Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Words cannot express how much House Music has changed my Life. Age has no barrier in transformation or learning. I give thanks everyday for this music getting me through some of the peaks in valleys in this thing called Life.
I remember hearing on vinyl, 'What Is This Thing Called Love' by Alexander O' Neal as a child and losing my mind. First, I would look at the vinyl spinning on the deck and look at my mom. Secondly, I would twirl and dance in front of my mom and she would holler and yell in excitement and happiness because of the lyrics and beat.
However, when she played the 'Whistle Song' and 'Rain Falls', we would do the same, but dance in eternal joy, happiness and TOGETHERNESS united us.
Frankie Knuckles was from the Bronx, yes. However, he called Chicago home and crafted a sound that continues to affect the community and so many individuals, including myself, around the World. Hearing his music and mixes always had a level of Love, rawness, yet softness behind it. I would sneak and listen those tracks while my mom was asleep and sing at the top of my lungs until I got caught because a child, you were not to touch 'The Record Player', as mom ever so called it.
I can only fathom how Chicago and the World is taking this right now. I opened my page only to find that I saw his passing. He was JUST at WMC, smiling and taking pictures with fans, heads and fellow DJs. Shock ran through us all until it was confirmed. I have not cried this much since the passing of MJ. That one hurts and still hurts to this day. But this transformation of Life/loss stings just as bad, if not worse. Let me tell you why.
House Music is a soulful thing. I truly feel it within me and dance like no one is watching. I cry as if the Heavens opened up and shined down on me. Some people in my Life do not understand how or why I am a House Head or why I go out and do what I do for it. I sing (way off-key, sometimes) as if I am around a crowd of people and not caring what their faces are reading because I FEEL this music. Age has no bearing on one's experience and feeling when it comes to music. House Music was just that. Yes, we had other genres of music passing through the speakers in our home. But I never felt complete, until I heard House Music. I would hear the beat count and the stories being told. The melodies that unfolded and the amount of Love put into it. Frankie did that.
Although I never had the chance to formally meet him, I did catch one him on the streets in Miami during WMC. He was with a group of other individuals. Respect, yet humility exuded from him. To say the least, this had me awestruck. I could not even approach.
I have read several stories about individuals close to him and how kind, humble and good of a friend/mentor he was. Then I think about now and how some of DJs, icons and pioneers still live up to that legacy, especially with the youth. Through it all, he still smiled in his photos and shared through music. From what I have read from those closest with him, it was reciprocated both ways with Frankie and the beings he made interaction with. It is few and far in between nowadays. This is a wake-up call, in my opinion. We have to embrace different sounds of this genre and mentor the YOUTH in this movement. The YOUTH also have to do their research, ask questions and find out history about this movement. Thankful for individuals in my Life who have done that such thing. Continue to school me, educate me and enrich my LIFE in this thing called HOUSE MUSIC. We have to come together so we can leave a legacy for those in the future. We cannot let this movement SLIP AWAY from us and become a fad. It has nor will ever be a fad. We remain strong in our roots and like the roots of a tree when it is fed nourishment, it grows.
The pettiness of this movement from certain individuals, I tune out. One cannot waste time on it. You may not like a sound, but its roots stem from House. I read posts about people getting upset or complaining about certain sounds and how it has not roots in House. It may not be a major root, but it is a root that is getting nourished and fed. Respect that root and you shall be nurtured and rewarded as well. There needs to be a balance and I truly feel that if the balance were there, things would flourish. Stifling a root causes it harm and eventually, death. We cannot have that on our hands. House Music, in my opinion, is slowly starting to make a comeback. You hear it in certain songs. It may not be the Deep, Underground or 'soulful' sound that some of us may be used to, but it is House. I can still groove and smile to myself.
'This is only the beginning. We must push on...'
As I sit here and listen to Alexander Hope's Dancin', it only reconfirms that for me. Dance to whatever makes your heart happy. Do not stop because some individuals tell you, 'Oh that's not House...'
Granted, I have done this a few times, as well. However, I have learned to embrace so many different sounds that my feet continue to move.
A level of respect has to be given. In order to respect, it must be earned. Frankie earned that respect. Some people say he was underrated. I disagree. He was, in my opinion, looked up to and a huge influence in many DJs careers. If you were a DJ or a House Head and did not whom this individual was, I suggest doing your research before you claim otherwise. Still researching and finding artists who continue to pave the way in this thing we call House Music.
As for soul, the music that pumps through my speakers has rhythm, Life beats, a story either through instrumentation or vocals, highs and lows, and of course, a beautiful finish. My Heart sings of JOY and HAPPINESS!
Thank You for the music and the radiant smile you gave us all through pictures and the beautiful melodies you crafted. Although tears stream and sadness fills my heart, this House Head is humbled right now.
Fly Black Bird. Fly free...