The Value of Openness: Black Eyed Peas, Cornbread, and Remix Culture

“If you never know truth then you never know love” – The Black Eyed Peas

Sometimes you just get a feeling like you have to do something. The feeling comes suddenly: inspiration, genius, muses, angels, there are many ways to phrase it. But, regardless, when it comes you’ve got to be listening and ready for action.

After a pitch session with the rest of the incubator yesterday that beat us into a revelation about being authentic to our remix culture roots, we were floating a bit in a soup of uncertainty.

We needed to return to where we came from: media, unbridled creativity, progress out of traditional models, and a love for individual self-expression.

Outside of our office on 27th street it was pouring – drops hitting puddles like glass-water stones exploding from the ground.

I was the only team member left – contemplating the dichotomy between traditional legitimacy and remix collectivism.

What does newquill represent? What is its story?

At around 8:00 PM I saw this tweet:

Because of the weather, the Black Eyed Peas concert will be delayed until 8:30pm ET. Be sure to tune in then.

It was at that moment that I was seized with an unstoppable desire to see the Black Eyed Peas in Central Park. I had to.

So I called @Robert Harkness, and told him we had to get to this concert.

I ran out into the rain and was immediately drenched. I took refuge under a a New York awning and tried to push out conventional logic from my head. I even heard my mom say to me,
“We want to be wise, Michael. Be wise.”

Well – running out into the pouring rain to attend a Black Eyed Peas Concert that requires tickets I don’t have, not even knowing where the concert is, was not wise. But wisdom was never my strong suit.

So I ran back to the office, grabbed my keys, and went out into the world.

Hopping onto the 6 uptown I barely made it onto the subway before the doors shut. I noticed a pretty girl running to get onto the train and I HURLED myself into the closing doors to keep them open for her.

She got on, grateful, and we began a conversation. She told me about her work with Hulu and I recognized the reinforced omen – newquill is more YouTube than Harper-Collins.

Our conversation helped to continue the opening of thought and I soon found myself tweeting: @Ambientsunfall

“Black eyed peas with lightning and rain in central park. #letgo”

If I only knew the true power of letting go – and where it would take me.

Robert and I walked through central park in the humid darkness. We passed a couple of angry Europeans cursing some America and some NYPD officers for canceling the concert.

“Oh, yeah? You don’t like America? Then leave!”

I yelled out,

“Freedom! America! Woooooo!”

There was no time for hate. Onward.

We soon found ourselves among the roadies, security, and others cleaning up the massive stage that could not be used.

“Dude – I don’t think we’re supposed to be here.”

“Robert, just walk with confidence. If you walk with confidence no one will ever ask you where you’re going because your movements tell them that you belong.”

It’s true, you know. I learned that one when I tagged along with @Tyler Ward  to get VIP treatment at Atlantis in LA and meet and interview my favorite musician of all time, @BT  at Atlantis in Los Angeles:

So we walked straight into a small tent with a bunch of kids and fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, watermelon, and cornbread. Awesome.

We grabbed some food and started mingling about. Everybody was a part of some organization called Robin Hood.

We didn’t really know what it was about. But I’ve since come to find that it is one of the largest charitable foundations in all of New York City with a specific focus on early childhood support, education reform, job and economic security, and survival needs for many of New York’s most needy.

And then we heard a mic turn on and we looked up to a tiny wooden stage to see @Fergiebr and some dude with an acoustic guitar.

We accidentally walked into a private show for multi-million dollar donors by the Black Eyed Peas.

My intuition was right. It was going to be a Good Night

When I met Fergie I could tell something was really bothering her. She was definitely disappointed about the show not going on – but there was something more, too. She was feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders.

We’re so often caught up in the buzz of life that we don’t really take the time to ask important questions.

What was the concert really for? Was it about the 80,000 people who would get to have a good time and listen to some famous musicians? Or was it about the urban youth of New York City? The thousands of homeless on the streets? Those families hit harder than expected by the financial depression just trying to get back on their feet again?

What did people really buy tickets for? The Black Eyed Peas – or a charitable donation to these social causes? Because the show was for charity, none of the major donors could get their money back – they made donations to a charity, they didn’t just buy tickets to a concert.

