Tuesday, March 31, 2009

City Stages...The Way I See It.



I love Birmingham. I love the city, and the people that live in (and near) it. I don't understand and/or "love" some of the things that my city frequently does. Let's talk about [City Stages] in this blog...shall we?
I'm not sure if you remember enough about Birmingham/City Stages history to recall when Twista was announced as a performer. The year was 2004. He was dumped from the line up because of the "lyrical content" of some of his songs. Since then they've allowed, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, and this year Young Geezy the "Snow Man" to appear. Uh... really? Lyrical content can get a rapper kicked off City Stages? Hmmm, interesting. I have another theory.
Many of the other rappers that have been featured on the "big stage" have all sold more albums than Twista which could, potentially, draw bigger crowds...i.e. money makers. Twista, with all his success, is still more of an "underground rapper" than many of the others. And, at that time, I think that Larry Langford needed something to get him in the public eye as a "man of the people" so that when and if he ever decided to run for mayor of Birmingham, we'd all remember who saved the city from the "vulgarness and filth" of rap music.
Also, many people think that just because a rapper "swears" on his records, he/she can't be trusted to give a clean show. Some of the most vulgar and foul-mouthed rappers/comedians ever have gone on to have successful careers in "family-friendly-genres." Ice Cube is a kid friendly movie regular now. Has anyone seen the type of projects that Percy Miller (Master P) is involved with now? And let's roll back the tapes of Eddie Murphy then-&-now. Dr. DoLittle had the foulest of mouths just a few moons ago.
I also think that City Stages has a history of "shitting on the little guy" (especially the non-connected ones from Birmingham) as a rule. I give you Exhibit A: I'm a performer myself. I have have worked with many of Birmingham's finest musicians/performers. Just last year I was fortunate enough to have work included on the Emmy Award Winning Documentary/Soundtrack Mr. Dial Has Something to Say. I solicited my package to City Stages for consideration and was allotted a 15 minute slot on the [Homegrown /Non-Paid] Stage. I agreed to perform and after getting through one and a half songs, my performance was cut short, mean while, Landon Pigg was paid thousands to roll down from Tennessee to perform a full set on a [Sponsored Stage].
So, what's the point? Am I just another pissed off artists that is throwing salt in another rappers game? Or, am I a blogger trying to shed some light on some of the ills associated with our city's largest music festival? Hmmm, to be honest, sometimes I'm not quite sure myself. You decide.
I will say this though, If I don't see Larry Langford and the Birmingham City Council raising a million dollars worth of hell about Young Geezy coming to our city's most celebrated music events then I'll know that I'm not just a pissed off performer...I'm a pissed off performer with VERY VALID POINTS!

I'm Thed Weller & I approve this message.

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3 Comments:

Blogger DJ Rahdu said...

Peace Thed,

I remember your performance almost vivily from last year's CS. The stage, its location, the calibre of artists that shared your stage, the way you were talked to and the way your show got cut. It was definitely a low blow on what was decidedly a good year career wise for you.

Did you reach out to CS about performing this year? Have you presented your concerns/thoughts to the CS board?

April 1, 2009 at 5:45 AM  
Blogger Thed Weller said...

@rahdu
i did reach out. went down and talked to them on some real official type stuff right after it happened last year. all and all, they pretty much run the show as they see fit. the guy i actually talked to is no longer employed with them so not sure how things will play out this year. I've been in contact with "some" of this year's organizers and most of them give you the ol, "I don't book, i just twitt" responses. it's one of those situations... when it comes to being an artist from a city you're trying to gain respect in...many people from your city see you as "local" and know that "local" artists are a dime a dozen..."local" artists will do almost anything under the guise of "exposure."

April 1, 2009 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger Junior Star said...

Thanks for posting this piece especially after speaking with you on last Sunday. I too love Birmingham - all it has to offer and all that I can give back to it, but it is indeed an "interesting city" when it comes to the arts, especially the Black Arts. Most cities have that "local" mentality unfortunately, but Birmingham (and surrounding areas) has an ABUNDANCE of talent and has the potential of eventually breaking this _____ mentality (fill in the blank with whatever you want to call it) if artists like yourself keep making good music, continue to contribute and support artists, keep having a voice, and remain positive - The light always shines through. Like the other day, it all may sound like a commercial lol but we all know it to be true. Like the Supreme/Mecca's Groove joint said, we gotta "Keep On Pushin". Thanks again for the post.

April 2, 2009 at 1:46 PM  

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