Dear FrontRow Readers,
Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is Taylor. If you picked up on my reference to Jay Z’s “Public Service Announcement,” we’re going to be good friends. The 2001 track is a personal favorite because of its homage to The D.O.C, the father of Dallas rap. Your new FrontRow editor is a big hip-hop head with a love for Dallas, my hometown.
I fell in love with the genre in Dallas. It was 2002. My mother took me to watch Brown Sugar at a movie theater in Valley Ranch, where I saw Sidney Shaw (portrayed by Sanaa Lathan) as the editor-in-chief of XXL magazine. After the film, I asked my mom to turn on 97.9 The Beat, my favorite childhood station, and devoted myself to hip-hop on the car ride home.
Nineteen years later, I’ve kept my childhood vow. Last year, I published an essay about Big Tuck’s Purple Hulk and educated over 1,000 readers from across the world about our hometown legend. I’ve guest lectured at various universities about Dallas (and Southern hip-hop). At this current moment, I’m working on a personal archive about our city’s hip-hop history (Hi, George Lopez and PiKaHSso).
Dallas means the world to me. So much so that I have its area codes tattooed on my thigh.
It’s the city where my parents — a girl from Rockdale and a boy from Temple — met and started a family. It’s the birthplace of my brothers (I was born in Sacramento). It’s the first place that comes to mind when I think of home. From DART-filled summers as a CitySquare AmeriCorps member, to young twentyish nights in Deep Ellum and powerful Black Lives Matter demonstrations on Main Street, Dallas has shaped me.
I’ve seen our city at its highest and lowest. As a young Black queer woman, I experienced harm and violence in the city that I loved. In response, I moved away and lived in coastal cities for many years. I started my career as a freelance journalist who contributed to publications like Harper’s Bazaar, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Guardian, among others. I’m thankful for the years spent away because they gave me the needed time to reconcile and develop an understanding of myself, my city, and my state.
Contrary to “coastal” belief, Dallas is not a monolith. It never was. Our city is one of the largest and most diverse metropolitan areas in the nation. My hope for the FrontRow section is to address and uplift the multiple expressions of our city’s arts and culture community, covering everything from music to visual art to dance.
I’m calling on every creative Dallasite to be brave and contribute to FrontRow. Your critiques, commentary, experiences, and voices inform our section. I want to hear from you via email, via Zoom, or via socially distanced patio about how FrontRow can represent your Dallas. Respectfully, I’m inviting you to shoot your shot (in an editorial context).
To quote Big Tuck, you can find me “from the State Fair down to X to the Pine.”
I look forward to hearing from y’all.