Sean P. Diddy Combs Pre-Grammys Award Concert
In May 2013, Jaraee “Ray” Bryant graduated Ramapo College of New Jersey with a BA in Music. In 2016, Ray enrolled in William Paterson’s University MBA Program with a concentration in Music Management. Upon graduation, Ray plans to pursue a career in the music industry.
The Saga Continues..
It was September 11, 2001. I was sitting at my desk in my seventh-grade history class taking notes from the board as my teacher taught his lesson on WWI. Shortly after he began his teaching, he was interrupted by a knock from the teacher next door. It was something about this knock at the door that was different from any other knock. My teacher exited the class into the hallway where he was met by all his other peers and colleagues on the floor.
He walked back into the classroom and said: “Students, I’m going to need all of you to take your chairs and head into Ms. Cooper’s class.” So, I picked up my chair and carried it into Ms. Cooper class as I watched my teacher roll the tv cart into a classroom nearby.
The entire floor was combined by grade level and divided into a few classrooms. The teachers huddled around the tv screen in complete silence. A gasp of air cut through the silence followed by the sounds of weeping.
The Vice Principal started calling students to the office. It was happening so frequently we all began to shout, “What’s going on?” One kid yelled, “There’s smoke in the sky.” “The United States is under attack,” stated Ms. Cooper.
I was just a young child in the stage of early adolescence. I was naive to most things around me; my life was just rainbows, boy bands and a dash of Scary Spice. I didn’t know the first thing about terrorism or terrorist, in fact, the only time I heard the word terror was when I was watching Are you afraid of the Dark? on Teen Nick.
The next couple of weeks caused a division amongst the school. I felt like I was experiencing a modern day witch hunt, the students were agonizing other students of middle eastern descent and blaming them for the attack on the twin towers. What was going on? It was just yesterday that we were all going bowling together now we were divided by something that we didn’t cause.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I was told that there would be a division in my own home. My parents told my siblings and I that they were parting ways and getting a divorce. My mom separated from my dad and moved her and her children to the inner city. I did not fit in at all. I was African American with platform Skechers, bell bottom pants, a choker necklace, and two hair buns.However, I tried my best to engage with the other children from the streets of uptown, but I still had to experience the hazing.
One day, while I was walking down the road, a younger boy from my block tried to push me into a moving car. Yes, a moving car! Luckily, I only hit the pavement and not the car. All the kids gather around us yelling “Fight! Fight!” When I got up, I swung my fist at him with all my might. Afterward, I remember being so angry, which was a combination of multiple things: the events that took place in school after the September 11th attacks, my parents separating and not fitting in my new city. Next, I felt my fist hit his face, and he began to cry. His grandmother ran outside yelling “Get away from my grandchild.” I took a seat on his stoop and said: “We ain’t going nowhere!” Then someone began to sing the lyrics to Bad Boy for Life. Then we all joined in:
“We ain’t, go-in nowhere, we ain’t, goin nowhere
We can’t be stopped now, cause it’s Bad Boy for life
We ain’t, go-in nowhere, we ain’t, goin nowhere
We can’t be stopped now, cause it’s Bad Boy for life.”
As I shouted the words to words to the song, I felt empowered. It was just the words that I needed to hear during a troubling time. “We ain’t, goin nowhere. We can’t be stopped now.” I thought to myself, my country will not go anywhere, my family will not go anywhere and the person I am will remain here. This song helped me break through a rough time in my life and is one of my favorite songs created by my favorite producer/songwriting/music mogul Sean P. Diddy Combs.
Music Mogul Sean “P. Diddy Combs”
All 2001, Diddy kept releasing hit after hit from his album The Saga Continues such as ‘Let’s Get It’- G Dep ft. Black Rob, ‘Diddy’- P. Diddy, and “Can’t Believe’- Faith Evans and Carl Thomas. This album became the soundtrack to my life for years.
Until later, the soundtrack of my life transitioned from The Saga Continues to Bad Boy 20th Anniversary Box Set Edition when Diddy released this collection on August 12, 2016. The box collection was a celebration of 20 years in the music industry. It consists of 80 songs on five CDs and 64-page historiography. The artist included The Notorious B.I.G., Craig Mack, Faith Evans, Total, Carl Thomas, Mase, 112, The Lox, Cassie, Janelle Monáe, Danity Kane, Machine Gun Kelly, French Montana and many others. This collection played a role in 2016 to present that The Saga Continues played in 2001. I carry this album with me everywhere (digitally on Apple music) and listen to it several times a week. The music in this collection will follow me everywhere from my weekly commutes to work and on road trips. Maybe, one day this music will be accompanied by wedding bells. Who knows? My saga continues..