“Everyone’s Name was Muslim” – Lauryn Hill 1998
At 9:45 pm on a Tuesday, I sat in a Palace Theater chair. People were at the theater to see their favorite singer, Ms. Lauryn Hill. The men who were present were on a very wise weeknight Valentine’s related date. Women were dressed up like it was a special occasion to be in a theater on a school/work night.
On stage, the deejay played a mixture of Marvin Gaye, Chance the Rapper and current club bangers. I thought playing Chance was apt because I spent years describing him as all three of the Fugees wrapped into one human.
At 9:58 pm, Lauryn Hill’s full band took the stage. At 10:03 pm, we were on all of our feet singing along to “Everything is Everything” off the 1998 musical masterpiece, “The Miss-Education of Lauryn Hill.”
Between the choruses of “What Will Be/Will Be” leading into “Father Forgive Them/They Know Not What That Do?” there was a transcendence of the tension created from not my president’s desire to scapegoat the humans from past imperialist actions to divide America with the malicious intent of utilizing misunderstanding and ignorance for transgressions of greed.
Ms. Lauryn Hill gave you that “don’t they know God is watching” feel. For me, an unexpected personal diaspora arrived subtlety. I noticed Hill was wearing the H-Street logo on her back. H-Street was an 80’s skateboard company that helped transition skateboarding from it’s vert-era to street skateboarding.
Kanye West’s art director Virgil Abloh designed this jacket for his brand, Off-White. It was interesting to me that the rebellious but naïve energy of skateboard history was brought into the visual design of the show that was already loaded with nostalgia just from music that people love.
Then quickly Ms. Hill combined my personal skateboard reference point with late mid to late 90s Hip Hop classics. Lauryn launched into Fugee hits like “Vocab,” “Ready or Not,” “Fugee-La” and “1-2-3, the crew is called Refugees.”
If the reference points were underlining the presence of refugees in everyone’s neighborhood culture, it was felt. Skateboarders are in their neighborhoods constantly for hours, and can tell you immigrants aren’t a threat to anyone’s safety.
Personally this point was reinforced last weekend.
I went to the Noor Islamic Center on Wilcox Road in Dublin for their Black History study into American Islam’s historic roots. I wasn’t sure of the schedule so I stopped there before going to work. The parking lot was full. People were making their midday prayer. (Dhuhr).
The sight of a mass of Muslims in suburban Ohio praying was powerful.
This was on the border of Hilliard and Dublin. This gave me a similar feeling, as when Hill sang, as if there is a pure beauty that hasn’t been fully comprehended by the forces of hate.
I went to the Dublin skate park and ate food on a bench. I watched kids of various experience levels and skillsets skateboard. There was this little blonde boy, and a young girl who were all smiles just riding their skateboards. The children’s pure glee was adorable.
The Noor Islamic Center, and Dublin Skate park are in proximity of each other. I started thinking how truly awful our president is. He is willing to attempt to divide communities and put these children’s future at risk for calculated political strategy that doesn’t arrive near a real problem-solving attempt.
If he can force a war, even though there is not threat to mainland America, these kids would be the ones that would have to suffer the consequences of his decisions.
Let’s be honest about what kinds of positions the president would offer in the coming years.
Wars create refugees, wars create hurt veterans and dead kids, and grandkids.
I visited the mosque the next day while they were showing a documentary about Muhammad Ali’s decision to not fight in Vietnam, and the Supreme Court battle that ensued.
Ali’s mantra that killed his detractors softly was “Islam is Peace.” This made me think about the song Hill ended her set with at the Palace, “Do Wop/That Thing.” (After playing “Killing Me Softly @ 11:30.)
The premise of the song is some men and women just use people for sex. It’s an intervention to someone who getting used and is lying to themselves. I thought about people who think the president actually cares about their issues. He racks up enormous travel expenses. And how he is using their gullibility for personal gains, and is wasting money, polluting environments and maybe eventually either maiming or killing the children.
I realized they are getting played like a teenage girl in love with a sociopath.
Remember, Hill went to jail for tax evasion and our president and the Republican Congress deemed releasing Trump's taxes as not necessary because he is paying off all that.