In 2011, my Aunt and Uncle, in a wonderful act of philanthropy, made a $100 million dollar endowment gift to UCLA, creating the School of Public Affairs for teaching and research in Public Policy, Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and to create a campus hotel and conference center. I’m not a UCLA grad, I’m a CSULB grad. At the time, my foster Mother called me to tell me about it, as she probably saw Los Angeles news first; I was (and still am) living in Boise, Id. At the time I said “surely you must mean $100 THOUSAND”? “No” she said, correcting me. The way I felt and thought about this donation and my Aunt and Uncle, then and now, is that they are wonderful people helping adults, children, and communities with gifts to education, medical, and other areas I do not know about (probably the arts). Linkin Park does similar giving back from their earned wealth, such as through the organization they founded – Music for Relief.
Recently, as we all know, a tragic death in the world of music occurred with the suicide of Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington. The band were, and are, global superstars, with Diamond level record sales, millions of fans worldwide, and insanely dynamic live performances that I, unfortunately never got to see. (ugh, don’t ask). Bennington infused his powerful voice with raw emotion, and athleticism into his performances. It certainly appears he gave 110% of himself, as did all of the members, and cared very much about his fanbase. Fueled by life experiences and resultant feelings – LP lyrics are generalized just enough to strike a chord of mass connection with fans of all ages (I am now 53). From their first album dropped in Fall of 2000 – “Hybrid Theory”, to their new release “One More Light”, they have always been very personal and relatable, sometimes dark, always visceral. His used his melodic voice, at times low and even, other times a growling scream – switching between the two seamlessly creating dynamic and powerful vocal interplay with band mate, artist, rapper and LP founder, Mike Shinoda. In doing so, reshaping rock music. Tonight (8/25/17), would have been my first time seeing them live.
Several of the band members were UCLA grads – including Guitarist Brad Delson who was invited to speak at a commencement ceremony some years ago. After the recent tragedy, and while I am going through a current (what feels protracted) period of unemployment in an apparently very competitive geographic area – I donated as much as I could to a suicide prevention organization, as well as to Music for Relief. It was not as much as I would have liked. Because I was and am, so moved by the music of LP, and with the UCLA “tie in” – I emailed my Aunt when I heard about Chester’s tragic passing, and I told her how much their music means to me, how I have been affected by this suicide (like so many other fans globally), and respectfully asked her if they would please consider making a donation to a suicide relief organization or to Music for Relief – or both. I hope they made a large one.
It seems to me, LP has always been very kind and respectful to their fans, and as “accessible” (on Social Media) as they can be. I hope I can see LP when they put together a special tribute to Chester in LA – which sounds like it may happen this fall 2017 or in near future, per a media post.
In closing, this paper is as much about me wanting to be “seen” too, (like to employers where I can have a job I truly enjoy and deserve), as I have been feeling pretty “invisible” myself, (as being unemployed can do that – I look out at the parking lot of my apartment area and my car is one of the few there), as wanting to have seen LP, and of trying to feel some more connectivity, in what is a very crazy world right now. I hope to be able to find a job I am engaged, compensated, interested and working in culture where I want to give 110% to, joyfully – if that exists! LP said in the song “In the End” that “Time is a valuable thing watch it fly by as the pendulum swings”. One thing I’m going for now, in life, is a new job where I’m not always watching the clock – rather, one where time does fly. Guilty by Association.