Ain’t No Love Heart Of The City: The Houston All-Star Weeknd Hangover
In an open letter penned on his Tumblr page, Derrick McKinney posed a series of thoughts all centered around All-Star Weekend and how the locals within the city, particular the ones wielding any power in the entertainment section yielded far more carte blanche towards vistors as opposed to building and showcasing the new slice of Houston.
ATTENTION HOUSTON ARTIST & TALENT: The promoters, dj’s & venue owners who didn’t book you, allow you your usual entrance, didn’t play your music, acted like they didn’t know you; remember this weekend the rest of the year. Carry it is a torch that burns inside you to force the hand of the industry to rock with you. Make sure you remember the names of faces of the ones who shitted on you this weekend, when you had the opportunity to showcase your talent. Don’t forget when they invite you on facebook & twitter and want you to retweet, post & share their events. If you cant rock with me now, dont rock with me later.
It’s a sort of catch-22 in a sense. Here’s one half of it to digest:
Houston’s talent base is viable through and through with multiple rappers picking their spots during All-Star Weekend to network and prop themselves up on a bigger platform. Shade 45 featured a selection of rappers: UZOY, Delorean & Propain on Sway In The Morning and Killa Kyleon & Doughbeezy threw their own All-Star concert entitled “Watch The Chrome”. Those artists used All-Star Weekend as a precursor to SXSW, openly championing their own work by taking advantage of the mass amount of celebrities & “tastemakers” who arrived in town from all over.
Here’s the other 11 though. A small slice of the letter feels more like a common shot towards radio that trolled out the same old “Texas mix” to appeal to those who immediately identify Houston rap with Wreckshop singles, the Screwed Up Click, Swishahouse, Paul Wall & Chamillionaire and more. To this date, radio has only concerned themselves with local talent to benefit the radio station’s yearly major concert in November. After that it’s pure selection and mixshow appearances here and there. Radio hasn’t catered towards its own inhabitants until outsiders feel the need to – hence Kirko Bangz getting consistent airplay following his deal with Warner Bros.
As Cecilia Smith pointed out in her guide for All-Star Weekend, the event and all of it isn’t tailor made for the host city. Houston’s club promoters could have easily made a fortune off of our out-of-town friends but instead the opposite happened. Local promoters such as Jessica Vickery essentially cornered an entire venue for all of her All-Star festivities so you can’t make a blanket statement in regards to all promoters switching jerseys in the name of the almighty dollar.
It all boils down to this – how powerful is the indie scene in Houston that it can get dwarfed by Atlanta, Chicago and New York’s in its own hometown? Never mind the blatant disrespect shown on a national stage by Alicia Keys performing “Empire State Of Mind”, top 40 hit or not. Its the quizzical thought of just how powerful are you when you only perform for you? Atlanta’s current king of their indie rap scene – technically, is Trinidad Jame$ and he used All-Star like a virtual week in Austin performing whenever and at whatever venue would cater to him.
Houston doesn’t travel out of Houston for the most part, if only for select dates and moments. That has to change. But that’s strictly from an armchair A&R standpoint. Houston forgets those on the rise in favor of those who already made it, hence Bun B laying it out before the week even began that his “Unc” pass that many normally use? Out of order until Monday.
No I can’t.So don’t even ask. Shoes or parties. That “Unc” shit don’t fly this weekend.
— Bun B (@BunBTrillOG) February 15, 2013
The city itself cared more about the celebrities coming in, evident by the massive overcrowding of the Galleria (pictured) that forced the mall to be shut down Saturday evening. Lack of commerce within one of the city’s crown jewels? Can’t happen, not even if it’s ground zero for potential gawking. If a city who feels disrespected entertainment wise by everyone merely lays down and opens wide for all to come in, the feeling of being whored out will wash over.
To make this even more byzantine, noted scribe Maurice Garland had the perfect thought surrounding All-Star Weekend. Or at least one of his fellow denizens from Atlanta did.
I thought about going to All Star weekend. Then I realized every weekend in Atlanta is All Star weekend.
— J Carter (@JCarterology) February 16, 2013
There’s no chronology to a perfect weekend or transcending a city from being overlooked. Houston opened its doors to the world to show what it was about, what it had to offer and outside of the strip clubs and food, people left with the same thoughts they had before – absolutely nothing. It’s a tourist destination with its true gems hidden and tucked away. Thanks to a lack of internal promotion, it may possibly and sadly stay that way.