It's a new year, folks! A new year brings new experiences and wisdom, but also new challenges. In 2008, I experienced some of my lowest lows followed by some roof-shattering highs. The recession brought my entertainment company to a crawl in mid-summer and then, out of nowhere, David Watkins offered me the opportunity to become an integral part of Farish Street's rebirth. I was booking concert dates one part of the day and meeting with the Jackson Redevelopment Authority the next. I went from being "just a rapper" to something much more. I went from being a lone wolf to asking the love of my life to marry me and trying to be the man and activist my parents raised me to be. Ironically, I also went from being hailed as the "man who will connect Jackson's streets with its corporate suites" to being hailed as a sell-out.
The year 2008 offered me a heightened passiona vigor I had never felt before. I stormed into 2009 determined not to let those old demons of year's past stop this city from being all that it can be. In 2008, I connected with others who share my same passion and willingness to work toward a goal. Groups like the Jackson Progressives, the Jackson Arts Collective, the Jackson Free Press Think Tank and others have all contended that we must attack with a sense of urgency if we are going to defeat the hate-mongers.
The bottom line is that this year is a significant one for our city. This next series of elections is as important to Jackson as the presidential election. And you'd better be well-informed lest we make mistakes like the one we did four years ago.
Jackson Progressives along with WAPT, YUPS, the Jackson Free Press, the Jackson Chamber and the Leadership Jackson Alumni Association are planning a two-part mayoral debate to be simulcast on the Web and broadcast live to our local viewing audience. We're looking for all of you to send questions and concerns as we plan to make this as interactive as possible. We'll also begin a series of "Soul Food Forums" every Wednesday at Peaches where you will be able to get quality face time with mayoral and city council candidates.
"Action" is the key word for 2009, not "talk." Not anonymously (and cowardly) blogging about people you don't like. Not promoting controversy or nonsensical theories to down our city. Not giving disgruntled folks a platform to whine and complain. Shut your damn mouths and get up off your behinds and "show up" at a community forum. Come to a think-tank session. Organize your own town-hall meeting if need be. I'll support your efforts.
No one has a problem with opposing viewpoints; different views can only help our city grow. My problem comes when differing views are covered in so much vitriol they can't be taken seriously. Stop masking it as "concern," "outrage" or "information." When you do this, all you do is spit poison, feed the beast of apathy and continue to be part of the problem. Or, as my grandmother always puts it: "keeping up mess" (smile).
There are no "sides" on this issue. The funnyand sadthing is that we want the same thing. We all want what's best for Jackson. However, in 2009, neither I nor others will have a tolerance for that B.S. Either lead, follow, or get the hell out of our way.
Oh, and by the way, in 2009 I am going to sell-out ... every venue on Farish Street!
And that's the truth ... sho-nuff.
YES!!! Farish St. holds the key to downtown healing & life returning 24/7. Kaze/Brad, my hat is off to you & I'm excited to be part of this amazing chapter in Jackson's history. My main question to all concerned is: how do we maintain homes and businesses for moderate income folks in the downtown area? How can we be a model for that kind of mixed-use, mixed-income diversity?