You do and say things without thinking rationally when your heart hurts. Mine is throbbing, weeping with every beat, and I’m staring angrily at “Hip-Hop”, face twisted by displeasure and emotions, while clutching the left side of my chest. I’m not imitating late comic legend Red Foxx as Fred Sanford; this is no message of me coming to join his fictional wife Elizabeth.
I’m holding my feelings as literally as I can with news music legend and pioneer Ms. Melodie (Ramona Parker) has passed away.
Sad doesn’t completely or accurately describe my current state, and I fully blame “Hip- Hop” for what I’m experiencing inside. My fingers are pointing, sights locked intently, and I’m glaring with targeted disdain. YOU did this!
Let me clarify: I have no problem with hip-hop culture. As a matter of fact I’m quite in love with it. It gave me my first real Melodie, the first “First Lady” of rhymes on any label. She was the soul of Boogie Down Productions, its needed alternative perspective and mature voice of reason. Her lyrics, while at times aggressive, were always as feminine as pink plush seating on bus trips to pampered shopping sprees. Yet men related to her without feeling their manhood questioned.
Ms. Melodie was Omega to a legion of Alpha males – in and outside her crew. Truly an MC, one so agile with wordplay on the microphone she easily made effortless look effortless. She showcased it on “Self Destruction”, “Live On Stage”, “Wake Up, Wake Up”, and time and time again. Her skill, though, was but an accessory, like the matching hats and pumps she wore. The center piece of her outfit was classiness, respect, character. Ms. Melodie rose to be greater than a rapper. She was a symbol.
My anger is fueled by YOU, the ones who call themselves “Hip-Hop”. The ones who let what she represented get shoved in a box marked “Old School”, then left it in a dank basement, a web-filled attic, a cluttered closet of forgotten relics no one ever opens. You put Ms. Melodie away, let what she stood for fade into nonexistence while proceeding to lower the class, diminish the respect, and stain the character of what a woman should stand for.
You, “Hip-Hop” – and I call you that with much gravel and sarcasm in my voice – made a woman an object, convenient sex on-call, something to look at but nothing to admire, a baby momma, a b—-ch, a hoe, unequal, an until-six-in-the-morning fling you net at a club or make it rain on, a chick you lured into VIP then took home to drive before kicking aside once you’d emptied your tank.
Ms. Melodie represented NONE OF THAT! She was a consummate role model, an uplifting one. And she was DOPE!
But you let that image die, that symbol slip away instead of passing it on from generation to generation.
Now Ms. Melodie is gone, passed on, no longer with us. All that’s left is packed in boxes. “Hip-Hop,” I’m asking you to open a single one of those, the next denomination greater than none, and pass around its contents. There is so much inside, so much that boys, girls, women and men can use – right now.
My heart hurts. I can’t take back what I’ve said. But “Hip-Hop,” if you do this one thing for me, if you’ll keep alive the image Ms. Melodie represented, maybe then I’ll lower my arm from the left of my chest and shake your hand in forgiveness.
RIP Ramona Parker, aka Ms. Melodie.
–Mr. Joe Walker
Mr. Joe Walker, a senior contributor for SoulTrain.com, is an acclaimed entertainment and news journalist published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. Former Editor In Chief of both XPOZ Magazine and The Underwire Interactive Magazine, his work has graced the pages and covers of Hear/Say Now Magazine, Notion Magazine, Kalamazoo Gazette Newspaper, MLive.com, and AllHipHop.com. He loves to create, loves that you read. Follow him on Twitter @mrjoewalker. Also visit TheGrooveSpt.com and ByMrJoeWalker.blogspot.com.