After September 11th, maybe it was days or a couple weeks, I can’t quite remember, I went out one night to a Black Eyed Peas show in the city at S.O.B.’s. This was pre-Fergie, when the group was still considered hip-hop. I wasn’t too familiar with their music, but I went because it was my first month of college and I didn’t really have any friends and a girl on my floor who also liked hip-hop looked liked maybe she could be my friend down the road (never happened). I think the weather was pretty cool that night and I remember it being very dark.
The city was a strange, strange place at that time. It was so quiet. Strangely quiet, and obviously sad, and very unsure of itself. I don’t remember much of the show. It was the kind of show where you don’t know most of the songs by heart, so you can’t get that into it. The one or two songs I did know, I was happy about. Towards the end, Will.i.am stopped the show. He acknowledged September 11th and wanted to have a moment of non-silence. I can’t remember his exact phrase, but basically a minute or so to create the opposite of silence. On his mark, he encouraged us to make as much noise and energy as possible. Clap, scream, shout, whatever. I had never heard or thought of anything like it and I wasn’t sure if I was really going to participate.
Once it started, it was a beautiful commotion. Music blaring, drums pounding, everything and everyone in the room at full volume making maximum noise together. I rarely think of that night but was reminded of it today on this day of bloggers’ silence for Japan.
I respect the movement wholeheartedly and believe we should all think of, remember and mourn for all the people lost and those that continue to suffer.
But standing in that crowd that night. That noise. After so much pain and sadness and loss, it was like nothing else. The screaming. It was a release. It was all the chaos and confusion, fear and feelings that felt impossible to articulate, flowing out, vibrating in the air. We were shouting, crying out, we’re still here. We’re still alive and you live on because we will never forget you.