Saturday, February 13th, 2010
“I came up in Philadelphia. I like that town, it really is the City of Brotherly Love. As kid, my family was not interested in what I was doing. When you are young, you can’t say or do anything about that, but as soon as I was old enough to walk away, I did. I was about sixteen when I left home. After that, I went traveling and saw some crazy stuff: Ku Klux Klan members in South Carolina and go-go girls in New Jersey.
“I spent most of my time in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Then, I came to D.C. about 20 years ago. I got tired of people with gold in their mouth in Baltimore. In Philadelphia, they were too busy. In New York, everyone seemed to think they had it all. D.C. has that executive look, you know the monkey suit with the briefcase. That drew me in here because I am a dresser. I wear clothes that make people come to me. The inclination is to keep Hollywood on your mind. I want you to say, ‘I got to see him again.’ I always look ‘sugar sharp’ as they say in Detroit. I would be unrecognizable if I put on a regular costume like everyone else. But you can see me from a distance. They know me all over the city. When people see me they go home and change their clothes and say, ‘Damn, did you see what Hollywood had on? What we got on ain’t gonna work!’ See, I’m in the position to have no competition.
“For me, life is about understanding the circumstances of where you’re at. I wouldn’t live with a bear knowing that bear could attack me at any time. I wouldn’t try to fight a shark. I don’t need to prove things to people. You gotta be real in life. I’m real about what I do. You can wake me up at 2 a.m. and I’m gonna tell you the same thing I’m telling you now. You can’t catch me in a lie because I don’t know how to lie. Progress comes when people don’t lie to each other and are real.
“Last thing I want to say is that I wish black people would stick together. Other nationalities do it consistently no matter what the issue is. I’m sorry that we have to get so much money from the government and we still don’t stick together. If I had money and was in charge, everybody would eat, have a place to sleep and have jobs. I’d be like Leon Sullivan and help black people learn trades. I guess my problem is that I help too many people. That’s why I don’t get a woman or a horse or a cow. You can’t get anything when you’re a good guy. Because of that, I stick to myself. I eat by myself. I drink by myself. That is the safest way for me to live.”
Adam Ross and I conducted this interview.