By Grant Logsdon
I’ve been so focused on what’s happening in the world, I never took a step back to explain my column title. I chose This Is How I Roll because I roll through life in a wheelchair. I know I’m in a wheelchair, but I don’t focus on the chair. My wheels are my wheels to freedom— I’m not confined. I’m focused on my gifts and talents, living my life each and every day. For inquiring minds that might think they need to know: I have cerebral palsy. I have never been able to walk.
Now, let’s get to know me better by talking music. I love all types of different music, but my very favorite is hip hop. I know that hip hop artists, as well as the community, get a bad rap. But before you shake your head in disapproval and turn off the computer, let me tell you why it’s my favorite.
The hip hop community locally and nationally have been open-minded to me and embraced me. I’m more accepted in the hip hop community than in my own community. If I’m at a dance, or present in the rap community, it isn’t questioned. There are no social barriers, or if there are, they are well hidden. While many don’t consider hip hop real music, I can relate to the stories and the struggles in the songs.
I’ve listened to different hip hop stations throughout the US, and have attended concerts in many different cities. I’ve rolled the streets of New York City late at night with new found friends after an Alicia Keys benefit, without worrying about my safety.
I volunteered for Obama’s campaign in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. The night before the first election, I got a call asking me to attend a rally at Xavier University on Election Day. When I got there I was able to meet Beyoncé, Jay Z, Mary J Blige and several other artists. Each artist spent time with me one-on-one. I never expected to meet them and was impressed with how down to earth and gracious they were. Jay Z and I talked about business ventures; he’s a savvy businessman with real concrete ideas. While most people listen to hip hop they can’t see the business side I was able to see by talking to him. When I first got interested in hip hop I didn’t realize how the business side and music came together, but let me tell you, these guys and ladies are business people.
Another savvy businessman is Snoop Dogg. I’ve met Snoop two times. The last time I talked to him, we talked about business ideas too, and he related those ideas to his video of money raining down! Everyone talks about Snoop and weed, but there’s more to him than that. The Snoop I know is a Christian. When he put his hands on me, there was a calming energy that only comes from above.
While I haven’t met him yet, Lil Wayne is my favorite. I’ve traveled to three states for his concerts and never been disappointed. At one location, he was ill and still performed a terrific show. He’s someone that doesn’t give up or give in to illness. His live shows have jazz and rhythm and blues influences, not just rap music. He has a photogenic memory, not writing out lyrics, using memory only.
I hope this lets you know me a little better. Hope the chair and the hip hop didn’t scare you away. Until next time, This Is How I Roll.