I really believed my trip to South Africa going to be good but..


January 25, 2018 8:05am
I was awakened by the light being turned on in our room and the sound of my lovely, sweet, beautiful, ever so caring wife trying to be careful not to wake me as she goes through her earrings that are right next to the bed in a little crystal, noise making, glass thingy. 
Awesome! LOL. The frequencies of the clinking sounds were like ice picks pounding away at my ear drums. Today is going to be awesome!!!!!!!! South Africa Yay!!!!!!!

I’m on the plane. Whew. Made it!! I bought some Animal Crackers and I’ve forgotten how much I love these little gifts from God. The flavor reminds me of my childhood. So many memories. Anyway, I’m sitting next to a talker. This dude won’t stop. He’s telling me about his travels to Vietnam and how cheap it is to live there and all of that. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem. But his breath. Lawd his breath was making my nose hair want to commit suicide. His breath smelled like manic depression and garbage truck water. It was as though he had a cigarette for breakfast and washed it down with Urine. 

Atlanta is always so funky. This plane is going to ATL and then I change planes to go to Jo’burg. (Something I’ll never do again.)
And the people on the plane look so fly. This one woman has a curly fro. And she’s wearing it so funky. You have to love ATL. 

Lawd the man next to me is scratching his arm and every time he scratches, dead skin cell flakes are flying off of his arm. This is so gross. At one point I think I breathed in a flake. Gross. 

I’m chillin at the airport. All is quiet. I was talking to Adam(Cruz) yesterday and I’m inspired. 
So many things we want to do. And we plan to do everything we want to do. It all starts with incredible music. And the events that we want to put on will follow the releases. We did a cruise last year. And through it all, I feel that it was a major success. However, we were green. And we learned so much about hosting events like that. So we’ve decided to wait for 2019 before taking on the task of hosting another cruise of that magnitude. But it’s going to happen.  

I’m on the plane. Feeling slightly weird. Someone who was on our plane randomly got off. The flight attendant kept saying “he deboarded”. I don’t think deboarded is a word. I’ll have to check. But it made me feel strange because I’m wondering did he leave a bomb on board? Did he leave some sort of chemical for us to inhale? My mind was playing all kinds of tricks on me. 

January 26th 3:17pm(Johannesburg time)

Ummmm.. Why am I still on this plane? The attendant gave me a seat in the back where there were no other passengers. At first I thought “This is great!” 
But as soon as I started to sleep, and I mean good sleep, I quickly learned that this is where the bathroom line builds. This is where people congregate. This is the area where people like to talk. With their nasally voices, and God forsaken smells. “Hey Jer(short for Jerry)”. “Oh hey Tom”. And the rest was senseless nasally gibberish. The kind of crap you’d hear at the dinner table of some corny politicians home I’m guessing. 
Either way I was trapped. I could have said “HEY!!! Do you mind?!?”
But why bother. I just hate the disregard. The inconsideration. The lack of respect. I’m 6’3 tall, 319 pounds of sweet blackness. You can’t miss me, yet I’m experiencing this feeling that I’m invisible. It seemed like they got really loud at one point. This isn’t good. 
Just as I started to lose it, the attendants came around with food. And that’s when I got really angry. The choices were pizza or chicken salad. The flight attendant looks at me and says “You want the chicken I bet.” 
WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT? What is it about my appearance that screamed to her I wanted chicken? I’m wearing a bandana. Gauges(ear plugs) in my ears, tattoos everywhere, I would have thought pizza if I had to judge myself. But nope, she saw chicken. 
I mean really?? In the millennium must we still carry that banner of prejudice? 
Now the chicken was delicious, but that’s not the point!

We’re landing finally. 

I’ve arrived at my hotel. These are some young guys doing something good for their people. The spot I’m doing is considered to be urban. And it’s very much a big risk they’re taking on bringing an artist like myself here. People are inboxing me on Facebook wondering if I’m really coming. They don’t believe. One of the brothers whose name is Zeedan explained to me that we’re doing this in the hood! So there’s a little bit of disbelief that an international artist is coming. 

