And So This Happened…

On March 8, 1997 Christopher George Latore Wallace better known as the Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or simply Biggie was in Los Angeles.

He attended the 11th Annual Soul Train Music Awards presenting an award to Toni Braxton though oddly he was booed by some of the audience. That’s show business.

That wasn’t the most significant March 8: the most significant March 8 was in 1979. Philips unveiled the optical digital audio disc, otherwise known as a compact disc. The rest as they say is history.

By 12:45 a.m. people were leaving an award related party as the LA fire department closed the jam due to overcrowding. Biggie got into his truck along with 3 of his entourage; though they didn’t get far stopping at a red light.

A black Chevy Impala pulled up to the light beside Biggie’s truck and the driver fired shots into and at Biggie’s car. 4 bullets hit Biggie: his autopsy “showed that only the final shot was fatal; it entered through his right hip and struck his colon, liver, heart, and left lung before stopping in his left shoulder.”

By 1:15 a.m. on March 9, 1997 Christopher George Latore Wallace better known as the Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or simply Biggie was pronounced dead.

And for 23 years that solemn and violent pop culture moment marked March 9.

Until March 9, 2020.

Rudy Gobert touching all the reporter mics is one of the most distinctive NBA visuals and it has nothing to do with on the court action.

You can show any Jordan dunk or Kobe shot and granted those are distinct moments but man Rudy Gobert touching the mics was the beginning of the end. It’s only 10 seconds but it set off a coronavirus chain reaction.

This was 1 year ago today!

By March 11 the Jazz-Thunder game was halted seconds before tip-off because Rudy tested positive and it was all over. You can see the confusions moments before tip-off: an NBA game was seconds away from being played to potentially losing the entire season.

March Madness went from no fans to flat out cancelled for the first time since 1939. This was days after SXSW cancelled also for the first time since 1987. Each pop culture domino fell with a resounding thud: as cinemas, comedy clubs even Broadway…as in all of it closed and shut down.

It’s been a year which when time has little meaning doesn’t mean a whole lot. It does feel like a year ago yet it also feels like this happened decades ago.

March 9: Biggie was shot and killed.
March 9: Rudy Gobert touched reporter mics.

2 utterly absurd anniversaries. Our anniversaries.

Aside from cake and presents, one of the primary reasons to have a birthday is to look back. We’re a pop culture that is constantly seeking the new: the new band, the latest trend, what’s hot and not (probably that phrase). It’s not properly equipped for reflection.

Like a subway it just relentlessly zooms ahead; riders don’t pause and think about the memories at this station or the awful experience at that station. They just pass it all often not really focused on any of it.

So a pause for the cause; I dunno if there is a take away or lesson for us to apply. It’s just a simple recognition.

We’ve lived through so much and seen so much.

To quote Moby:

“I didn’t give up the light
I closed my eyes and closed myself
And closed my world and never open up to anything
That could get me at all
I had to close down everything
I had to close down my mind
Too many things could cut me
Too much can make me blind
I’ve seen so much in so many places
So many heartaches, so many faces
So many dirty things
You couldn’t even believe.”

Originally published at Sammy Younan.

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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair podcast: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

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Sammy Younan

Sammy Younan

Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair podcast: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.