Tag Archives: Transitorily Yours

The Intersection of Africa with Latin Music

September 10, 2018 by
Illustration by Derek Joy

In a previous issue, I explored how the African-American tradition deserves credit for inventing all major forms of music created in America, such as hip-hop, disco, funk, soul, jazz, rhythm and blues, blues, house, techno, and of course, rock ’n’ roll. 

What I didn’t have space to address was how Hispanic and Latin music fit into the equation. So in this column, I’m going to explore how the same evolutionary music process that took place in North America, specifically in the United States, also occurred in Central and South America.

Well, here’s how that generally worked: African people were involuntarily brought to the “New World.” Since most came from Western Africa, where the drum was the foundation of their music, their African culture mixed with whichever local culture and region in which they landed. New forms of culture and music sprouted from the interactions. 

This is how we got hip-hop, disco, funk, soul, jazz, R&B, blues, and rock. But the same thing that happened in the U.S. also happened in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Jamaica, and so on. 

But instead of funk, it was cumbia in Columbia. Instead of R&B, it was reggae in Jamaica. Instead of disco, it was samba in Brazil. 

In fact, here’s a somewhat more complete list of Latin American forms of music with an African basis: bachata, batucada, cha-cha-cha, conga, funk carioca, mambo, tango, pachanga, reggaeton, rumba, son, tropicalia, and zouk…just to name a few. 

Some folks may think of the music that came from the U.S. and Latin America as separate entities divided by geography and ethnicity. But the two are more connected than you’d think.

For example, one genre name that wasn’t in the list is salsa. Most folks think of salsa as a uniquely Latin American music form and assume it was created somewhere with warm, sunny beaches where pina coladas are served. But in fact, salsa was invented in the United States. 

Between mass migrations of Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants to New York City (especially in the 1950s when half a million Puerto Ricans came to NYC), New York had a thriving Latin music scene that centered mostly around the legendary Palladium nightclub. But between the myriad of music genres, there lacked a cohesive glue that brought it all together. 

“People were getting confused with the mambo, cha cha chá, and guaracha—so what we did was, we took the music and put it under one roof and we called it ‘salsa,’” said Johnny Pacheco.

Pacheco was one of the founding partners of Fania Records, which was a label created in 1964 “to produce, promote, and market the music of Latinos in New York,” according to PBS’s Latin Music USA documentary series. 

Fania also released a lesser-known genre called boogaloo. Perhaps the best known boogaloo song is Joe Cuba’s “Bang Bang,” which has a Latin-tinged staccato piano, Afro-Latin drums, and African American-inspired call-and-response lyrics.

“Between the years of ’66 and ’69, boogaloo became the sound of young blacks in New York,” wrote music journalist Maulud Sadiq Allah in Medium. “The 30 years of Cuban music and Black American music had finally merged and took on a life of its own.” 

Perhaps during no other time in history has the convergence of Afro-Latinos and African-Americans been so creatively infused than through boogaloo. 

Fania brought salsa and boogaloo to a commercial market, which funneled the Latin fervor in NYC into a marketable movement that was enough to sell out Yankee stadium for a Fania concert in 1973.

“The early 1970s was a political coming-of-age of Latinos across the country,” said Felix Contreras, co-host of NPR’s Alt.Latino podcast. “Fania was the soundtrack for the empowerment for many of these communities, because it was brash, it was vibrant, it was new. It embraced the Afro identity of Latin America. And it made me—a young Chicano teenager in California, just discovering music—want to be part of this exciting new sound and movement.”

So while Fania catapulted the music with origins in Puerto Rico and Cuba,  “salsa, and all the genres that informed it, is an African-based music,” according to Sadiq Allah. 

What’s the point of sharing all of this in the back of Encounter Magazine? 

Well, when we consider that nearly all major forms of music were created in the Americas as a result of the slave trade, is our society fully aware of the origins of its beloved music? And if not, what might change if everyone were made aware? My hope is that it makes you listen to music differently, and question any sense of ownership you have to a particular history of music. 

Just something to ponder the next time you hear your favorite song. 


This column is Brent’s last for now. His full life of fathering and trying to save the planet are his priorities. But rest assured, when he has something to say about Omaha’s art scene, we will give him the forum to speak. In the meantime, we will feature guest columnists from all walks of the arts and culture scene. We invite you to share your thoughts and ideas with us and look for an exciting new columnist in our upcoming November/December issue.

