THIS EVENT HAS TAKEN PLACE AND IS RECORDED HERE AS AN HISTORICAL ARCHIVE.
Felicia Pride celebrates publication of her new book The Message: 100 Life Lessons from hip-hop's greatest songs. The party took place at Negril in New York City's Greenwich Village.
It's Like A Jungle Sometimes...
Last night, with the flu or something trying to make headway into my sinuses (or sini), I checked out the book launch party for Felicia Pride's new book The Message: 100 Life Lessons from Hip-Hop's Greatest Songs. Seems like it shaped up to be a mini event of the year. Besides the guest of honor --Felicia, not me-- I also sighted the legendary Ralph McDaniels; Lin Que, formerly known as Isis of X-Clan (no sign of Pinky); and Dana Dane. These spottings caused a flashback to my youth. For many in the Bronx --we didn't get cable until the 90s-- Ralph McDaniel was a deity. His show, Video Music Box, which aired on the UHF channel 31 in the 80s and 90s, was our video connection to hip-hop music. Never intrusive and always supportive of rap music, Ralph provided an entry point for many adolescents looking to roll deep, while never leaving their bedrooms. I can easily imagine both Dana and Linn appearing on VMB to introduce their respective videos --Dana decked out in a three-piece yellow suit and ubiquitous Kangol; Lin Que in anything red, black and green.
Hardcover: 256 pages
Snap out of it, Ron... The book party was held at the Negril restaurant and lounge in NYC. It was the perfect venue --DJ mixing beats from chapters in The Message. For those few not in the know, the book gives personal anecdotes on how 100 different rap songs gave the author life inspiration. The food was good, but when you always roll with a hungryman's appetite the portions could have been bigger. There was also a good crowd mix. Martha Diaz and Marcella Hall of the Hip Hop Association and Sofia Quintero author of several books, including Divas Don't Yield, were also in the house.
I also ran into Gaby Johnson and her husband Troy, AALBC.com; Clarence Reynolds, Black Issues Book Review; and Linda Duggins, Grand Central Books. Felicia worked the crowd with aplomb, said here hellos and greetings, and sold plenty books. Felicia's a young sister who decided early in life that she would be a writer. I don't think she's done anything else. Her most important job is managing editor of Mosaic where she selects the reviews and articles for each issue of Mosaic. She also epitomizes the "hustle (wo)man" philosophy of doing what it takes -book fairs, blogs, networking, articles- to get the job done.
After the book party I went to my reading room, the NYC transit system, and finally had a chance to start reviewing the book. I had seen it over a month ago but never took a good look at it. First, thanks for the shout out, Felicia. Second, it's a really good book. Broken into 100 chapters, each named after a rap that somehow touched the writer, the book can only serve to compliment rap's perpetual striving to be more important than the powers-that-be who only see hip hop as a musical form and profit center will allow. It is as cultural as any form of art ever has been.
Let's hope this contribution will stimulate those downlow rapheads who advocate other forms --dance, fiction, poetry, visual, film to take up the mantle and hold hip hop high.