And, the most important question of all:

Where is the love?

What’s wrong with the world, mama
People livin’ like they ain’t got no mamas
I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that’ll bring you trauma
Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin’
In the USA, the big CIA fightin’
The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK
But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that’s exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y’all, y’all

People killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach?
And would you turn the other cheek?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love (Love)

Where is the love (The Love)
Where is the love (The Love)
Where is the love
The love, the love?

It just ain’t the same, always unchanged
New days are strange, is the world insane?
If love and peace is so strong
Why are there pieces of love that don’t belong?
Nations droppin’ bombs
Chemical gasses fillin’ lungs of little ones
With ongoin’ sufferin’ as the youth die young
So ask yourself, is the lovin’ really gone?
So I could ask myself really what is goin’ wrong
In this world that we livin’ in people keep on givin’in
Makin’ wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends
Not respectin’ each other, deny thy brother
A war is goin’ on but the reason’s undercover
The truth is kept secret, it’s swept under the rug
If you never know truth then you never know love
Where’s the love, y’all, come on (I don’t know)
Where’s the truth, y’all, come on (I don’t know)
Where’s the love, y’all

People killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach?
And would you turn the other cheek?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love (Love)

Where is the love (The Love)
Where is the love (The Love)
Where is the love (The Love)
Where is the love (The Love)
Where is the love, the love, the love?

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I’m gettin’ older, y’all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin’
Selfishness got us followin’ our wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema
Yo’, whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness in equality
Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading lives away from unity
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ down
There’s no wonder why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
Gotta keep my faith alive till love is found
Now ask yourself

Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Where is the love?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love?

Sing wit me y’all:
One world, one world (We only got)
One world, one world (That’s all we got)
One world, one world
And something’s wrong wit it (Yeah)
Something’s wrong wit it (Yeah)
Something’s wrong wit the wo-wo-world, yeah
We only got
(One world, one world)
That’s all we got
(One world, one world).

You know what I think? I think that song is one of the most powerful messages of peace I have ever heard in my life. And I think that if New York City really listened to, really understood, that song then there would be Black Eyed Peas shows everyday.

Of course, the performers wouldn’t necessarily be the Black Eyed Peas. But they would have the same talent, the same soulful expression, the same truthful messages. And that’s what makes them who they are.

People paid $25,000 to sit under a tent, eat some mac and cheese, and listen to two people sing with an acoustic guitar. What made those two people different than anyone else in the tent? What makes any “celebrity” different from anyone else? Many times it is the fact that they have been through hell and back. Their experiences have brought them clarity, self-knowledge, and broken down walls and barriers to others that many of us still have up.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t get there. We can – as long as we hold onto Love.

We don’t need to worship celebrities because of their radio play or music videos! We can all be celebrities with these kinds of messages! We all have them inside of ourselves! But we need to nurture them in one another through love and encouragement.

How can we do that? New technologies like newquill may give people the toolkit they need to share their ideas with the world, but if we don’t have love in our hearts, if we aren’t motivated by progress and more accessibility, than our messages will fall flat.

The two most important aspects of education in the 21st century are building a strong foundation of self-awareness and collective compassion along with access to tools for creation and collaboration. That is the truth.

We then spoke to some nice 13 year old kids about newquill. And then I felt like I was back in the classroom again – these are the users who are going to do amazing things with our toolkit. These are the ones who will push the boundaries of creation. The one’s whose minds know no limits – the ones who still want to play and do something that the world has never seen before.

And I am all about making that happen.

Then we connected with some of the heads of Robin Hood and heard more about the organizations they work with. Perfect for beta testing. They gave us some bracelets for the after party at the Marquee Night Club on 10th and 27th:

We picked up two new party members – went to the Marquee and danced like absolute maniacs. Especially to this track:

So – the moral of the story: other than using it as a vehicle to try and demonstrate what kind of story telling newquill will allow for?






Peace out.



2 thoughts on “The Value of Openness: Black Eyed Peas, Cornbread, and Remix Culture

  1. Pingback: Inspirations for newquill: New Media Literacies – Collective Intelligence | newquill

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s