MILLENNIAL MYTH: We’re Job Hoppers

June 13, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

I’m a millennial who’s held four different jobs over the past two years. 

This begs the question, “Am I a cliché?”

Gallup called millennials the “job-hopping generation” in a 2016 study. 

An April NBC news article said: “Right now, job-hopping is on the rise because of the good economy and millennials who’ve grown up suspecting that there’s no such thing as loyalty from employers anymore.” 

And a 2016 CNN Money article had the headline: “The new normal: 4 jobs changes by the time you’re 32.”

BTW, I’m 34.

Throughout my job-hopping years, I’ve been an event organizer for/owner of a nightclub, a marketing director for a hip startup, a journalist for a 103-year-old architecture firm, and now a sales manager for an eco-friendly sustainability company.

When I announced my most recent career switch on Facebook, I wrote, “Like a flakey millennial in continual pursuit of purpose, I’ve switched careers…again.” 

One friend resonated with my sentiment by commenting, “Nail on the head lol.” 

In my naive narrative of the generation that I’m a part of, I assumed that millennials do in fact quit their jobs more often than previous generations, and that we do it because we’re driven to find purpose and passion in our work. Which means I once believed the media headline hype, too. 

But in the midst of researching this column in an attempt to reverse engineer my assumptions, I discovered that the numbers say something different, and that I was projecting my own ego onto a whole generation. 

A number of studies do in fact show that millennials are job-hopping quite often. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2014 showed that the typical worker, aged 20-24 at the time, had been in their position for 16 months, as opposed to the five-and-a-half-year median tenure for those aged 25 and older. A widely referenced 2013 study from the consulting firm Millennial Branding said that 60 percent of millennials leave their companies within three years. 

While this all may be true, the problem is how we’re looking at the data. 

Consider this: In a FiveThirtyEight article from 2015, Ben Casselman wrote, “Numbers on job tenure for Americans in their 20s were almost exactly the same in the 1980s as they are today.” And, according to a 2017 Pew Research study, millennials are sticking with their jobs slightly longer than Gen Xers were in 2000. 

What’s the point? The flakiness of millennials is nothing new. It’s not that millennials quit their jobs more than other generations—young people do. 

And while job hopping is simply a symptom of being young and trying to find your place in the world, according to that same FiveThirtyEight article, it also has the benefit of driving up wages. Which is a great thing considering the wage stagnation that’s stemmed from the
Great Recession. 

In other words, as much as I want to think I’m part of a “special generation,” or as much as millennial stereotypes want to perpetuate the myth that my generation is disloyal and complacent, it turns out we have much more in common with Gen X and baby boomers than most might think. (But don’t tell them that.) 

Do you have thoughts, comments, or column ideas? Please share them with us at editor@omahapublications.com. 


This article was printed in the July/August 2018 edition of Encounter. 

The Music Lesson You Never Got in School

May 3, 2018 by
Photography by Amy Lynn Straub
Illustration by Derek Joy

Through my time as a DJ for the past 16 years, it’s been my career and passion to study music. And I’ve learned one important fact along the way—the modern legacy of American dance music owes its roots to black, Hispanic, and LGBTQ spaces.

Most folks probably know that genres like hip-hop, jazz, and R&B originated from African-Americans, but what about EDM or rock ’n’ roll?

Let’s explore that.

As a teenager, I caught the tail end of the ‘90s rave era. At these all-night raucous gatherings, I assumed what I was seeing and hearing was completely different, edgy, and transformative. And while the crowd was eclectic, it was mostly white. The DJs I played with and the friends that we got down with were mostly white. So I came to think about dance music as a white cultural expression.

Turns out I was wrong.

Everything we were into could be traced back to “The Godfather of House,” Frankie Knuckles. Born Francis Nicholls, Frankie Knuckles was a gay African-American man. Growing up in the Bronx, Knuckles frequented discos as a teenager during the 1970s. He eventually began working as a DJ, playing soul, disco, and R&B at two of the most important early discos, the Gallery in Manhattan and the Continental Baths, a lavish gay bathhouse on the Upper West Side. In the late 1970s, Knuckles moved from New York City to Chicago at the behest of Robert Williams, who was opening the now-legendary Warehouse nightclub.

