As Rocks Off was walking out towards the car after Saturday's Hip-Hop for HIV concert, a brawl erupted in the parking lot. Cops were running around trying to nab people, people were getting punched and kicked and chased, subsidiary fights broke out around bigger ones.
It was over within a couple of minutes, and from what Rocks Off could tell, no one was seriously injured. (Several skirmishes also broke out during the concert.) But it was still a crappy way to end things, and lends itself to a discussion that needs to be had.
Two things are going to happen as a result of parking-lot fights, and neither of them is going to serve anybody well. First, a lot of people are going to point to the violence that happened after Saturday's show today and make statements like, "And they said Trae Day was bad." But that's a fallacy.
The Box was not responsible for the parking-lot fights. To blame the radio station or any of the event's other sponsors seems akin to blaming a rape victim for getting raped because she was out late at night. It's absurd. If we were to begin accusing The Box of being responsible for the violence, that would be invalid and offensive.
It just happened, free from The Box's influence. We need to understand that first. Because that's the exact same thing that happened with Trae Day 2009.
Second, others will point out the irony of how a majority of the music that was performed today had the same imagery that Trae's music has, which was implied to be the catalyst for the violence that occurred at Trae Day 2009.
That too is irrelevant and counterproductive. It was wrong the first time it was brought up, and is now.
Trae, as we've observed covering Houston's rap scene, is a thoughtful, loyal, kind person. He's also one that is apt to occasionally make decisions based off emotion, and fiercely stands up for what he believes to be correct. The folks from The Box -Terri Thomas, Madd Hatta, Nnete, J-Mac, Brandi Garcia, The Kracker Nuttz, etc - mirror those same traits.
That's why The Ban (it is officially time to capitalize it now) has taken hold so firmly. Both sides feel like they're protecting something, and will likely continue to do so for a long, long time. Because of their strengths of character, neither side will yield to the other.
Perhaps that's why both Trae and The Box have managed to attain their respective levels of success; it's very easy to be around them or listen to them or watch them and immediately recognize not only the sincerity or passion that they possess for their work, but also the tenacity with which they will defend it. As an impartial observer, it's admirable to see, it really is.
But at some point, it can't be about that anymore. It just can't be.
Think on it like this: In less than two weeks, both sides have shown a remarkable capacity for community outreach.
Trae Day was a great, great event. You needn't do more than see the kids' faces when they were handed new backpacks or eating $1 hotdogs in the rain with their families to recognize that. Those kids felt like they mattered at Trae Day. The adults felt like they mattered. That's a powerful thing to experience.
The Hip-Hop 4 HIV concert was a great, great event too. The amount of people that were directly and indirectly affected by all of the HIV tests that were administered is immeasurable. Lives were literally saved. Young minorities aren't exactly lining up to take HIV tests, but they did in droves, largely because they simply wanted to see a concert. That's incredible.
But as undeniably good as they were, both events could have been better if they'd had the other's support. Hundreds more would have attended each, maybe thousands. Who knows?
But even if only two more people showed up to Trae Day, or two more people to the HH4HIV show, that's still two people.
Two more kids who have been made to feel like they are the unsuccessful, unwanted part of Houston's populace for the majority of their lives could have felt important. Two more kids could've found out for certain if they had HIV.
That can only ever be a good thing.
The insensitivity of Trae's initial remarks or subsequent actions, the far-reaching ripples of The Ban, the lawsuit, the countersuit - who do those serve? How do any of those things help anybody accomplish anything?
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They don't. They can't. Because they're both extensions of a preliminary wrongness, and you can't derive rightness from that, no matter how vehemently you insist otherwise.
This is not an impossible issue to resolve. It's not even a difficult issue to resolve. Somebody reach out. Somebody make a phone call. Somebody broker a meeting. That's where it starts.
It does not make anyone a lesser person, nor does not make one side explicitly wrong or the other side explicitly right. It doesn't compromise anyone's morals or resolutions, it crystallizes them.
That can only ever be a good thing too.