I can’t imagine what being white must feel like. It’s baffling when I think about all of the ways in which white skin distorts the mind. Let us make a brief foray into the brain of one Henry Sintay. Henry Sintay is a white man who was born in Idaho (it doesn’t get any whiter than that). Apparently, he got into some trouble in Lake County, CA and was busted for cultivating marijuana with intent to distribute. He did over two years in prison for that offense and got out November 27th of 2017. Mr. Sintay is currently in the process of going viral for throwing a homeless man’s items—the homeless man is black—into Lake Merritt and in a nearby trash can while said homeless person was not even there. Some people, including the people who videotaped the incident and tried to intervene, are upset with Sintay while others are applauding him for restoring the beauty of the Lake. I am of the opinion that not only was Mr. Sintay wrong but he definitely needs his ass beat.
The homeless situation in Oakland is far beyond a crisis. There are encampments on major thoroughfares, under freeway overpasses, in parks, in residential districts and all around Lake Merritt. One cannot go anywhere in the city of Oakland without seeing our unsheltered brothers and sisters. It is extremely disheartening. It has inspired me to host a panel discussion. I have participated in several “Feed the Hood” events put on by the East Oakland Collective. I try to give back to the homeless whenever I can. I’ve had multiple conversations with people both online and in person about what is causing this problem. It is clear to everyone who is actually from Oakland that homelessness now is worse than it has ever been before. At no point in all of my interactions with those who live on the streets have I ever had the urge to pick up a homeless person’s belongings and throw them in the trash. At no point, have I ever held animosity towards those who live on the streets in deplorable conditions and have to beg for food.
Everyone knows that the skyrocketing homeless population in Oakland is directly related to the skyrocketing rent. It’s also very clear that while most of the homeless population is black, most of the newer Oakland residents are white. It wouldn’t be a leap for one to come to the conclusion that these new white residents shoulder at least some of the blame for so many people living on the streets. This truth is what makes the acts committed by Henry Sintay absolutely repugnant.
He’s upset at a situation that he helped to create. He is in effect raging at a man who cannot be doing any worse. A man who is sleeping on the concrete and must endure the daily trauma of living in squalor and uncertainty. And even worse he did this at a time when the man was not even there to defend himself. I will never understand how delusional one must be to do two years in prison, live in a town for six months, point to the homeless and say to himself “These people are the problem. I’m going to do something about this.” This is the very same Wyatt Earp, George Zimmerman, self-deputized, colonizer-cowboy mentality that America is built on. This is the aggressive form of outward racism that Californians like to pretend only exists in places like Mississippi and South Carolina. A lot of “good natured, liberal minded” people won’t see hatred in Henry Sintay because he isn’t an Oklahoma trucker with a Make America Great Again hat on his head. But he is a manifestation of the devil and we all need to internalize this fact. Even as an outsider and an ex-convict he knows that his white skin gives him the power to pillage and plunder. He is reclaiming the lake for his people, but unlike BBQ Becky he took things into his own hands.
I can’t fathom what it would be like to possess the blinding privilege of whiteness. I also have no clue as to what it takes to combat such idiocy. It would be nice to beat Henry Sintay’s ass though. To land a few straight rights to his nose. A left uppercut to the solar plexus. Maybe if someone made him bleed then he would realize that he is only human and not the great white god that he’s been conditioned by society to believe that he is. Perhaps the sight of his own blood on his fingertips after he wiped it from his broken nose would cause him to be humble. Probably not, albeit the fantasy is a gorgeous one. Picture a colonizer with blood on his hands, but not the blood of the natives, this time it is his own blood. Because this time there are repercussions. This time his sense of dominance is questioned. This time he losses. Can you imagine that? Can you envision the downfall of white supremacy?
Drake was just the man about a week ago. He was the Canadian that could do no wrong—especially when it came to black women. He seemed to be the only major figure in rap that would consistently praise black women in his music. Remember his line from the 2011 hit Make me Proud: “Like you went to Yale but you probably went to Howard Knowin’ you.” The song is about women who accomplish major goals but don’t get the recognition that they deserve from men. What this line does is it makes the song solely about black women considering the fact that Howard is an historically black college. Drake has kept this same energy (publicly at least) through his last video for “Nice for What” where he has cameos from almost every single black woman making power moves in Hollywood right now and Olivia Wilde, which is kind of weird but you get the point.
