Head over heels in love with hip-hop

May 6, 2011

 

Society tries to keep us apart. It isn’t acceptable for a white kid to be in love with a (mostly) black art. The adults of Grand Haven tell me hip-hop is too much of a bad boy for me, that he only wants me for my money. They just don’t understand our relationship. I can’t fully explain what it does to me; it makes me feel good about myself like no other genre has before.

For too long have Ice Cube and Big L (R.I.P.) been forced to climb through my window late at night when nobody is watching. I’m sick of hiding our relationship. From now on hip-hop and I are out in the open. We love each other and nothing is going to come between us.

It makes me sad that society forced us into the shadows for so long. Why can’t a white kid fall in love with Snoop Dog? Why don’t Eazy-E (R.I.P.) and I get to walk down the beach together at the sunset? I don’t understand why there is a problem with me pumping bass so loud that you can hear it from Compton.

There’s just something about Dr. Dre and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony that is special. I shouldn’t have to feel like a bad person just because I’m driving around town with Nas sitting next to me, serenading me with his beautiful rhymes. The type of music a person listens to does not define them. There’s nothing wrong with a white kid turning up some Wu- Tang Clan (R.I.P. ODB) and there’s nothing wrong with a black kid bobbing their head to a little Simon and Garfunkel.

When did our race start defining what kind of music we listen to? I think you should be able to put your headphones in and choose to be taken in a warm embrace by A Tribe Called Quest or Little River Band. Just because I choose to have The Notorious B.I.G. (R.I.P.) make sweet, sensual love to my ears doesn’t mean I’m any different of a person than someone who prefers Genesis. As Dr. Dre asked so candidly, “What’s the difference between me and you?”

Hip-hop of the 90s and I are in love, nothing is changing that. The only difference is that now it’s in the open for everyone to see. Maybe I will be looked down upon by the white, predominately republican community of Grand Haven, but that’s alright with me. Hip-hop is no longer the mistress I meet in a grungy motel on Saturday nights. We’re together and nothing can take it away from me. I’m even considering making our relationship ‘Facebook official.’

— By John Cherette, Tribune columnist

Comments

ghxpat

Tribune, please stop giving this guy any more space in your paper. He is truly a bad, bad writer, and has nothing to say. I know he's trying, I appreciate you want to give the kid a chance and some encouragement, but please find another way. Like maybe steer him in another direction, entirely? This stuff is getting worse and worse, each time you publish his work. Please, give your loyal readers a break and next time this guy submits anything for publication, tell him "the dog ate it."

mrsnowball

Another reason we stopped taking the Tribune!!!

S.Cook

Somebody please tell me this article isn't serious

agree2dissagree

It's times like this I wish I had a bird, so I could line it's cage with this story.
From what I'm reading it sounds more like you are "coming out". Are there no female hip-hop singers out there?
My advice, keep your window closed at night. And take the ladder away. Pull up your pants and wear them on your "hip" hip, not down by your knees. Also, try sleeping on the bottom bunk! The next time you fall out won't hit your head so hard!

migpilot

Wrong, because everything else I said was "edited". Perhaps the editing should have taken place earlier.

agree2dissagree

If you didn't know...R.I.P. means Rest in Peace! Not "rappers in pants". You can't walk down the beach to watch the sunset with this guy, he isn't with us anymore. You said "Just because I choose to have The Notorious B.I.G. (R.I.P.) make sweet, sensual love to my ears", gross! I think Q-tips are on sale this week!

skyking

ghxpat, Get a clue.... this is a tounge in cheek article written by a very bright, very insightful, very talented 11th grade high school student... What were you doing in 11th grade? Were you taking the risk of sharing with the broader community your views on any matter either serious or comical? Have you read this kid's other more serious piece's? Have you ever "put yourself out there"?
It seems to me it is very easy to take a shot from the "cheap seats" where you are firmly seated....

You should have half the talent, vision, courage and future that this young man has.....
Think about your life at 17 and his ..... bet you don't stack up.....

skyking

ghxpat, Get a clue.... this is a tounge in cheek article written by a very bright, very insightful, very talented 11th grade high school student... What were you doing in 11th grade? Were you taking the risk of sharing with the broader community your views on any matter either serious or comical? Have you read this kid's other more serious piece's? Have you ever "put yourself out there"?
It seems to me it is very easy to take a shot from the "cheap seats" where you are firmly seated....

