and his mama. huh. “does he discuss his homophobia?” is the first question that a stranger (with whom i have a lovely lady in common) asked me on the phone this morning just as i was finishing this book. well, yes-though for me, he reconciled that on electric circus– the prodigal album, the one i lost respect for him for apologizing for. i had the feeling opposite to that of finding out that jean grae was the sleeper guest on the blacksmith tour in montrill–mama rashid is all over this book, and even he didn’t mention it in the LA public library talk that he did recently. i’m sure i’ll get into this when i talk with the listed co-writer soon, but for the moment-huh.
“There’s so much about him that’s still a mystery, even to me. What I do know, though, is that I like him. I really like him. Of course, I love him, too. As mothers, we always love our children-but we may not always like them.” (x)
“To begin with, I never liked him more than I liked me. I don’t mean love-I loved him more than anything. But I always liked me best. If you don’t like yourself, it makes it very hard to like and to love your child. So when I was raising Rashid, there’s no way that he could have three pair of shoes if I only had two. And I’m the one working? That’s not reasonable, mothers. How in the world do these young mothers go buy their child a designer something that costs a hundred dollars and you don’t have a savings account? You don’t have a house. You live in an apartment.” (29)
“I learned these lessons because I had to. Sometimes I wonder whether I could have done more to teach Rashid how to move between multiple worlds. For all of Rashid’s gifts, he doesn’t really have that hustler’s mentality. Perhaps it’s because he never really had to hustle; he never had to face not knowing where he might get his next meal or where he was going to sleep. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s progress. But I can’t help thinking that it’s left him without a certain kind of equipment for living.
In the last couple years, Rashid’s gotten better at balancing several things at once. He’s had to. But I don’t think he understands or even defines hustling in the same that I do. He’s one of the hardest workers I know. But a hustler? I’m not so sure. He’s still got room to grow. He still has years and years to go.” (41)
“Here’s my definition of hustling: knowing how to survive in a world that’s set you up to fail. That’s why, as black people, we’ve had to strive so hard to develop a hustler’s instinct and pass it on to our children. You have a door closed in your face? You have to learn how to pick the lock or maybe just knock it off the hinges.” (14)
“Taraji was the one I truly, truly loved. I never even told Rashid that until after they were already broken up. I knew from the start that he wouldn’t stay with Taraji. Part o fit was that their personalities were so different. She’s a little more outgoing. Even though Rashid is gregarious and personable, he’s really sort of a private person. And you can’t be too out there for him. I’m not sure that he ever really, really loved Taraji. At the time, he was looking for love. But he was comparing everyone to Erykah. Taraji was the anti-Erykah in some ways.” (248)
(don’t you know we love you, sweet sadie).