I'm feeling some kind of way that Wendy "Lady B" Clark is losing her popular weekday afternoon drive-time show on WRNB 100.3.
My unhappiness isn't just because I don't love D.L. Hughley's too-much-talk, not-enough-music syndicated radio show, which will slide into Lady B's 3 to 7 p.m. slot on Jan. 4. The comedian's stand-up is good, but his radio show is raunchy and errs on the misogynist side.
Lady B, it seems, is a casualty of many changes going on at the Beat. Also starting Jan. 4, Quincy "Q-Deezy" Harris, host of Fox's daytime talk show The Q, will kick off his morning radio show: The Quincy Harris Morning Show with K Foxx. Harris' show will replace the long-running Tom Joyner Morning Show, which Joyner said would end in 2019 when he retires.)
What's got me salty is that Lady B's exit means Philly will lose yet another important black radio voice. (Hold on, Patty Jackson!)
I'm not the only one saddened by this news. Attorney and Philadelphia Tribune columnist Michael Coard is organizing a rally for 4 p.m. Dec. 21 to protest Lady B's dismissal.
The loss of Lady B is tragic for many reasons. Without her influence, we wouldn't have many of our biggest names in the entertainment business. Ever heard of Will Smith?
Lady B was the first radio disc jockey to rock Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince on the air. It just so happened that Smith grew up around the corner from Lady B in Wynnefield. Schoolly D, M.C. Breeze, and Three Times Dope were among the other Philly artists Lady B introduced to hip-hop at large.
And Lady B brought artists to Philly, too. Her popular Street Beat show on WHAT introduced Philly to every major player from the golden age of hip-hop. We're talking Run DMC, Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Eric B. & Rakim, EPMD, M.C. Lyte, and Salt-N-Pepa. It was Lady B who threw L.L. Cool J's 16th birthday party at the now-defunct, then-popular After Midnight nightclub. It was Lady B who persuaded "Nite and Day" crooner Al B. Sure to go to Central High School's prom in 1989.
And she was a woman in the male-dominated game of hip-hop, a woman those cats had to respect if they wanted to be on the radio.
But above all, she gave hip-hop a place to live on Philadelphia airwaves. Before MTV, Sirius, iTunes and Spotify, deejays like Lady B, New York's DJ Red Alert, and Baltimore's Frank Ski connected then-young Generation X — also known as the children of hip hop — to the music that really mattered to them when the industry's old heads, like WHAT's Mary Mason, weren't giving the new genre of music the time of day.
When she was an intern for Mason, Lady B, who had begun collecting rap records in milk crates, begged Mason to let her play hip-hop on Saturday nights. When Mason eventually relented, her show blew up.
"People always talked about digging in the crates," Lady B told me six years ago for a story I did celebrating her 30 years on the radio. "But back in the day, I just had one crate."
In a Facebook post last weekend, Lady B thanked fans for an outpouring of support. "It's good to know that my 36 years haven't fallen on deaf ears," she wrote. She said her annual basement party and concert will still go on in Atlantic City on Jan. 14.
Still, I'm bummed.
This is truly the end of an era.
In the 1980s, I'd sneak and listen to hip-hop shows on the radio before turning on New York Hot Tracks. In the 1990s, I partied into the wee hours of the morning to hip-hop. And in the 2000s, I listened to Lady B as I drove home from work.