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  • Writer's pictureEi Ei Samai

Just here for the tunes attitude

Aziz Ansari's SNL appearance was hilarious, as expected. What was unexpected was the thoughts his Chris Brown joke churned in my brain about the ways I fall prey to the Just-here-for-the-tunes(JHFTT) trap.

Make no mistake. I was (praise the Bay) raised in conscious hip hop. Think Hieroglyphics, Medusa, Zion I. I escaped JHFTT. Mostly. Dr. Dre made it hard, I admit.

I fall for parallel traps that look like this:

Just-here-for-the-cheap-goods aka hit up the dollar store for my son's birthday party

Just-here-for-the-junk-food aka what the heck, let's stop at (pick giant fast food chain) because road trips have different rules

Just-here-for the-convenience aka Amazon Prime

The point is that I make decisions with blinders on, too. I contribute to sweatshops, race to the bottom, factory farming, the chemical industrial complex, unjust labor,... you name it. Some of my habits support a physically and mentally comfortable life.

I work in a sector that often pits human needs against planet protection because changing the narrative would require changing our daily habits. How many of my social justice colleagues still use styrofoam at events and print single-sided? How many of my environmentalist colleagues do diversity and inclusion work with a charity mindset, rather than an interdependent living mindset?

I see the gaps and the hypocrisies. Yet, do I say anything? Do I take the time to learn how to be an upstander? Am I "too tired" or "choosing my battles" and letting unexamined behaviors slide, both when I do them and when others around me do them? How do I model for my son what it looks like to live an examined life?

I recently shared a course about Disrupting Yourself (I have no financial or social connection to the course's creator). This era of our history is as ripe for comedic release (Thank you, Aziz!) as it is for self-examination and cultural transformation.

What kind of tunes will you listen to? What kind of music will you make?

Son #1 as a toddler listening to tunes

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