Holy shit—British Knights made no sense in regard to their branding, style and/or purpose. Why did we let British Knights happen? How can we prevent British Knights from ever happening again? How many poor souls lost their lives at bus stops and nightclubs in America in the name of defending their honor and their BKs from being smudged or jacked? How will we explain that to the children?


The Rappin’ Duke

Da-hah, da-hah. We literally didn’t think hip-hop would take it this far.

For those of you born after Russell Simmons became a vegan, there was an era when rap music was a strange slurry of serious rappers with skills and gimmick rappers just trying to ride a short wave to fleeting fame. Sometimes they were one and the same with emcees like Doctor Ice, whose whole shtick was built around being a medical professional, and groups like the Fat Boys, who were, well, fat and boys.


But the Rappin’ Duke was a special case of fucked up because he embodied the gimmicky aspects of primordial mainstream hip-hop and paired them with the cultural zeitgeist of the Reagan era in a shitty John Wayne impersonation over a beat that was kinda dope for the time to make something like a hit. I mean, we were so starved for rap records and hyped to hear rap music that we listened to that shit on the radio (a lot), and they even made a video for his song because why not?

So next time y’all wanna talk sporty about Lil Thug Gun Yachty Killa McDollas, remember that we had the Rappin’ Duke, and he’s prolly somewhere right now counting that da-hah money.


Jheri Curls

You don’t gotta raise your hand or nothing, but just blink twice if you either had a Jheri curl or you wanted a Jheri curl but your parents were some hatin’-ass haters who wouldn’t let you be great with a Jheri curl.


Black people have survived a lot, from slavery to Reconstruction to Jim Crow to the civil rights movement—but there’s never been any singular force as pernicious and divisive to our community as the Jheri curl. I mean, a good curl was a luxurious ghetto waterfall of oily tresses that bounced hither and yon to the beat of “Set It Off” whilst glistening regally across a roller-skating rink. A bad curl, though—that shit looked like a cotton ball that got dragged through half a plate of egg foo yong gravy and dropped on a barbershop floor. And really, there was no middle ground.

You either looked like Stoney Jackson on 227 or Marsha Warfield on Night Court: a definitive line between “hell yeah” and “aw shit” that sat affixed to your scalp.


There is no person in the pantheon of modern black excellence who isn’t probably two degrees separated from a Jheri curl (*cough, cough* Oprah Winfrey had one, dawg *cough, cough*), and someone you know and/or love(d) probably rocked that greasy mop in the midst of mentoring you to your current level of greatness.

I’ve yet to visit the Blacksonian in person, but if I get there and there isn’t at least one corner of one exhibit dedicated to the drip-drip chemicals and shower caps in all their glory, I’ll personally feel like we’ve been robbed of a significant and relevant part of our collective heritage.