Put Your Weight On It: What Rudy Ray Moore Teaches Us About Work

Rudy Ray Moore has been called “the Godfather of Rap,” and is best known as Dolemite, the lead character of the 1975 film Dolemite, and its sequels, The Human Tornado and The Return of Dolemite. He was one of the greatest blaxploitation stars, highly influencing comedians such as Red Foxx and Richard Pryor and rappers like Snoop Dogg.

In the 1979 action film Disco Godfather (also known as Avenging Disco Godfather and Avenging Godfather), Moore plays a retired cop who owns a disco and tries to stop a local PCP dealer after his nephew gets involved with the drug. The movie can best be described as a cross between Soul Train and a hallucinatory anti-drug public service announcement.

The Disco Godfather’s trademark phrase to the club patrons is to “Put your weight on it!” He screams the phrase 24 times throughout the film, apropos to nothing. Moore is even credited with the phrase in the end credits.

I am not entirely sure what he means, but the phrase resonates with me. The Urban Dictionary defines it thusly:

verb phrase: to dominate; to take control of the situation; to make yours.

It’s a call to action: be present and be happy.

Disco Godfather is most content at work—DJing for an audience—but it doesn’t seem like work to him. Sure, he’s a bad dancer and his jumpsuit may be too snug, but he’s thrilled to jump into the DJ booth and recite rhyming couplets to the audience. You could watch this film with a jaundiced eye, noting the flubbed lines and the bad edits but what value would you get out of it?

Let’s apply this to our careers. Sometimes the work that we’re involved in, for whatever reason, isn’t that great, but we still have to show up and do it. Sometimes we love what we’re doing, but no one else values it. Sometimes the work is something that just needs to get done.

I’ve noticed that the people most likely to be cynical at work are those who are not creating anything of value themselves and often aren’t doing much at all. Work would get in the way of finding things to criticize!

The rest of us, though, are building something better. It may not be perfect, but it’s something.

Let them lean back and disparage. We’re putting our weight on it. 

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