Culture Is Everything

Derick Northington, my classmate at CSUSM, has a strong passion for chess and music because the two are significant to his culture. Since the age of twelve, Derick has enjoyed playing chess. He expressed, “[Chess] is a great way to think ahead and it is a resemblance of life.” Chess will challenge your mental thinking, and similar to life, it requires to always be one step ahead to not fall short of your next move.

Derrick’s way of concentrating is through the vibrations and sounds of music, but not just any music; cultural music. Derick added, “music is life and life is music.” He specifies, cultural music is what people know it to be as Jazz, Hip-Hop, etc., but he does not listen to anything after the year 1996 because he is very selective about his choice of music. Pete Rock & CL Smooth are a Hip-Hop duo who Derick loves to hear music from and one of his favorite songs by them is named “T.R.O.Y.” The song is abbreviated for “They Reminisce Over You,” which is a play on words, and poetry to a beat discussing the death of a family, struggles of the 80’s, and the social economic outcry. Derick is strong believer of how a mood of a song can alter the way he feels, therefore, he only plays music, which makes him feel good.

Chess and music has always been a part of Derick’s life because as a kid, he would put on records for the adults to listen to while they played chess. Now, he enjoys listening to the same music and playing chess with friends and family. He stated, “on the weekends we play, and sometimes we stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning.” Playing chess and music for a great extended period of time does not bother Derick or his friends and family because it is what they love to do and hear. Chess and music is part of Derick’s culture, which I admired and learned a lot about, while I sat down to interview him.

Thank you Derick for welcoming into your home, and teaching me about yourself and your culture. You opened my mind towards how I view chess and music. So much was influenced, that I enjoy hearing music from Pete Rock & CL Smooth and I would love to learn how to play chess in the near future.



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