You should have half the talent, vision, courage and future that this young man has.....
Think about your life at 17 and his ..... bet you don't stack up.....

skyking

agree2disagree....
"line your bird cage"?
Your comments here are inappropiate toward anyone, much less a high school student....
Consider getting a bird.... you know a creature with a bit more inteluct than you and seek its advice before you make such foolish comments toward anyone in the future, much less a young man who clearly has talent

I. Trollu

Oh noes! An article about rap! In Grand Haven! Absurd! Obscene! Backwards! You're not going to win in this area John....but I really enjoyed the article. Preach on brother

agree2dissagree

Talent? Calm down skyking, and get your head out of the clouds. Where in this article does it state that this person is 17? If he doesn't like GH, it's called school of choice. This young man should submit this "tongue and cheek" article to another newspaper and we'll see how well it goes over. Oh and by the way "dad", my bird told me that you need a spell check. As an opining columnist, he better get ready for future critical reviews. Maybe start a scrapbook?

ghxpat

skyking - I have more clues than you know, and am entitled to statean opinion, whether you like it or not. This piece of tripe is not a "tongue-in-cheek" article; it's nothing more than a dis-jointed ramble of words from a wanna-be, trying-so-hard-to-be-a-writer-he-can't-get-out-of-his-own-way kid. Yes, I'm aware he is 17 - as if I need you to tell me something I can plainly deduce from his writing "skill" and/or subject matter. I find the writer neither "bright," "talented," or "insightful," and because you do, I can only assume you are a family member. With time, he may become those things, but now isn't that time, and the Tribune isn't helping him out by continuing to publish his "work." As for what I was doing in 11th grade, rest assured it was more serious than this guy's "writing." "Taking the risk of sharing with the broader community?" Yes, I was - and it didn't produce so many negative comments in the local newspaper as this article did, either. Have I ever "put myself out there?" Sure - we've all done that many times, and in circumstances or on battlefields you could scarcely imagine. Don't even bother trying to draw a comparison to those things and what you're spouting, here, because you can't. As for "taking a shot from the cheap seats," you ought to know - count your blessings that you can hide behind an anonymous screen name and take yours, too. If I had "half the talent, vision, courage and future that this young man has," I'd probably take my own life, because I'd have nothing to look forward to - based strictly on what I can tell from his writing. Think about my life at 17, and his? Sure - be glad to. And if you want to bet I didn't stack up, I'll take that bet. Boy, you must be another one of GHAPS' finest. If this is what you call writing, you must be easily pleased, and only little wit can excuse you.

skyking

ghxpat,
Have you read all of this young persons submissions to the paper? Did you see where he and his classmates were honored a few weeks ago in Lansing for the high school writing awards? I think he had two first place awards and a couple of others if I read the article correctly.
Of course you are entitled to state an opnion. What I belive crosses the line is the personal and vitriolic ( did I spell it correctly?) manner in which you attack a high school kid.....
Regardless of your view of his topic or ability, there can be no denying the classless manner in which you share your offensive personal comments.
Perhaps give consideration to that before you eviscerate someone in the future.... especially a minor.

agree2dissagree

"The only difference is that now it’s in the open for everyone to see." ...be on the lookout for a 17 year old "white" middle class bad boy. Average hight, extremely thin, tired and listless. Possibly holding his stomach and groaning. Previously seen walking on the beach, at sunset, with his arm out to the side with cupped hand. Last seen, in his car, turning up his radio and singing to imaginary friends. Talent? "GONG"!! Vision? I don't see it! Courage? I'm missing something on that one. Future? Tabloid ?

Keep up the great writing...my bird has the flu.

skyking

agree2dissagree
Fill me in on your perspective on creativity and diversity..... tolorance and understanding.... creative thought and humor....
Offer something positive on....................................anything.....

agree2dissagree

That was a lot of dots there!! Creative? I only wish I could tell you, you have NO idea! Diversity? John can turn up his radio, while others are "bobbing" their heads?? (not cool) Tolerance? If I was not tolerant ,dot, dot, dot, would I be talking to you? ...Ditto on the understanding. You had to rip into anyone with an original thought, comment or wait, wait..."dis" on this poorly written, not funny, dare I say totally stupid article! And I'm pretty sure perspective was the last dish the old dude had on Ratatoullie! Lastly, I am very positive, I'm thinking just like the tabs...(that's tabloids) any publicity...even bad...is good for the kid.

