Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Globalization of Du-Rags

Du-Rag still from Napoleon Dynamite

"You never thought that 'Hip-Hop' would take it this far!"

The other day I was minding my own business shopping for some music ("in the heart of the city" of course), when I noticed this kid looking extra lost. Not my kid, not my problem. I'm sure there was a guardian somewhere in the vicinity. I thought, 'Hope somebody knows you're here, kid' then rolled on about my business. Besides, I noticed him just like I notice everybody. Why? Because people are crazy, and you never know when someone's gonna go all Falling Down on everybody around. Essentially, I'd rather get got because someone was bold as opposed to me just slipping.

Anyway, soon enough lil' man catches sight of me and decides he'll make his query known. He said... um... something. Seriously, the lack of recall here isn't so much the shortcomings of my short-term, but rather that this kid was from 'across the pond'. Somewhere deep too, I'd guess Turkey, Morocco, or Greece - something on the Mediterranean that's for sure (though deep would really be like Kyrgyzstan - but that's beside the point). Point is his accent was something serious. So, after some confusing body language and an excess of repetition, I discovered that he wanted to know where he can get a du-rag. Well actually I assumed, but then confirmed when I went over to the rap albums (that's right, I wasn't already there) and pointed to any number of cats wearing a du-rag under a fitted and watched this kid's face light up eager to emulate. Du-Rag exampleSo with a sigh, I tried to explain to him where but first what a "barbershop" was and why he need to go there. However, I knew good-and-well there wasn't any place nearby worthy of the adventure he'd have trying to get around town. Also, my detective skills let me assume that as crispy as his fitted was (plus he still had the bag), he must not have been able to purchase the much-desired rag there (else I'd have been spared this encounter). I gave him directions to the nearest barbershop which I don't think he understood, but he had enough to ask the next stranger. And as his lost look reformed, I merely shook my head and watched him trot away toward the escalators.

See I wasn't sure how I felt about that experience but I know the count was 3-2 negative. Part of me was pissed and part of me was proud of rap music (I assume the kid didn't listen to hip-hop). I mean it's great that we ("people who are darker than blue") have folks around the world trying to be like us, but at the same time... there's alot more to us than du-rags and fitteds. I mean I'm not gon' lie, I just straight skipped the whole "why he ask the black dude?!" part - been there. Also, in this case, I'm not sure anyone else around even knew the term "du-rag/do-rag". Hell, HE didn't even know what they were called. This lil' boy came up to me lifting his fitted caressing his head asking if I could help him (PAUSE!! Dayum, haha.) Anyway, I forget what he called it but it was like a "hat slip"... or something obscure enough that my first thought was "NEXT!"

So... can we take over a network or something or launch a company that helps promote more diverse depictions of our people? Are we to the point that people overseas wouldn't believe Black folks do more than "hustle" and ... whatever Mary J Blige does? (Who is writing her songs these days?!) We need a "aren't I Black?!" campaign showing a variety of individuals not supporting stereotypes; as opposed to the girls on the subway the other night who yelled between unedited Lil' Wayne lyrics (and i seriously wish i was making this up), "I talk obnoxiously loud so people pay attention to me-e-e-e." ::sigh:: I refused to look. Maybe I was one of those whose attention they desired because they then made other attempts at spotlight that were even more sad. Let's just say mammaries were involved.

Alas, I know one cat ain't gone change everything (ask Cousin Jeff), but mayn I can't wait for 01.20.09.
"Something that'll make you do wrong, make you do right!" ~ Al Green

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