|Screen shot of Lisa's Facebook status about our campout! To make bigger, click photo.|
WRTC grad students in a sea of 2,000 or so undergrads. It was our last night to be "irresponsible college students." We kept reminding ourselves of that...at 9PM, at 1AM, at 1:07AM, at 1:11AM, at 7:30AM. At first, it was a rush. It didn't matter that the gas heater burnt a hole in the tent because we had a gas heater to keep us warm. It didn't matter that it was 20 degrees outside either. All I have to say is thank god for hot hands.
For the majority of the night, we cared most about our time together, the awesome nachos with the fresh jalapenos, and Zoolander in a warm auditorium. But after the movie, our crankiness meter escalated with the cold. Bright side? We had a tent and had shelter from the snow. Others weren't so lucky.
You couldn't sleep. Tent was too cramped. Neighbors were too loud. But after 14 hours of "waiting in line," we made it. In the University Business Office, I took off my gloves and held my Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ticket in between my fingers, the only 10 extremities I could still feel. Other 10? Not so much.
Work was busy. School was busy. Life was just busy. Isn't it always?
April 8th came, and I didn't want to go to the concert. I had a blog post due the next day. I was up for work early that morning, hadn't slept good the night before. Lots of excuses. I just wasn't feeling it. I wasn't feeling it through the opening act either until the guy said, "I'm not a rapper, I'm an English architect." I got chills.
Never have I ever thought about rap or poetry in that sense before. I was mesmerized and started paying more attention to the man's lyrics. Then, it came time. Opening act finished, and he introduced Macklemore as an artist who is bringing content back to rap. I firmly believe that statement, and if you don't believe me just read this blog post. It's by a fellow WRTC grad student, and it's received over 1,000 hits on the Graduate Student Association blog that I edit.
A few songs in, when Macklemore wore a concert go-ers beaver fur coat for "Thrift Shop," I kicked my lame self in the ass for even doubting my plans for the night. This song, that I literally CRANK-UP every time it comes on the radio was the reason why I waited 14-hours in the cold for a ticket.
But that song was just the beginning.
I witnessed history that night Macklemore and Ryan Lewis took the stage. Macklemore's introduction to "Same Love" brought tears to my eyes. I weeped at that man's concert because I am so proud of the generation that I'm a part of. Some say we don't have manners, that we're the "trophy generation." I see it on Facebook all the time: Everyone gets a gold star doesn't set you apart...just a bunch of spoiled college kids addicted to their iPhones and their computers. Nobody gets outside.
Quite frankly, I think it's a bunch of crap.
We're not changing the world, but we are making change. Walk to JMU or EMU's campus and 9 students out of 10 will be able to tell you a cause that they actively support: Animal rights, acclimating local refugees to the area, mountaintop removal mining, mentoring underprivileged children, marriage equality...
Marriage equality. That's the cause that united thousands of us the evening of Macklemore's concert. "Same Love" was next in the set-list, and Macklemore said I want everyone to raise one finger in the air who believes that it's all the same love whether you're a woman who loves a man, a man who loves a woman, a man who loves a man, or a woman who loves a woman. The crowd roared. Cliche acknowledged, I could barely hear myself think.
In unison, every member of that sold out concert raised that one finger in the air to symbolize that love is love, there is only one love and it's the same love. I've always loved JMU, but I never felt that JMU Pride that everybody talks about until Macklemore asked us to take a stand in this civil rights movement. Everyone literally stood up to listen to this...poetry.
"Can't Hold Us" came on before or after that song.
I can't remember. The night is an adrenaline-pumped blur, but I do remember feeling that neither the floor nor the ceiling could hold us. Everyone was jumping in the air. The convocation center had this insane energy that just permeated through your bones and into your heart. I'll never forget that moment. I felt pure joy.
As I start a new adventure in my life, I have this renewed enthusiasm about my generation and what my generation can offer to the "real world" that we're about to enter.
Now I know why I waited 14 hours for a ticket. Macklemore isn't just a rapper. He's an artist who uses the English language to motivate and create social change. He's a role model for me, and I respect and support the direction he's headed. I hope that some day the words that I write can create that same magnitude of change.