Change, Growth, Dance, and The Beastie Boys

“I’d rather be a hypocrite than the same person forever.” – Adam Horovitz, The Beastie Boys

Last night we watched the Beastie Boys Story on Apple TV as part of a new weekly thing of watching music specials, concerts, or documentaries on Fridays. I like themes, a fact that is not news to anyone who knows me. The first one for our first Friday was the Beastie Boys Story. It unfolds live, with Adam Horovitz and Mike Diamond telling the story of their 40-year friendship and band (with the late Adam Yauch), and things that happened in-between. It is directed by Spike Jonze, who also directed (and wrote) many of the band’s music videos. It’s great. Really great. I strongly recommend it for anyone who is a fan or has even liked a song or two of theirs through the years. Even if you aren’t a fan, I think there is something pretty important to take from the story, about friendship, about growth, and about change.

Beastie Boys Story

Toward the end of the show the subject of growing up and speaking out about things like human rights and women’s rights. It is brought up that around the time of the album release for Hello Nasty (1998) a journalist was grilling Horowvitz about him claiming the band had grown up over the years, reminding him of how long it took for the Beasties to finally shed their sexist vibes. Mike Diamond recalled Horovitz responding by saying, “I’d rather be a hypocrite than the same person forever.”

I went to bed last night with that quote in my head and woke up with it still there. It resonated, and sent me off on a mental ramble about change and growth, and being allowed – and allowing yourself – to do both.

During the past few weeks with all that has been happening with the Black Lives Movement, I have found myself going through a rollercoaster of inner turmoil, questioning, thinking, and changing. I’ve had to unpack 51 years of life, of beliefs, and privilege, really examining every part and acknowledging that some things are broken, some things are bent, and some things need to change. The work is necessary. The work is hard. And it is easy – or maybe not easy, but a seemingly viable option – to retreat, to dismantle without rebuilding, to feel embarrassed at things you could have done better and walk away from them. But, I don’t want that. I want to do things better. I want to make changes – big and small – that are coming out of this inner work I’m trying to do. And yes, some may see the changes as hypocritical, or maybe performative, or not genuine. Some people don’t like to allow people to change. Hell, it’s hard to allow yourself to change. It’s hard for some, or for a lot of people, to not hold people to who they once were. But, change is important. Necessary.

I brought my kids up telling them that it is OK to make mistakes. That what matters is not so much the mistake, but what you do after. Do you learn from it? Do you take responsibility for it? Do you face it? Do you change from it? Those are the things that matter. And that’s where I am right now. Changing. Learning from mistakes I’ve made. Trying to do better. And yeah, what Adam said. I don’t want to be the same person forever.

And now…let’s dance…

So What’Cha Want by The Beastie Boys
from the album, Check Your Head (1992)

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