Last Friday, after a long, stressful work week, my fiancé Jamie and I decided to head to Urban Roots, one of our favorite places to chill, to listen to our favorite artists, Adam & Kizzie. Any live show featuring Adam & Kizzie is sure to be enjoyable. Their intimate renditions of songs from their album, The Book of EEDO Vol. I, are always unique in person, never boring or repetitive, even if you’ve listened to the album a thousand times, as I’m pretty certain we have. On top of that, though, you get all kinds of unexpected musical treats live. Can somebody say Maze? Can somebody say #EEDO?
Jamie was seeing the new Urban Roots for the first time, and she was duly impressed with the enhancements, but she was certainly no stranger to the establishment. She and I actually first met each other in person at Urban Roots. Our first date after that initial meeting was also at Urban Roots. The first time she heard me recite poetry, it was also at Urban Roots. I have been to Urban Roots numerous times myself. On this night, however, I had an epiphany. Suddenly it dawned on me why I was so drawn to the establishment. The place is great, but it is the people that make the Urban Roots experience what it is.
While mulling this revelation, I suddenly recalled a movie I saw a few years ago called “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” The premise of the film, as I vaguely recall it, was that in heaven a person would meet five different people whom the person previously knew on earth, but the people would not look the same as they did while on earth. Or something like that. Suddenly, an idea was born: I typically encountered people at Urban Roots whom I had met before or at least knew of from elsewhere. Somehow, however, meeting and interacting with them in this magical establishment added a new dimension to my perception of them, a byproduct of the intimate setting, the historical quality of the Deep Deuce location, and the transparency that comes along with rubbing elbows with otherwise larger-than-life personalities in an environment that places everyone on the same plane. Urban Roots isn’t heaven, but it is certainly a slice of it on earth at times, thanks to the people you meet while there.
Urban Roots is such an intimate setting that meeting and having meaningful interaction with five separate people might be a stretch for some mildly introverted people like myself. Hence, I present The Four People You Meet at Urban Roots, The Brian C. Scott Last Friday Edition.
Person #1: Josh Norman
My Previous Interaction/Perception: I knew of Josh from his storied football playing days at OU, and I was aware of his production work for artists such as Adam & Kizzie. I had seen him at events in the past, but just never had a chance to speak to him. I had wanted to meet Josh personally for a while, and I knew I would at some point, but I didn’t want to come off as the typical sports fan groupie (that is so not cool in my opinion), so I decided I would chill and let the opportunity come to me whenever it happened to come about.
My Urban Roots Encounter: While Jamie and I were standing and waiting for a table to become available, Josh emerged from the main dining area where he had been seated. Someone stopped him and he briefly engaged in conversation, then he came and stood directly in front of me and introduced himself. I always thought our meeting would be the other way around, but no, the opportunity literally came to me. Josh was aware of Culturocity and commended me on my writing. He also congratulated us on our engagement, which took place at Othello’s a few weeks earlier. Josh had been present that night, also at an Adam & Kizzie performance. After our dialogue, he turned around and went back to his table. Yes, he had gotten up from his seat to come and meet little ol’ me. I was beyond humbled to learn that Josh Norman seemed to be just as aware of me as I was of him. That was a cool moment. Despite his success, he is the picture of humility and graciousness. That is a rarity among both former athletes and music industry professionals; it is even more of a rarity considering that Josh is both. The world needs more Josh Normans.
Person #2: Ronald D. Jordan II
My Previous Interaction/Perception: I first saw Mr. Jordan at Urban roots in December for A Christmas in Harlem. He was introduced that night as the proprietor of Knotted Bow Ties, a sponsor of that event. Last month, on the day of the Poteet Theatre Awards, for which I was nominated for an award, I contacted Ronald through David Threatt and told him I was in urgent need of a bowtie. Ronald sent me images of sample styles and fabrics for me to choose from. I chose a basic black Diamond Kut bowtie. In less than two hours, I received a text message informing me that my tie was ready. I met Ronald in the Crossroads Mall parking lot of all places. He delivered my tie, gave me a lesson in how to tie it properly, then offered me a seat on the passenger side of his vehicle to practice a couple more times. He even directed me to a YouTube video to set me straight. The tie was fresh. The connection was priceless.
My Urban Roots Encounter: Ronald walked in, scouting a location for he and his Queen to sit. While waiting for a table to be prepared, we had a brief exchange about how businesses grow and prosper when we support one another, and not the other way around, as many seem to think. We also discussed the particulars of a bowtie I’m going to need to get real soon for an upcoming private event that is happening shortly. When Mrs. Jordan entered, Ronald introduced us. I introduced Jamie, although she had previously met Ronald, and we chopped it up for a bit more. I learned of his profession and interests outside of his thriving bowtie business, and got an even greater glimpse of the family man and upstanding dude that he is. Then we both seemed to take a cue from the Adam & Kizzie vibe in the air, and settled in at our respective tables, tabling our convo for later to focus our attention exclusively on our Queens. Grown man stuff. I learned that Ronald Jordan is a multidimensional individual who is more than just the bowtie guy. He do be rockin’ dem bowties doe. The world needs more Ronald Jordans.
