It’s hard to believe for some people, but Dr. Dre’s seminal album The Chronic turns 30 this year. It was one of the first CDs I bought through Columbia House or BMG. And there was nothing that sounded like it before and nothing that has sounded like it since.
Dre had risen to fame through his work with N.W.A., with fellow rappers Ice Cube, Eazy-E and MC Ren. But Dre always seemed like the man behind the music. You could tell that with N.W.A. and especially with The Chronic. I think that’s what makes it so wonderful. It’s a producer assembling an ensemble of talent. It had great tracks and even a few comedy bits. Even when MTV started airing the very censored videos, Dre and Snoop Dogg became more well known to suburbanites and Middle America.
Naturally, our parents and elders were upset but by the time Eminem appeared on the screen, people had already moved out of their parents’ homes. We were just wondering if this was another Vanilla Ice wannabe. I admit, I thought it was a joke when I walked into the original Zaxby’s in Statesboro, Ga., and saw it playing on the TV. A few year later, Eminem was a fucking Oscar winner. Not bad at all.
If you were a Gen Xer or a Millennial, you blasted Dre, Snoop, Eminem, 50 Cent, Kendrick, Mary J. Blige and more on the stereo. My fellow classmates often had it blasted from their car stereos and that was in northwest Georgia. At Georgia Southern University, the clubs would blast it and people who were dancing to “Blister in the Sun” or “Brown-Eyed Girl” a few minutes earlier would immediately go berserk.
So, it was only a matter of time before the Super Bowl Halftime Show would cater to our generations. I got nothing against Prince, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Aerosmith or especially not Britney Spears, who have all performed, but it seems whenever it’s a certain performer, people lose their shit.
Remember when Beyonce performed and we got a Destiny’s Child reunion? It seemed that every person in America who didn’t vote for President Obama a second time was disgusted with her performance. Why? What was wrong with it? It was a great performance. Don’t they realize how many people tuning in love Beyonce and Destiny’s Child?
It’s not surprising the people who didn’t like it see nothing wrong when Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley and that fucking hat of his mocked the Affordable Care Act during a CMA Awards show. (And as I write this, Reginal Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes are going to co-host the Oscars, so you know Fox News and conservatives pundits just came a little in their pants about all the fun they’re going to have.)
No one said much when Adam Levin appeared bare-chested with his tattoos at the halftime show. But Shakira, Lady Gaga and even Katy Perry perform and people go nuts, especially Shakira, whose from Colombia.
It’s obvious to anyone that people are perfectly acceptable if non-white people damage their bodies for sports. However, if any of them do any time of entertainment that deviates from what they find acceptable, they’re vulgar. This type of behavior needs to stop.
Bill Cosby can talk badly about rap all he wants, but he’s still a rapist. And people once thought jazz was vulgar and disgusting. Mickey Guyton sings country and she sung the National Anthem (which was never written as a song) beautifully. But there’s racist and sexist people watching her who can’t even carry a tune criticizing her singing.
I wonder why.
If anything else, it’s been hard for a lot of people 60 and older to fully understand that their time on this planet is limited and the Gen Xers and Millennials are now sitting at the head tables. People don’t want to tune into the half-tome show to see acts more suited for Branson, Mo. Even that community has realized they need to start catering to people who didn’t watch the Moon landing because they weren’t alive yet.
What do people want? Do they want the olden days where Up With People performing easy listening songs from the 1960s? The half-time show used to be considered a joke. Rumors persisted that many wastewater treatment centers in bigger cities would work overtime to make sure there weren’t sewer problems from people flushing toilets all over the area.
Boomers will never admit it but it was Gen Xers who made the Super Bowl Halftime Show a must see. In the early 1990s, In Living Color on Fox would air sketches and live parties during half-time. This forced the NFL to take it more seriously. And by 1993, they had Michael Jackson performing. It was before the whole child sex abuse allegations broke but it was a start they could make it something people wanted to watch.
The next year, they almost fucked it up by having a country-western show that got awful reviews and heavily criticized. Now, people like it, but it was a mistake. One, it was in Atlanta, which made no sense because Georgia is more famous for alternative rock, hip-hop/R&B as well as country-western music. Two, it seemed to mock a view of the south that we all were trying to put in the past. Three, a lot of the performances seemed dull. It was almost like Branson, Mo.
Since then, there have been a lot of improvements, but it seems conservatives and Christians are only okay with it when it deals with white-only performances. This reminds me of the Rylander Theater in Americus, Ga., when I worked there as a newspaper reporter. The people had put in a lot of sales tax revenue to restore an old-timey performance theater. Yet, it seemed they’d only book acts you’d only find at Branson, Mo., or the Grand Ole Opry. The criticism seemed that the older powers that be were refusing to book any acts of people under the age of 50.
And that was 20 years ago. And it seems we haven’t gotten too far since then. There is such a resistance to move forward in this country that any time something new is suggested, even if it’s liked by so many people, it’s shut down by older people as disrespectful.
Well, respect is earned. And Gen Xers and Millennials are tired of being respectful while people talk about how ungrateful we are. No one is pointing a gun to anyone’s head and telling them they have to watch musical performers and like it.
But a lot of my contemporaries who are conservatives fucking loved the Super Bowl Halftime Show. So, it’s not a matter of political ideologies. It’s a matter of separating the racists, bigots, misogynists and sexist people from the rest of us.
What do you think? Please comment.