I ordered a sandwich. The guy brought the food to my room and he smelled like stale cigarettes he found in the garbage. I can’t get the smell out of my room!!!! UGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

January 27th 9:24am
So far, this trip is really quiet. I’ve been in my room since I got here. And honestly I prefer it like that. Rest is everything. And I really do appreciate this wonderful bed. 
This morning I go to the restaurant for breakfast. And for the first time I’m having the coffee here is SA. 
Ladies, if you ever wanted hair on your chest, if you ever entertained the idea of growing a beard, if you’ve ever wanted to feel testosterone,  let me recommend the coffee here is SA. I poured a gallon of milk in my cup and it was still dark! 
It’s moments like this that I find to be most rewarding. Quiet times alone with a good breakfast and a cup of good coffee. Soft jazz playing in the speakers. 
All I can think about is the music we have coming out on Honeycomb. This year will be a very interesting one. 
The common thread that runs through my music is soul. Ritmo Y Tumbao, Dawn Tallman, Diviniti, Taihisha, Janine Lyons, Natasha Watts, Sheila Ford, Lamone, Anestesia Bedncourt & Caramel Honey, Essence and my music is not the normal quarter note kick drum or 4 to the floor. Everybody’s project is way way different from each other’s, yet somehow, SOULFUL! 
The music that I love is what I produce. The influences are always Stevie, EWF, Donnie Hathaway, Airto, Jaco Pastorius, Flora Purim, The Singers Unlimited, James Taylor, Sting, Pat Metheny, Weather Report, Al Green, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Return To Forever, Bobby McFerrin, Andrae Crouch, Thomas Whitfield, Al Jarreau, Minnie Riperton, Jon Lucien, and Johann Sebastian Bach and Jon Peters(musician from Brooklyn). Just to name a few. All of those artist, somehow, find their way into my productions. And the artist I produce seem to enjoy it. 
On the other hand, I can’t get too deep because a lot of DJ’s are limited musically. Labels and Producers rely heavily on DJ’s to play the music. Sometimes a quarter note kick drum or 16 bar drum intro is forced into the music so House DJ’s can more easily blend the record. 
Even if the production is impeccable, if the DJ can’t hear it, we have nothing. And these days, music lovers only hear what DJ’s and radio stations play. They’re not exposed to different time signatures, and creative productions. The spiral, to me, seems to be going down. The new producers are thinking that music should be relegated to 4 to the floor kicks and 16 bar beat intros. 
The answer to this dilemma is simple. 
I may need to do an event once a month to showcase these kinds of sounds. I’m interested in a party where the DJ doesn’t have to mix records. This party can go on with one turntable or CD player if necessary. There will be no judgement. Just good music and good people. A gathering of sorts. Sound good? DJ’s will be forced to play good music because there’s no blending. 

Just came back to the hotel from having a sound check. And in that short amount of time I learned a lot about this area. One of the things that really impressed me was the sale of animals. There were goats in cages being sold on the side of the road. And I asked, in typical American fashion, “After you purchase the goat, where do you take it to get it killed cleaned and chopped?” I’m thinking that there must be a butcher around making crazy money. The brother(one of the organizers whose name is Lox-One, said “The backyard”. 
“Yes we take it in the backyard to kill it and clean it. It’s better to do it when it’s warm” he continued. Now I’m feeling so westernized. Apparently this is very common. Our meats in the states are so messed up with steroids and junk. These people are eating fresh meat. The animal was alive an hour ago. That’s really fresh. And the taste is better. I saw a rooster walking behind a chicken. Right there on the sidewalk next to the people! And before you laugh, consider who’s eating better food. Some of us may not recognize the flavor of meat with no chemicals. Amazing stuff. 
After the sound check I came straight back to the room. I have to rehearse. 

