Gemstones - Culture Shocked... Twice.

Several weeks ago I went to this lil hood Hip Hop awards show with my homeboy at a Holiday Inn. It was some lil up and coming entertainment organization that was doing their thing. I couldn't hate. They were celebrating the best among their peers and they were doing it in the biggest way they could at this time. Nice venue. Security was set up. Had the guest list. The whole nine. The problem I had was how the actual show was handled and the environment. The show was to start at 7 o'clock. Expecting to be VERY late, since we were just getting off of work, we show up at the location at 7:45. The show had still not started. There were an enormous amount of people in the lobby and outside the ballroom where the event was being held and very few people inside. Everybody's drinking, standing around and talking, which is fine. The problem is how they look. With the exception of a few fellas who had fades, everybody looked the same. All of them. The dudes all had over sized shirts, with the matching over sized pants, with the matching over sized imitation designer shades and dreads. An attempt of the what T-Pain does...

But on a budget... (Side note: Please make sure when buying Dolce & Gabbana shades or glasses or anything, that they say D & G. There is a pretty good chance that if that ampersand (&) is not there, the glasses may not be real. If you go the actual website, you won't see any with just "DG". At least, I know I didn't see any. But I could be wrong... If you cant afford it just try to find another expensive brand. Some of the others are much easier to replicate. At any rate... Back to the story.)

The girls seem to all have VERY small shorts on... most of which you could barely see beneath their shirts. And if you could see the shorts, it was because their top was short/cut off/tied in a not in the back (took a picture of some of the girls by the door but it came out too blurry... Sorry.). The environment was ripe for somethin to pop off. Girls rowdy, using more profanity than a re-run of Richard Pryor on the Sunset Strip, dancing on the front of the stage like it was amature night at a hole in the wall strip club. It was even fellas around them videotaping like it was 1995 in Atlanta and Freaknik was poppin all over again. It was crazy. And to think... All this was before the show even started. The level of "over-the-topness" that occurred that night was crazy. We waited til about 8:30 and then left; not having seen anything but then, seeing enough. I then begin to realize this was a culture that I was not a part of. And even though some of my family is hood, and I've been to the hood, and I've dated some girls who currently reside in the hood, and some of those hood girls at that event were attractive... I am not hood. I can manage not to get shot, but that vibe aint for me. Culture Shock.

Fast forward to last weekend I get a taste of the complete opposite of what I described earlier. I'm at the Ferrari dealership and they're having a release party for their new vehicle, the California (A beautiful car by the way).

I began to experience something like what people call "silicone valley". Old rich white men smoking complimentary cigars with come overs, rolled up sleeves on button downs, khakis from marshalls, and best pair of Clarks that the brand has to offer. Young white guys in polos and cargo shorts and the matching thong sandles/loafers. Old white women with some serious plastic surgery (face lifts, botox, implants, etc...) with one lady having so much make-up on it felt like a costume party with a "Dark Knight" theme. Some of the young white ladies appeared on the scene with some serious plastic surgery as well (face lifts, botox, implants, etc...) and dresses that look like they came straight outta Talbots To give a more accurate picture, the young girls looked like Legally Blonde...

meets Malibu Barbie...

meets the weather lady from Fox NFL show...

and sprinkle in one of the white girls from that girl group Puff Daddy put together a lil while ago.

Add in a lil bit more botox to the lips and you have a pretty good idea of what was going on.

Soon as we hit the door, the guy stopped us, looking at our youthful exterior and asked did we RSVP. Now me partially overreacting and partially right where I needed to be felt a lil slighted. Immediately one of the crew began to explain to him who we were and what we were doing there and although the doorman still didn't look 100% satisfied with the explanation, he backed down. Not that it mattered at all because after about 15 minutes of staring at these people's faces and looking at cars I wasn't going to buy (No matter how baller they are, 9 miles a gallon is ridiculous), I was kinda ready to roll out. And while the friends networked with people who built the homes our friends lived in... I was kinda detached. Looking at one of the few minorities in the building like "Why are you wearing a blazer in this hot heat?!?" No reason to talk to you at all. Your mind isn't quite operating correctly.

So I chill, snack on some sushi and grab a bottle of water to wet the throat and as I'm chilling, this lady appears outta nowhere with this flowing sparkly dress on. She was light brown-skinned; appeared to be of Indian decent and she began to dance. She was the entertainment for the night. People from all over began pulling out their iPhones and Blackberrys (and other phones that mock those two heavyweights) to snap pictures and videotape the young lady dancing around. And while it was nice, I felt like Phonte from the rap group Little Brother on a song he did called Last Day on their And Justus For All mixtape, where he spoke about being the black guy being asked to rap on at the company picnic. Yes... I did just pull race into a situation that may not have been there at all. Yes... that probably was her full time job and she probably got paid well for it... BUT something just didn't feel right. Yeah... The "Hollywood" scene got old to me. I got done with that relatively quickly and proceeded to walk outside, where I sat on the couches that they had on the white sand in front of the car display. These couches had been occupied all afternoon but now they were free. And so was I... Culture shock.

NOW... These two environments were completely different. They both had their high points and low points. And while I had no problem moving amongst the two different crowds because I am well rounded, the amount of stereotypical behavior being exhibited in one place at one time was completely overwhelming. I couldn't believe my eyes at either venue. It was like a movie: One based on Menace II Society and the other based on the Real Housewives of Orange County. Both of which were pretty good in their own right, but neither of which I wanna spend too much time around. No thanks.


  1. LOL B, you know we all have experienced something like this at one point or another. The fact that you can hold your own in either situation is really what counts. Keep holding it down and doing you.

    Very good read...


  2. Thanks for the comment, the compliment and the encouragement!