Monday, April 28, 2008

Clockers

Ed Towns, the Congressman who represents Philip Morris and, to a lesser extent, my neighbors and me, is finally facing a primary challenger this year: Kevin Powell, who readers of a certain age may remember as the first Angry Black Dude on MTV's The Real World. Frankly, I don't know very much about Powell's agenda, but anyone who thinks Ed Towns should be kicked to the curb is certainly smart enough to replace him.

Of course I only bring this up so I can tell another story starring myself. Back in 1992, I was working as a freelance factchecker for the soon-to-be launched Volume magazine (which eventually changed its name to Vibe) where I wound up factchecking a profile Naughty By Nature written by Kevin Powell, The Angry Black Dude from MTV's The Real World.

Mostly it was straightforward and tedious - change "OPP" to "O.P.P.", etc. And since the interviews were taped, it was easy to check the quotes. The problem arose when Treach, the group's leader, started reminiscing about back in the day, talking about how he and his niggaz - several of whom were mentioned by name - spent their days "clockin'." Generally speaking, I'm usually not the coolest guy in the room - any room. But that was doubly true at Volume, so the last thing I wanted to do was appear unhip by actually asking someone what clockin' meant. In my head, I'd narrowed it down to either "wasting time" or "working" (i.e., punching the clock), and signed off on the story. It was only at the very last minute, when the company's libel lawyer called to ask what proof we had that all these people were, in fact, drug dealers, that I had to admit I was a completely clueless rube who should stay as far away from popular culture as possible.

Burro Hall officially endorses Kevin Powell for Congressman from the 10th District of New York. Vote for him or we'll clock ya.

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