Rapper D // Percussionist // DC Resident
We're back again with this week's Storyteller and this one started from a familiar sound, gogo. We were rapping up our supplies from the first Street Stitch performance that we did near the DuPont Circle fountain (you'll hear all about this experience during the week) and this man was setting up his cans and buckets to begin drumming. As a Washingtonian, I had seen this scene multiple times before. It's nothing new to witness a street performer drumming on a busy DC street. What made this one different was what he was doing while he was drumming. Picture this, a young boy standing with his parents as they enjoyed the brief performance they had the opportunity to witness while on their early afternoon journey to wherever they were going. D yells out, "You young man are the future! We need you to change the world. So I say, YOU WILL CHANGE THE WORLD but only if you believe". I witnessed this happening simultaneously as he continued to drum until he was literally dripping sweat and was almost awestruck. Not awestruck that he chose his platform to give positivity but awestruck in the way he delivered it and how it appeared to even go over the boy's parents head as something they couldn't bear to grasp. This led me to engage him in conversation.
In listening to him speak, I knew he had seen and experienced a lot. He was well versed in his understanding of percussion and spoke with wisdom. "I picked up sticks at the age of 2 but really started around the age of 5 when an instructor took me in despite my mother's ability to afford lessons..". He grew up here in the city with his mom once his parents split. "The instructor instilled something in me that I didn't quite understand at the moment.... he gave me a hunger for sound". At this point I'm captivated by the story and where he took it next also surprised me. Once his parents split he allowed himself to go into a self-destructive downward spiral that led him to become homeless. He pretty much said "Fuck it!" and stopped trying, an attitude that he learned a lot from. "The thing you have to realize is that everything is given to you for a reason.... it builds character and understanding for you to carry with you and when it gets unbearable you have to keep going because that's when God takes over". I'm a firm believer that if you never try then you'll never succeed. We take on projects and weight in life that we are supposed to figure out how to carry, that's how we gain wisdom, from falling with the world on our shoulders. That change of perspective builds a person to a different level of understanding, a level that can only be gained through experience. Even through D's story he told me something that takes a lot of maturity and self-reflection o even realize. "The thing is, I wouldn't trade those experiences for the world because they allowed me to understand myself and my God and that I'm truly grateful for".
I say all that to say this, you never know what the person next to you has gone through and further more what wisdom they have locked in their minds waiting to share it. That's what Storytellers are all about, sharing the unconventional wisdom from the unusual suspects.
~Life & Love