It's been a particularly abundant whirlwind several days as one thinks about recent events within pop culture as they intersect with tech. Whether it's the social frenzy for and now the latest reports that the iPhone 6 might bend if you sit on it the wrong way, to digital sentiment around Black women like Shonda Rhimes and a controversial article, to cultural discussion at the future global policy scene happening at the United Nations shared in real-time across platforms.
Given all this activity, there are a number of growing trends one can see building. Often I'm using a number of tools from proprietary algorithms and formal research to forecast how these movements will impact us. But one of the hottest elements to add to the mix is perspective from a cool thinker who is synonymous with pop culture.
Here's a peek inside a recent convo I had with the one and only, Inspectah Deck of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, that just may add a much needed vibe in a storm of breaking events:
For, me, personally, I'm a closet techie. A friend of mine who is an engineer introduced me to something called a Mac about 10 years ago or more. He ended up turning me into the rap Morpheus. I stay in the Matrix now. (LOL) Right this moment I'm in front a computer, I got a Playstation going, a Macbook, an iPhone and more. When I was younger in the music game, we didn't have all this. When Steve Rikind wanted to sign us at Loud Records, when had to walk in there and look him in the eye while we played the tracks. It wasn't about sending a sound file. If we had all this now, we could have been the U2 of rap!! But it's all good. I get a chance to benefit from it now whether people are booking me through devices or running my business through it.
But there are pros and cons to the tech game, as we know. I understand the flip side. For example, even though I have the ability to purchase all this stuff right away, I'm the type who might not get an iPhone 6 until a year or so into my contract and get it for $100 or something. (LOL) I'm still frugal. But on the real, I also understand about people starving in the streets too, so a phone $700 phone? A lot of people have no room in their life for that, so I try to keep it all in perspective. I'd also have to say I don't care how big the screen is or the fingerprint password thing or anything like that, I'd ask them to fix the chargers. I constantly have to buy a new one. I'm on my 4th one now!! They are sitting right in front me now looking mangled. (LOL)
But of course more that that, I'm always concerned about privacy. I don't have everything connected to connected with everything else. I feel like they're trying to merge everything together, and that's just a field day for hackers. I'm not logging into LinkedIn via Facebook, and Facebook with Instagram and so on.
In fact now, I'm having those types and conversations with my young daughter, in terms of being careful about tech, strangers, all that and more. She also has to pay maybe more attention when it comes to being a Black woman. I hear you about all the talk about "Scandal" creator Shonda Rhimes and that article or all this now about who is deciding big booties are in (or out) or certain people deciding whether cornrows are in or out - and that's all just within a few days - you also have the Ray Rice situation. It's a lot. For me, this is all about society. We're talking about tech, but this could also be a little bit of the downside of technology. When I look at social media and this court of public opinion; we are sometimes in a world that enables people to bash you, insult you, demoralize you, harass you; and have never even met you. It can start a tidal wave. Twitter can go berserk. It can sometimes create a crowd mentality, and it gets repeated and go on for so long that it can actually become a little de-sensitized to what is actually a very important topic. The more they show that video or Tweet or GIF or whatever is out there, the more it encourages more and more voices. And for me, then it become like a fast fad. That's how mostly everything is working now. It's hot today, then it's gone tomorrow - without any depth.
Now more than ever, we need to get a little deeper. I see the Clinton Global Initiative going on, voting coming up, and different people getting into the mix. If you're someone like me and Wu-Tang, I think that people look at us as the type of people to be in tune with that type and thing and to have some sort of voice. Rza is definitely into these kinds of things, and he incorporates the group into it, which ties me into it. I think that we have sort of a responsibility to be involved somehow. Look, we're just the voice of the people. So if people are screaming out, "change." Then I believe we have to scream out, "change". That's why the upcoming album is called "A Better Tomorrow." We're directly in tune with the way the government is moving, the way the wars are going on. The U.S. just lit the alarm again earlier this week. If enough people make enough noise about things, we can make change. Sometimes I don't think a lot of celebrities don't want to be subject themselves to scrutiny, though, or jeopardize their positions by speaking up. But it's important to stand for something. As a Black person living today, I know my ancestors stood for something and even gave up their lives so I can sit here and use a laptop and more. I'm grateful for that.
Right now I'm not sure there many people who are really interested from the heart in leading the people or making a big difference. I think people are sometimes more aware that you can get your five minutes of fame (or infamy) by what they say or don't say. That's this world right now with technology.
It makes me think about our upcoming album. It's like, I have to be honest, I wasn't feeling how this album was turning out at first. I wasn't sure it was what the fans wanted. But now, I feel like as I sat down and really listened to it, it just made sense, and it's kinda about what we're talking about right now. It's like "A Better Tomorrow": the music has to get better, life has to get better, the community has to get better, your etiquette has to get better, your language has to get better, your health has to get better, your mind has to get better, everything has to get better. That's what we all need to think about now. Like, you have the power to be better. Maybe it's time to stop settling for what's just being thrown in front of you. It's time to pick a side and decide what you want.