Roger Guenveur Smith, who played the character Smiley in the movie “Do the Right Thing”, asked the Hittites to perform their play”The Nike Killer”, for his musical celebration. Now it was a industry secret, that no artist in the country wanted to follow a Hittite Empire performance, if they wanted to be remembered. At that time, I thought it was just the competitive nature of artist, that made them think this way.
But Mr. Smith new different. Mr. Smith did as all artistic directors did in the country. And that is that, he told us that we were going to be going up next. Then the word next would be replaced by the word soon. Then the word soon, to nothing at all. There were over 20 performers that night. And Mr. Smith, let every single one of them take encores. By the time we hit the stage, it was 2:00am in the morning.
When we stepped on stage, we were expecting the 2000, standing room only audience members to be gone. At that late hour, I was expecting to be only performing for the stage hands, and the rat from the movie “Ben”. But to my amazement, all 2000 people were still waiting. And that is why Mr. Smith seemed so calm, the whole night. Because he knew, his audience enough to know, that he could introduce all of his unknown artist. And bring the Hittites in last.
And his audience would wait. Mr. Smith taught me a valuable lesson that night, not just about business. But also that we as artist, had something to say, worth waiting for. Roger Guenveur Smith, your a good dude.