|Victor Pontes-Macedo aka MC Exposition|
Back then I was still sagging my basketball shorts and slicking my hair back with LA Looks Gel, when my cousin passed me a black journal and asked me to take a look. He was sixteen and didn't concern himself with haircuts and wearing the flyest sneakers like the rest of the teenage boys I knew (or wanted to know). I flipped through, skimming the words, and squirming in my skin about how to respond.. And so, like the great little cousin that I am, I said, "Damn, Victor, what do you know about the hood? You live in Medford!"
He didn't refute or even take a low blow about me being from “Slummerville;” that wasn’t his style. He stood by his words. He made it so simple. And for years I wondered about the boy who would rather listen to music, scribble in a notepad, and read red books about Marxism than wear a varsity jacket.
Through his work (and with much time and maturity on my part), I learned that artists do not have to explain themselves, they simply reveal the world for what it is without the obligation to present the facts. They are not the journalists, but the truth seekers of what is the universal human condition of emotion.
I can listen to a song like “50 Million Pictures” and take a stroll through the Boston streets with Victor and taste the the slice of pizza he just picked up at NYP on Mass Ave. Or I can pump my fist when I listen to “Sketches of Pain” against the social darwinism that has us fighting and not loving fellow human beings. And with the first line of “It’s All Over,” I feel like digging into my brother’s closet and tilting a Red Sox hat to the right.
Writing is the inspiration that appears to comes out of nowhere, but has laid dormant deep inside of you somewhere for generations before you were born. To seek its source is to waste a lifetime searching for a thing that has no home and no name.
Artists expose us for who we really are. In a room with Victor, walls came down. Somewhere in between him teaching me how to make block letters with his silver and gold paint markers and handing me a copy of his first album, “The Metro,” he stopped being just my mother’s sister’s son. He became MC Exposition. He didn’t think he was going to change the world with music, but he was there to pull the blankets off its corruption and conflicts, as well as enlightening the rest of us on the beauty of life.
Victor was not MC Exposition when he came home or ate a burger off the grill like the rest of us, but he was something special. What he taught me most about life had nothing to do with information or analysis, but about living in the moment and turning interests into passions and then into a way of being.
He was more than just the cool older cousin who backpacked through Europe, moved to California to pursue a career in music, and who grew his hair out into its now iconic length. What is remarkable about him is that he did these things without explanation or excuses. Even in his last days, he remained positive, kind, and...Victorious. Just like he had rejected the social norms which would have pushed him to go to school, get a job, and a wear a suit and tie, he refused to let cancer change or alter his spirit. In his final days, he still cheered on the Red Sox, translated the Italian lyrics of “Con Te Partido” to those in the room, and made the room laugh with his sarcastic humor.
As someone who has chosen to express herself through writing, I am thankful for having such a role model who has talked the talk and walked the walk to guide me through. I go back to that day when he showed me his journal often (before his diagnosis) and think about his ability to be so open about his artistry. Yet, there is no way I can say that his loss is a good thing or even look to use God or some higher being to explain his absence. What has happened is a part of life that is still difficult to accept. However, the only thing I can find peace in is knowing that I am nothing short of lucky of having the chance to know, love, and be loved by someone so special and courageous.