Yesterday I managed to pull myself away from the computer and make my rounds in the world, like when my namesake Morpheus jumps into the Matrix. What I found was surprising to say the least. Brooklyn is undergoing a transformation right before our eyes and as entrepreneurs we’re focused on getting in where we can fit in. At the end of the day Jay-Z and Bruce Ratner will change the landscape of what we now know to be Brooklyn forever just like Harlem will be transformed into something that is less cultural but more business. And you know how the old adage goes, “when you can’t beat ’em you better join ’em” (I can only vouch for what’s going on in Brooklyn, I can’t vouch for the BS taking place Uptown).
So, me and my mentor, Jacqueline Rowe held meetings this afternoon with some good folks from BUILD (Brooklyn United For Innovative Local Development) to see how we can inject ourselves into the future because its all about the future, my friends. Then we made our way up Flatbush Avenue taking note of all the landmark businesses we used to frequent that are now displaying “OUT OF BUSINESS” signs in their windows. While the point wasn’t lost on me that this may be as a result of the Nets Arena coming to town what resonated even more louder in my mind is that in this changing dynamic you gotta play to win, because one thing is certain, “Change Gon’ Come.”
We ended up at the Brooklyn Museum where they are playing host to the much heralded Murakami exhibit and decided to explore our Brooklyn. Now, as an artist I must saw I am totally in awe of this man’s craft work. Yeah, I’ve seen the pictures and I’m familiar with the hype surrounding the artist but to visually see these displays up close and personal I have to tip my hat to this dude. He is a monster when it comes to detail, color contrast and interloping thematic story told through art. Then I saw the homage he paid to the “Magic Mushroom” and it all made sense to me, this dude has been somewhere else mentally to gain the sense of visual freedom that he could craft these masterpieces.
In contrast I explored the halls and came across some Rodin sculptures which were pretty boring even though they’re held up as the benchmark of fine art. Just didn’t do it for me. Needless to say I was floored by an enormous painting that greets you in the lobby done by Kehinde Wiler. He flipped a classic, Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps and rendered it with a brother fatigued down, timbs on, conquering in battle and if a picture is worth a thousand words this painting can be summed up in just one word alone, VICTORY! He went out of his way to forge a conduit through art for US to exist amongst the greats, where we rightfully belong.
Then it dawned on me, even though I started my day off disgusted by the co-opting of Hip Hop and the behavior that it promotes (Remy Ma case had me twisted) I ended it by paying homage to our strengths. Here I am coming from a meeting about new development made possible by an endorsement from a rapper from Marcy Projects. Then I end up in a museum checking out a master artist who was brought to my attention by another rapper who’s concert I’d missed the night before (Kanye) and now I was standing before a gigantic rendition of you’re sterotypical Hip Hop head straddling a horse in victory but most importantly supplanting that image of Napoleon who is heralded for his victory over my ancestors. It brought me back to my senses and reminded me why I got a love for this thing of ours called Hip Hop. The art is truly transformative and nurturing. It gives and it takes but it is our job to be on the receiving end of its benefactions.