When the Warehouse opened in 1977, Knuckles was invited to play on a regular basis. His style was a mix of disco classics, unusual indie-label soul, European synth-disco, the occasional rock track, and other rarities. This would all eventually become the genre we know as “house music,” (derived from “Warehouse music,” of course). Knuckles was so popular that the Warehouse, initially a members-only club for largely black gay men, began attracting straighter, whiter crowds who normally might not have gone there. Knuckles left to open his own club, the Power Plant, in 1983.

House music went on to birth techno, trance, and electronic dance music (aka EDM and those pop-ish dance tunes produced by Calvin Harris, Skrillex, and Avicii). But house music is actually disco reincarnated. The July 1979 radio campaign against disco, which some perceived as being anti-black and anti-LGBTQ, culminated in a promotion at Comiskey Park in which a crate of disco records was blown up on the field. While many saw this as the “death of disco,” house music rose from the ashes, hence why some people cunningly call it “disco’s revenge.”

House music doesn’t owe its roots to raves, and disco wasn’t created by a white guy in bell bottoms. As journalist Barry Walters wrote in Billboard: “The history of dance music in America and the history of LGBT folks—particularly those of color—coming together to create a cultural utopia, was and still is inseparable. Neither would have happened without the other.”

When I figured this out, I was blown away. Did my friends and DJs know this info? No one seemed to talk about it. It felt like I was let in on some secret history of American dance music.

As I went further down the historical path of music, the revelations kept coming.

Before disco was called disco, it was known as danceable R&B. Danceable R&B is an amalgamation of things like funk, soul, and jazz. R&B, of course, breaks down to rhythm and blues. All of these genres came from the African-American experience.

What about rock music?

Let’s take Elvis Presley—a man who we call the “King of Rock and Roll.”

His massive hit, “Hound Dog,” came out in 1956. Presley’s version is a remix. In 1953 Big Momma Thornton, a black woman artist, wrote and performed, “Hound Dog.” Whether it be his lyrics, aesthetic, or melodies, Elvis was just mimicking African-American artists, as he himself acknowledged. And for the record, Ol’ Man River declared that Chuck Berry was actually the King of Rock and Roll.

All that to say, without the cultural influence of African-Americans and the LGBTQ community, American music would be incredibly estranged from what we know and appreciate today. And if we’re to be fair, we need to recognize, honor, and share the origins of our music, the circumstances that brought it about, and the people who made it happen.

I’d like to address the role Hispanic music plays in this as well, but that’s another story for another time.


To share your life perspectives—or whatever—with Brent Crampton and Encounter, email millennials@omahapublications.com.

Being Present for the Small Moments

April 2, 2018 by

My mom passed away three days before this past Christmas. My friend and former co-worker Justin Swanson passed two days before that. Between the two, I wound up saying farewell to Justin in the ICU before his non-responsive body was unplugged from life support and then later, in the emergency room, grasping for the last warmth in my mom’s newly deceased body.

It was an intense, stomach-twisting week.

But I’m not writing this to talk about death. I’m writing this to talk about the small moments that precede death. So let’s go back to May 2014.

We were hosting the closing party for Big Omaha at House of Loom. Among the frivolity of the full-capacity night was a sea of sweaty entrepreneurs, a random guy playing the accordion to house beats, and one of Twitter’s co-founders getting down on the dance floor. In the history books of that club, it was a legendary night.

I can’t remember why, but my brother was in town, so in a rarity, my mom, dad, and brother all wound up stopping by. As we edged out a spot just above the stairs in the upper lounge, a photographer walked by and grabbed a beaming family photo. 

Later that night, my mom experienced two strokes. She was never the same after.

Between dementia and Addison’s disease, we witnessed her expressions, personality, and communication slowly diminish.

There were also frequent trips to the hospital. This past summer, while working just down the street from where she was hospitalized, I took my lunch break to spend some time with her.

She was alone when I arrived, but thanks to the steroids that were pumped into her IV, she was more alert and alive than I had seen her in a very long time.

Given her worsening condition, I knew there was something special about this moment. So I flipped open a voice recording app on my phone, and I began what would become a 40-minute conversation that covered everything from childhood memories, experiences she still wanted to have, and the feeling she got when my 1-year-old daughter—her granddaughter—kissed her.

After I said my goodbye and left the room, I made peace with whatever was to come next. She transitioned four months later.

