Jul. 14, 2015

Hoodie, Wiz, FOB

 Last weekend was my birthday. 

I did what any middle-aged, mom of 2, yoga pant wearing woman does.  I went to a Fall Out Boy concert with Wiz Khalifa as the opening act and Hoodie Allen as the opening act for the opening act. 

So to set the scene, I’m with my son.  It's his first time attending a concert.  Picture a 13 year old boy with good hair, wearing seer sucker shorts and boat shoes sitting beside his glossy lipped mother in white lace shorts, holding a coach purse.  We were in no danger of losing each other as we could be easily spotted from about anywhere in the crowd.   This is because everyone else was teenage to early twenty-somethings dressed in black and wearing skull caps. 

The concert was set to begin at 7pm.  By 6:30pm we had our $8 slice of pizza and $5 root beer in hand, sitting in our seats, ready and waiting.  A popular DJ came out and began warming up the crowd.  Pretty good.  Got our heads bobbin.  Then a rapper came out, Max or Mac or something.  Couldn’t really understand the words he was saying (refer back to 2nd sentence where I confessed to being middle-aged), but he seemed like a nice boy.  Then another rapper came out.  Hoodie Allen, another young up and comer, again didn’t understand a word out of his mouth.  It was probably for the best.

But then, the opening act who was getting as much hype as the headliner came on stage.  The crowd erupted.  I was excited and cheered too just from the influence of the energy the crowd was generating.  Wiz Khalifa walked out in baggy jeans and a baggier blue t-shirt.  No need for introduction as the crowd was ready so he immediately began rapping.  Unlike the opening acts for the opening acts who I’d just heard, I was able to understand most of what he was saying.  He was on stage for an hour.  Longest opening act I’d ever witnessed. 

This is what I pondered from watching him for the 1st time:

1.  He likes weed. 

I’ve never tried weed.  Maybe I should.  Maybe we technically did  as we were breathing air from the cloud of smoke that hovered over the people on the floor.  Wiz seemed like he was in a really good mood because of it.  He talked about it to us a lot and he barely even knew us.  Most people smoke weed to help them feel happy, relaxed and detached from reality.  That sounds, to me, like it would be perfect for a Monday or when the in-laws are coming for dinner.  However, he smoked it the whole time he performed and spoke of his love for it during his entire time on stage.  I wish he didn’t feel so bad that he needed to detach from reality so often.  I wonder why he needs a drug to help him escape from his emotions on a regular basis.  Made me a little sad for him.  Maybe money and fame don't buy happiness.  I don’t know.

2.  N****r, please. 

I’m not only not willing to type out the word, I’m also not willing to say it.  I’ve been taught that it’s offensive and rude.  Wiz is not afraid to say it.  Over and over and over.  Now I realize it’s a freedom he uses in his art form, but it sure seems like we are taking a giant step back with educating our children on how to respect others when that art is being marketed to millions of youth whom will memorize the lyrics and sing them back to him at his concerts.  Wiz, stop calling yourself ugly names.  You don’t deserve it.  I don’t want a large crowd chanting an offensive word that many people are trying so hard to keep out of their kids mouths…out of respect for you.  Love yourself a little more than degrading yourself and an entire race of people.  Let’s just call you Wiz, if that’s the name you like.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.  Think of your audience!  Remind yourself that you’re smart enough, you’re good enough and gosh darn it people like you. 

3.  The body is a canvas.

I gleaned from watching him that your body should never run out of space for new ink.  One day, I hope to have an opportunity to find out the story behind all the symbols, plants and designs that adorn his body.  However, as the aforementioned middle-aged mom of 2, I’d like to use this time to issue a word of caution to all his young fans whom are likely not going to read this blog, but it will still make me feel better to get it off my chest soooo.   If you have career aspirations to become a rapper, prison guard, tattoo artist or lead a gang of bikers then tat it up.  Try and see if you can include your eyelids too.  People forget that area sometimes.  However, if you have a career path that would lead you into other, more conventional areas, I’d warn against any ink on the face, neck or hands.  As a better visual, maybe think about only tatting the white parts of a farmers tan.

4.  He’s a nice guy.

Wiz is charismatic and quite encouraging to his young fans.  There is a lot to learn from him.  I know, I know, that’s not what you were expecting to read next.  I have to hand it to him though, he impressed me with the motivating messages he kept yelling to the attentive crowd.  He told them to “believe in yourself”, “you can be whoever you want to be”, “you are powerful” and “go after what you want, don’t let anyone get you down”.  Wow, Wiz, nice move.  Not that you asked, but I approve.  If that’s the kind of thing you say to your fans, no wonder they like you so much.  You take the time you’re given on stage and build up your followers.  While we were in line to buy a t-shirt, my son and I even overheard a young girl tell another young girl that you make her want to try harder to be better.  You clearly are a smart man too.  I mean, you smoked kush (yes, I know cool words for marijuana now) the entire time and still managed to remember every lyric to every song.  Impressive.

Wiz, I kind of like you, minus all your drug references, calling yourself names, calling women biotches and the teardrop tats on your face.   Actually, I agreed with the girl in line, you made me think of being better too.  Made me think of how favorably people respond to a relaxed, non-judgey attitude, laced with words of encouragement.  Made me want to try more to be like that.  Made me want to sit you on a couch and talk to you about the hurt you cover with drugs and mean lyrics.  Made me hope someone was encouraging you to be better too.

We are all in leadership roles.  Whether it be leading our children, a group of friends, employees, a Little League team or leading by example, we ALL lead.  We can learn from ole’ Wiz.  After all he is successful in gathering quite the fan base.  He’s doing something right.  Perhaps it’s the non-judgmental, positive, encouraging way he engages his followers.  They respond well to it, imagine that!  Kudos, Mr. Khalifa.

After that Fall Out Boy came out and killed it.  Maybe it was the contact buzz, but I totally forgot about how I didn’t fit in and rocked out with my 13 year old.  Nothing like a good mother/son 2nd hand smoke high as your kid’s 1st concert experience to make you question your parenting skills.  Glad I forgot how much I liked those Fall Out Boy songs because it was like a birthday surprise.  Love how exciting and energetic it is to be around people who are dancing around with you!  Happy my son had a great time and wasn’t bothered by being at a concert with his mom. 

I didn’t expect to be most affected by the opening act, but I’m glad I got a chance to be introduced to Wiz and his music. 

So that’s it.  The concert didn’t end until 11pm.  We decided to stay the night and went back to our room and ordered food from a pizza place around midnight.  We sat in bed, watched Disney channel, ate junk, then slept in our clothes and left the next morning.  It earned me some cool mom points. 

Cheers to another birthday in the books.  Another year older.  Another few new songs I learned that can be downloaded into my playlist to help make it just a little more psychotic.