Storytime with Marcus:
That old house in Newark had 3 levels. My grandparents and aunts lived on the top level. Glenda, myself and my younger brother lived on the second (ground) level, and then there was the basement. I don't really remember how old I was. I do know that I was of the age when the full body pajamas with the feet in were in fashion. I can remember the lil noise the plastic footing would make on the floor as I walked, which was the signal to my mother that I was moving around. So to keep her from hearing me creeping out of my bed to head towards the noise in the basement below, I tiptoed. And slowly cracked the door so super skinny me could slide through the small space created. As I got to the basement door, the vibrations got louder and louder. And I could hear the sounds of adult voices laughing and shouting melodically. So none of them heard me opening the door and coming down the stairs to join in on the party that my then late teenage - early 20s Uncle Terrance was djing, less then a few feet from his "bedroom". Terrance, the neighborhood DJ. He spun at house parties, sometimes at the bar across the street, every summer at the block parties before school, and countless parties in my grandmother's house. He lived in the basement, which was often an escape for young me to venture into a world of cool. He even had the dope black light posters everywhere, remember these?
I can't believe I found this picture. He actually had this exact poster, among others. I may order this. Anyway......
I see a bunch of adult bodies dancing, all under his total control as he weaved spells behind a table with two spinning things while wearing headphones. Curious me, knowing I was always safe in his presence, ventured closer, to only be discovered by one of my dancing aunts, who grabbed me and amusingly asked me "WHATCHU DOIN' DOWN HERE!!!" while playfully swinging me around in the air, dancing with tiny me in her arms to her favorite song. Knowing that I'd surely incur the wrath of her older sister Glenda, she tried to usher me back upstairs, until my Uncle Terrance summoned me next to him, behind what I later learned were turntables, where he controlled the music. I can still remember the beautiful album covers he kept pulling out of the milkcrates on his side, sliding huge black discs out of them and handing me the cover saying "hold this". The entire time I was down there, I remember feeling like I was listening to one beautiful, groovy long song. The only way I could tell that the song had changed was when the party people would scream "HEY!!!"or "OOOOOH!!!"
There was no where near this many people there, but this is how it looked to my lil ass.
And then I felt that grab of the arm. Glenda had invaded my little space in heaven. Back upstairs and to bed I was drug. But the damage was done. I'd been formally introduced to the love of my life, nothing and no one could bring me down from that high. She was passionate. She was unapologetic. She was beautiful. She was free. She was grown. She answered to no one. And she was EVERYONE'S drug. Hell, what do I mean "was".......she still is!!!
Her name is Music.
And years later, she is a drug I have the honor of providing to fellow fiends. Just like my Uncle Terrance did.
I've long since lost touch with my uncle. I haven't seen or spoken to him since 1987. I know he lives somewhere in Florida now, and I believe he's preaching. I saw a picture of him a couple of years ago, and he looks EXACTLY like his dad, my grandfather Hodge (R.I.P.). But the seed he planted in me all those decades ago has blossomed magnificently. He introduced me to a love that has fulfilled me, saved me and sustained me. And I want to share it with you.
So take this journey with me. Every Saturday at 6pm on KPFT on the HD2 channel. The name of this journey is THE REMEDY and it is truly the love of my life. It also happens to be THE best neosoul / R&B / rare grooves / independent soul radio program in Houston, and one day soon in Texas and beyond. You can stream past episodes here to get familiar.
I hope somewhere in THE REMEDY you find the magic and the love that I found all those years ago in that basement. And Unc, wherever you are, I can't thank you enough.
Do remember I love you, and there's nothing you can do about it.
Peace & love,