I always know it’s March when the anniversary of this rap icon, the Notorious B.I.G, comes upon us. March 9, 1997, I remember it well. Not only is my birthday in March but, in 1997, I was in my last year at Kent State University, a graduating senior. Tupac had just been killed in the Fall of 1996. This all happened 24 years ago. What a crazy time in #HipHopHistory #OneMoreChance #StillMyFavorite #the90s #BiggieSmalls #BabyBaby
As an old school Hip Hop head, imagine my delight when I heard about this on the news this morning!
SHARING FROM KTLA.COM
Rivals in life, the rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur are being united for an auction at Sotheby’s, the first-ever dedicated hip-hop auction at a major international auction house. Bidders will be able to vie for the crown worn and signed by the Notorious B.I.G. during a 1997 photo shoot held three days before he was killed in Los Angeles. They’ll also get to bid on an archive of 22 autographed love letters written by Shakur at the age of 15-17 to a high school sweetheart. The auction will be held Sept. 15 and features over 120 hip-hop-related lots. The items can be viewed in person — reservations are required during the pandemic — at Sotheby’s in New York City and the exhibition will also be available to the public online via its digital gallery. “The impact of hip-hop is everywhere — sneakers, clothing, jewelry, art, music. I wanted to have a sale that really recognized how massive that impact really is,” said Cassandra Hatton, the Sotheby’s senior specialist who organized the sale. The estimates for the headlining lots — $200,000 to $300,000 for the crown and $60,000 to $80,000 for the letters — are low, with the hope that the auction house can attract first-time bidders and show it is not just a stuffy place for multi-million-dollar watches and paintings. Onetime friends who became rivals in a hype-fueled war between the East and West Coast rap scenes, Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. — also known as Biggie Smalls — were gunned down within months of each other. Both crimes remain unsolved. The crown has been in photographer Barron Claiborne’s possession since he captured Biggie for the cover of Rap Pages magazine. Claiborne had provided the prop, hoping to portray Biggie as the king of New York. Sean “Diddy” Combs, owner of Biggie’s label Bad Boy Entertainment, was with the rapper on the photo shoot. “I’ve seen the crown. Everybody’s seen the crown. It’s so famous. It’s so iconic. When I was first thinking of doing this sale, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to track that crown down?’” Hatton said. “I’ve sold all sorts of wild things. But this is a little different.” Shakur’s letters — many on lined stationary pages with neat hand-lettered script — were written in 1987 and 1988 to Kathy Loy, a fellow student at the Baltimore School for the Arts. The 42 pages chronicle their approximately two-month long romance, including a letter of regret for breaking up sent a year later. Loy provided the letters for auction. “I’ll always be there for you,” Shakur wrote to her in one. In a poem, we writes: “Everything is so beautiful/since I fell in love.” The trove also reveal his friendship with fellow student Jada Pinkett Smith, who he mentions in one letter: “Jada told me she can see how much I love you.” What interested Hatton most is the tone of the letters. Unlike Shakur’s tough public persona, the letters reveal a “sweet, poetic, sensitive young man.” “There are definitely moments that made me blush reading the letters — he is a 16-year-old boy after all,” she added. “But he is very respectful. He advocates for clear communication and boundaries and wants to define relationships.” The auction continues Sotheby’s recent trend toward embracing items prized by popular culture, including hosting the first dedicated sneaker auction at one of the big auction houses in July 2019. A pair of Michael Jordan’s signed, game-worn Nikes was recently auctioned by Christie’s for a record $615,000.
As parents prep to send kids back to school (or not) during this pandemic, I thought I would share some memories I think some of you might appreciate.
Back to school shopping back in the 1980s, was an annual event, that involved parents taking their kids to local popular department stores to get the best deals on clothes, shoes, and school supplies for their growing boys and girls for the new school year.
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and shopping local, was a thing, long before it was a thing. My friends and I often wax nostalgic over stores like Gold Circle (which I’m convinced became Target) and Value City, both Ohio and Midwest based chains, that were very popular in the 70s and 80s. Also, I’m old enough to remember the onset of “the mall”, which was a new phenomenon for a generation who was used to the “one-stop shop” department store concept, which, ironically, has made a comeback through stores like Target and Walmart.
Another thing my generation grew up on, was the catalog. There was the JC Penney and Sears catalogs. These catalogs were not unlike the size of a phone book and was very much the precursor to online ordering so your mother either called the 1-800 number to place your order or you pressed her luck with a mail-in order form and pray the item wasn’t on back order by the time the form reached the warehouse.
Also, I would be remiss, if I did not give a shout out to the Sears store, and the Garanimals clothing line for kids. What made Garanimals awesome was the concept they created for coordinating and color matching through the use of animal figures on the hang tags. This, to me, was a genius concept. It was like the Sesame Street of clothing, teaching kids about colors and matching through fashion. I loved it.
