I haven’t had loads of people pass away in my life. The one main person who I think about from time to time is my grandmother or ‘Nana’ who passed when I was in my last year of university. It was sudden and I realized then that I don’t do well with death. It takes me a long to move past it. There aren’t a Iot of tears. Just more of an ache.
So it’s been a few weeks now since MCA’s death. I didn’t know him. Pfft – far be it. But his death has reminded me of a few things. How important family and friends are, not to sweat the stupidest things that life sometimes brings into your life to try and knock you out, be good to yourself and others, inhale being in the moment, take care of yourself and love with all of your heart. We know it. Do we do it every day? Nope.
MCA passed so young and suddenly. I’m hoping no one else in my life passes any time soon. I’m sure it can’t be helped of it does happen.
I have been listening to loads of The Beastie Boy’s music of late. Especially ‘To the Five Boroughs’. If you haven’t listened to it – you should. The album was released on June 14, 2004 internationally, and a day later in the United States. The album debuted #1 on the Billboard 200 with 360,000 copies sold in its first week. To the 5 Boroughs was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 47th Grammy Awards. ‘An Open Letter to NYC’ is one of my fav songs of it.
I was reading an article in the Gothamist that spoke about how on May 19th, 2012 was being named MCA Day in NY. The article follows. I wish I was there for it. I think it would help me make peace with this.
‘Yesterday we alerted you that MCA Day was coming to Union Square this Saturday, and below the organizer, Michael Kearney, tells us more about what to expect, and why he felt compelled to create a gathering to remember Adam Yauch. The event comes just over two weeks after Yauch’s passing on May 4th. In the interview, Kearney sums up why so many people who never knew Yauch personally were so saddened by his death.
What inspired you to organize the day? After the initial shock, like many other people, I went into a period of reflection. Growing up, in my mind, I was the fourth Beastie Boy. I mirrored myself after them, I grew up in synch with the release of each of their albums, had every shirt, sticker and bootleg you could shake a stick at and scraped and saved to make it to every show within a 250 mile radius. Eventually I think I just internalized the music and the message so much that it became part of who I was as a person. When I heard about Yauch passing, I felt the loss as if it was a family member and I marinated on that for a few days. Yauch’s words played such a big part in helping me to create myself, that his death created a loss, a void. Reading all the tributes and blogs online, I realized two things: the first was that there were thousands of “other” fourth Beastie Boys (and Girls!) out there and the second was that all of these people needed something more than a blog to show thanks. One of the most unifying and powerful experiences in my life has been attending Beastie Boys concerts. I don’t mean to wax all poetic here but I had a vision, it’s true, I wanted to bring people together to celebrate Adam Yauch, so I started spreading the word online and here we are today.
Do you have a favourite Beastie Boys memory? Yup. The first time I heard them. I remember it exactly. I was listening to the radio on my Hi-Fidelity Smurfs Walkman, probably around 9 years old at the time, when “Fight For Your Right” came on. I remember dropping everything and just sitting there, listening in awe. I had no idea what it was yet but I knew I liked it. It was my first cognizant memory of really “getting owned” by a song. I had found my music. I think I walked around my neighbourhood in Weymouth, MA for a solid month telling everyone I saw to fight for THEIR right to party. My life definitely changed that day.
What would you like to see happen on Saturday? I keep asking myself the same question. And I keep returning to a Beastie Boys interview from 2004 that I saw the other day from when they were promoting To the 5 Boroughs. The general motto was “Having fun in troubled times”. And I think that idea is just as applicable today. MCA’s passing reminds us not only of the musical legacy he left behind but also of the work he did for human rights causes around the world. There are too many reasons, including MCA’s death, to be stressed, upset and negative about the world these days. If we can make a Saturday a true showing of the people, a coming together to have fun and show love in a peaceful and conscientious way, I think it’d be the perfect way to honour Adam Yauch and all that he stood for.
Is there anything else people should know, detail-wise, about the event? I just want to remind people that this is an event for and by the people—we’ve accepted no corporate sponsorships. We’re relying on the people to make this event a success and I’m putting my faith in the people to make this a peaceful, joyful demonstration of love and respect. There’s really no big overarching structure to the day. I just want all BBoys and BGirls – including fans, dancers, DJ’s, MC’s, artists, grandparents, cab drivers, suits and astronauts—to roll down to Union Square ready to participate. Share a memory, spin a track, bust a move, show a tattoo, shake a hand, spread a message. That’s what this is all about.
Have you heard of any other MCA Days happening around the country? The response has been crazy. We’ve had a ton of support from people all over the country and even all over the world. We’ve been picked up by news outlets in Ohio, Florida, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina—all over the country. I’ve heard rumours and spoken to people in England, Australia, Germany, Japan—it’s been amazing how much support we’ve received and, from what I hear, I’m sure you’ll be seeing events pop up all around the globe. We’ll see how this first round goes and then see who takes the torch from here. I wanted to express my thanks now. NYC was the only place to do it. I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with people who feel the same way… and that’s that.
If you aren’t one for big events, you can always go visit the MCA mural in Midwood, or strap on your ear goggles and take this Beastie Boys walking tour. And this Beasties art show is running through June 21st.’