Smashington is an interactive local music and art festival. It is an all day celebration of the progressive music and art culture. This years festival will feature 80 acts across 5 stages in 4 venues in the amazing Mills 50 District. The locations are Will’s Pub, hosting the Orlando’s Soul Sister Stage, featuring 10 of Orlando’s best female artists or female fronted bands, St Matthew’s Tavern, hosting both the Drunken Maters Stage, which will feature 10 of Orlando’s best rock, funk, and hardcore bands, and the Jam Fest Stage, featuring 10 of Orlando’s best funk, reggae and acoustic acts, Uncle Lou’s, hosting the Vybe Stage, which features 30 up and coming artists.
Ron Grant April 32, 2016
By the time my musical generation started to come into our own, many people would have said that Prince was past his prime. My generation did not get to witness or experience first hand the early peculiar genius, the transformational, historical moments or the amazing comeback that Prince had accomplished. I was born in 1982, and a year later was when Prince started to gain the attention of the music gods. Two years later was when Purple Rain hit the world like a purple meteor shower. By the time many of us began to even realize the power of music, Prince had already conquered the world of the 1980s music with a decade-long string of consecutive albums that can rival any discography in the history of popular music, beginning with Dirty Mind in 1980 and ending with Graffiti Bridge in 1990. And to think that this was only a one-third of his musical output.
Prince was not only a musical icon and a genius. He was not only part of the musical Holy Trinity of 1980s black pop stars that broke the rules and reshaped music and pop culture during that time along with Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. He was not only the musical embodiment of a confusing, risqué 1980s America in an age of the growth of Hip Hop, AIDS, MTV, Reaganomics, computers, the crack era, divorce and changing gender roles through sexuality and androgyny…he was all that and intelligent and enough of a visionary to be able to channel all of that, bend it to his own will and blaze a path that thousands of artists have followed ever since.
And speaking of the 1980s, it was the same era that a little operation called MTV began to get into more homes and make waves around the country. The 1980s was the era of the music video, and it was an era well suited and tailor-made not only for a thriving television channel…but also for the personalities that would help to make it into the pop culture monster it would soon become. And there were three artists who were the greatest contributors to making that happen: Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince. Let’s just think about it for a moment.
When MTV first began, it featured rock music by white artists, almost exclusively. But with his flamboyant style, controversial lyrics and shiny, sheeny videos, Prince soon broke down that door and did it with a smile on his face while doing it through a medium that he took advantage of like none other with visuals for “Little Red Corvette”, “1999”, “When Doves Cry”, “Purple Rain” and “Kiss”. MTV would be nowhere near what it is without the vision of a Prince to take full advantage of a medium that at that point was untested, and turned out to be both the proving ground and the main promotional tool of pop artists of the era.
That artistic genius extended also into live performances as well, because who in their right mind will EVER forget how Prince was the original target of Tipper Gore and her Parental Advisory sticker battle of the 1980s because of “Darling Nikki”, or the 1991 performance of “Get Off” at the MTV Music Awards? Prince Single-handedly upped the ante on controversy every chance he could, and he did it slyly, quietly and sarcastically. He loved making the uptight peoples of the world, be they politicians, journalists, record execs or anyone else, squirm, in his own brilliant way. Yet and still, at the end of the day, it was all about his art. Let’s not forget that this was a man that created “Purple Rain”, “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Darling Nikki”, “Raspberry Beret”, “Adore”, “1999”, “Controversy”, “I Would Die 4 U”, “Cream”, “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, “Sign O’ The Times”, “The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker”, “When Doves Cry”, “Diamonds & Pearls”, “Let’s Work”, “Nothing Compares 2 U”, “Do Me, Baby”, “Get Off”, “Kiss”, “If I Was Your Girlfriend”, “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”, “U Got The Look”, “Thieves In The Temple”, and a ton of other pieces of music that have been covered by TLC, Alicia Keys, Sinead O’Connor, The Foo Fighters, Maroon 5, George Clinton, Mariah Carey and D’Angelo, to name a few. And his influence is still felt now in the forms of Miguel, Janelle Monae, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, The Internet, Kanye, Pharrell, Adam Levine, Lady Gaga, Cee Lo Green, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, and Gary Clarke Jr.
But the most important role that Prince played, to every single one of us, whether we were simply fans and admirers, or if we were someone that was lucky enough to know him personally, was his role as a teacher. Because he taught us about sticking to our guns and being ourselves even in the face of constant animosity, ridicule and misunderstanding. There is no possible way that a kid from Minnesota could do what Prince did in his life and in his career without a level of courage, strength, vision and determination that many of us will never be lucky enough to have even an ounce of.