Cut to Nov. 11, 2017. I had just finished DJing a private party in the Old Market, and after packing everything up, I had enough time to catch last call somewhere. With no agenda on where I’d end up, I aimlessly walked down the street where I saw a group of people gather before walking into Brickway Brewery.

My attention caught, I looked inside the near-empty bar to see Justin Swanson cleaning glassware. I walked in behind the group of people and as the crowd cleared, Justin’s eyes widened and his hands went up in surprise at the sight of me.

See, there was about three years of my life that I saw Justin more than my family. He was a bartender and I was a co-owner at House of Loom. Because of our roles, our lives were inextricably intertwined.

That is, until we closed on Jan. 1, 2017. After that, we took separate paths and mostly lost touch. At the time I didn’t even know he worked at Brickway. So while I sat in a near-empty
bar with Justin, we caught up and conversed like old friends.

This column appears in the March/April 2018 edition of Encounter.

To share your life perspectives—or whatever—with Brent Crampton and Encounter, email millennials@omahapublications.com.

Transitorily Yours

December 28, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

I’m going to get real vulnerable here: When it comes to millennial stereotypes, I can verifiably say that I fit within the “coddled” category.

Even though I grew up in the context of a middle-class family, I was cognizant as a child that I was spoiled. And while I’m incredibly grateful for all the love and support my family has given me (really, they’re some incredible people), there’s just one thing that’s been thrown off in the process: my development.

Author Simon Sinek of Start with Why says that many millennials suffer in the workplace because they “grew up subject to failed parenting strategies,” and that “it’s the company’s responsibility to pick up the slack.”

Many psychologists subscribe to the idea that there are three major stages. First comes dependency (think infancy and early childhood). Second, the yearning for independence (cue the rebellious teen) and the establishment of said independence (early 20s). And if everything works out, you move to interdependence, where you realize you’ve unnecessarily been a jerk to your parents all these years, and that while autonomy is great—cooperation is the highest form of existence.

But when you throw coddling into the equation, the process gets disrupted, and the end result is co-dependency.

According to Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks in Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Commitment, “Co-dependence is an agreement between people to stay locked in unconscious patterns.” This can create unhealthy relationships, addictions, and patterns of dysfunction. And thanks to a few years of therapy, I’ve arrived at the hard truth that, left unchecked, I’m prone to creating co-dependent relationships.

All of this came to a head one evening when I was setting up for a DJ gig.

Stressed and frantic, I was facing a mountain of tangled cords with only 30 minutes left before the event started. Along with that, I was in the middle of raising a 20-inch disco ball on a t-bar. It’s something I’ve done countless times, but due to my frenetically displaced presence, I made a basic mistake and lifted an extension pole past the point of no return.

Instead of securing the magnificent 20-inch ball into place, I began to witness its eight-foot arial descent towards a hard marble floor. Time instantly slowed to a crawl as I felt a childhood wound rise to the surface that seemed to say, “it’s good that you sabotaged yourself, because now they’ll see that you deserve to be rescued.”

And as I held that feeling of self-entitled victimhood—BAM! The sphere smashed to the ground and dozens of glass bits flew about the marble floor. What was once a beautiful sphere now looked like the Death Star.

With my mouth and eyes gaping open, I proceeded to survey the room to see who else witnessed the moment (and subconsciously, who I could blame for not rescuing me).

There were some people scurrying over in the next room, but none looked over. There was a receptionist at a desk just 30 feet away, but she had earbuds in and didn’t even flinch from her downward gaze.

With no rescuer in sight, it was just me, a shattered ball, and the realization that no one could be held responsible for this—but myself.

In shock, attempting to swallow the swell of my own sulking sabotage, I swept up the glass pieces, hid the remnants of the busted ball under a skirted table, and got back to work.

The thing is, I’ve always had a thing for disco balls. They’re a timeless piece of design.

As LED technology rapidly advances and projector mapping changes all the rules, there’s something timeless about being enveloped in an in endless swirl of flickering refraction.

In the cosmology of nightlife, the disco ball is a metaphorical inverse of the sun.

Just think: At each sunset, somewhere a disco ball rises. In the center of a sea of churning bodies, it floats effortlessly. Above our heads and beyond our reach, it serves as a beacon of speckled light in a world of darkness.

Yes, I have an affection for disco balls. Which is why at the end of the night, after the dance floor dust had settled, and I folded back the curtain revealing the brokenness of the sphere, I said to myself, “No more!”