I. Trollu

agree2disagree you are great. Keep up the good work man. It's not always easy to take a teenager to task, for an opinion article no less, but you do it with such poise and acumen as to inspire me. Grand Haven being open-minded FTW

ghxpat

skyking - I've read enough to know his work is not worth publishing, that's for sure. And yes, I'm aware of the 'honors' the GHHS school newspaper won in Lansing, although I don't understand how. If this kind of writing can be held up, praised and honored, then we are truly lost as a society and going downhill, fast. That is my opinion. I am not personally attacking the kid in any way - what I'm stating is an opinion about his writing. And to your credit, yes - you did spell "vitriolic" correctly, so I take back what I said about you, earlier. Congratulations on that one. If you find my comments personal or offensive, that's your problem, not mine. And if you think there won't be many comments of a worse nature in this kid's future, than what I offer, you're sadly mistaken. Support him all you want, and praise him to high Heaven, if you like. That won't change my feeling or the opinions of others, that what's been published in the paper so far, isn't worth reading. Strictly a matter of opinion, and that's all. You have yours, and I respect it. I have mine. And if you think what I've said is evisceration, you better go back to your dictionary and look the word up. Compared to what is deserved, we're being kind. Call me classless, if you want to, I care not. The truth is the truth, regardless of who says it.

agree2dissagree

Agree ghxpat...I knew what the word meant, but I looked up eviscerate anyway. Pretty much says it means to "disembowel" or " the removal of entrails" Ouch! Perhaps we've unknowingly stumbled upon the "missing link"?

ghxpat

agree2 - Well, it sure isn't the "next link," I can tell you that much! To quote Yul Brynner in "The Ten Commandments" - "let him rave on, that men shall know him mad." Your Honor, the Defense rests.

agree2dissagree

Bravo ghxpat...bravo!

agree2dissagree

Maybe the kid should be writing the classifieds? "Lost".... my writing skills...if found....you know the rest.

Kathy

OK Grand Haven Tribune, if you are going to allow comments on your website, then you also need to moderate those comments. This has long ago devolved into a tit-for-tat personal attack between posters. Their original comments - and I agree that everyone has a right to voice their opinion - no longer have any credibility because these posters have shown themselves to have some kind of ridiculous vendetta and/or personal involvement with the writer. It seems to me that this piece had an original audience of high school kids, and clearly that does not resonate as well with a wider audience. I realize I am risking being personally attacked for saying this, but come on guys, move on...

ghxpat

Just so we're clear, I have no "ridiculous vendetta" against the writer in question, nor do I have any "personal involvement" with him. And I disagree with your saying this comment section has "devolved" because a few have chosen to respond with personal attacks, rather than a sound, reasoned response to criticism directed at the writer and his work - if that is what you're saying. If you submit a comment and someone attacks you personally because they disagree with your opinion, then I think anyone is justified to respond to those comments. I don't believe that doing so degrades anyone's credibility, either. My comments have to do with this particular writer and his material, and with the Tribune, for publishing it. I agree with you, and I, too, believe this particular piece had an original audience of High School kids. That it was written with that audience in mind, is easily seen. So perhaps it should have stayed in the High School paper, and not been disseminated to a wider audience, via the Tribune? The kid has a right, certainly, to express himself, and on whatever topic he chooses. But I am of the opinion that his "work" is not worthy of posting, publicly, at this point, for a variety of reasons. The Tribune certainly has the right to publish what they choose, also - I just wish they hadn't published this piece, or others by said "writer." To me, the paper is diminished by doing so.

Fly on the Wall

It's not a personal attack to write the truth. The column's subject matter is narrow and too personal, lacking audience appeal. One might better write about grandpa's surgery or a favorite blankee.
The writing style is juvenile, grasping at maturity through fluffed up, worn out cliché. The shifts in tense create confusion, leaving the reader asking for direction from the narrator.
Not bad for middle-class white boy with no world experience, but "B" work in 11th grade composition.
This article left me feeling like I woke up in a strange bed, with too many wool blankees, on a hot muggy morning, with all the windows closed, after a dark and stormy night.