He’s also been linked to romantic relationships with Serena Williams, Rihanna, and dancer Miliah Michel. All of this seems to confirm his devotion to black women. That is until Pusha T exposed him for having a child with soft porn actress Sophie Brussaux who I’m sure is a very nice girl but, to be frank, she’s white. And you know what? It matters. Now I personally am not opposed to interracial love. It’s all good. I mean that’s how light skinned black folks were created and I have plenty of light skinned friends. More importantly if it were not for fair skinned groups like DeBarge and light skinned athletes like Steph Curry and Clay Thompson my childhood would have no soundtrack and the Warriors would have never won a championship—but I digress. The point is that for Drake his impregnation of a white lady matters because he has made an entire career out of uplifting black women in a genre of music that has amassed a fortune by degrading them over dope beats. It matters because Drake is wealthy enough to choose any woman that he wants but he always seems to choose the sistas, and sistas rocked with Drake, and downloaded his music, and filled his concerts and went through great lengths to see him in person (see season 2 Ep7 of Atlanta). Now it seems as though it could have all been a front.
Another reason that Drake’s vanilla love matters is because it matters to black women. I don’t care how educated and free thinking a black woman is if she sees a handsome, successful black man with a blonde haired white woman then it will bother her to her very core. Facts! I have an aunt who had children with a no-good man. He abused drugs, she forgave him. He went to prison; she wrote him every day. He had an outside child, she reasoned that her father had done the same thing to her mother so they worked through it. He beat her, they separated but got back together. She caught him creeping around with a white woman, RELATIONSHIP OVER! Within hours all of his clothes were on the porch. That’s just the way I was raised. If you get caught fooling around with a white woman, the consequences can be severe. In many cases this can be an unforgivable crime in the world of black women.
So, where does this leave Mr. Champagne Papi? Only time will tell if his music is powerful enough to give him a pardon but let’s not act like his core fan base isn’t devastated right now because something like this matters and it matters a lot. It just does.
The Ghettosun podcast is official people. We’re actually four episodes in so you can “binge listen” if you will. On this episode guest Kevin Grateful Berthia and I talk about our experiences with the police and it gets DEEP! Please click the link below and tell a friend about it. Much love.
After the story about the one time that you all got caught trying to sneak back into the house. After you laugh so hard that at least one half chewed black eyed pea falls out of your mouth and back onto your paper plate. And now you have the pleasure of eating it again along with the collards, the rice, the roast beef, the macaroni and cheese and the hot water cornbread. And after you have ranted about how good the sweet tea is to everyone at the table, and then ask for more ice and a second glass. More memories are shared of times when it was possible for you to get into “trouble.” Times when all the men were boys and had heads full of thick black hair. Times when the women were girls and full of spirit and curiosity. Girls who lied to get the car keys, came home high, and were beaten severely for it. Now they laugh. We all laugh while we eat peach cobbler, and dump cake, and 7 up cake with the white icing drizzling down the side.
Someone approaches the piano and many voices from the dinner table are lifted in songs devoted to Jesus. And this is fun too. It’s fun to be a part of it even if you don’t feel like singing. Everyone claps. Someone breaks a bottle of Crown Royal out of its signature purple bag and everyone drinks. Some drink more than others. And then folks begins to talk about church. Some went today and some didn’t but everyone is going to go next Sunday—that is decided. And so we’ll all see one another there. And after all the plates are cleared off of the table and all of the gossip has been told. After every picture of every grandchild has been shown. After the baby is hushed up and fed and placed delicately in her car seat. After the first hug, the final hug, and the kiss on the cheek. After you appreciate all of the women and honor their skills in the kitchen. After all of that, at some point while you are walking alone to your car you try really hard not to cry because you realize that he is still dead. For the rest of your life he will be dead. And you drive off feeling too full but so empty, trying to make sense out of all of the confusion.
