MUSIC, LEADERSHIP, CULTURE… and humor (sometimes)

Archive for March, 2011

Does Talent Trump Transgression? Chris Brown’s Comeback.

In case you didn’t hear about this yet, Chris Brown made an appearance on Dancing With the Stars the other night:

I don’t know what you thought after watching the video but I am reminded of how talented this guy is.  I mean, he’s just an absolutely electrifying performer, a force of nature and charisma in a box.

Oh, and his new album was the #1 bestseller this week.

Not too long ago, this guy beat his girlfriend into a bloody pulp.  Her name was Rihanna. People said his career, his life, was over.

Look at him now.

This is the kind of success story that’s a little bit tricky.  On one hand, everyone deserves a second chance and it’s great that he’s getting it.

But what if Chris Brown wasn’t famous and talented? What if Chris Brown didn’t have video game-caliber dancing chops?  Would everyone be so quick to forgive and move on?

People forget that Kobe Bryant was once accused of rape.  Multiple championships and all-star game MVPs later, this is rarely a topic of discussion anymore.  (Unless you’re amongst a group of haters but that’s another topic for another day.)

Michael Vick was scum of the earth and public enemy number 1 when it was revealed that he was running a canine version of the kumite.  After a successful run with the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick is back on track.

When Tiger Woods starts collecting jackets and trophies again, people will gladly remove the Scarlet Letter from his cap and let the Nike Swoosh reign once more.

I am all about redemption and grace. I love seeing forgiveness and renewal take place in the public eye for all to witness and marvel at.

But this Chris Brown story feels a little bit different.  It seems to me that his other-worldly talent might have served as a broom to swiftly sweep his dust of violent rage under a large rug of instant success.

Maybe I’m wrong (which happens on occasion) but I am seeing a pattern here and I wonder if we give too much credence to talent.

Watch this:

In our subconscious we may think that talent excuses us from being human, from really dealing with and going through the process of brokenness, from taking the time to heal and mend properly.

Talent only goes so far and for Chris Brown’s sake, I really hope he is dealing with his deep issues of anger.  I hope he celebrates the fact that he stands forgiven by God but that the responsibilities and consequences of his actions still linger. And this is to shape him and make him a better man.  This goes for all of us and our junk.

As he performs and climbs the charts he cannot forget what he’s been through and what he’s done.  That, to me, is not grace and redemption.  It’s something completely different and I hope for his sake and those that admire him that he doesn’t get lost in his own hype.

Talent does not trump transgression.


Viewing Life in Seasons Can Save Your Life

I’m not a life coach or a Tony Robbins type but I do see that part of my role here on this earth may be to help guide and shape young leaders while encouraging older generations with new takes on “old” issues.

One of the key lessons I have picked up in the last 5 years is this whole idea of viewing life in seasons.

Too many times, we feel that the lot we have been given or chosen is a prison (or worse yet, a death) sentence.

This is not true because life is lived in seasons:

That uninspiring job you’re stuck in can change.

The feeling that your life is over now that you have kids is a lie.

The hell that you are going through this moment will pass. 

This too shall pass.

Academic probation is not the same thing as lethal injection.

You will find employment.

You will be able to love again.  Trust again.  Live again.

This is not quite what you pictured but it’s ok because it’s not forever.

You are going home… soon.

Things change.  People change.  Seasons change.

The Cubs will win the World Series one day….Maybe not.  But hope lives. You have the God-given right and ability to choose hope.

Whether you are enduring the harsh cold of winter or anticipating the mild and pleasant sunshine of spring, it is true that your life is lived in seasons.

Endure.  Enjoy.  Engage.

First World Problems

Last week, I came across this brilliant post over at on First World Problems— a phrase I love because I feel it’s a euphemism for “complaints that make us sound like dumb, spoiled brats.”

According to the site:

If it’s a problem you can only have if you have money, we’ll feel bad for you for having the problem, and then feel guilty for having enough money to have the problem.

Let me give you some examples in case you’re against clicking on links:

“My HD TV takes too long to turn on.”

