Mourning the Death of a Savior

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Nipsey Hussle was murdered yesterday in front of a clothing store that he owned. He was murdered at the age of 33, the same age that Jesus was when he was nailed to the cross. Police are now saying that he was murdered by someone that he knew and that it was over a personal dispute. Initially people on social media were saying that it was a government conspiracy due to his upcoming documentary on the life of Dr. Sebi, a controversial figure who claimed to have found the cure to AIDS and other STD’s. But now the energy has shifted back to us. Back to the ghetto, and back to the self-hatred that is so pervasive in the black body. This plague has consumed Nipsey, who was a manifestation of hope in a very confounding era in which the blind are somehow able to amass extremely large followings and those who sleep on the traditions of our ancestors loudly proclaim to be woke.

 

As I sit here writing, the waves of pain are crashing against my consciousness. Particularly as I write the word was in regards to Nipsey. For everything that he did was for the future of black people—future economic empowerment, future financial literacy, future black ownership of the hood—and now he will be forever relegated to the past. We will have to speak of him in the same cryptic “what if” language in which we speak of Tupac Shakur. Each time we see his profound intellect displayed during an interview, or hear him spitting rhymes over a gangsta beat, instead of bobbing our heads we will instinctively hold them—both hands pressed against our foreheads— and say “Damn.” A man so full of light who escaped a life sentence in the penitentiary, poverty, disease, ignorance and all the other symptoms of ghetto America should not have to spend the rest of eternity trapped in the past tense. There was so much more unifying that he could have done.

Nipsey, for those of you who may not know, was the solution. If one were to go to any barbershop in any hood in this country and pose the question “What needs to be done in order to turn this community around?” People will inevitably say young people need jobs, instead of liquor stores we need more black owned businesses, the young people need a leader that will inspire them. Nipsey provided all of these things. He carried the faith of downtrodden on his back just as gracefully as he dawned the words SLAUSON BOY in the form of a tattoo between his shoulder blades.

He was at once the descendant of American slaves on his mother’s side and of a son of the Abyssinian Empire on his father’s side. Nipsey was royalty. He was mixed with those that rose up from slavery and those who refused to be colonized. Indeed, the best blood of Africa coursed through his veins. Blood that was unfortunately spilled on the pavement in the rolling 60’s neighborhood that he loved so dearly. A community which he was committed to uplifting.

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Nipsey is dead now. Having been murdered less than 48 hours ago. He leaves two children, one girlfriend, and a legacy of love and power. And though he left too soon, he left a blueprint on the possibility of collective empowerment for a group of people that have been systematic stripped of such a concept. He will be missed by many, especially this writer. Rest easy Nip. I will ride for you. I will write for you and I will hustle hard in your honor.

Roger Porter

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Serving my sentence alone

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Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

Let the sun shine down on the pavement. Let the rain wash away all of the blood. The gunpowder residue is still on my fingers. I’m not thinking about escaping charges, I’m only thinking about who will have the power to tell my story.

 

If they told you I was a depraved killer would you believe them, even though you have been knowing me since my childhood. When they whispered into your ear what they found out, would you question them or would you go along with the lie? Would you smile as they carried me off to prison in an effort to protect your social standing while shaking your head slowly and dramatically, uttering softly but loud enough for your colleagues to hear; “I tried to tell him, but he wouldn’t listen to me.”

 

If you came to see me after the judgement came down and I spoke my truth, would it matter? Would you place my voice over that of the journalists, the prosecution, and the alleged victim? Would you give me your faith? Can you believe in something that you have not seen when everyone else tells you that it is a lie? Are there any limitations in your love for me? Is there anything that you would sacrifice me for?

 

Let me know the answer right now so, if need be, I can sever myself from the all of the memories that I have of me worshipping you. I hope that you will never be totally aware of all of the ways in which I used to lionize you when I was young man. I spent my whole childhood looking for you. I probably regarded you as some kind of prophet in my undeveloped mind, but to you I was just a follower. And now you can no longer prop yourself upon my bowed head. This boy has now grown high enough to look you in the eyes. I look into them and see no prophet, nor lion. I do not see a revolutionary nor do I see a rebel. I only see a man with a loud voice and a little heart. I do not know what will happen with you. I do know, however, that I will be serving my sentence alone. These are the terms that I must embrace.

