'I write because there is a voice within me that will not be still' Sylvia Plath
Rap Video Vixen
Africa Booker is knocking on 40, but she looks like she's still in her early 20s.
Constantly compared to her sister, Egypt, Africa has long felt that she was living with a dark cloud over her head. Not that her parents treat her bad, but whenever she missed the mark, the disappointment in their eyes hit her in her core more so than the audible teasing and snarky comments by any one else.
Her parenting left something to be desired ...
Her spending habits were labeled as atrocious ...
She'd wrecked more than one car ...
She'd lost a house to foreclosure ...
And while it was a good feeling when she received financial handouts from her parents, it also made her feel like a teenager waiting for a weekly allowance.
On the other hand, Egypt had started a comic book store when business trends said to do other wise. And darned if she didn't become a huge, successful business woman. And although she was wasn't perfect when it came to relationships, all of the rest made up for those shortcomings.
Africa was sick and tired of feeling like the black sheep of the family; her younger siblings even doing marginally better than her.. And she decided that she had to do something drastic to break out of this hum drum/ mediocre hamster wheel that was her melancholy life. So with tears in her eyes, she packed a couple of bags, left her children behind and decided to strike out on her own. And she knew exactly where she was headed.
Mo' Hits Records.
They'd relocated from Chicago to Kramertown -- five hours away from everyone that she knew and loved. And if she could sway someone into taking her seriously enough to give her a job, she could make a brand new start. And once she changed her fortune for the best, then she could send for her kids and no one would be the wiser. At least that's the plan that she had formulated on the spreadsheet of her mind. And it looked more than feasible to her in her mind's eye.
The key to making this work was finding a place to live. Tapping completely into single woman mode, she put her kids and siblings and parents completely out of her mind. She had to act as if they did not exist. That was the only way that she would be able to pull this off. Conditioning her mind to believe that she was alone in the world and no mission other than to survive.
Surviving meant sleeping on park benches after the long ride into town. It meant meant dozing off in 24 hour restaurants or hanging out inside of the pavilion of the casino for as long as she could before security realized that she wasn't actually gambling.
She had a friend from the old neighborhood that was now a Dorm Director at Kramer College. She was good for a few nights on a borrowed couch, until Africa entered into an affair with the young lady's husband and got caught -- literally -- with her pants down.
Thankfully she'd made friends with some of the girls on campus and was able to go from room to room to sleep on someone's floor. This lasted a few weeks, until her ex friend, the dorm director reported her to campus security and she was kicked out on her behind. But thanks to the kindness of the husband -- who slipped her some money ahead of security arriving -- Africa was able to get a motel room. About four nights worth of lodging. Which meant that she had to secure a job quick, fast and in a hurry.
She had to infiltrate the ranks of Mo' Hits Records. The easiest and most lucrative way, possibly as a video girl. Because if she could get on even as an extra, it could be the start of something big. Otherwise, she needed to find something menial and work her way up to something bigger.
The initial process meant sneaking into a room with a bunch of starry eyed, untalented women. Pretending as if she belonged in order to dance hard enough, sexy enough even to be considered for a music video where she might not even get any camera time.
Three open calls proved unsuccessful. The most attention she received being kind words from the star of the video, encouraging her to try again for his next video in a month or so. That and members of his entourage trying to get her phone number. But she wasn't interested in dating a bunch of nobodies and scrubs. She could do that back at home. In fact, she'd done that to death and was over such behavior. No. From now on, if it wasn't someone who could change her life for the better, they would get none of her time.
A twist of fate came in the form of a night receptionist named Yancy.
The two got to talking on the elevator one day and struck up a friendship.
Yancy was a single mother trying to rise up in the ranks at the label and related to what Africa was going through. So she took it upon herself to keep Africa aware of opportunities to audition for various projects and even went so far as to get her put on the guest list for a few events. Which eventually led to Africa catching the eye of producer extraordinaire, Chris Stephens.
Truthfully, besides being attracted to her at first glance, the only reason why Stephens took an extended amount of interest was because Africa name dropped her aunt, Tara Scott, a talented producer he'd worked with in the past. Then she mentioned how she was struggling to make it in a new city with no job prospects.
Chris was curious. He didn't know much about Tara's extended family, but he did know a few general tidbits.
He knew that Africa's father owned a popular Christian lifestyle magazine and that her mother owned a successful hair salon. Tara was a celebrated musician and producer with many accolades. And there was another niece who owned a bookstore that he ordered from online. So the fact that Africa was away from home and not using any of her resources piqued his interest. Meaning that before he helped her out, he wanted to get an idea of who exactly he was dealing with.
He took Africa's number, but held on to it for a few days while he investigated her; contacting friends and friends of friends back home in Calumet County. And he was able to get the tea on the young lady. Fascinated as well as repulsed by the fact that she'd left her kids behind to try and become a star. Mostly repulsed by the fact that her family members had no clue where she was.
