Ruben Studdard or I'm NOT Sorry 4 2019
Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with Ruben. The teddy bear of a crooner deserves all the respect one can bestow on a C-list celebrity. It's not his fault Americans Americanized really hard for a white singer. Even if that singer was Clay Aiken.
Sike: I lied. Word to Charlie Clips.
This isn't about Ruben. But it kinda is. I always felt his "Sorry For 2004" was ill conceived, delivered, and written. It sounded too much like using negative tropes (Black man doing his woman wrong) to create an intentional anthem that fell flatter than unleavened bread. You were expecting a white girl ass joke? Nah, I'm sophisticated.
Much like Tank's "I Deserve," I simply don't believe the song. I tried hard, but it failed just as hard in its message.
Plus--- even though I value cordiality in life, maybe there are times when we apologize too often and for the wrong things. So to all of the folk that may have wanted to see me during the holidays, I value your feelings and you're important to me. But I'm definitely not sorry.
Self-preservation is the first law of nature. And I comfortably preserved self by holing my nature away into my own tiny hovel for the duration of the holiday season. Here's why:
1. I'm not poor, nor am I broke, but my fiduciary responsibilities did not afford me the luxury and wherewithal to participate in the merriment. Much like my convo with panhandlers in front of the liquor store: I ain't got it.
2. I just don't believe in it. I waited tables for a total of 14 years (manager and bartender too) and I've heard damn-near every version of Christmas songs. With the exception of TLC's "Sleigh Ride," Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas," Boyz II Men's "Let It Snow" and the only reputable version of Silent Night, they all suck! It's nauseating and annoying. Plus, who has money to buy an ugly sweater? All my sweaters gotta make me feel like Mitch from Paid In Full.
3. It's all about capitalism and consumerism. We literally participate (well, not me) in Black Friday so corporations that devalue our existence and pay us less than our worth can end their year in the black. Without bonuses for the regular Joe's ensuring their massive profits.
4. Jesus gotta be pissed.
5. I also don't have money for Kwanzaa gifts. Or offerings. Or blessings. I won't sully the tradition by referencing the conflicting feelings many may have about its founder. It's a valuable conversation, just not for this piece.
6. I won't say I have social anxiety. I love to perform. But that's the stage. The introvert in me does get a bit anxious trying to prepare for the small talk all of these festivities evoke. I mean, I love you. And I'd love to fiercely debate De La Soul versus Goodie Mob or Dave Chappell versus Richard Pryor; I'm just never prepared for hours-long conversations that rarely scratch the surface of what matters to me.
7. I value me. And I've grown to realize that attempting to please people is not the best way to love me. I don't want to watch Tyler Perry movies with my folks back home. I don't want to pretend to like being outside on the cold. Yes, I know it wasn't that cold in Atlanta, but it was cold enough. After a semester of being Joe Clark meets Freedom Writers, I really just need time to be Ahmariah. Or ANON. Or Kyon. Or whichever me I am that day.
But there's an upside. My brother, Joe Stu added to my tattoo over the break. My colleague and sister, Apryll Ross recorded her podcast, "Spiked Sweet Tea" at my modest, in-home studio. She even featured the prolific Nikki Rose. My sister Helena helped guide my direction for 2020, especially my Re-Tell Therapy event promoting therapy for Black Men. My Divine Suns brothers prompted me to write some stoopid, def, dope, doodoo rhymes. And as always, Diligent and ANON are 8AM. We got a feature on Khujo Goodie's "Feed The Lions," and a self-titled album to be released early this year.
So. I'm not anti-social. But I have become intentional. Born alone, die alone. All I got is me. I love you all. Hit me when it ain't the holidays. Peace.
Oh yeah. And somebody put Rubben on a remix. Maybe he deserves it.