Well… most of you read the book so that means you’re familiar with Rich by now. I just landed in the States and he was my first call. I was listening to MSNBC on the radio, so this is the first time I’m getting real-time reaction/news from an American source about the Martin case. I’m trying not to internalize this feeling and make it about me — but hey, it is what it is, maybe I’m melodramatic — but all I’m consumed with is my positioning in life.
All the time I tell these cute self-depreciating celeb run-ins when I get a pie-in-the-face moment. But rarely do I share stories of a more serious nature pie-in-the-face moments. All I could keep saying was, “Thank god for my good fortune.” I can’t tell you how many times a year I’m in a serious situation only to hear the magic words, “Oh… wait… Questlove? Hey, guys, it’s Questlove — we’re so sorry, you can go.” Mostly because in the age of social media most people are quick to dismiss my tales as #FirstWorldProblems unless it’s super major. (Did I ever FB the story of how the Buffalo DEA held me ’cause they thought I was a drug lord back in 2006? Multiply that scenario by a realistic 40 — like five to seven times a year a night ending in the words “thank god for that afro, we’d never have recognized you” happens to me.)
So a friend of mine sent me this apology letter. All the time I’m in scenarios in which primitive, exotic-looking me (6’2″, 300 pounds, uncivilized afro for starters) finds himself in places that people that look like me aren’t normally found. I mean, what can I do? I have to be somewhere on Earth, correct? In the beginning (let’s say 2002 when the gates of “Hey, Ahmir, would you like to come to [name swanky elitist place]?” opened), initially I’d say “no” — mostly because it’s been hammered in my DNA to not “rock the boat” — which, since I wanna keep it real, means not make “certain people” feel uncomfortable.
I mean, that is a crazy way to live.