This going to sound weird, but my feelings for the movie "Beat Street" pretty much mirrors the feelings that I have for my deceased father. Let me explain. When I first saw "Beat Street" in 1984 I was in love with it, as a kid from Virginia who wanted nothing more than to absorb Hip Hop culture as if I was a sponge, at period of time that movie was my holy grail and shit. It was similar to my relationship with my father when I was a little boy, my old man was my hero, a dude so wonderfully magical in my eyes that if he one day told me in confidence that he had the ability to levitate and fight crime, I would have unflinchingly believed him. As time passed and I matured as a person and as an MC, "Beat Street" slowly began to lose its luster, the bad acting was absolutely abysmal and a few of the Hip Hop scenes began to invoke eye-rolls so intense that I'd get migraine headaches. I started to see the flaws in my father as well, the "hero" title quickly replaced with "asshole", a dude with such a viscous tongue that on more than one occasion I would have preferred it if he had just skipped the verbal tirades and just beat my ass instead. Now that I'm 33 years old, an age where I find my sexual stamina quickly diminishing and Grey hairs below my waist that make me look like a Dalmatian down there, I can finally appreciate "Beat Street" for what it meant to me overall, a pretty good flick. Looking back my old man wasn't a evil dude, he did some things that I hope to not pass down to my kids, but he was a constant provider who taught me more than most father's teach their sons. It seems that besides finally embracing that classic Hip Hop film of the mid 80's, I' now at peace when it comes to the relationship, or lack-thereof, that me and my father had.
Even from the grave I faithfully follow my father's instructions like how "Asian vagina is to die for!!", "Never fuck a fat chick unless she has massive boobs!", and "If a man starts talking shit to you, punch him in the throat mid-sentence!", I keep the memory of "Beat Street" alive the same way through my inside jokes that I use throughout my day. Here are a few.
"Ramo!! Ramo!!!": This might surprise some people, my penchant for violence being my most recognizable staple outside of my sexual insecurities, but I'm considerably fair when it comes to my friends and the altercations that they've been a part of. "Fair" meaning that I will definitely help you attempt to beat the melanin off of some motherfucker if need be, that's what friends are for Dionne Warwick once said, but the few times that my homeboys were clearly in the wrong I didn't interrupt their destiny of getting their ass handed to them. Sure, I won't let anyone that I consider a pal get mercilessly beaten to a pulp, but if they are clearly the guilty party that resulted in the age old science of fisticuffs, I feel that I would mess with my Karma if I defended a clearly indefensible act. So, there have been a handful occasions where I have seen a friend of mine get chased and then ceremoniously taken down a few notches by their would-be dispatcher, and as they are paying the ultimate price I passionately yell out "Ramo!!!! Ramo!!!" as if they had just become barbecue meat and the third rail was the grill.
"Tu Cariño": I can't front, for the longest time I've had a serious Jones for Latina chicks that's made me feeling all anxious inside like "last call" for an alcoholic, or a porn star running out of lube. Whether it was Lisa Lisa and her massive mammary's that looked like weapons in that "Wonder if I Take You Home" video, Sheila E in her "Love Bizzare" video, Turbo's non English speaking love interest in "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo", and the only fucking reason I watch "Scrubs" is for that fine as Latina sister who's married to the black guy on that show. That being said, if I didn't think that women who were nice enough to fuck me wouldn't find it strange, I'd proudly have a shrine to Saundra Santiago in the middle of my living room.(Ramo's girlfriend in said flick, also of "Miami Vice" fame") Anyway, in "Beat Street", when Ramo is getting his shit together so he could support his growing family, the song "Tu Cariño" is lovingly played in the background. That being said, whenever I'm dating someone and I start to realize that I'm falling in love with the unfortunate vagina owner, to the point that I know I'll fight feelings of stalking her when it comes to an abrupt end, I start to serenade her with that particular song. Granted, my Spanish is horrible, and my rendition goes "Tu Cariño, blah-blah-nonsensical Spanish gibberish-blah-blah- "Tu Cariño!!", but you get the picture. Seriously, the woman who gets that reference is being proposed to on the spot, I'm not shitting you!!(Interesting Sidenote: The song Tu Cariño was sung by actor Ruben Blades.)
"Fuck Graffiti, your ass needs a real fucking fireplace!!": Even though he's a fictional character, I know if feels as if I'm giving the most famous graffiti artist ever to be portrayed in a fictional film a hard time, but I have to be honest. I know that Ramo was "on the come up" as some might say, trying to make some hard earned dough so his fine ass girl wouldn't leave him for some artist of lesser ability who actually had a bankroll to speak of, but what was up with the apartment that his friends fixed up for him. They were just trying to help, that's commendable, but it seems that moving your family in a condemned building, regardless of how well you clean it, is a literal step down man! So much a step down in fact that bums on the street would say "I like the comfortable confines of this cardboard box, thank you!!" when offered the opportunity to move into Ramo's new apartment. Look at the movie again, as Ramo's girl is seeing the place for the first time, there is literally a graffiti drawn fireplace!! Even as a kid I thought, "forget that, those bastards need actual heat up in there, not another example of Ramo's artistry!!"
That being said, whenever I enter a shabby apartment that for months a friend has tried to describe as nice as "Trump Tower", I'll say "Fuck Graffiti, your ass needs a real fireplace!!"
B-Boy Fighting: There was always something very "West Side Story" about gangs who would be otherwise be ripping each others throats out and getting their adversary's liver intimately acquainted with a switch blade, forgoing violence and working out their aggressions in the name of dance. That's beautiful man, and ever since I saw the B-Boys in "Beat Street" battle with choreography and not fists, that always stuck to me like Sunday dinner at Grandma's house. Nowadays, especially if I have a verbal altercation with someone that I consider my friend, as soon as we both realize that our friendship isn't worth jeopardizing we break out in the same B-Boy fight battle that was depicted in the movie. Granted, I ruin the warm feeling of Hip Hop nostalgia by uttering a new millennium phrase like "You got served sucka!!" afterwords, that doesn't take away from the inside joke