“The 3G connection on my iPad 2 was spotty on the train so I had to pause my Netflix movie for 2 minutes.”

“Ran out of brewed coffee.  Had to make myself instant.”

“My iPhone won’t let me upload pictures directly to Facebook right now.  So frustrating!”

“I ordered my steak medium rare and this is clearly medium.”

“Google chrome isn’t working so I had to use Safari to check my email.”

“The water pressure in my shower dropped last night so I had to draw myself a bath instead. It was scalding hot. And the jets wouldn’t work.”

I find these to be hilarious but sadly true.  I don’t know about you but I am reminded of how incredibly blessed and rich I am, especially in comparison to some of the real problems and hardships that most of the world have to deal with.  Of course, most of us get that “First World Problems” are not actually problems at all.  So then the question becomes, how do we turn these so-called “issues and problems” into a grander perspective that allows us to see and respond to the needs around us?

I can laugh now but it’s because I have made similar complaints in the past, and will probably continue to moan about other so-called problems that my brothers in Third World areas would roll their eyes at.

What about you?  What are some common “First World Problems” that you run into regularly?

If I Was Rebecca Black’s Mentor (Music Monday)

By now, you have heard of Rebecca Black and her #1 hit single, “Friday.”  If you have not, it means you have been taking your “I’m fasting Youtube for Lent” thing very seriously.  Well done, congratulations, and may you be within earshot of God’s audible voice!

I saw her name floating around twitter last week so I decided to check out the youtube clip for myself and I was floored:

I literally did not know what to make of this song/video/artist. Was this all a joke? I wasn’t even trying to be mean when I asked my Twitter and Facebook friends what this was all about.

Turns out that this was an innocent project funded by her mother when she hired Ark Music Factory to give Rebecca a taste of the music biz.  A taste of the music business is what she got alright, and after 60 millions views on Youtube and counting, Rebecca Black is now a household name.  This, in most cases, would constitute an amazing success story but unfortunately, Rebecca is experiencing the ugliest side of life in the musical limelight.

I must admit that this could very well be the worst song of all time but I don’t know if that necessarily means that she needs to die, as many youtube low-lifers have suggested.  She seems like a sweet-enough teen and all she wanted to do was have some fun.

Enough hating. I think Rebecca could use some encouragement, don’t you?

If I was Rebecca’s mentor, what would I say to her?  Here are some possible pick-me-ups:

“Rebecca, remember that no matter how good you are at something, there is always someone better.  In the same vein, no matter how bad you are, there will always be someone worse than you as well.”

“Becka, there is no such thing as bad publicity.”

“Becky, there’s so much more to you than music.  Don’t limit yourself.”

“Bex, there are at the very least three people who love you and that’s all that matters: God, your mom, and Simon Cowell.”

“Yo, B!  I haven’t been able to get your song out of my head for the past 72 hours!”

“R.B., it’s Friday.  Let’s go kick it.  Forget about them losers.  By the way, yesterday was Thursday.  Tomorrow is Saturday.  In case you didn’t know.”

OK, so maybe some of these would be better left unsaid but it’s true that Rebecca could use some more love in her life right now.

In all seriousness: If you were Rebecca Black’s friend or mentor, what would you say to her?

My New Song, whispered!

I wanted to share one of my newer songs that I wrote a couple months ago here in Mexico.

It’s a kick in the butt for myself and anyone else that ever thought about making a change, either within themselves or in the world.

And in classic DK fashion, what I am posting is completely raw, unedited and unimpressive. To make matters more interesting, I am singing as softly as I can so as not to wake my son during his nap.  Thank you for hearing past the warts.

Hope you like.

Yeah You Do

Hopeless lovers intertwined in
Battles spun in spools of
Mass confusion
Nameless faces interspersed through
Proverbial milk cartons
Of inaction

This sinking feeling points you the right way

Yeah you do
You say you got potential
But all you do
Is sit on your assets
Yeah you do
You say you want to change the world (what’s wrong)
But all you do
Is sit on your assets

The silence will utter the same song
History’s on repeat
With the same beat
Technological advances
Feels so good like progress
But what is progress?