Quoted: ?uestlove on The Little Things

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson

Note: My boyfriend sent me this on September 23. As so often with conversations on OkayPlayer, the forums purge and the conversation is lost. The original link he sent to the topic comes up with an error. However, he did copy ?uestlove’s response to the thread, which was really a meditation on what it means to be a large black man, going about your daily business.


51. “well….i really wanna say skin”
In response to Reply # 41

but its like those are the small adjustments i have to make in everyday life to make white people happy.

here are some others.

-i remove the afro pick when im going to a city on a plane and we (the roots) are the only blacks aboard. im use to being a goldfish to people by now. but sometimes i just give up.

-i talk EXTRA job interview whenever the flight attendant reads the beautiful name my parents gave me aloud. just to assure the wall street journalites that im not going to pull the act you think im going to pull simply because you just heard two arabic names read aloud in first class.

-i turn my body hard to the left (as if in the dunce corner) when im on an elevator alone….

-actually part 2: i will get OFF the elevator sometimes cause the fear of entering the elevator is such a shock to some white women they will just play it off like they dont have to get on. so i get off….

….and next thing you know….they get on.

part 3 (i know this is some sad shit on the uncle rukus tip)- i also stand smack dead center in the elevator to avoid the always embarrassing scenario of: door opens, they walk in unsuspecting then they look in the blind spot where i am hidden in a corner and they “YELP!!!!….oh god you scared me”.

part 4- i never travel in an elevator with dixpop cause that to me is the nightmares horror scripts are made of.

–yeah it gets worse.

all the roots acknowledge that we colgate smile in our passports so that we look harmless. and PRAY to god we get no trouble (ive done 6 anal searches in my 17 years of travel—that is 7 too many)—mos spoke on this (heathrow mr nigga) back in 2000. i’ve had 2 more situations go down since buffalo (see myspace blog) but after awhile its just broken record time.

i mean i tape my snare drum as to not sound too soulful for viacom just in case they play our shit.

–small shit—

always small shit.

i OVER OVER OVER tip just to overcompensate in restaurants.

and not because i got money.
and not because i dont want my food tainted.

but because i know they think blacks suck at tipping.

EVEN me getting the car is a reaction to adjustment in america

(i mean granted yes….it was free and its afro friendly and i enjoy riding it….)

but shit is so fucked up that NOW the right thing is to get a baller car because no self respecting cat would get a mini (my other jawn) or a prius (my next jawn)—

i mean i “see” your point and i know you “get ” my point.

but my point is…

if my choice of car is based on what car will make me look more innocent.

—-just read that again.

if my choice of car is based on what car will make me look more innocent.

MORE innocent.

they dont know about the nice guy shit.

or the scholarships

or the santa quest shits

or the benefits

or the community service

or the bailouts from jail ive posted

or jobs i provided

or the lectures

or my “proper english”

or me taking care of my mother, father, sister, 3 nieces, 2 cousins, paralyzed childhood friend, and my hero’s mother.

they see none of that yo.

im just a dude cheating on his trainer.

that’s my real crime.

the 1:40 am fish samich.

the taste and smell bring me back to a place that only soul train reruns can evoke:

1200 block of S 49th street. my grandma’s house.

i know this seems overdramatic (it is)

but not hardly overexaaaaagggggeeeerraaated. (W hotels are the darkest most sinsiter looking elevators in the USA. and if you are on your 5th vodka and the doors open and you see me…..lol)

but in closing….

if my choice of car is based on what car will make me look more innocent.

then something has got to give.

i’ll be 40 in a couple of years.

im sooooooo at the end of my rope when it comes to adjustments for survival in america that are so small and miniscule that sometimes it aint worth mentioning.

this is why Wright was so amped.

and america was so shocked.

i love my car.

what car is out there that is as cool as my car….that they won’t even stop to think twice to see if i stole some white dudes shit.

(Photo Credit: Island/Def Jam)