April 3, 2011

A Night of Talent, But No Taste

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When I woke up Friday morning, I did not see my night going this way. I decided in the early afternoon that I would attend the Diggy Simmons concert at the State Theater. I had never been to the lovely venue, only a few steps from The Sun’s HQ, and decided that the A Night with Diggy Simmons concert was the perfect opportunity to get that check mark on my list of 161 Things. I anticipated writing an article about Diggy’s performance and emerging prowess in the hip-hop world. I expected to hear him perform a few tracks from his upcoming debut album and his recently released Airborne mixtape. Considering that the main act only played for 15 minutes of a two-hour long concert, I found myself at an event that can only be described as a black Justin Bieber in concert, with Ginuwine, Rebecca Black and the Disney Channel’s Doodlebops opening the show.

When I arrived at the theater, I saw a teenage girl outside crying into her beau’s arms. What I assumed were tears of excitement would become similar to the tears of shock that I would shed on my own departure down State Street. Under the classical painting and chandeliers of the State Street scene, the audience had happily disregarded seat assignments to form a more social crowd at the stage. The ticketholders ranged from four to 70 years old (a range comprised primarily of children and their chaperones), with a mode age in brace-faced middle school. There were sweet grandmas, adorable children and dirty Ithaca hippies who smelled of various … herbs, grinding as if they learned their dance moves from pubescent dogs. My friend and I felt very out of place, as if all normalcy had been stripped from us at the bag search table.

The opening acts began simply and innocently enough: a group of talented break dancers, a young Kohl’s-commercial-looking Ithacan with an impressive voice, 12-year-olds chasing Lil Bow Wow’s looming legacy, et cetera. While getting over the fact that a 12-year-old had just rapped about frequently “gettin’ it in” (I can only assume he meant a piggy bank?), the night took a turn toward The Adam’s Family. The crowd was hushed by resident D.J. Twist, acting as a representative of the Forsaken Generation charity, took to the microphone. He advocated support for his two main causes in a semi-serious tone. First, he discussed the issue of homelessness among America’s children. Of course, we all clapped. After all, who is against charities dedicated to helping out homeless kids? Then a pause, “and child sex trafficking in America.”  Wait, what? Despite the large number of young children in attendance, D.J. Twist added, “You need to educate yourself! It doesn’t only happen to homeless children. We hear stories of girls being taken for sex trafficking from the malls.” Again, what? I felt as if no one else was appreciating how horrifying and inappropriate the whole situation appeared. Just as the crowd began to digest the horror show, show-stopping emcee Young Seige took control of the stage with six scantily clad booty-shakers to a track about stacking papers. Then, Diggy’s D.J., in a move that signified the show’s abandonment of all taste, began a set to pump up the crowd which included Nikki Minaj’s “Shitted On ’Em,” having the crowd chant in unison, “If I had a dick, I would pull it out and piss on yah.”

I began this day with the intention of writing about Diggy Simmons and aspiring musicians. While I was subjected to the inconvenient truth of what mankind has become, I will say that Diggy has talent. His 15-minute set was packed with energy and flow. His Lupe-esque lyricism was evident and “Great Expectations” — which, as he was quick to point out, is currently featured in AT&T commercials — was a real crowd pleaser. The Airborne mixtape and smooth stage presence create promise for his album, prepared to drop at the end of 2011. In addition, Young Siege brought fire with his well-produced, although occasionally childish songs. Despite the obvious talents of some of the acts involved, the night failed to uphold a suitable level of appropriateness in the presence of so many young children.

Original Author: Daniel Baicker