Editor’s Note: Christiane D is an August Wilson Center Fellow (2010-11 Season).
Before I even begin talking about me and/or my project, I want to share someone who has been quite an inspiration, who has passed on in this life. The rock ‘n’ roll punk legend that is Bobby Porter.
I recently watched the Afro-Punk documentary and only then did I realize how lucky I was to have been rocked by the powerful tides of a strong Black Rock scene.
In comparison, there were many of us when I only thought there had only been a few. There was Mad Mike, Monette, Alicia, Big Lee, and then there was Bobby Porter.
Bobby would get my underage behind into shows as his roadie. I remember carrying drums for his band-mate, as I scooted past with my blonde and shaved head, big boots and the proverbial black gear. I’d pick a spot, sit and drink shirley temples. Yes, that is what I drank, I knew even then, that if I got caught drinking, it would screw it up for Bobby and his generosity and screw with the venue that actually supported high powered (scary) rock. I was addicted to music not to being a cutesy groupie.
What I witnessed, I still to this day wonder if I saw it.
The stage was a small riser, flanked by wooden balconies. Bobby was belting a powerful rage as he not only jumped up on the balcony, running back n forth with mike in hand, he at some point did a back flip, while still singing and landed better than any gymnast — a perfect landing on the balcony to then jump off and rage into the audience.
I knew then, dayam, he was my home grown black rock ‘n’ roll Hero! I had been touched and inspired by the spirit and gospel of Bobby.
Every time I have raged on the stage, it has been in honor of that first influence. It didn’t come off a record, or from a book, it was an experience that I could witness in my city, touch, feel, inhale it!
Thank you for feeding my rock addiction and for inspiring me. You may have passed on to the universe but you will always live in my heart. May the angels comfort you.