Sinek says that millennials “were just dealt a bad hand and it’s no fault of their own.” But as a generational gesture, I say that at some point us coddled millennials have to take responsibility for ourselves.

It’s time we stop blaming others. Stop looking for the rescuer. Stop slipping into co-dependency. And absolutely stop the subconscious-busting of underserving disco balls.

It’s time to tell a new story.

To share your life perspectives—or whatever—with Brent Crampton and Encounter, email millennials@omahapublications.com.

Generational Journey Through Nightlife

August 23, 2017 by
Photography by Amy Lynn Straub

When I was 19, I could be found illegally sneaking into nightclubs. As the youngest person in the room, I was essentially walking into a raucous Generation X party.

Back then, around 2003-2004, the height of the ’90s rave era had passed and the post-rave scene was acclimating into the then-emerging ultra-lounge wave. House music and techno reigned supreme in the underground, Red Bull and vodka covered everything, and Gen Xers lived by this credo to make the most of the weekend. At the time, this apparently meant binge drinking with friends to loud music for long periods of time—every weekend.

As time went on and the millennial flavor began to form, I remember how exciting it was when all the indie kids started dancing. Parties like Goo at Slowdown and Gunk at Waiting Room spawned a new infusion of creativity into nightlife. Along with Bar 415, Loom at España, and Nomad Lounge, it looked as though millennials were headed down the same work-hard, play-hard path as Gen X. That is until the Great Recession struck.

Along with 9/11, and later the technological advancement of social media, the recession of 2008 would become a defining feature of our generation, shaping the millennial psyche and influencing collective movements.

In the face of layoffs and widespread economic downturn, here in Omaha I witnessed early 20-somethings foregoing the cover charges and high drink prices of bars and clubs. Instead they grabbed a gas station six-pack and headed to the nearest midtown house party to aptly channel their youthful angst and economic anxiety through the jaw-grinding sounds of electro. That same year, PBR sales took off and Google searches for “electro music” peaked.

But the millennial taste began to evolve, and all of those sweaty basement experiences transmuted to the rise of micro-breweries, Netflix, and Instagramming your farmer’s market foodie experience as a way to say, “Hey, I didn’t waste away my Friday night like you all did, so now I’m eating this farm-to-table cucumber at 9 a.m.”

There’s an entire industry dedicated to studying generations to predict buying behaviors, and when you study the research, millennials tend to say terrible things about nightclubs. Complaints often touch on high cover charges, rude bouncers, long waits, overcrowding, and loud music—all things that didn’t seem to
bother Gen X.

This notion—supplemented with social media, dating apps, and streaming music—meant that you didn’t really need to leave your house in order to feel connected to your friends, to what’s happening with cutting-edge music, or even to find a date. All compelling reasons to go out for generations before.

Because of these factors, I believe millennials developed a sense of economic conservatism as a response to the Great Recession. Because they didn’t have the expendable income like previous generations, they adapted by finding reasons why the commercial-party atmosphere of a club wasn’t worth it, perhaps merely as a means to justify their inability to participate. This was all, of course, reinforced by the needs technology filled in. But that doesn’t mean our generation doesn’t like a good party.

Yes, nightclubs have been closing in record numbers all across America and the United Kingdom. We are witness to this even in our own city. But festivals have been on the upswing. Think about the rise in awareness of Burning Man, Coachella expanding to two weekends, or even our own Maha festival, which sold out the last two years.

To put it another way, instead of going out every weekend—a routine Gen X had ritualized—millennials decide to save up for the big moments. And with social media and smart phones, they can capture the experience and #TBT-it over the course of many weeks and months as a way to make the moment, and their dollars, last.

All of this in mind, if someone were to ask me today if opening a nightclub was a good idea, I’d tell them, “No.” Throw a festival instead. One that offers coffee with amazing floral and acidic notes, and a fast-casual gastro pub that offers a saffron, foie gras, and grass-fed beef burger.

Now, Generation Z is beginning to pump out its first 21+ers. As they enter into the nightlife picture amidst the Trumpian era, it’ll be interesting to see how they respond to present circumstances. Will the pervasive fear, racial tension, and stagnant wages turn our youth inward, or will they tap into the collective anxiety of our times as a source of inspiration to compel the use of art, music, and dancing as a means to escape, to find solutions, and propel our society forward, like generations have done before?

