Blogging The Beautiful Struggle: Arsenio Hall vs. Queer Nation

So I've decided to include in this blog, along with random political observations, some thoughts on the influences of my my debut memoir, The Beautiful Struggle (hereto forth known as TBS). At the very least, it should break up the monotony of hearing the kid drone on and on about the greatness of Barack Obama. I'll be posting video/audio/text which I think really shaped my world-view during the period of the memoir (roughly 86-93, post-Good Times, pre-Illmatic) as well as my writing (no real time limit on that).

A lot of this is stuff that I didn't actually see (this is the era before DVR, kiddies) but that still signify the times. One of the things that I hope comes across in TBS is the chaos of the early 80s and early 90s in black inner-cities. On the one level this is crack and the attendant rise of violence, but it's also the culture, which seemed to be changing every other year. It's nice, every once in awhile, to revisit those moments when the weirdest things imaginable, actually happened.

Item: The Arsenio Hall Show.

Arsenio was like what late-night talk would look like had it been black people who sailed out from the coasts of West Africa and colonized the larger world. It was Johnny Carson done, not just in a black way, but in the way of our generation. I usually was sleep, and thus missed most of Arsenio's greatest moments, but the next day at school all everyone talked about was what happened on his show the night before. There was always an allure of danger and mayhem to what he was doing--this dude interviewed Farrakhan--that matched how we, as young black people, saw the world. I hope that perspective comes through in the book.

Anyway, I should stop talking. Here's a fascinating clip where Arsenio gets into it with some gay activists. Beyond just being fascinating because it's Arsenio, the politics of it all seem so of that time. Would this happen to Jimmy Kimmel? Probably not and for a variety of reasons.