It has been reported that Rapper Rick Ross was found unresponsive in his Miami home. Friends said that they could not wake him up and that he was foaming at the mouth. Rick Ross has also had a history of seizures. In 2011 he suffered from back to back seizures on an airplane that caused the plane to have an emergency landing. All of the articles that I have read on the situation read exactly this way. They also say that Rick Ross may have pneumonia, what these articles do not do is make the connection between his poor health and his addiction to cough syrup.
Drinking “lean” causes all of the symptoms that Rick ross is suffering from. One would think that after the recent lean related death of Chicago Rapper Fredo Santana media outlets would be more emboldened to make this connection. To suggest that Rick Ross couldn’t wake up and that he was rushed to the emergency room because he may have pneumonia is absurd. Rick Ross, along with an entire opiate addicted nation, needs help. It’s amazing that even President Trump can call America’s problem a crisis, which it is, while the media fails to apply this term when it comes to hip-hop artists.
People who take opiates in the form of pills, cough syrup, or heroin are drug addicts. It shouldn’t matter if the individual is a multiplatinum selling rap artist—a junky is a junky. And I don’t mean that in a dismissive way. I value the artistry as well as the humanity of Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, however, if you are an addict then you need help. The media should not be making excuses for young black entertainers randomly having seizures. It isn’t exhaustion, it isn’t epilepsy, it isn’t due to any missed medication—rappers are having seizures due to drug use. The media needs to call is what it is and stop enabling a dope fiend culture.
What about all of those lost pages? Those words that I’ve written on papers that have been ripped up. Those documents that were never saved. Those ideas that I had but never let them leave my brain. No one in history has ever doubted themselves more than I doubt me. No one else has ever been more afraid to claim greatness. Imagine living a life where you become content with the frustration of not achieving your goal. And you put all of your energy into recognizing all of the daily atrocities committed against your soul as opposed to fighting back.
My god. I see where I need to be but I feel like I can’t get there. I’ve been on the bank of the river and I’ve seen the water rushing by. I’ve set foot in the river and I’ve taken steps but I didn’t know. I just didn’t know if I could make it to where I wanted to be. I felt unsafe. I felt uncomfortable. I was able to decipher the voice of hate and hate told me to come on back to the dry land where you belong. Hate asked me who the hell I thought I was. Hate told me to be obedient and not to cause trouble. And I listened. I listened as if hate were the lord and I followed him.
I’ve allowed myself to be herded into normalcy knowing that I could never be normal. I have never known my place. I always ask questions. I can’t shut my brain down in order to make the system run more smoothly. That makes me a problem. But I’ve only ever wanted peace. So I distract myself with the pursuit of the beautiful. The women, the art, the islands, the rapture of running until I sweat gets me high. But I don’t want to be high anymore. I no longer want to feel as though I have to dim my light in order to make weak people feel strong. I am here on this earth in pursuit of peace. And I am quickly approaching the point where I would rather drown than allow hate to make me into a coward.
I was on my bed considering my journey, contemplating all of the things that had taken place in order for me to arrive in the space that I currently occupy. Then I heard a violent noise. The noise seemed to vibrate the windows and smash against my back door. Then I heard the sound again and it had a similar effect on the structure of the house, except this time it was a little bit louder. I gathered myself and rose slowly, contemplating whether or not to get a weapon before I walked in the living room area to see what was going on. I opted not to. I took silent ninja steps to the window and peered out of it to see that the cause of my consternation was the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the Jamaican shore which was just a few feet from the Montego Bay estate that I was staying in for the night.
I very rarely leave the United States. I almost never kick back and enjoy life, but last week I was on a solo trip to Jamaica when I saw those waves crashing against the beach and then rolling back into the sea. The rhythm began to saturate my soul. The consistency, the majesty, the power of it all—it got me. I stepped out on the balcony in astonishment. I submitted to the moment. I looked but did not move. I forgot that I was breathing. I appreciated the world and I told myself, I deserve this.