I sure hope so.

To share your life perspectives—or whatever—with Brent Crampton and Encounter, email millennials@omahapublications.com.

Transitorily Yours

May 31, 2017 by
Photography by Amy Lynn Straub

Since we all know millennials are prone to nostalgia and the whole “Netflix’n’chill” bit, I recently watched the series The Get Down.

In the Netflix production, a couple of kids work their way through the economically famished world of New York in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Set amongst the cultural landscape that later was identified as the roots of hip-hop, the show is a brilliant representation of historical fiction. But unless you have a deep understanding of what was going on in that time period, you may have only picked up on half of the storyline. The stones that were dropped in America’s cultural pond during this era are still rippling all around us today. So let’s dive deeper into a few things.

In episode 3 of The Get Down, there was the citywide blackout. That actually happened. It was in the steamy summer of 1977 during the time of serial killer Son of Sam, when Times Square was filled with prostitutes and drug dealers—when the city was in the midst of bankruptcy and at any time, dozens of buildings were burning in the Bronx.

In the midst of this calamity, one night a flash of lighting caused all of NYC to erupt into darkness. Citizens switched on their reptilian brains and proceeded to vandalize and plunder. Interestingly enough, this is the very situation hip-hop needed.

Why? Before the blackout, only a handful of hip-hop DJs­—such as Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Jazzy Jay—resided in the Bronx. Mixers, turntables, and sound systems were cost-prohibitive. After the blackout, hundreds of new DJs and battle crews popped up across all five boroughs.

This unforeseen tipping point allowed hip-hop to spread throughout the city, and later to become a worldwide phenomenon.

Here’s another cue: In one episode, Jaden Smith’s character “Dizzee” discovered an underground disco club that was brimming with drag queens and Quaaludes.

TV critic Lisa Liebman speculated this scene was portraying David Mancuso’s The Loft and/or Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage.

Heard of these real-life nightclubs? Probably not. That’s because when we think of disco, we often think of Studio 54.

But the only reason why Studio 54 is relevant is because all the rich, famous, and mostly straight white folks went there. It’s the Paris Hilton of legendary nightclubs—famous for being famous. The “real” happened at spots like Nicky Siano’s Gallery, as well as the aforementioned Paradise Garage and Loft.

From alterations, to sound systems, to the founding of the first record pool, to turning unknown records into mega hits in a time when DJs determined what was played on the radio (as opposed to vice versa today), the legacy of these venues created the blueprint for modern nightclubs.

Heavily frequented by the gay, black, and Latino populations, these spots were pioneers of inclusivity. This was a time when being gay meant you often had to project a false image to your family, co-workers, and community.

Could you imagine what it would feel like to hide your identity on a daily basis? Imagine what it would feel like to be an LGBTQ person walking into a club for the first time, seeing like-minded people dancing with wild abandon, and then suddenly realizing you weren’t alone, and you could, perhaps, for the first time in your life, freely express yourself.

For more than a decade, my studies of this time period have been a big source of inspiration for the work I’ve done as a DJ, promoter, and club owner. While this era was set amongst dire economic poverty, it was incredibly rich with cultural breakthroughs—disco, hip hop, emceeing, breakdancing, graffiti, street art, Basquiat, Keith Haring, CBGB, post-punk, and the post-Stonewall sexual liberation movement.

Depending on who you ask, NYC was either a complete shit hole, or it was a totally unique creative and cultural utopia yet to be matched.

When taking that dichotomy into consideration, a larger lesson comes into focus about the role of the human condition. Simply put, struggle breeds the need to find an outlet. When society presents us with a problem, we often turn to culture for the solution. Creativity becomes a form of adaptation and escapism from the bleakness. This process is a beautiful call-and-response that pushes us beyond mediocrity, urging us to collectively create lasting legacies.

So now that we’ve re-contextualized a few things, I suggest you go even deeper and get on YouTube to watch VH1’s documentary NY77: The Coolest Year in Hell. Not only will it flip your perspective on life, but also give new dimension and relevance to The Get Down.

To share your life perspectives—or whatever—with Brent Crampton and Encounter, email millennials@omahapublications.com.

To share your life perspectives—or whatever—with Brent Crampton and Encounter, email millennials@omahapublications.com.

This column was printed in the May/June 2017 edition of Encounter.