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Friends, Meet Nyle

July 8, 2009

Yo, isn’t it a fabulous feeling when one day you discover that a friend of yours has been…discovered? :D

Nyle Emerson and I met in the sweltering summer of 2006 while we were both volunteering for the Common Ground Collective in Post-Katrina New Orleans.  There was an open mic night for the CG folks, and when Nyle got up to do his thing, he asked for a “beautiful, willing female from the audience,” or something like that, to come up and kind of adorn his performance.  Ha! So when no one else volunteered, guess who stood up?

But just to put my own silly twist on things, the whole time Nyle was rap-serenading me, I just kept giving him all these stank looks…haha!  I can still picture it.  But of course his skills were solid and he’s a great guy in general, so we all just had a sense of humor and laughed about it.  (Nyle might not recall any of this, but Henry Mills was backing him up on guitar at the time so I have a corroborating witness! hehe.)  Afterward, Nyle performed a beautiful piece, “Baby Please Don’t Go,” about the reluctance among his family and community when he decided to come to New Orleans to volunteer and witness.  Wasn’t exactly among the safest places for a young black man, you understand.

Over a year later, Nyle was in the Boston area and came to kick it with me at school for an evening — a lovely visit.  And since it happened to coincide with one of the Harvard Spoken Word Society’s open mic nights, I had another opportunity to hear Nyle’s wonderful piece about New Orleans.

Anyway, enough about me and Nyle.  Let’s talk about NYLE and Nyle.  Apparently, dude was discovered by Kanye West — who posted his marvelous video, above, on his blog.  (Besides being dope to watch, it was filmed in one take, and the audio was recorded simultaneously with the video.  Um…awesome.) Next thing you know, Nyle is appearing on MTV.  And what I love most about all this is that in addition to having a gift for music, it was his genuineness and friendliness as a human being that brought together the huge, diverse, amazing crew of NYU students that made the video.  It is so heartening to see outward success come to someone who’s already achieved inner success: the success of being a loving person.

Nyle, wishing you the best, my friend: real happiness.  And if you ever need a sour-looking backup dancer, you know who to call, sugar. ;)

Check out his website and facebook, friends, and if you feel so inclined, show him some love!

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