Unfortunately, the 21st century and the onset of online shopping, has seen the demise of multiple large department stores and catalogs that were once the stallworth of shopping for a whole generation. A piece of nostalgia, that recently filed for bankruptcy is J. Crew. If you are #40AndOver and attended college in #the90s, you probably remember receiving a #JCrewCatalog in your dorm/residence hall. It was probably the first catalog that catered to the college age student, so unlike the JC Penney and Sears catalogs of our parents and grandparents day. It was a hallmark of life on campus. I never ordered anything from them and I’m guessing not many of my friends did nor this current generation, because, unlike the JC Penney catalog (or Penny’s as my grandmother liked to call them), J. Crew was super expensive so really, most of us just looked at the pictures, it was actually more like a magazine for us, more of an aspiration, if you will, that was delivered monthly to our student mailboxes and front desks in our dorms. As J. Crew goes by way of JC Penney and others, the only thing left will be the memories of a whole generation who defined the what “Back To School” shopping really meant.
I’m 47 now, but 23 years ago, 1997 to be exact, my senior year, a group of students from #KentStateUniversity , got on the bus headed to the first ever #MillionWomenMarch in Philly, PA, accompanied by Dr Adilene Barnes-Harden (pictured with us in the Kente cloth outfit, I’m next to her, holding the sign) . During my time at Kent State, I switched my major about 5 times, had some interesting experiences (we’ll just leave it at that, thankfully before the Facebook lol) , and I had some very awesome professors, especially in the Department of #PanAfricanStudies . If there was anything that was constant during my college years, in between all of the fun, it was the classes I had the privilege to take at Kent State. One of my favorite and one of the best professors EVER, was Dr. Barnes-Harden who taught The Black Woman, The Black Family, and other courses that changed my life! She was so raw and so real in the classroom and inspired us as black students on campus! She has transitioned, gone but definitely not forgotten. Ashe! RIP #KentStateForever #PAS #BlackStudies #PeaceAndLove
I was a huge Nike fan back in high school when I ran track and played volleyball, but it’s been a while since I’ve bought a pair of the sneakers with the swoosh. In 2019, Nike created a huge endorsement/marketing/sponsorship deal with activist football player, Colin Kaepernick. With one fell swoop, many of us pledged to make our next pair of sneakers, a pair of Nikes.
Since the dawn of the 21st century, it seems that becoming an activist has become extremely easy. No longer is it a requirement for people to march in the streets, like in the 60s, unless they want to. Activists today, have a choice as to how they want to participate. Activism today, can be something as small and easy as signing an online petition to boycotting a particular company because of their CEO’s political affiliation to protesting in the streets in Ferguson, MO or Minneapolis, MN, against the injustice of police brutality against black men and women.
Activism also affects different age groups in different ways. For example, I was a super student activist in college at Kent State University, in Ohio, in the 90s, during the time of the Rodney King case and O. J. I marched, I participated in sit-ins, walk outs, letter writing, rallies, etc. Today, I’m in my 40s and while I’d love to march in the streets, my activism leans more towards attending council meetings, putting my signature on petitions, participating in virtual rallies and other events, and giving monetary funds, when and where I can. Either way, whatever you choose to do, it all counts towards the efforts of standing up for issues of social justice, as long as you stand up for something.
So, with that said, it’s almost time for me to get a new pair of workout sneakers and you can best believe, my next pair will be Nike.
When the topic of friends comes up, I’m reminded of the song, “What About Your Friends”, by the group, TLC. In the 90s we also had TV shows like Martin, Living Single, Girlfriends, and Friends that focused on friendships. One thing these shows had in common was that they all had strong friendship groups. Over the years I’ve developed some great relationships with people, some becoming some of my BFFs from various walks of life. In college, I met some of the best girlfriends I’ll ever have and I can now say that I’ve known them the longest, about 20 + years at this point. I’ve also worked and lived in various places and I’ve made some great friends from work experiences? I’ve also acquired a diverse group of friends and acquaintances who live in different parts of the country as well as are native to different parts of the world who have different backgrounds, life, and educational experiences. I’m proud of that. I’m also glad that, over the years, I have been able to be open minded and welcoming, which has allowed me to accept different people into my life, some of whom I may not have ever met, if I hadn’t been open to making new friends. I guess that’s why my friends call me the “social butterfly” with the ability to bring people together and I guess that’s how I ended up in the field of Event Planning and enjoy it so much. It’s the people.
How have strong friendships shaped your life? Have your friendships been long lasting? When we are young we experience breakups, etc. As we grow older, especially in our 30s and 40s, we experience marriages, divorces, child births, graduations, housewarmings, deaths, caregiving, health scares, etc. Have your friends been there for you? If so, how? And vice versa, how have you been there for them? Do you consider yourself a good friend? And if you don’t think you currently have a good solid friend group, do you think you need one? If so, how do you plan to make that happen? And lastly, does being in your 40s,make it easier or harder to make friends or keep the ones you have in your life?