That underground emcee, he-who-I-shall-not-be-naming, won plenty of awards, sold millions of albums, and gained a following that still hasn’t left his side. After that day, it would be a while until I’d hear from him again.
A few years later, while I was in college, I received an email with free tickets and backstage pass to one of his shows, unexpectedly. After the concert, he and I spent the night on the beach talking about everything hip-hop. Some time after that I’d receive a midnight phone call, hearing a man cry for the first time. He’d received his first taste of bad press and couldn’t deal with the ample negativity. I talked him down from giving up his dreams.
Over the next six years we’d check up on one another, making sure the other hadn’t fallen from the earth. Even though it felt weird to title him, witnessing him through a television screen and the radio, I soon began to consider him a friend.
I’d also become associates with one of the girls who performed with us that day. She and I queried about each other’s well being once in a while. Recently, she wrote me an email.
“I’ve been trying to get in touch with (emcee’s name here) for a while now. Does he still have the same email he gave us? I need him to speak at this function and he owes me one. I know you two are kind of close. Can you hit him up for me?”
I did. He responded in ten minutes flat:
“Oh? That girl? Nah, I don’t respond to whores. I’m good.”
I was shocked. The feminist inside of me flared up instantly and I pulled my notions together, getting ready to put him in his place. Then suddenly it hit me, after our event there’d been whispers of what happened in the hotel. Apparently, some of the girls got it in with his guys that night. It all started to click.
I avoided responding to the girl as long as I could. I didn’t want to tell her what he’d said. Whether or not she overstepped the appropriate boundaries that night, no girl deserves to hear that.
After no response she wrote me another email:
“I think it’s incredibly selfish of you not to respond. We both met him at the same time and we’ve kept in touch over the years, I think it’s only fair that you let him know I reached out. If this is because of what happened that first night, you need to tell him to grow up. I thought we were tight. We were young and having fun. This is business. Jesus.”
I also ignored this email, not because I didn’t want to tell her what he said but because she was clearly oblivious.
Just because your 9-5 isn’t in an office, with a suit, and desk; doesn’t mean you aren’t obligated to the same boundaries when it comes to indiscretions.
Often in the music, entertainment, and other nonconformist industries; women destroy their possible partnerships and networking opportunities in the blink of an eye. I’ve witnessed female emcees come to the studio to record, only to get drunk and high in the midst and embarrass themselves. I’ve sat with actresses who’ve used their flirtatious performing finesse to get over on their colleagues, ended up in bed with them, and wondered why they didn’t get the role. I’ve shaken my head at entertainers who were so mesmerized by someone of higher industry caliber that they gave everything away, just to say that they were once a piece of this person’s life.
There are lessons all young (and old) ambitious, career women can learn from this incident:
1) Your temple is priceless, no matter the materialistic value of another individual.
2) Your body, mind and soul are not barter systems.
3) Your net worth involves your depiction and the perspective others have of you.
4) You’re more than woman, assets, and midnights. You are talented and worthy, let your work speak for itself.
“RivaFlowz” is a teacher and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz.
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