About The Funk...

Observational Spittle from the mind of a man of color in his 40s, without the color added (most times). Come in, laugh, and you may learn something...

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Black and White 80's

Getting ready to call it a night, but I wanted to share something that occurred to me on the ride home.
As a lot of you are, I am a child of the 1980's. Growing in the Bronx was a little different world compared to what a lot of you experienced. The biggest thing that I treasured about that decade was the music. I, of course, grew up in the age when hip-hop began its infancy, and I listen to a lot of R&B as well (part of the whole culture thing). However I also listened to a lot of pop radio (WPLJ, Z100 before it became the mega station it is today), a fact that my one of my cousins (who I sadly used to be close to once upon a time) gave me shit about.
A black kid from The Bronx wasn't supposed to listen to Madonna, Bon Jovi, etc.
I usually listen to either the 80's station on SiriusXM (I am gonna miss that when my extended trial ends) or Backspin, a station that plays classic hip hop. I alternate between listening to my massive amount of music on my phone and the subscription service. Yesterday I was grooving the billboard countdown from August 19, 1989, and it made me think about the fashions, the music and the once in the blue moon good times I had in my youth.
Of course knowing the way I think, y'all will find it no surprise that I started to compare what it was like in the 80's for black folks/latin folks compared to white people.
Ride with me for a minute before you roll your eyes.
When i was a teen, all I wanted was skinny ties (white match) gold chains (ok, Italians...lol -- oh, couldn't afford gold so I got that plated shit that made my skin break out like a snake) Sheepskin coats, Kango's, British Knight Shoes, Stripped Lee's (for the 5 minutes there were popular), iZod shirts (white match), Gazelle Glasses, and shell-top adidas, which I could never wear because my feet were too damn wide.
I did get practically every color of Suede Pumas tho.
As I recollected though, I saw the divided line between the cultures as well.
White folks had films dedicated to what the 80s was supposed to be like.
The Breakfast Club.
Sixteen Candles.
Weird Science.
Pretty in Pink.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Porky's (well, that was the 1950's, but still an 80's film.
That was just the tip of the iceberg.
The inner city kid view of the 80's in cinema?
We had Beat Street and Wild Style.
Little off balance, don't you think?
(And don't you DARE mention "Breakin'." While a favorite, once you tossed the white girl in there it sort of lost any time of street cred).
As I compared these two things, I laughed and shook my head on my drive home. The views back then was simply a repeat of history...kids from an era who should be able to relate to that time and have most of that stuff in common.
Back then "rap" to white kids was "Ice Ice Baby", "Wild Thing" (the Tone Loc Version, not The Troggs), and "Walk This Way."
It was safe back then.
We have always been a nation of division, teaching each generation what we feel is correct "history." While I understand that you are subject to your environment, this country has been built on making sure ghettos remain ghettos, history remains blanco, and even certain music and styles of the times (even tho, as it has been throughout history, appropriation has taken hold, with some Caucasian youth copying the styles of the day, but won't deal with the issues of the times).
At 48, I am still a fan of rap music, thinking the Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole's of the world having something to say besides talking about their latest acquisitions (both of the materialistic and feminine kind). I don't follow fashion trends in my middle age; if it is clean that is all that matters to me.
But I am an 80's kid, and will be so until God calls me home.
However, the biggest thing that struck me as I pulled into my garage the other day is that my 80's is a lot different that some of my associate's vision of the decade of excess.
Sort of makes sense when it comes to how I see America as dangerous, while others think it is perfectly fine.

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