He'd help her ... But he was going to make a game out of it.
Son of The Real Pied Piper
Charlton Stephens goes from being his dad's hype man to an established rapper in his own right
Some thought that it was about growth; that the young man was finally stepping into his own destiny and not trying to ride his father's coattails anymore. But there was a little more to the story.
There was the part where his father had bedded a woman that he was attempting to get serious with. A woman that he'd actually considered giving a ring to. Realizing that she'd only cozied up to him in an effort to get close to his famous dad. But he swore to himself that he would never make that mistake again. Never let a woman get so close to his heart ever again. Not when there were so many groupies willing to throw themselves at him at any given time, on any given Sunday.
He reflected on all of this as he worked in a private studio working on his first Cd and without his father's input who'd been putting him off for years about recording. Also using producers that weren't associated with his dad. This would completely be his baby and he was going to will it into a success.
As he mixed a song on the board, the artist he'd discovered recently was putting her hand down his pants and grabbing his junk. Pretending not to be affected by what she was doing, but she knew better.
He smirked as he thought about the night they met. Realizing that some chicks were willing to do anything to get backstage. Willing to "do" one man and then the next to get to the artist; fully aware that getting with an artist could make her famous by default. Knowing that sometimes whether or not you screw determines whether you stay employed or predestines how far you get in the industry.
That was how it usually worked. That was definitely how it worked with his father. But this young lady was different. She'd stepped to him with confidence and bypassed any of his boys that had tried to "holler" at her.
He'd been working with her for several months and hadn't touched her until he was sure that he had a sure fire talent on his hands. He honestly wanted to see her be a star. And when he had three strong songs in the can, then and only then did he give in to her loving glances and gentle strokes of his hand.
He said that he wouldn't fall for anyone again.
At the same time, as they began screwing left and right and spending huge amounts of time outside of the studio, he realized that she was truly in love with him. And it had nothing to do with his father or him being the son of Chris Stephens. She had "forever" in her eyes. But he was scared to promise her that.
Leroi Wagner Tatum.
I'm the tester.
You want him, you have to go through me first
That's how it is with the the boss. And whether or not Charlston wants to admit it, that's how he ended up with the chick that he fell in love with, that ended up with his father.
She wanted Chris from jump I believe. But she settled for the son and ended up staying with him for a while, biding her time until she could get on and stay on Chris' radar. Then when the opportunity arose, she pounced. And that's the truth Ruth.
Me and Chris went back to college days. He used to run that campus. And me, well, I couldn't buy a date. Every date I had was due to him hooking me up with his castoffs or chicks waiting in line for his attention. But beggars can't be choosers, because I know for fact that he instructed them to give me that "girlfriend experience"; that I should never feel like they didn't want to be with me. And they did exactly what he wanted. What he promised them? I don't know. I don't care. Either they eventually moved on to him and he dumped them later or they got tired of waiting and ended our "relationship". Though there were a couple who stayed with me until I pushed them away by cheating.
I couldn't control it. Not when Chris Stephens was my supplier. Every chick prettier and sexier than the last. But if I had resisted, maybe I would be more than a high paid flunky who ran ol' boy's errands and previewed his coming attractions.
The R&B Artist
Chris Stephens was my boss. And the reason why he didn't pay attention to Charleston was because he was too busy mentoring me.
I felt bad about it, but it was every man for himself in this business. And it wasn't my fault that he treated his kids like crap. At least he was taking an interest in me. And I wasn't about to turn a blind eye to that. My family had to eat too. I had to feed my family. Charlston would be just fine. He was the one born into family with moguls.
You'd think that I was Chris Stephen's son though, the way he doted on me. But what I was to him was the biggest money maker on his label next to him. Someone who's music was popular and sold extremely well. So of course he was going to do whatever it took to keep me happy. But I must admit, I'd picked up some of his bad habits as well.
For instance, chicks were coming up to me all of the time asking for autographs, but also trying to get me to notice them. The thing was, I wasn't hurting for company, so I'd been known to give an especially "thirsty" chick to my friend. I'd tell her that she needed to deal with him first and that I'd be back later ... Sometimes I'd come back. Most times I wouldn't.
Sex fueled my creativity. And admittedly, I couldn't get enough of a variety of it ... I was definitely not cut out to be a one woman man. I'm just being honest. Which was why I moved my main chick out to the boonies while I did what I needed to do in the city. I kept a place in the city and pretended that I can't come home most nights. You know, just be a good little wifey and I'll check back whenever.
I say "wifey" but we weren't legally married. Though we'd been together for around about 13 years, but she didn't have a reason to fight, because I gave her everything. And she believed me when I told her that she's important. Because she is. Just not as important as my music and everything that came with it. But that's how we did it at Mo' Hits Records.
Mo' Hits Forever
© 2022 LaZeric Freeman