*flush* I pulled up my fringed leggings up to my thighs, snapped my bodysuit back together. Slipped my tights up the rest of the way to my waist line and give a little hip shake to get it all in place. Open the stall door to wash my hands and check my face.
We were at Kieran’s Pub before making our way to First Ave to see my favourite mixer start the show for Saadiq. Let’s begin this as an introduction to me in which you learn two universal truths to me; first off, I love my bodysuits- I think they’re fly. Secondly, my heart and my soul are under the Rhythm and blues control. I love A Tribe Called Quest (I know they aren’t RnB but they sure scratch that surface with a hard hiphop exterior.) And Ali Shaheed Muhammed was opening for Raphael Saadiq and this man apparently wanted to offer a date that I could never refuse.
He was young but had my attention and a part to that was his knowledge of music and honest talent. I was all about it. He held his own and this night he was crazy cool and matching my shots and cocktails. The nightlife had me on the guest list almost every night back then and this was the first time I really wanted to be out there and see something! One of my idols, Ali! I had my ATCQ sweatshirt on over my slick-back body suit and black fringed leggings topped with strappy black heels. Ready to groove? Oh hell yes baby- that’s me! In between my bodysuit and my leggings was a dugout stashed for a little peace toke or two once we were really grooving into the night. Passed the bouncers and we were bounding to the floor!
Stepping like I do, left, right, left; sliding and grinding on my way because the groove strikes me like no lover ever could alone. When I heard a man’s voice saying “Give it up for Ali!”
The crowd and I go crazy but it was not an introduction, no.
It was his final song.. Boy…
You know that feeling when you are in desperate need of a coffee and you move mountains just to get this one little leg up and… coffee shops just closed… That was my smile turned heartache.
My mans though… He knew what was happening and said, “what are you drinking? Let me get us some pick me ups and let’s get front stage spots to dance.” 10 stars to you, boo.
I waited by the steps that had a little underpass to the stage and once we got our mixed drinks we made our way to the floor. Saadiq’s hype man was raring the crowd for him and we were jumping right into the vibe! Everyone around is dancing and cheering. Man, could I even describe this vibe? It was something like an ocean wave hitting you face-front but instead of water it was groove. It was excitement, it was relaxation, it was simply an artists following and our hand-clapping was more cheek bumping.
From where we were, I got to see Raphael go on stage and the first thing that came to mind was “damn, that man can dress!” And he came on thanking us all and saying he’s just honoured to be there with all of us seeing the support that have lasted the years. He was apart of the group Tony Toni Tone and after going solo- well he took so many hearts. I saw them all in the room! Trust me, we were a couple of youngins in that crowd but that was what was so so so cool about it all. We were all one crowd that night.
Didn’t hurt that we were white, there was no colour recognised, just everyone cheering one another and Raphael on! You can only describe the ambiance in that venue with the phrase “one love.” That is what we all had.
I had never heard his music before but he had blown me away with every song he sang because there is something about a voice that just speaks truth, love and faith.
I say faith because there was something so special in this show and I didn’t know why. I could just tell he was giving it his absolute all. Maybe he had done this with every show but he was doing the damn thing!
By the end of it, my date and I were in front of the stage and condensed into the embodiment of the perfect music following. He slowed it all down and made a surreal speech..
That that night was so very special to him and Ali because it was Prince’s venue and since his passing and even before he had always dreamed of performing there. I wasn’t the only one tearing up by this point but he continued on to tell us where he came from, his dreams of becoming an artist, and how meeting all who he has met, seeing all that he has seen that it all comes to a head that night performing infront of us at his idols spot. He asked if we could do a minute of silence in tribute to Prince and no one questioned it- we all just closed our eyes and said a little prayer to him. Saadiq, pictured below stood like that for about 4-5 minutes and I shit you not… the stage light shined so bright then dimmed back, it was so surreal.
It was the greatest performance I have ever seen to this day and that is because this man had awakened my realisation that no matter what your passion is, there is a high point of it and it isn’t measured by money, fame, or charts… It is all about appreciation.
And that every dream has an end and if you truly put yourself into your dream, all into it, you are remembered and commemorated for your mastery. Your unforgiving love for the art that only you could produce.
So always put your heart out there and see what could become of it. This is your life, this is your chance, your time, your signature is on everything that you do so why waste time only putting half of you in it and the rest what you believe your audience wants?
What they want may be unspoken for until you spill it out. But what makes it truly great is that it came from your heart.
What makes it unmistakable is that it is so uniquely you that no other could possibly create the same thing and in that appreciation of what others create and produce! It isn’t a hinderance, it’s guidance and if anything a boost! That’s your classmate and we are all in session here! No one gives a full grade assessment until we are dead and gone so we should live in pursuit of our dreams fearlessly and await the curtains draw.
Freedom and captivity are our two extremes as human beings and we can choose by which we obey. Saadiq made me feel that I didn’t have to succumb to ordinary, and I’m here to reiterate the same to you.
Let us be free and fight valiantly for what we want to be, daily.
And remember through these pursuits that it is all love and one love because nobody is ahead or above of anybody- the rat race goes on and we choose our vehicle.
Thank you and create something that makes you feel at one with your dreams today.