Ahmir Questlove Thompson in New York Magazine:
I'm trying not to internalize these feelings about the Trayvon Martin case and make it about me — but hey, it is what it is, and maybe I'm melodramatic. All I'm consumed with is my positioning in life.
I often tell cute, self-deprecating celebrity run-in stories that end with my own “pie in the face” moment. But rarely do I share stories of a more serious nature, another genre of “pie in the face” moments, mostly because in the age of social media, most people are quick to dismiss my tales as #FirstWorldProblems. But I can't tell you how many times a year I'm in a serious situation, only to hear the magic words “Oh, wait … Questlove?” Hey guys, it's Questlove. “We're so sorry, you can go!” Like, five to seven times a year, a night ending in the words “Thank God for that Afro or we'd never have recognized you” happens to me.
I'm in scenarios all the time in which primitive, exotic-looking me — six-foot-two, 300 pounds, uncivilized Afro, for starters — finds himself in places where people who look like me aren't normally found. I mean, what can I do? I have to be somewhere on Earth, correct? In the beginning — let's say 2002, when the gates of “Hey, Ahmir, would you like to come to [swanky elitist place]?” opened — I'd say “no,” mostly because it's been hammered in my DNA to not “rock the boat,” which means not making “certain people” feel uncomfortable.
I mean, that is a crazy way to live. Seriously, imagine a life in which you think of other people's safety and comfort first, before your own. You're programmed and taught that from the gate. It's like the opposite of entitlement.