For It to be Our Time, We Must Be On-Time
You’re familiar with the phrase "CP Time." Well, please allow me to introduce you to her ugly headed cousin called "African People Time" or “AP Time” for short. If you thought Blacks or African Americans are notorious for being late to events, Africans take it to the maximum level. I seriously believe Africans hate being on time. As a matter of fact, I even think it's not something we believe in unless when going to the airport, ONLY and only when we’re going to catch a flight. It’s a different story when you ask an African to give you a ride from the airport, you’ll land and wait for hours, seriously. I mean, this isn’t news, right? we all know this to be true and I think it's a proven fact, which sadly cripples us for at least three reasons.
For starters, let me discuss one of our biggest breakthrough in the music industry in recent times, and to do introduce that i have just one word: Afrobeats. Afrobeats music birth out of Africa has seen success out of the motherland in the mainstream global market in the United States, United Kingdom, and Islands through champions like Mr. Eazi, WizKid, P Square, and more. One Africa Fest London, May 2017.
For the last two years UPGMC LLC has been putting together the One Africa Music fest which brings together some of Africa’s best and popping musicians for a night of music and turn ups! Well, last year the event took place in the city of London and looked like fun for those of us watching on the internet world on platforms like TIDAL. However, word is it started incredibly late pushing the schedule hours back, just the the previous year, which caused some artists to not have the chance to perform before fans who came out to see them. Hip Hop artist, Jidenna’s as a result voiced a great piece of what i would call advice for a culture which is trying to go global by posting on his Instagram, “Cheers to the artists and organizers of #OneAfrica! I was supposed to perform 2night but the show was cut off as I waited backstage. I'm disappointed that London wasn't able to see me 2night. Regardless of who's to blame, to make this our time we must be on time #OneAfrica and went on to say ““If we truly believe it’s OUR time, as Africans, then we have to be ON TIME.” Safe to say that inspired the title of this article because for it to truly be our time on the global stage, we have to be on time and ready! At the first One Africa fest, we saw the likes of Swizz Beatz and other American artist in the building showing love. Being on time and orderly shows a level of professionality and readiness which impresses and opens doors for more business.
2. House parties vs Hall parties
I occasionally Dj at house parties and dislike nothing more than the host of the event asking me to stay an hour or two more sans pay because their party didn’t show up on time and they have to keep going late in the night than planned. The need to put 2:00pm or 3:00pm on an event flyer in hopes that folks show up by 5:00pm or 6:00pm and your house party be done by 11:00pm or 12:00am so you have enough time to clean up and be in bed by 2:00am is truly sad. I think we ought to give people the respect of their homes in regards to how late we stay at their homes and how late we keep them up.
Hall parties on the other hand where people don’t show up till 12:00 am or even 1:00am meanwhile the event was schedules to commence circa 9:00pm causes the organizers to have to usually have to pay extra in order to keep the party running later in the night. What's worse is some of these events end up having to run till 7am because you need to fit in your entire planned program and i know as Africans we love to party, but come on, till 6 or 7 am?!?. And this doesn’t only pertain to party events but fundraisers, fashion shows, baby showers, memorial services, etc. I’ve had the honor at being invited to events and show up on time but end up having to leave early without having seen the main event, the persons big moment because it started mad late and I had other engagements to attend to elsewhere. If it's going to be your time, you have to be on time.
3. The “It’s going to Start Late Anyway” Mentality
This is self explanatory and we are all guilty of it. You’ve been invited to an event, you have your dress all sewed or picked out or purchased. Its event day, on the invitation it says “event starts at 8:00pm, you say to yourself “it's going to start around 10:00pm anyway so i'll so just get ready at 11:00pm.” Like what!? Kinfolk, who do we think we are even LOL. I don’t know why we think like this but we have to change this mentality. I understand the concept of being “fashionably late” but this is extreme. It takes one or two to break the mold. If we all set it in our mind to show up on time, the event just might start on time.
I must also say i am not naive enough to not recognize it goes both ways as well. Organizers, please please please get that “people will show up late anyway” mentality out of your head and be well prepared and ready before time. Can you imagine somebody will set up an event to start at 8:00 pm and is still bringing out chairs they borrowed from neighbor down the street in the house at 9:30 pm? What am i supposed to show up and help you organize your event also? It goes both ways, organizers must esteem their set time, and participants should also honor the invitation that way we are both serving each other and advancing towards mutual respect.
Let us break it down.
You’re not going to that job interview ten plus minutes late and you are for sure not showing up consistently late to your place of work. You respect your hustle that much so why not respect other aspects of life which require same treatment. Being on time means punctuality, for example, when the train station says the train leave in fifteen minutes unless there are some mechanical issues, that train will leave on time as scheduled.
I think a vital question we should ask ourselves is, so we have enough respect for ourselves to treat ourselves as important as we’d expect or like others to treat be treated? Being on time shows self respect, and it also shows a level of respect for schedule and for the time of others. In addition, this is larger than us. I think the issue for Africans and African Americans alike is generational. Cultivating a culture of on timeness and as congresswoman Maxine Waters of California said, “reclaiming my time” will if nothing else teach our children and future generations its importance and benefits. I know I only laid two examples before you, both being in the context of merry making but i'm sure you can think of a hundred other. Let's keep the conversation and thought going and spur one another unto on-timeness. Because for it to be our time, we must be on time.
So let me break it down, if your friend who is a musician invites you to his local concert, please be on time because he or she put countless hours and money to put together the event and is dependent on you to make the event go as planned. If you are a pastor or a local church, please start your service on time, because we love Jesus and we also have football at 1pm to go watch. Okay that was a joke but point is we already know choir will sing for two hours and you'll preach for another two so at least start on time so we can have time after to rest for work on Monday or something. The scenarios go on and on, fit yourself where appropriate. But one thing is for sure if it is going to be our time, then we must be on time.
About the Author:
RifleX is a Sound Engineer, Dj, Writer, and producer of Stuck In the Middle podcast. He hold a Bachelor's degree in Communications and Master’s degree in Cyber Security. RifleX was born and raised in the North West region of Cameroon and currently resides and hustles in Washington, DC.