I Signed The Permission Slip For This (Vince Staples Tour Diary)

While professional music artists are often glamorized for the luxurious lifestyle of first class flights, upscale hotels, and worldly travels, there’s a side of life on the road that’s less documented: the downtime. There’s more time spent sitting in a venue or at a hotel than there is on stage. Not to mention, attempting to be a tourist in the city is rarely possible to achieve uninterrupted by the casual passer-by.

Most days, it feels better to stay inside. However, as life at home moves forward, there’s a demand for your attention from friends and family, which can be emotionally taxing. Personal matters: deaths in the family, sickness, or general goings-on, weigh on the artists, too, whose life as an empath requires them to feel and be felt.

When chatting with Vince Staples on tour about these pressures, I inquired if it felt like he spent most days in a cage. He looked back at me and simply responded, “I signed up for this when I signed the permission slip.”

I interpretted “this” as the emotional baggage of maintaining his humanity, while still putting on a show to majority white fans who may or may not wholly understand, let alone empathize with, the show they are attending. That’s show biz.