January 28th 2:39pm
Yesterday Night was insane. So many different things happened in one night. I’ve seen and felt many things. So many feelings. Joy, happiness, a sense of profound belonging, accomplishment, gratitude, humility at how great God is, just an emotional whirlwind. We arrived at the venue and parked in a woman’s driveway. The area was a residential one. The streets were packed with cars. There were no spaces. Apparently the woman that owns the home next door to the venue allowed the Promotors to use her driveway. When we got out of the car, the people came rushing us for photos. I really don’t mind it at all. Sometimes these situations can get out of control. But so far so good. Once we got in, DJ China was playing. He’s a DJ from here and he had the people screaming. This was a moment. They see this dude all of the time. You would think he was a guest from way out of town. The people loved him. He was smiling from his heart. And killing his set while doing so. This is a real moment. I enjoyed his selections. And his entire set was under 120BPM!!!!
Ralf Gum is an awesome producer/DJ. He’s done some amazing jams over the years. It was a real pleasure to see him and QB Smith. They were both very kind to me. I must have taken 100 or so pictures with the people. I feel good. Soooooo much love from so many strangers. This is a love I can feel. There’s nothing fake about this. These people are serious about their music. And they love me. And I love them back. It was clear. I almost feel emotional. 
There is something about this moment that is extremely spiritual. This is not a game folks. And I’m not smiling as I type this. This love is a real love that is very fulfilling.
One guy kept calling my name. And I didn’t want to walk over to him because he was in the crowd. That could be dangerous. But after the millionth time he called me I went over to him. And when I got there, he could barely talk. He just got emotional. I had to console this dude!! 
There was another guy who said, “Your music saved my life.”
I feel blessed to be used by God.
Did you hear what I just said?
I know singers and musicians who I look way up to(way way up to) that haven’t been blessed with opportunities like this. I’m grateful y’all. I’m very grateful. 
Well, in other news, I’m now in my hotel room watching TV. And just like at home, “Ghetto” sells. 
They have scripted “reality” shows just like we do. And they have black people acting ignorant and foolish. Just like we do. Maybe I’m just a crabby old man that’s taking everything way too serious and I need to lighten up. 
I’ve never been rigid. But enough is enough. Scandal sells. I know, it’s business. But at what expense? I do business daily. But I will never earn a profit by presenting myself as a buffoon, a clown, a low class fool. I will never argue to the point of violence to make a dollar. My mom(whom I miss so much) taught us by example how to keep pushing for excellence. Acting stupid for money(in my opinion) is not at all excellence. Getting paid a lot of money to go on TV and represent the lowest me I can be is one step below suicide. 
But I digress.  

Just when I thought this amazing trip was coming to a close, Lehlonono, Zeedan, and Fentse took me to this fancy African themed restaurant.

 DJ China cane in and joined us. He was the DJ that turned the party out before me last night. Again, I’m happy. I love these dudes. 

I’m talking their heads off. There’s music playing in the background. “Forever Mine, Oh Girl. You’re One Of A Kiiiiiinnnd”. The O’Jay’s!!!!!
We ordered the Maputo Chicken Livers! Delicious. Zeedan ordered the lamb shank for me. The meat was seasoned perfectly. It fell off the bone and was so tender that I didn’t need a knife. Here’s a photo. But I must apologize. I didn’t think to take the photo until after I destroyed it. 

I’m about to board the plane and a couple of workers at the airport recognized me! To be perfectly honest, that never happens. I felt honored. They later came to the gate to take pictures with me. It was such a pleasure. I feel good. 

As I’m waiting to board, this woman walks by. I notice her feet immediately. She’s wearing sandals with very little strapping. Her entire foot was exposed. She took the time to get a pedicure, which I appreciated. And then I had an interesting thought. We laugh at women and some men with big feet. I wear a size 13. Her feet had to be a men’s 15. Easily. But my thought is, what’s so funny about it? Why do we laugh at that? Why do we laugh at things people can’t do anything about? 
On the other hand, there’s no excuse for ugly feet. It cost $25 for a pedicure. I guess all I’m saying is that if you’re going to wear sandals at least get a pedicure. If you’re going to subject the public to your feet that look as though they have full time jobs, get some paint on those puppies and sandpaper that hard skin off please. I’m no better. My wife hates it when my feet are very rough.
No disrespect to my sisters that enjoy the hard working look. But I’m feeling like I want to show some appreciation to the sisters that respect the polished route. 
Anyway, this trip was life giving. I have so many feelings. But what stands out to me is something the late Richard Pryor said. The whole time I was in the motherland, enjoying my host and the people, I didn’t see any niggers. 

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