I’m not a great fan of Hip Hop, but I do appreciate the enchantment of the spoken word. Of late, there’s been a lot of discussion regarding Hip Hop artist, Jay-Z’s latest CD and his interview in Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine. My interest in Jay-Z does not lie in his musical talents, but rather his humble beginnings.
What Jay-Z and I share in common is our former domicile in the Marcy Housing Projects in Brooklyn (although my family relocated the year he was born). Living in a housing project is a transformative experience. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Although my early childhood was spent in a small Long Island town called Amityville, I always acknowledge Brooklyn first. Perhaps because of its sense of community and my surrogate mothers who made me tow the line. Heroin addiction was rampant during my tenure in the Marcy. For Jay-Z’s generation, it was probably crack-cocaine. Yet, through the grace of God and the watchful eyes of my surrogate family, I was not directly affected. Jay-Z was one of the lucky ones. Most men that I grew up with in the Marcy were dead before the age of thirty.
Brooklyn is unique because of its creativity. I can’t offer an explanation. It simply is. Mary Tyler Moore. Barbara Streisand. Judge Judy. Rosie Perez. Spike Lee. Larry King. Chris Rock. Lauren Bacall. I think you get my point. Each one of these celebrities possessed a gift that I’m sure their pregnant moms never dreamed they would have.
I’ve been an obstetrician for almost twenty-two years yet I’m still in awe at the miracle of pregnancy. We never know who is coming but are ecstatic when they finally arrive. Within humble wombs lies the promise of infinite possibilities. Jay-Z was just one of them and they’ll be many more to come.