Imagine you're not my friend Dave or I and we repeat that line over and over and over again for days on end that turn into annoying texts over the following months. Imagine how fun that would have been to hear when you thought you would be receiving a serious response.
Dave and I had the good fortune of being at the premiere of the Showtime doc series, Of Mics and Men at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019. We were the 3rd row back, placing only a mere distance between us and the members of Wu-Tang that were at the premiere along with director Sacha Jenkins.
We love Wu-Tang, our friends love Wu-Tang. The best WiFi I ever saw was Wu-Tang LAN. I remember the boys growing up wearing the logo shirts because their older siblings got them into the group early on. They were probably just laughing at the cursing and boobie talk at the time and trying to be cool, but I bet they hear the lyrics differently now as I do. My friend and I used to call each other Red and Mef (as in Redman and Method Man, duh) when they had that brief sitcom on Fox. Sidenote, in a future post, I will share my neverending love for I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need by Method Man and Mary J. Blige. Could Tical be my fave?
The history of Wu-Tang Clan is straightforward, yet intricate. Many featured rappers on their songs aren't members, such as Redman. RZA, GZA, and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard are cousins. They are in essence a band of brothers that require a family tree to unfold the connectivity. I would recommend Of Mics and Men for further insight unless you are a diehard fan who could sit us down and explain it all with a diagram.
What I took away from it all was that comradery, a brotherhood defined by loyalty and support. The honest vulnerability the members can share about themselves and their lives, how they define it all is immeasurable. I felt compelled by their human nature and continual efforts to help each other shine.
At the time, I was coming into a deeper understanding of masculinity and the toxicity perpetuated by fear and falling into stereotypes, usually derived from unresolved traumas. I was within my group of male friends, some old, some new, and some who elected to not go to the festival that year; I missed their presence terribly. I was healing at that time from a series of particularly hard and disappointing experiences, witnessing flaws in motives and the value of my femininity felt questionable.
So to be surrounded with that supportive and strong masculine energy, especially when there is a stigma in vulnerability particularly, I am grateful for them. Not for the validation by any means, but because my Sundance boy band has always helped me to feel safe, loved, and respected.
The C.R.E.A.M. era, as I will refer to it, is still reflective for me as we examine the impositions placed upon the masculine and feminine energies. How pain can drive us toward our purpose, but perhaps we initially choose ways of suppression. I see the masculine skew in that direction because of how they have been 'taught' to be and there is a lack of teaching toward properly expressing emotions, as I touched upon in the previous post. So this song, at that time in my life, really shaped my perspective, staying in the kindness of my heart. I can now look back with love and pick up these lessons to better support the masculine energy I embody and those who surround me.
As you dive into Wu-Tang at different times in your life as is with many artists, the more you can pick up on their lyrics with more of an awareness. Their Shaolin influences and conscious verbiage permeates and nods to that respect they had for one another. So though I could have picked another song with some more permeable lyrics to look at with a magnifying glass, C.R.E.A.M. holds that special place in my heart and is the song that reminds me of a big period of growth. Also, to hit the nail on the head, however, the song does refer to have to do dastardly deeds to survive in a culture where it is impressed upon you that hopelessness is all there is and how to rise from that. Perhaps from a masculine specific perspective that is apart of the journey to manhood and furthering this theory, you cannot and do not need to do it all alone.
Childish Gambino, who I touched upon a few weeks ago got his moniker from a Wu-Tang Name Generator.
So this is "Respected Specialist" signing off.