As a lover of all things Hip Hop, in the true sense of the word, I was definitely looking forward to the release of Puff’s “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story” documentary. The film includes the Bad Boy reunion tour that featured just about every artist of the Bad Boy label over the span of 20 years. With the surge and oversaturation of biopics, it was refreshing to see the struggle and success of Puff in his own words that included the good, the bad and the uncut look into his life.
As one who followed the growth and incomprehensible success of Bad Boy, I was on the edge of my seat watching as each artist reunited after 16 years. For me, seeing the group Total come together for the first time in that amount of years was definitely a highlight. To see how much everyone has grown personally and spiritually was inspiring! Puff gives the viewer a full view of 20 years worth of hardcore and relentless hunger for success in a little under an hour and a half! To watch him sit with each of his artists to clear up any lingering animosity was truly a side we don’t get to see of him that I appreciated. He did a lot of conflict resolution, especially between Lil’ Kim and Faith Evans. That was one of the most beautiful moments.
Puff described his childhood, including the moment that sparked his hunger for success and the decision he made to himself to have more and be more than he was at that moment.
Although 97% of the Bad Boy family was present in preparation for the reunion tour, there was the exception of Craig Mack who turned his life over to religion and declined to join the tour. It was the same with Shyne, after he served his 6 year prison sentence. I did appreciate the fact that we were able to listen in to the conversation between Craig Mack and a member of the Bad Boy management when he was attempting to get Mack to change his mind. We were also given a glimpse of Shyne in his religious garb praying.
The most obvious void was that of Notorious B.I.G. who was beautifully honored throughout the entire documentary. Various artist narrated aspects of Biggie’s life and his impact on Bad Boy and Hip Hop in general. I absolutely enjoyed viewing the never-before-unseen footage of BIG.
Aspects of what took place between BIG and Tupac that spiraled into a coast to coast feud was respectfully placed within the documentary, with Puff and others detailing their account of how it all happened. Lil’ Cease and members of Total also recounted the moments leading up to BIG’s murder. Carl Thomas described what seeing Puff a couple of weeks after the funeral was like. He described how he looked into his eyes and saw nothing, like no one was there. Simultaneously, footage of Puff sitting in a chair staring into the space in front of him was shown. It was one of the heaviest moments of the documentary, but it was the realist and most vulnerable views I’ve ever seen of him.
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop gives the viewer the intimate moments of Puff’s life as well as how he critiques himself as an artist and business owner. It shares his view about what he described as “Black excellence”. We are given “a day in the life of” Sean Combs, the Bad Boy family and how they prepare for a tour of this magnitude. It was as if I were watching the Hip Hop version of “This Is It” with Michael Jackson. One of Puff’s desires is that he sought to help make everyone around him the best version of themselves as artists and people.
Artists such as Jay Z and Nas are featured describing their first impressions of Puff early in his career. Lauriean Gibson, who initially started as one of Puff’s dancers/choreographers, is now his creative director and narrated what he and the brand Bad Boy have meant to her and her career.
If you’re a true fan of Hip Hop and Bad Boy, you will find yourself time traveling throughout the 20 + years of their journey. Major congrats to P. Diddy and the whole Bad Boy family for giving us “another one” *in my Biggie voice*!
If you haven’t seen Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, be sure to check it out! It is available to view on iTunes! Click below to watch the trailer.
Originally published 10.10.10
Where would we be without prayer?
Prayer is obligatory in Islam and the five daily prayers keep us focused on God and help us to maintain an attitude of gratitude for His unceasing blessings.
The words of Qur’an read “Surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil; and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest (force) and Allah knows what you do.” (Surah 29:45)
When I first became a Muslim, many of my peers questioned why we had to pray five times a day when they firmly believed that one time in the morning was good enough for the entire day.
My response was that we are all sinful and can be easily drawn into the gravitational pull of that which is ungodly, so continuous prayer helps to create a spiritual force field around us.
As often as we sin we must turn to Him in prayer to seek His mercy. Daily we’re being bombarded at work, home, and school with things that cause us to drift back into a state of unrighteousness, making us act other than our true selves. Our flaws master us instead of us mastering them. Our true self is the essence of God Himself so we have the innate ability to reflect Him but this world is contrary to His Ways.
We need prayer for spiritual refreshment. Many eat more meals per day than they pray but God is He who created all of the good foods that we partake of daily.
Isn’t God worthy of worship? You and I did not create all that is in the universe–He did. We are not responsible for the Sun that shines or even the atmosphere for us to breathe. We owe our very lives to Him. What is so important that we’re doing throughout the day that we can’t stop and give praise to the Originator? Are we really that busy?
Prayer unleashes inner powers. Prayer places us in the right state of mind to rise above emotions. Prayer activates our God-given abilities to be great yet reroute all of the praise to Him. Prayer gives us that strength necessary to endure the trials that we face in our lives because we know that God will not place on us a burden beyond our scope.
This is why I ask daily on my Twitter account, “Why pray for a lighter load, when you have an opportunity to develop a stronger back?”
As Believers in God, should we be on our knees pleading with Him to lighten our load? Should we be crying out to Him to not take us through difficulties?
I think not.
Struggle is ordained by Him to make manifest who we are. Trials purify us and give us an internal microscopic look at who we are beyond the fine suits and nice dresses.
The “good news” is that man was created to meet and overcome all obstacles in his path. God wants to help us develop a stronger back and stronger legs in the midst of seemingly hopeless moments.
We really don’t know who we are until we are tried.
One of the greatest examples of this can be found in the near death experience of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in 1999. He was three minutes from death at Howard University hospital. God blessed him and brought him back from that experience.
Interestingly when he returned to his farmland from the hospital, his daughter and nurse, Fatimah Farrakhan, shared with him words that he was uttering on his deathbed while in a state of unconsciousness.
According to Minister Farrakhan, “She said I was thanking God for the excruciating pain that I was under. I was thanking Him for whatever He brought into my life. I was thanking Him for allowing me that time that He gave me to behold the majesty of His creation. I never asked Him to allow me to live. I just thanked Him for giving me life; and if it was my time, I thanked Him for just allowing me the time that He gave me.”
That is a testament to the power of prayer and an intimate relationship with your God.
There is quote that says “Seven days without prayer makes one weak.”
Why do you pray?
Credits: Malcolm X photo by Richard Saunders; Obama photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images