I pondered for a few days about how I could write about this, but every idea I came up with seemed stale. So, being the last minute slacker that I am, I decided to just shoot from the hip and write about my perspective of this year free flowing...
That year I was dating a very well known film director, who I have actually written about on this blog. Don't bother to ask who it is, the only reason I mention it at all is because it is so relevant to what was going on with me in 1988.
That year I was the prototype of young and dumb, with a capital Y & D. I was book smart, for sure, as I'd always been, but when it came to real life I was completely clueless, though I left home at 17. When I look back on it now, I know that it was only by God's good graces that I am still alive.
Along with my complete naivete came a huge capacity for useless knowledge. It was around this time that I began realizing that I was quite the pop culture addict, as well as having a love for fairly superficial things--fashion for example. When I met this director, I think he was mildly fascinated with me because I was completely and totally full of fluff. He probably spent half of his time with me wondering if I was for real or not. Unfortunately, I was, haha.
I was mildly fascinated with him because for the first time, he made me see the political aspects in everything. I was, at that time, very reflective of the climate of our nation. It was pre New Jack City, Boys N' The Hood, Menace To Society. It was pre concious rap, even pre hardcore gangsta rap. We were living in a society as we were for a few decades; everyone listened to black and white music equally, and the films that we looked at weren't alarming in any way, shape, or form.
This director would do his best to ask me questions about how I saw things, and try to make me see that there was always danger in complacency. Case in point, one of the biggest songs of that year was "Don't Worry, Be Happy". He made me see how a song as seemingly innocuous as that was really just an opium for the people. I know now, of course, that life is what you make it, and everybody sets the bar for their own realities. His realities were no more real to me then as mine were to him. I was untouched by the roughness of life then, and that was my reality. We would have lengthy conversations about whether Terrence Trent D'arby/Michael Jackson/George Michael were gay, but he would also give me soliloquies about why we should never lay down as a people, and why it was so important to stir thing up again, something that really hadn't happened since the early 70's. He started opening my eyes in a way that set the tone for how I feel about race and politics to this day.
To me this year was probably the last of it's kind in complacency and crossover mentality. In the next couple of years we would get films and music that would challenge the status quo, never to look back again. The top 10 films of that year were pure 100% sugar water, for sure, but they were breakouts for more than a few stars whose careers thrive even brighter today:
1) Rain Man (Tom Cruise)
2) Who Framed Roger Rabbit
3) Coming To America (Eddie Murphy)
4) Big (Tom Hanks)
6) Crocodile Dundee 2
7) Die Hard (Bruce Willis)
8) The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad!
9) Cocktail (Tom Cruise)
As you can see, complete complacency and crossover. Even Patrick Swayze had a song hit that year. More on 1988 to come.....