By Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Ben Greenman
I loved Questlove's memoir. Great person who's had a pretty incredible life. I learned so much. I don't know too much about hip-hop, so it was a learning experience and I still feel like I need to go & listen to all of the songs he referenced, familiarize myself with them, and then reread the book to get a better understanding of him & the genre. (Though have to say, I'm at least a little familiar; I've seen him DJ twice and The Roots perform once on Jimmy Fallon and had a blast all times.) More excerpts to come, but the one below resonated with me because it reminded me of my dad. We've mostly had a good relationship but we disagree on certain things and he holds grudges. He hasn't been speaking to me for the past six months due to an argument we had (one we've had many times before). It's far too complicated to even begin to explain, but essentially the most recent argument came down to the below. He thinks we owe him because he was a good father, because he stayed with my mom (and us) when he (presumably) did not want to stay with her. Makes no sense to me. I didn't ask to come into this world. I am grateful to my parents, of course. Will always be grateful. They were/are good parents. But I thought it weird he felt we also owed him for doing the things a father should do. And I don't feel I owe him for my own personal accomplishments. Anyway. It's easy to feel sometimes that you're the only person in the world going through something, and it's comforting to realize that someone out there had a similar experience.
"That insecurity spilled over to the way he treated his kids. My sister wanted to act, but she ended up in the family band instead, partly because my father controlled everyone with such a tight grip. I felt it firsthand. After I got my advance for Do You Want More?!!!??!, my father came to me and told me that I owed him. I was confused. "You owe me," he said, "for all those years in private school, all those lessons. I sacrificed for you. I want a cut." I gave him the money, but it broke my mom's heart to see me handing it over. She thought that a father was just supposed to do those things for a child without asking for something in return."