Tag Archive: 2001


In September of 2001, many things in my life were new: I was the new Nights (7 p.m. – midnight) man entertaining on a little AM radio station in Nashville, Tennessee. I’d do my show and then off I’d go to check out some local DJs in my new Music City. Mostly, I checked out Liquid Lounge (before it became “Elements”) till about 3 A.M., looking for new club DJ opportunities and then go a short distance from my new downtown, back to my new little two bedroom cottage.

This was still the pre-cell phone era and I only had a land line and cassette tape- based answering machine which I based in my other room, across the hall in my studio room from my bedroom and had an incredibly long cord, which allowed me to be on the “princess” phone all over the house and even out on my little front stoop. I didn’t have my first home computer yet and there were still pay phones everywhere!

So I’d sleep from like 4 a.m. until maybe noon, unless I had some special morning interaction to attend or a gig; such is the life of the second and third shift radio man and many other alternative hour workers.

Then the phone rang around 10 or 11 a.m. I guess, and I heard the machine come on in the other room, and maybe my friend, Monique’s voice say something as I slept – and ignored it. Soon, the phone rang another time and I recognized her voice again! At this point I picked it up and my friend Monique says, “Turn on the TV!” I’m like, “No, I’m sleeping…” or something to that effect. She insisted and then I fumbled around and found the remote to turn it on. What I saw I thought was a movie, in the purple haze of awakening. “Why you want me to watch this movie, Mo?” I must have asked. She said something like, “No! A plane hit the World Trade Center!!” I began to sit up in my bed and just about then, the second plane hit the other tower. Shock. At that moment, I knew that this was no movie.

As I watched the coverage that fateful afternoon, I’d almost forgotten that I had a “show” to do that evening – and the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t want to perform it. – I was bummed to the max! Calling my Mum in on Long Island, I asked could she smell the smoke and she said “Yes.” So I called my Program Director to ask him out of my show that night, but instead of empathy for my feelings, he replied, in, what I’ve learned is typical southern black American ignorance, “Aww man, its just a plane hit a building. G’wan in and do your show!” At that point, my respect for him, being in his position only because he was the station owner’s son, went from like and “eight” to a “one” on a scale of one to ten. How dare he condescend, knowing that my roots are at the base of the World Trad Center and having been in my house where I had a wall-sized poster of them and the whole southern tip of Manhattan above my bed!

Writing this now, I know that the rebel in me wanted to call out, but I think that my inner “Dan Rather” made me go in that evening, but not to do my usual “party” radio show. Instead, I opened-up the phones to my new Nashville local listeners, to let them air their impressions of the day’s attack. Many were initially sort of clueless, to my disappointment, but as my program grew into the evening, I remember that the discussions became more spirited and that many of my listeners knew that I was from there and expressed their empathy to me, if not for the national implications, for me as someone they only met through the radio who identified with New York City. It was the most solem show I remember in my professional radio career – I hardly played any music and we lived for the top of the hour network updates for five hours that night.

Last night, on the cusp of eighteen years later and trying to go to sleep, I wished I could listen to that show; probably taped it on a cassette which is likely in storage with much of my belongings from those days that I cannot get to it because of my poverty, having chosen that radio career path, which has imploded for me like those beloved towers fell.

In closing, I must remind you to carry the message that we have young people in school now who have no recollection of that treacherous attack. So it is super- important that we teach them the magnitude of that day like the Pearl Harbor surprise attack was for the generation of my parents was.

Since 2016 or thereabouts, we as Americans have lost that unity that came about in the wake of those horrific and cowardly attacks. I close by asking you, my dear reader, to help bring back that sense of togetherness-of-purpose-umbrella, which we all gathered under after September 11, 2001.

It’s about TIME!! I scarcely want to believe it; this is a time I want to SEE a dead body on the video that looks like this demon. Not liking to cheer death of any person, but with what he has spewed, this dude  had it coming and we were never going to see a “jury trial”  Guantanamo Bay-style. In Pakistan, eh?  I knew he was ther all the time!!  I remember being on the radio here, having just moved six months prior.  Nobody felt my emotions like I felt the hurt at my beloved twin towers of the World Trade Center (I like architecture, ok?) being violated and imploding to the ground here  like I did.  I was angry at the locals for that; the new people I worked for said tom me, “Oh, It’s just a building…”  Oh yes they DID.

I didn’t even want to do my radio show that night because I wanted to be back home and share the trauma.  Maybe it is good I didn’t breath that air, given my genetic lung makeup, but I wanted to stand with my friends in Manhattan and the boroughs of New York City.  I couldn’t bow-out in the face of such uncaring callousness from my new boss, but I did a trimmed-down show…”The Pajama Bar” was “closed” and I tried to even open-up the phones for callers.  I got some real empathetic ones from a few here in what was then my new southeastern city, not as many as I desired, but it worked long enough for me to fulfill my performance committment and get back to my cribola.

I wrote a poem about those Bin Laden led attacks that I read on the air a few days later.  I cannot find them right now, but the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, which I called for on the radio, will make me try to find them again and post them within this blog.  I remember that I called the Muhammad Atta gang the worst “faggots and cowards”, and a few more choice analogous words, and that I got phone calls about the poems after I read them live. Why didn’t they just step-up and fight us face-to-face?  It was a throw-back to my spontaneous college radio days when, filled with venom and hate for those who held us back because of our skin color, I would launch into poetic tirades in-between the music.  I remember bringing in all of my old anti-war protest jams from thirty years prior in the days to follow, like this one:

 The attacks of September 11, 2001 were a similar affront to the moral cohesiveness of our society at that juncture.  Since then, we have disintegrated into less than all that we can be since those Bin Laden-led attacks, keeping our collective heads in the sand, three monkeys-style, when we hear home-grown hate on the FCC-regulated airwaves.  I hope that now, as we stay vigilant for reprisals (his lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahri is still lurking someplace), that this American society and all the people on this planet Earth can renew its committment to fairness, justice, respect and peaceful coexistence for us all.  Maybe our gasoline prices will drop for a bit now,

And… hopefully we can, as Freda Payne sang, “Bring The Boys HOME”Geez...   

Peace.

OH! P.S. BIGG UPPS to Kooool Ronnie Beee of Atlantic City, NJ for the late Sunday night “SCOOP”!  1 Love.

[you have a standing invitation to COMMENT on this or any of my posts. Thank You.]

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