthday passing that I’m not out in a club (as a well known Chicago DJ) or possibly on a “hot date.”  I very specifically planned to spend this evening in reflection and take some time to get my thoughts together on entering the final year of my 30’s as my next birthday will mark the big 4-0.  I planned a lot of things out for the day.  What I would eat, what I would drink, what I would be doing.  It was all laid out perfectly.  The one thing that I didn’t plan was the passing of music legend Michael Jackson, that certainly wasn’t part of my plans.

I think that for some people the feeling and/or thoughts around your mortality are normal around the time of your birthday.  I think that it may have accelerated for me a bit after the passing of Farrah Fawcett (my favorite angel from Charlie’s Angels) and Michael Jackson on my birthday.  That means that as long as I am blessed to continue to celebrate my birthday, I will be consistently reminded of the passing of one of the most important (if not the most important) musical influences of my life.  I have a million and one favorite Michael Jackson moments, but that’s not exactly what this “entry” is about.

As I reflect on my own life, this is not where I pictured my life would be.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived a great life, done things that I’ve never thought I would have the opportunity to do, etc.  However, this is not where I pictured myself.  At the age of 39, I am divorced, no kids and though I make my own living working for myself – I’m not satisfied with where that has gotten me.  I, like many people in 2009 have been forced to take a step back today with the promise of hopefully taking two steps forward tomorrow.   Examine that last sentence.   Is it me, or is there an oxymoronic tone to have a “promise” to “hopefully” do something in the future?  I don’t think that it’s a false promise; it’s more that the biggest commodity that can be offered in today’s world is “hope.”

“Hope” means a lot of things to a lot of people.  To the person with an illness, hope is a potential cure.  For the citizens of Iran, hope is a potential for freedom.  For the unemployed, hope is the potential to gain employment.  Thank God that I am in great health, free to the greatest extent an African-American male can be and I am blessed to be working.  So, what does hope mean to me??  What am I hoping for??  Luckily on June 25, 2009 I was given the blessing of being a minute, an hour, a day and thankfully a year older to figure that out.

So, again, what am I hoping for?  I could get into specifics as it relates to finances, but that could bore some.  It’s always fun to talk about relationships (great source of debate), but I have been rather unlucky in love.  I have always dated wonderful women, for some reason, receiving the optimal behavior, maturity and application of relationship “best practices” hasn’t been in my favor.  By the way, that’s the very P.C. way of saying that I typically have received the short end of the stick in relationships.  There are many aspects of my life and of your life that we can point to and say that we “hope” that something moves more in our favor than it has in the past.  However, there is an old Teddy Pendergrass song called “You Can’t Hide From Yourself.”

Lyrically, the song says “You can’t hide from yourself, everywhere you go – there you are.”  Conceptually, I think that’s what makes hope such a powerful thing.  If you place your hope outside of yourself (besides with your God) you’re pretty much doomed.  On this 39th birthday, I’m really beginning to understand that if I put my hope in my government, my promoters that I work for, party goers, any business opportunity, the type of music being made, my “if I had a” girlfriend or anything outside of myself – I have essentially lost hope.  For me, refocusing my “hope”/faith/attitude on me and my actions is the key to bridging the gap between where I am and where I want to go in any aspect of my life.

Stated simpler – no matter what situation I am in, no matter what is happening, focusing my energy outside of myself and my God is an exercise in futility.  It’s as simple as the final two lines in the poem Invictus “I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul.”  In an even simpler form, it’s the four words shouted by “He-Man” when it was time to wreck shop “I HAVE THE POWER!!!”  That’s really it – I DO have the power.  The power for everything that I want and will achieve is within me.  That doesn’t mean that I remain oblivious to the relationships or environments that I am currently in.  It is important to “design” your environment to incorporate the things that are most beneficial for you, as well as rid yourself of those things that are not best suited for you to have the peace and serenity needed for your own progress.

Again, it was part of the design of my birthday for me to spend this day with and by myself for reflection.  If you find that it is difficult for you to spend time with yourself, it may be difficult for others to spend time with you as well.  This is not a sweeping generalization, more so a generic statement.  The fact does remain that knowing yourself, better yet, being in tune with yourself is the first step to “hoping” for the right thing.  It’s amazing how many people “hope” for the wrong thing because their minds and bodies are so scattered and active that they have not firmly assessed how the acquisition of what they “hope” for will affect their lives.  Its unfortunate how many people seek, “hope” and work hard for the perfect mate, perfect job, perfect situation, only to attain it and find that it’s not a fit and actually this new “thing” makes them unhappy.  The new acquisition of a noun (person, place or thing) can’t make you happy until you are happy with yourself.

That is why this moment means so much to me.  I have been given another minute, another hour, another day and another year to have a better application of “hope.”  The refined approach brings all the hope home.  That means that it is within me – again, I have the power.  I will continue to focus my energies on me, not on how certain promoters handle business, not how opportunities may seem very different today than they were years ago or not how I may not receive in a commensurate fashion to what it is I have given.  These things matter and are worth noting, but at this time I have re-discovered true hope comes from within.

Note – it is possible to believe in yourself and simultaneously put more of your effort, energy, expectation and purpose in others than you do in yourself.  My correction is to refocus that effort, energy, expectation and purpose back to me while I continue to believe in my capability of doing/having whatever is on the other side of my “proverbial bridge.”  Many people use their energy to correct the actions of others (i.e. family, co-workers, spouse/mate, friends, etc.) as opposed to firming and moving on their own constitution and conviction.  It is not possible to have others create the reality that we want for ourselves – that reality must be created within us first.  That is the renewed focus of my hope.

To paraphrase words from Esther Hicks regarding the Law of Attraction, we will not begin to be able to control how things around use are happening until we are able to control our feelings about those things that we can not control.  It is once we have control of our feelings that we can then focus our energies in a way that will attract the people and occurrences to us that most benefit us.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t get mad, frustrated or flat-out pissed at times.  It simply means that when we feel this way we are more aware of what it is that we don’t want.  As we become more aware of what we want (through experiencing what we don’t want), we then channel that “hope” into a greater acknowledgement of what we want which improves our ability to move closer to it.  As long as we have a minute, an hour, a day and a year more – we have the opportunity to “hope” responsibly (within ourselves) and not “hope” recklessly (outside of ourselves.)

God bless my pre-teen crush Farrah Fawcett and my musical hero Michael Jackson on this day – their last day with us.  They were taken to a better place and “hope” is no longer part of their reality.  We are still here and as long as that bridge remains where we are on one side and the places we want to go, the things we want to do and the people we want to be with are on the other side of the bridge, it is our responsibility to take the minute, the hour, the day and the year more that we are given to channel our energies internally to do what’s right and continue to “hope” for the best within us.

Much love, peace and blessings to you.  “Keep hope alive”…VA