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Sunday, Oct 22, 2017
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Ernest Hooper: Daughter Madelyn gives dad Ernest the weekend off

Editor's note: Madelyn Hooper gave her father, Times columnist Ernest Hooper, the weekend off by filling in with this column.

In first grade, I told myself I had to listen to my dad's handpicked playlist of inspirational songs to have a good day. He would play Survivor by Destiny's Child, Get Up by Mary Mary and Just Stand Up, an all-star musical salute to people battling cancer that featured Miley Cyrus, Mary J. Blige and others.

And it helped. It became a superstition, a good luck charm. These days when my dad tries to listen to NPR or Mike and Mike on the way to school, I insist he play music. I have to start my day with a song. . . .

One of my current favorites is Chance the Rapper, and last week, I bugged Dad to let me attend his Amalie Arena concert.

He resisted, thinking that at 15, I'm too young. But I really wanted to go with one of my best friends.

He counted on my friend's father telling her no, but he said yes. Then he counted on my brother saying no, but he said it would be okay for me to go.

I finally won my dad over by sharing how I did a report on one of Chance the Rapper's songs, Sunday Candy. I analyzed it as a poem for my English class, and the lyrics had all the bells and whistles: allusions, similes and even some alliteration.

With an A on the project, I wanted to go to the concert to thank him. I needed my dad to give me a chance to see Chance. He gave in, waited at Ferg's Live while I sang along to every song and everything turned out fine.

But I understand why my dad worries. He still thinks I'm that little first-grader listening to India.Arie's I Am Not My Hair and Natasha Bedingfield's Unwritten. . . .

That's all I'm saying.

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