Monday, May 29, 2006


I'm on page 83 of Yardies, dippin' in and out of the script, adding things, taken out things. I thought Biko, my main character, was taking me away from my story, but I realized that he wasn't. I was. So I went back into the script, added elements that I'd either missed or didn't see at the time, and now I feel better. I'm at the point in the script where shit is about to go horribly average for all of the Yardies.

Right now, I'm on youtube, watching old school hip hop like the GOAT duo, EPMD, the Big Daddy Kane tribute on Vh1 (BDK dancin' with Skub, classic), and Kool G. Rap and DJ Polo. Thank god for youtube. Speaking of VH1, has anyone noticed that VH1 Soul is what BET should have been? But that's a dead horse.

Oh, today I had an adventure in black businessland. God, I love my people, but they can sho' make it hard for you to spend money with them. Let me begin...

It's 11am, and something in my soul tells me that if I want to get the fam some 'cue, I better act fast. You see, black businesses have mad, wicked, crazy hours and days open. For example, my frat brother Sean lives in Oakland. Like the righteous black man he is, he tries to shop at as many black biz's as possible. He owns a house, and therefore needs, well house stuff. The only black owned hardware store in Oakland IS NOT OPEN ON THE WEEKENDS. I repeat, the hardware store is NOT OPEN ON THE WEEKENDS. Monday, they are open bright and early. But the weekends? So there's your template. (That still doesn't match my boy MK Asante saying that in Philly, he went to a black restaurant where a waitress put her hand on one side of the menu and said, "We ain't got none of that." Classic!)

So I'm hungry for some swine and beef links from Phillips Barbecue. Side order of potato salad, beans and two pieces of 7up cake. Nothing unusual about that. Ask the wife, she's down. The kid? He places an order of ribs, mixed sauce. Seven year olds are specific.

Okay, hop in the Jeep and head out. Cranking old school dancehall to 62 (that's as high as my stereo goes), set the equilizer to SUPERBASS, and I'm rolling down Wilshire to Vine to Crenshaw. Wanted to enjoy the sun. Get on Crenshaw rolling south. Now, there are two Phillips and black folks, per usual, have definite opinions about which is the "best" one. As a rule of thumb, when a black owned restaurant has more than two locations, the restaurant that has the most white customers is the one black folks avoid, not because they don't like white folks, but because they believe that the food is "toned down" for white folks palatte. We like our food highly seasoned, and the myth in the neighborhood is that white folks' tongues can't stand much more than salt and pepper. Not sayin' it's right, but ya know. So instead of going to the Roscoe Chicken and Waffles in Hollywood, most black folks will roll to the eastside and eat at the Manchester and Main Roscoes where they KNOW white folks don't frequent. Hell, black folks barely try to go out to Manchester and Main. But that's another story.

Anyway, back to Phillips. There are two. One is on Crenshaw, right off the 10 freeway. That's the one black folks think is inferior. But it's hot, and there's a line going down the block. I chose to pass it up and go to the o/g Phillips in Leimert Park. Now, here's where it gets tricky. I drive extra ten miles to that Phillips, only to be confronted with a handwritten sign that says "This location closed today, Memorial Day, Wednesday, and Thursday". My first reaction is "what the f%&%!" Does Toys R Us close on Dec. 22, 23, 24, 25? Why are you closed???? People will pay double for barbeque on Memorial Day and Phillips is laughing at our money! Why???

Regroup time. I get a bright idea. I'm going to call my order in to the inferior Phillips. I'm going to laugh at the fools who didn't have my foresight. 411. Los Angeles. Phillips. Yes, dial that for me. Recording: "We aren't taking phone orders". Brilliant!

It's back to the "black folks avoid" Phillips. The line has quadrupled. Phillips has about two and a half parking spots. Okay, maybe five? Zoning laws? Anyone? Why do I have to park catacorner at the generic gas station in order to get some 'cue?"

I get in line, and the sun has moved from Baghdad to Crenshaw. I'm sweatin' like three hoes in church. Inside, Phillips has placed a sign Stevie Wonder could read, explaining to our friends not familiar with black barbeque about how to order. Sandwiches, which of course ain't sandwiches, sauces, etc.

Two hours later, barbeque in hand, I finally make it back to the crib. My son looks at me like I've circumnavigated the globe. I know he's made a mental note that traveling to a black barbeque pit ain't worth the trouble. I think he's right.


RageyOne said...

Classic! Classic! Story about roaming in Black Businessland! I know of a hardware store back home that is the same way. They aren't open on the weekends. Makes no sense to me.

People complain about the Asians taking over the businesses in black neighborhoods, but they are open when needed. Black businesses could learn something from them and their business acumen.

David Anaxagoras said...

Next time my white ass is at a black restaurant, I'm going to take a bite of food and throw myself to the ground and scream "Oh my god! Help! The spice! It's too much! I ordered Salt and Pepper ONLY!"

And I have to ask. When is a sandwich not a sandwich? Enlighten me!

Lawrence said...

Rageyone, it's damn near surreal.

David, that would be hilarious to see. As for the perplexing sandwich that's not a sandwich. In a black barbeque pit, a sandwich is a portion size (versus a dinner) versus being a real sandwich. In a dinner, you may get eight ribs, a slice of doughy Wonder bread, and a scoop of salad/beans. In a sandwich, you get four ribs, etc. Very simple, but you'd be amazed at how many times I've seen white folks get to the counter and ask for mayo, lettuce, and