The FUNKIEST moment is being there, in the moment, not recording it. I watched Oprah Winfrey’s address to Harvard University online last night. One being able to have the opportunity to hear a person of her caliber, success and expertise in a private setting speak, is rare. When moments like this occur, you should really be in tune and focused, not recording it.
There are advancements in technology that have long attributed to aspects of the downfall of man. In other words, a good thing can be dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. Such is the case with the masses of people who are deluded that everything they attend needs to be documented. Most of you ARE MISSING IT… You’re really missing it and you’re physically there. Just as I watched Oprah online, those who attended could have found it online post the event, instead many were trying to capture the event on handheld devices. The epitome of my belief, came by way of the little colored girl with a pink i-pad, who was looking around the left side of it, as Oprah was speaking. PUT THE I-PAD DOWN, AND STEP AWAY FROM THE TECHNOLOGY… and be Present.
Nowadays “filmmakers” are in abundance, but not really, so many people just believe that they are because anyone can pick up a camera and shoot. Shooting something does not a filmmaker make, but I’m not even talking about these folks. I’m speaking to those of you who recorded an event this time last year, and you have not watched that footage in playback yet. You know who you are… Since that event, you archived that tape, disc or file card, but it’s just collecting dust. In your mind you have preserved a piece of history for the prosperity or benefit of yourself and others — but did you even look at it to see if you made a decent copy? Do you even remember what the essence of the moment was that you were capturing on video? Did you walk away with one solid memory of the event, other than the fact that you taped it?!?!? “It’s mine forever… Ha Ha Ha Ha, Muah Ha Ha Ha Ha…”
I have had the fortune and privilege to witness some incredible moments in time, but for those moments, the playback is in my head…. Ella Fitzgerald’s last concert at Radio City Music Hall – WHAT!!! “Thank you ladies and gentlemen,” she kept saying to the audience, as we all sat there in awe of her knowing this was a once in a lifetime experience, as we constantly thanked her. Catching Oprah speak, is a once in a lifetime event unless you’re Gayle. I’ve seen Prince so many times now, that it’s almost too many to count, but I can remember every show – every show was a brand new experience, but an experience I’ll long remember because I was there taking it in. Two of these concerts were not even official shows at all, but album presentations for “Diamonds and Pearls” and “Rave un2 the Joy Fantastic.” Some of you are like, “What album is that”? It was just a one-off with Arista post his years with Warner, when Clive Davis was still at the helm, before he started J Records. Davis introduced him after conveying the brilliance of his artistry and how lucky we all were to be able to witness it during a time that sampling was dominating music in hip-hop. I was present to absorb the gifts of one of the greatest musicians of our time… I didn’t want to waste or miss the moment recording it into a camera. ?uest Love from The Roots played drums with Prince for the first time that night; and Sheryl Crow & Ani DeFranco also joined him on stage. The Day Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday became a national holiday, I was at Stevie Wonder’s concert that Night. I had joined him for the “March on Washington” to make that dream a reality. While there he said: “So when you return to your cities, your homes, your jobs please carry on the vigil. For this dream our dream, goes beyond politics, beyond oppression, beyond mere history, but not beyond hope or love, for this dream shall never die.” I can still see him walking on stage to the keyboard to sing “Happy Birthday” because I was present in the moment, he wore a silver suit as his head moved from side-to-side in classic Wonder fashion.
Public Enemy and Run DMC double-billed at Radio City once – Incredible; I got to catch Billy Joel and Elton John go head-to-head singing their greatest hits and each others hits; Saw Eminem at his only concert for the year in Detroit; Ben Harper and the Sugar Hill Gang at Tramps in NYC before the venue shut down; The Chronic Tour with Dr. Dre and company. I went to the premiere after party for the movie “The Mambo Kings” at Roseland, where I watched actor Armand Assante take the stage with Tito Puente to play timbales. If I had been recording it, I probably wouldn’t have noticed that Bill Murray was standing right beside me. I’ve seen Whitney Houston, Rod Stewart, Sting, Earth Wind & Fire, Janet Jackson and Queen at Madison Square Garden. F*ckin’ QUEEN… Freddie Mercury Bitch… the then Liberace of ROCK with Billy Squier opening… “My kind of lover, my kind of lover, my kind of loveeerr” (repeat 3 times). Mercury was wearing a cape by the end of the show. I had tickets for the blue section, by the end of the night my cousin Allen and I were in the red section on the floor singing “We Will Rock You”!!! It’s all in my dome kid, the best playback there is.
I saw President Bill Clinton speak at my wife’s graduation from NYU. He talked about this very topic within his speech, saying how there are dynamics of technology that have surpassed man’s ability, emphasizing that no matter how far we’ve come digitally – our first priority should be about humanity. I could go on, but if you took this much time to read to this point, you get it. SHARE this with a friend you see constantly missing the FUNKIN’ moment. You don’t have to stop recording or capturing events, if that’s how you choose and/ or insist to spend your time, but if you really want to take it in I encourage you to be selective. Otherwise, trust me, you’re Missing the FUNKIEST Moment.
For the Pleasure of Savoring it…