One of the misnomers about African American men is that we are always the coolest, smoothest guys in the room, where the term nerds and geeks does not apply. Umm, that’s not always true, (cool yes, but not always smooth).
The best thing about the 21st century is that creatives like actor Donald Glover and music producer Pharell made it cool to be black geeks who embrace marching bands, ride skateboards and acknowledge that they are in fact nerdy, (in Pharrell’s case his band with Chad Hugo N.E.R.D.).
Add another black geek to the fold as Rolling Stone follows The Roots’ Questlove aka Ahmir Khalib Thompson around for a few days, (which including the whole Michele Bachmann/Fishbone incident on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”).
Although the piece doesn’t delve too much into the The Roots, it’s a great character study of Questlove who talks about losing summers as a child as father made him played drums, being bullied and teased as a teenager for his hair, his almost “rain man” gift when it comes to music as well as his awkwardness around his celebrity crush, Community’s Alison Brie, ( dude, I agree by the way)
I found this article endearing to me, because I am very much like Questlove.
Growing up, I found a kinship with Questlove’s Philly contemporaries DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince.
Like Will Smith and Jeff Townes, I was just a nice guy with stable family life with no guns, no arrests or wild parties ( to me watching “Happy Days” wasn’t a guilty pleasure, it was a way of life (the Richie years of course).
Songs like “Girls Ain’t Nothin But Trouble” and “Parents Just Don’t Understand” were not just songs, but my life story.
But much like Questlove, who also grew up during that time period, those songs also meant I wasn’t the cool kid.
Like Quest, I had a love, almost obsession with all things entertainment including music, where I was drummer DJ and later a music critic.
Although I didn’t do the lunch box thing like Questlove, I was true geek in every sense of the word as I loved X-Men comic books and watched sci-fi movies like Star Wars wearing my Dwayne Wayne flip-up glasses from the TV show “A Different World”.
(Fellas, don’t make the mistake I did, if you meet a gal who loves comic book movies like “Spider Man” and “Iron Man”, make sure you marry her quickly because they are hard to find!)
Even now, if I am in my confident creative space, I am full “Questlove mode”, charismatic and entertaining, but more often than not, I morph into “Ahmir Mode”, standing in the back of room, either trying to figure out ways to say something witty to a crowd or attractive woman and/or go in the opposite way and obsess over a new idea that I can’t wait try when I leave.
This past year, Rolling Stone has had some great pieces on Sirius XM’s Howard Stern, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David and FX star Louis C.K.
The thing that ties them all together is that they are not only creative and at the top of their craft, but they are in relatively solitary positions ( Stern: radio announcer, David/ C.K: comics, Questlove: drummer).
Being a blogger, I found that have a kindred spirit with each each one, but after reading Questlove’s Rolling Stone piece, I found a long lost brother.
Read a section of the Rolling Stone piece here: “Questove Talks Love for Aison Brie; Told Jay-Z To Go to Harvard in Rolling Stone”