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Depictions


Semple hadn’t talked to his good friend in a while. Texting felt too clumsy, so he went old-school and called him on the phone, land line no less. After greetings and small talk, Semple got to what was troubling him.


Man, Junior Boyd, I’m all the way messed up over here. I’m stuck on that Raising Kanan and don’t even wanna dig it that much.


I watched an episode myself, Semple. But the Southside drug angle doesn’t hold me captive.


That’s what I’m saying. I wanna be free, too. 50 Cent finding fifty-eleven ways to repeat “Ghetto Quran.” [Laughter from Boyd.] He got a serious Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff fixation. Whether he call him Preme in a song or Majestic in a movie, or Unique in a television series, it’s all at some level about Preme and the crack era in Queens and 50 tryna come up in that world and losing his mother. He got nine-bullet authenticity and money stacking and forever grief, which is understandable, and that’s got him kinda out of control. No balance. You’d think the whole neighborhood just ate crack breakfast, crack lunch, and crack dinner. Just went to crack school, crack church. Had crack dreams all night. I’m not saying it’s all off. All the crazy stuff did go down in some style or another. I was around some of it, even as a citizen, so I know. I even knew some of the older players when I used to hang out on the Southside at a spot on Guy Brewer Boulevard, which used to be known as New York Boulevard. That was near the South Jamaica branch of the Queens Public Library. Kids be in there reading. We used to always be arguing about something, and then we’d grab a kid who wasn’t already in the library, give him some money, and send him to the library to get some accurate information. Plus some in me and your age group was in this club called Encore, which was on Merrick. Even seen people in there laughing at Fat Cat dancing. Wasn’t no problem. They had mad golfers in the hood, too, of all things. Some had a clubhouse on Liberty Avenue. Mostly folk who grew up in North Carolina or South Carolina or Georgia or Alabama caddying. Be like a convention hitting balls in Baisley Park across from the old August Martin High School, which was the old Woodrow Wilson High School. Then go eat at Carmichael’s, which was a diner for everybody. If you see these Power books, you’d never know there was a unit of the City University of New York on the Southside. Over 300 neighborhoods in New York City, and the Southside got one of the few senior colleges. College students all over the place. I have a niece who graduated from there and always done good. Ain’t no graduation processions in these Power books.


Okay, you’re slowing down. Okay. You’re concerned about the proliferation of negative depictions. So what I hear you calling for, Semple, is a more expansive, panoramic view.


Don’t expand or panoram too much. Then I lose my show. See, that’s why I’m all screwed up. Don’t mess with my show. How I’m not gon watch Raq and Juke? These some interesting profiles. I don’t even like them mixing up my show with other shows. Courtney Kemp got a Godfather fetish. Be biting scenes all the time---killing prize pets as a negotiating strategy, threatening to get either a signature or blood on an entertainment contract, switching hospital beds to thwart a hit after the first hit didn’t do the job. That is Godfather stuff. And using the haircut scene. That’s from Boyz n the Hood. Just do gangster Southside how it was. But then I don’t just want gangster Southside how it was. But then I do. See, Boyd, I’m stuck.


Not really, Semple. They say if you make all conditions exactly equal and suspend a dog between two identical bowls of food, the dog will starve to death because it would have no basis on which to make a decision. That’s stuck. But you’re not stuck, Semple. You’ll continue to watch Raising Kanan.


Over and over. Ready for Season 2. And that dog gon eat both bowls. That’s what I think. But I think I’ll beat my addiction. I wonder if 50 and Courtney will ever find a way out. Or they gon end up years from now portraying geriatric patients slinging product out of the senior citizens center on 159th Street in the projects?


#keithgilyard #thelanguagelane #raisingkanan #semple #powerbookIII