Person #3: Marcellus Coleman
My Previous Interaction/Perception: I had seen Marcellus at a couple of Adam & Kizzie’s prior shows. Jamie and I both initially thought he was Adam’s little brother. He looked quiet and quirky at first. Then he took the mic at intermission and went into Deacon at Offering Time mode. Quirky, yes. Quiet, no. This young fella is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm. We had already witnessed that prior to our Urban Roots experience.
My Urban Roots Encounter: Marcellus told us on a couple of occasions that he loved us as we were just standing around. He was all “I just love yall.” Well, we just couldn’t help ourselves. We told Adam’s little brother we love him too. We hugged him, dapped him up, made corny remarks about his wicker cogic offering basket that he was using to conduct a drawing for free Adam & Kizzie stuff. He took it all in stride. Before we realized it, he was our little brother too. Marcellus proved that his prior flashes of loquaciousness were no flukes. What I found amazing is that Marcellus can just be standing there one minute, or one hour, smiling, offering an occasional hand gesture in response to being moved by Kizzie’s singing or Adam’s playing, looking like your very cool, very mildly special cousin Ed. That is not to imply he is idle. He is far from idle. He’s just attentive. There’s a huge difference. Idle is doing nothing. attentive is looking for what needs to be done, ready to jump on it. Marcellus is the latter. Then the next thing you know, when the pair are on a brief respite in order to regroup before performing another set, Marcellus can go from zero to Bishop Coleman in no time flat. He is a ball of fire. If Marcellus is in the vicinity, somebody is probably going to be buying something or giving something, and loving it. Adam & Kizzie are such non-self-promoters that I believe Baby Jesus sent Marcellus just for them. He is priceless. Every serious artist in the world needs a Marcellus. The world could use more Marcellus Colemans too.
Person #4: Mike Fletcher
My Previous Interaction/Perception: Mike is the patriarch of Team Fletcher and the husband of Urban Roots proprietor Chaya Fletcher. Pretty much every time I go to Urban Roots, I see Mike. The first time I ever came to Urban Roots last September, Mike was the first person I saw. Mike is usually very quiet, and usually on the move, doing whatever needs to be done. Mike and Chaya seem very similar in some ways. they are both friendly and they will both smile and talk to you, but they ain’t gon be all grinning for no reason, laughing when nothing’s funny, or scratching when nothing itches. There’s a growing cadre of writers rising up within the Urban roots movement, and we all continually make the same observation: These two are the real deal. They are both usually working, and even when they’re not saying a lot, they have their eyes on the ball. I’m a recovering old school Pentecostal church boy, and anytime I encounter a husband and wife, I instinctively try to engage the husband in conversation as much as I do the wife. For that reason, whenever I speak to Chaya, if Mike’s anywhere near, I make sure I speak to Mike too. Whelp, now that I got a woman, I can kind of relax on the who-did-I-speak-to routine a little bit. It says so in the Pentecostal handbook that I keep in my mind. Jamie makes my Urban roots experience a thousand times better. Heck, she makes my life better for that matter. One of a plethora of benefits of having her in my life is that I’m more chill than ever in social settings. Anyhoo, I digress…
My Urban Roots Encounter: On this night, Mike was downright loquacious. He was no Marcellus, of course, but then that wouldn’t be Mike. Mike was still Mike. I introduced him to Jamie when we arrived. He politely introduced himself to her as Michael. He invited us to enjoy ourselves as usual. And we did, thoroughly. At first I thought Mike seemed more relaxed on this night, but then I realized that I was the one who was more relaxed. I am learning that I get the kind of energy that I give (“message”, in my Keenan Ivory Wayans Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood voice), and I am learning to embrace the moment and give the kind of energy I want to receive. Upon the conclusion of Adam & Kizzie’s final set, Kizzie was sitting at the bar, cutting into a tender, beautiful piece of meat from the Urban Roots kitchen. Mike was sitting to her right, in a rare moment of brief relaxation off of his feet. I sidled up to the bar, vicariously eating Kizzie’s meat off her plate in my mind, even though I’m a vegetarian. I told Mike I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and we genuinely chopped it up for a bit. I told him I was a vegetarian, and we actually had a discussion, initiated by him, about him having the ability to have something vegetarian whipped up in the kitchen. I let him know that I thoroughly enjoyed my roasted beet salad, and my chicken and waffles, minus the chicken of course. After a bit, the conversation came to a very chill, very non-awkward ending. Then Jamie and I said goodnight and headed home. That was our Friday night Urban Roots experience. The world needs more Mike Fletchers. Peace.