Kevin Hook

I feel that now would be a good time to remind everyone of the “discussion guidelines” that were created in an attempt to generate a civil exchange of comments.  As Publisher of the newspaper that monitors this site, it's my opinion that some of the comments below are unacceptable.  It’s OK to express your opinion on a particular issue.  It’s not OK to make personal attacks.  I also recommend comments remain relevant to the subject and are not directed toward one another. As we prepared to launch our new website we discussed this very issue and had concerns as to whether or not the monitoring of the comments would become overwhelming.  I remain hopeful that it will not.  Having said that, personal attacks will not be tolerated, and those that do so will be blocked from using the site.  Please take a moment and click on the “Discussion Guidelines” above to review our policy.  I appreciate the comments and participation this forum has created.  I only ask we do so in a constructive and civil manner. 

Kevin Hook, Publisher – Grand Haven Tribune.

sobe

Mr. Cherette, I found it very refreshing to read your humorous piece. I must commend the GH Tribune for giving voice to the young, from whom we hear too little. It gives me insight into what is going on in my community, which is comprised of people of all ages and equal importance. The opinion column of the local paper of a small town is a great place to cut one's teeth. I am sure, Mr. Cherette, that you have found and will continue to find much support along your path. Onward! "No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time. It is just that the others are behind the time." -Martha Graham

K.M.

Kids, kids, please, take a breath and view this student article with the perspective of an ADULT member of the GH community. There is an established and, I believe, respectable history of Tribune support for the youth of this community. Aside from covering the sports/school beat this OpEd piece is another way the Tribune supports youth.

Yes, in America, we all have a right to our opinion and, if we are that kind of person, we have the right to troll anonymously on the internet, but keep in mind the writer of this article is a kid. Communities support their kids, wether it's your child or not. You may not like the dance recital, band concert, T-Ball game, Senior play, friday night football, whatever, but as an adult member of the community you support the youth. You understand it's not about quality, it's not about perfection and most importantly it is not about you, the audience/sports fan/reader, it's about supporting the youth/future of your community. One sits politely in the audience/stands, claps, smiles and occasionally cheers when appropriate and encourages the youth of the community. To anonymously bash the young local student here for his writing is an immature act. If you don't like his work simply don't read his articles. They aren't about you and your entertainment. They are about supporting the youth and future of this community.

ghxpat

I hardly think this discussion should be considered "trolling"on the Internet. And I agree, the Tribune has and does support the youth of the community. But - and again, it's my opinion - that's not exactly what the issues are, here. Objections have not been raised as to the age of this individual, or whether he has a right to express his opinion or be published, or whether he should have to have reached a certain age before he should be. What some have objected to is the content, while others opined about the quality of the writing. In my opinion, both are fair, and warranted. There should have been some kind of filter involved, before this particular piece was published, and I'm not talking about censorship, necessarily, either. In my opinion, it was offensive, and not up to the standards we've been used to, and previously exhibited by the Tribune - regardless of trying to serve or show support for the youth of the community. Quote famous people all you care to, and lecture to whatever degree your heart desires - it's still a matter of opinion vs. opinion. I'm all in favor of honest dialogue, and I encourage it. I hope this comment section will always be a forum for that type of exchange. Let's keep it going, leave personalities and personal attacks out of it, and continue to explore this. Maybe we could all learn something useful - like tolerance for another point of view or another opinion? And perhaps better understanding of different perspectives and the reasons for them? Let's try.

skier09

My only question is how in the world can you be so hard on a 17 year old who clearly has good writing skills and has a high level of intelligence. It's ignorant people like you makes the youth hate Grand Haven. Just because this piece is about rap and thats out of the "norm" for Grand Haven doesn't mean this piece isn't good. Do you honestly have nothing better to do in your life then sit here and bash a 17 year old. I have had a long friendship with this writer and even though he isn't offended by your petty comments when he showed me this I was appalled by the fact that a older gentlemen could be bashing so hard on him. Obviously you don't have children otherwise you would understand that this is no way to talk to a young man putting himself out there and writing for a newspaper which actually takes a lot of courage. John is one of my best friends and he has so much passion for writing and I know he is good at it because he has been recognized at state level in competitions through Grand Haven High School. So stop trolling, Mr. Cherette isn't going away he is going to continue to grow in his writing wether you like it or not.

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