He taught us about the gift of music and about cherishing it, cultivating it, nurturing it and constantly respecting it. He taught us about creativity and going against the grain when everyone else tells us to stay in our lane, to not be different, to not be weird, to shrink away from challenges, to run from risk and to be scared of failure. He taught us about different sides and shades of life that we may not have been exposed to has we not listened to his music. He taught us that it was okay to ask burning questions, to go against tradition, to be unafraid of breaking barriers, to stand up when we think something is wrong and when we’re being done wrong, and to embrace being the oddball.
In the end, Prince’s influence stretches into so many different areas it’s amazing, ridiculous, timeless, scary and unprecedented. Music, movies, film, pop culture, songwriting, live performance, celebrity obsession, art and design, religious beliefs, philosophy, music business, the Internet. There is no way we can honor him enough. There is no way we can reflect enough. And most importantly, there is no way we can thank him enough.
Rest in Purple Peace and Power.
Visit Ronald Grant on Urban Emurge
“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it. – Zora Neale Hurston
“The Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities is held annually in Eatonville, Florida, the nation’s oldest incorporated black municipality. Goals of the annual event are to celebrate the life and work of 20th century writer, folklorist and anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston; to celebrate the significance of her hometown, Eatonville, Florida, known as the nation’s oldest incorporated African American municipality; and to celebrate the cultural contributions people of African ancestry have made to the United States and world culture.”
Today marks a historical moment for the Conscious Mind Records family! Today… We officially have become part of the planning committee for the “Zora Neale Hurston” festival of the Arts and Humanities—It has over 50,000 people in attendance every year.. Thank you to our brother..Amazing Artist and now Creative Director Palmer Reed…Conscious Mind Records will be the Production company for the Education day. An average of 12,000 people attend this day every year.. (many are students bussed in from schools all over Central Florida) We are going to try and pass those numbers this year!!! Its about Culture..Fun… and Education… In the first incorporated Black city in the United States! This is a Major Blessing for the CMR family!!!
With no Phife, there is no Tribe. And he made that perfectly clear on The Low End Theory by creating the persona of the dude from up the block that might be a little short, but packs a slick mouth and a grimy attitude…and you didn’t want to get on his bad side. Ever. Because you didn’t know if Phife would get scrappy with his fists, or just pummel you with his wordplay.
And that role continued throughout Tribe’s career and discography. Would classics like “Award Tour”, “Electric Relaxation”, “Sucka Nigga”, “Stressed Out”, “1nce Again”, “Phony Rappers” and more be even a distinct possibility without the genius, the delivery and the braggadocio of Phife? Never. Would we even have People’s Instinctive Travels…, The Low End Theory, Midnight Marauders, Beats Rhymes and Life and The Love Movement without the contributions of Phife? Not likely.
He was much more than a sideman. He was a lyrical giant in his own right that helped to mold and form many of us into the Hip-Hop nerds that we are today. Many of us would sit and analyze his lyrics, trying to decipher their meaning. That’s if we weren’t just cooling out to them, riding to them or just nodding our heads to them.
And Phife can and should never be pigeonholed into only being part of A Tribe Called Quest. He had his own solo career, starting with Ventilation: Da LP from 2000. And sure, maybe that solo career didn’t quite turn out the way that it should have, for whatever reason. But you still have to give Phife his respect as one of the greatest lyricists to walk the face of the earth. He gave us new energy and life through his music. He gave us things to think about and ponder at a young age. He helped us have fun. He helped us to think and build our vocabulary. He made it cool to be a kid who was also the complexion of a hockey puck.
In the end, it is important to note that the passing away of Malik Isaac “Phife Dawg” Taylor, Phife Diggy, The Five Foot Assassin, makes us reflect on many different things. Or at least it should.
Most notably, the many health concerns that continue to plague the Hip-Hop community, and communities of color. It cannot be ignored that Phife struggled with Type 2 diabetes and needed a kidney transplant. And even when we speak about his music, we must also remember that he was more than just an emcee, a performer, a rapper or an entertainer. He was a person that had struggles, as we all do. And we must concern ourselves with caring for and healing ourselves of these ailments and issues.
But for now, let us do our best to remember what Phife did for us as Hip Hop fans. And what he did, what he accomplished, what he was part of and a founding member of…was something truly special that can never be replaced. We love you, Phife. And we’ll always remember what you did for us.