JOURNAL ENTRY 7.12.11-A Tribe Called Quest Documentary

I had the privilege to watch the ATCQ documentary–Beats Rhymes and Life:The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest–directed by Michael Rapaport today at the River Oaks Landmark Theater. It was entertaining, insightful and inspiring.

What stood out most to me, and probably most people, were the dynamics in the relationship between Q-Tip and Phife Dawg. It was an emotional roller coaster to say the least. Working in a group is hard. I usually start out excited when I generate an idea with another artist. Over the years though, I’ve learned to be more selective about who I work with, especially if the project will require sharing personal space frequently.

Last week, I had a conversation with a director I was sure that I wanted to work with on a project. But he doesn’t watch television. Now, many respectable artists don’t watch the tube. And every now and then, I give it up. I’m currently limiting myself to movies during the week (2 hrs. tops) so I can get more time working on my scripts and my blogs. I catch up on my television on Saturdays. And if I’m not on my DVR, I can’t watch it. That helps me streamline my viewing and prevent wasting time surfing through channels and accidentally watching 3 hours of Basketball Wives.

I do this because I love television dramas and need to cutback. But the fact remains that I love television. It can be a wast of time. It can also be an awesome vehicle for storytelling. Can I works with someone who doesn’t understand my witty television references? Shouldn’t the artists I work with be able to talk about the writers or actors of my favorite television shows—Mad Men, True Blood, Dexter, my new favorite Sons of Anarchy? And what kind of person has not seen The Wire?

Maybe I was being small-minded when it comes to television. But there were other misfires. We just didn’t see the industry the same way. Like a rookie, I debated my position for over an hour. I had to go for a run to clear my mind. Moving forward, I won’t be looking for someone who thinks just like me to work with on future projects. Still, I think there has to be a shared value system. And I think it would be hard for me to work with someone who saw in value in classic or current dramatic series.

Back to the documentary, the pervasive thought I had when I left the theater was, there is a difference between those who make art because they are good and gifted and those who make music because there is nothing else on Earth they would ever want to do. So who is who in my mind? Well, I don’t want to color your viewing. Do your best to find this at your local theater. If you are a hip hop head or a Tribe fan (is it possible to love hip hop and not love Tribe?) check this out. Directed by Michael Rapaport and distributed by Sony Pictures Classic.

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