Thanks to glossy music videos it's easy to assume that slab culture is a celebrity-driven affair. And yes, resident slab ambassadors Paul Wall and Slim Thug drew plenty of attention yesterday in their respective rides, patiently posing for smartphone photos with hundreds of awestruck fans.
But slabs, as any hip-hop historian will tell you, have always been a form of populist folk art with deep roots in Houston's African-American communities. As such, the real stars of Sunday's "Slab Parade and Family Festival" were the cars and the people who diligently created them. They are Houston's own and their artistry has spread beyond our hometown borders, becoming a cultural phenomenon in the process. Thanks to Langston Collin Wilkins and Pat Jasper of Houston Arts Alliance among many others, that artistry was on full display yesterday and for a moment, anyway, the rappers found themselves sharing the spotlight.