The Failed Alchemy Of Birdman’s Quest For “Respeck”

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Black people are always conjuring up something out of nothing.

This time around, we cast our spell and made something out of a meltdown.

More specifically, the non-infamous Birdman interview with The Breakfast Club. If you haven’t seen the interview, you’re late. So go catch up here.

But in short, the interview consists mainly of Birdman adamantly demanding his “respeck” from all “tree” co-hosts before giving the morning show crew a no-win ultimatum, which is reminiscent of the flight/stairs option in the movie I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.

Anyway, Birdman’s public gaffe is now the stuff of Internet memes.

There’s a dance for it.

There’s a bootleg jib-jab video for it.

There’s a Baltimore house mix for it.

There’s a cover song from Anthony Hamilton’s backup singers for it.

There is even a Caribbean parody version of it.

And I’m certain there is a youth pastor somewhere in this glorious nation trying to figure out how to put Jesus’ name in this for a gospel version of it. (Singing: “Put some respeck on His name…*dabs*…Jesus!”)

In short, what we have witnessed was the birth of a colloquialism. One born out of struggle, pain and habitual mispronunciations of the word “respect.” It doesn’t happen very often – okay, let me stop lying. Black folks have creativity dripping out of our melanated pores. We make up art all of the damn time.

Therefore, Birdman’s faux pas is definitely Black girl/boy magic.

But while his moment has enchanted us with copious hours of laughter and amusement, what remains to be seen is if the man who flies in any weather will actually get the “respeck” he so desperately wanted to invoke for himself.

Yesterday, I listened to an audio version of Don Miguel Ruiz’s book entitled The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom on his YouTube page. Okay, I should say that I started listening to a portion of it. It’s kind of deep, so I need time to digest things.

Anyway, the book (and now audio file) is about the “self-limiting beliefs” that hold most people back from fulfilling their destinies as well as the four agreements that we can make with ourselves to ensure that those self-limiting beliefs no longer hold us back.

Yeah, I know: this sounds a lot like some incense-reeking, new age babble. And it is that. But it is also useful here, so bear with me.

So, as I was saying, the first agreement is to be impeccable with your word. Why? Well, as Ruiz said:

“The word is a powerful tool you have as a human. It is the tool of magic. But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream or your word can destroy everything around you. One edge is the misuse of the word that can create a living hell. The other is the impeccability of the word, which will only create beauty, love and heaven on earth. Depending upon how it is used, the word can set you free or it can enslave you more than you know. All the magic you posses is based on your word. Your word is pure magic. And misuse of your word is Black magic.”

Told you this was deep.

As Ruiz notes, this black magic manifests itself in several ways, but mainly through gossiping about others as well as the negative talk that we say about and to ourselves.

According to Ruiz, when we misuse our words, we are not only committing mortal sin (anything that goes against or rejects ourselves is against God, said Ruiz), but also opening ourselves up to being harmed by other black magicians who will, often times, thoughtlessly put spells on us with their opinions.

As he notes, each time we accept the spells of others, we make an agreement that can change our minds – and belief systems – for better or for worse.

And as Ruiz adds, “These type of spells are difficult to break. The only way to break a spell is to make a new agreement based on truth. The truth is the most important part of being impeccable with your words.”

Very insightful. But what does any of this have to do with Birdman?

Glad you asked.

Well, it was The Breakfast Club and their consistent gossiping, which cast a spell on Birdman. Granted, Charlamagne, DJ Envy, and Angela Yee might not have done it with malice. But they are in the media/entertainment industry, and in many respects, dabbling in black magic is what we do.

Birdman, who too is in the media/entertainment industry, should have known this. However, he likely believed enough of the gossip said about him that he accepted their opinion as valid, or one that carries weight. Of course, he could have easily broken the spell by stating the truth about how their black magic was affecting him. Together, they could have talked it out and reached an agreement, which left everyone feeling magical.

But instead, he made a very bad agreement with himself. And he ultimately made a fool of himself – virally. And that bad agreement pretty much ensured that he would leave the interview more disrespected and mocked than he thought he was before coming into the studio that day.

It’s hard to say for sure how Birdman will recover from this. For as long as he is alive, folks will be bringing up this movement even at times when he would much rather forget it ever happened. There are a lot of people getting paid and receiving fame off of his public gaffe – and none of them (as far as I know) are Birdman himself.

But as a highly successful person in the entertainment industry, I’m certain he can buy himself a spell or two to make things better. So I’m sure he will be all right. Plus, it just isn’t all that serious.

Still, for the rest of the broke wizards here at Hogwarts on scholarship, let Birdman’s bad magic trick be an example to us all: If you want “respeck” on your name, always remember to be impeccable with your words.

FYI: for those wanting to unlock their inner conjure woman, check out the entire audiobook below.

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