JACKIE CHAN IS KUNG FU IS WU TANG

If you love kung fu flix, you love Jackie Chan.
If you love parkour, you love Jackie Chan.
If you love "Ong Bak" or "The Raid," you love Jackie Chan.
If you don't love Jackie Chang, you should.

I have been a huge Jackie fan for years. He originated a stunt style that is seen worldwide to this day. I have toured with him and him to be exactly as gracious and magnanimous as the reports in the video. I found the testimonials incredibly moving.

My observations: firstly, Jackie Chan, though raised in the Beijing Opera, is, at heart, a martial artist. He is the embodiment of the core values of kung fu: loyalty and brotherhood. I have always maintained that the Chinese imbue their action films with these themes and philosophy better than anyone else. This is what resonates so deeply with the Wu Tang Clan and why they adopted the kung fu ethic. To listen to Jackie's team members tell stories of his generosity felt like hearing Clan members talk about how another had their back during darker and harder times. Secondly, real men aren't afraid to cry and show emotion. Thirdly, a linguistic note: when they shout "Brother!" at him, they are, in fact saying "Big Brother!" which is a very kung fu way of addressing an elder and holds much more gravitas. Finally, though I suspect most of these gentlemen are from Hong Kong, and therefore native Cantonese speakers, all of them, including Jackie, are speaking Mandarin, which is considered the sophisticated language of the country.

http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/jackie-chans-stunt-team-pays-tribute-to-him-in-moving-video-that-is-going

FIGHT THE POWER

I'll never forget how I felt the first time I heard this song: angry, amped, empowered. Chuck's forceful lyrics, stentorian voice, and exigent delivery peppered with Flav's flavor welcomed us to the Terrordome. But they wouldn't have driven the point home in the way that they did without the magic of Keith, Hank, and Eric, the Bomb Squad. FIGHT THE POWER came out almost 30 years ago, as did "Bring the Noise," "Don't Believe The Hype," "Rebel Without a Pause," "Shut 'Em Down," "Can't Truss It," "911 Is A Joke," "Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos," and so many more.

When I read those titles I miss those voices, literal and figurative, and wonder if Public Enemy would get signed to a major label deal today. I regret not. It's a new dawn, it's a new day, but I'm not feeling good. 

I LOVE MYSELF

My 3rd most played song this year came out right at the time that there were careless whispers floating through the hallways that I was going to be fired. As imperturbable as my confidence is, corporate paranoia and fear of humiliation is a bitch. Shout out to Kendrick for helping me through this time of self-doubt and reinforcing my belief in myself.

I found it incredibly empowering to hear another POC's defiant dignified declaration of self-love. I think this should be the theme song of anyone who's ever felt oppressed, marginalized, bullied, misunderstood, underestimated, disparaged. To this day I walk around the gym, the house, the street listening to this song, pounding my chest and saying out loud I LOVE MYSELF. Yes, I literally pound my chest. Remember, I was #raisedbywutang.

The sky can fall down
The wind can cry now
The strong in me
I still smile

P.S. In case you're wondering, my #1 song of 2016 was DJ Khaled's THEY READY featuring Kendrick, J. Cole, and K.R.I.T., whom I think is so under-recognized as an MC.

YOU'RE FAMILY, SOPH

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The Clan were the first to say to me “Soph, you’re family.” I'd never been told that and didn’t really understand what that meant, but it quickly became clear. Back in ‘93 I was up at the RCA offices, writing the treatment for the “C.R.E.A.M.” video with Raekwon, on a typewriter. When we were done, I told the guys I was leaving. Meth and Ghost jumped up immediately “How are you getting home, Sophie?” “Train.” “We’re walking you to the station.” “It’s Times Square in broad daylight, nothing’s going to happen.” But they insisted.

When we got there, I hugged my bodyguards goodbye. And as I descended the crowded stairway they yelled, and I mean at the top of their lungs, after me “If anyone fucks with you, Sophie, you tell them you’re with Wu-Tang ‘cause we’ll fuck them up if they come near you!” Ah, so that’s what it means to be a member of this Clan. It truly felt like I’d been adopted and I never took that for granted.

REDMAN AND ME

Redman and I in '91. Notice the hat swap.

Redman and I in '91. Notice the hat swap.

Me and Reggie this past weekend at the Roots Picnic.

Me and Reggie this past weekend at the Roots Picnic.

I have known and loved Redman truly madly deeply for 25 years. The first time we met he was rocking a big gold bracelet that I made fun of. We became fast friends and he called me his little sister. We spent countless hours talking, laughing, watching movies. When he was out late in the city, he would come to my tiny studio on 14th and 7th and yell "SOPHIE!" from the street at all hours of the night. He would stay over to avoid the drive back to LI. He would come straight in and climb up into my tiny second loft bed that he barely fit into. We would talk to each other from across the room until we fell asleep. He was my occasional roommate. He considered my place his second home and I gave him a set of keys. Home is where the heart is and Redman is my heart.