-Roger Porter

The #Metoo Movement Cancels Martin

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If Martin Luther King were alive today, then he would be canceled on black twitter and ultimately charged for perceived sexual abuses in the 1950’s and 1960’s. All of his allies would be afraid to speak up for him because they wouldn’t want to be labeled a rape apologist or a misogynist. Upon his arrest the hash tag #metoo would once again go viral.

We all know that the #metoo movement, similar to the United States Justice system, is thriving off of the criminalization of black men. Just in case you haven’t been doing your research, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was defrocked for decades of sexual abuse—he will not be charged with a crime. Wealthy democratic donor Ed Buck is yet to be charged with a crime even though two dead black bodies—male prostitutes that he drugged and exploited—were found in his house. R. Kelly on the other hand has been arrested twice in a span of a few weeks. Bill Cosby is in prison right now and I’m wondering how can we possibly call this the day of reckoning. How does arresting black men somehow symbolize revolutionary change and an end to patriarchy? Black men are the most incarcerated group of people in the country. This has always been true since slavery ended and black men were forced to work on chain gangs. But alas, in 2019 people have decided to put gender ahead of race for political purposes. In the black community this is creating a chaotic cultural scene in which radical black intersectional feminists are leading the charge in holding famous black men accountable for past indiscretions. And this wouldn’t be a problem if other groups of women were holding their men accountable in a similar fashion, but they aren’t. There has been no talk of networks refusing to play Woody Allen or Roman Polanski movies or films produced by Harvey Weinstein, yet there is no radio station in America that would dare play a song by R. Kelly. This leads to a scenario in which no major black male figure, dead or alive (please see Michael Jackson) is safe from being destroyed.

It shouldn’t be difficult to visualize the headline from the online magazine The Root reading “90-year-old Defamed Former Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr, Booked in Fulton County Jail on Dozens of Sexual Misconduct Charges.” The comment section would read as follows.

Lucretia Wilkins. Yaaaaassssss! I have a dream that we finally caught a damn predator. He already seen the mountain top now he can see the penitentiary. Pshhh, boy bye. 297 Likes 60 Haha’s 50 loves

Jamal Eunuch TysonWe need to end toxic masculinity in the black Baptist Church at all costs. He’s a SERIAL ABUSER! I don’t even know why Coretta is still with his sick ass to tell you the truth. I stand with my queens. I stand with the victims. Ase. #believeallblackwomen 150 likes 90 Loves

Queer Black Child Oh my lordt! I’m gettin so sick of deez niccas defendin him. We are not talkin bout da Catholic Church boo. Sorry. Ion care what he did in da damn 1960’s. Uh abuser is uh abuser. Stop making excuses for dat old pervert. I like sittin in da back uh da bus anyway. Lock his ass up! 80 likes 75 hahas

The reverend would be canceled without any pushback. We would stop listening to his speeches and he would die in prison. Upon him initially being charged we would call it progress. We would call it being woke and we would celebrate, never questioning whether or not we were being used by white supremacists to carry out their racist agenda on our own people.

-Roger Porter

Untitled/ On Bad Days

On bad days, such as this one I feel as though I’m wasting my grind. I’m no longer thinking like an artist. I’m hanging on to the old days like the neighborhood addict who used to be the captain of the football team that one year they went undefeated. Back when they were raw. All the teenage boys think that he’s lying, but he really was a star athlete back in the day. None of it matters too much to anyone else but him now though.

 

At any rate that’s how I feel when I tell a college student that I once wrote a book. Or that I used to get published in magazines, and they look at me like I’m a panhandling junky in Fisherman’s Wharf. And actually, I kind of am. My cardboard sign reads “Haven’t had confirmation in years. Anything helps.” It’s all very pathetic.

 

I used to have a jones for this shit. Writing before the sun came up. Performing new material at readings around the Bay Area at least one weekend out of every month and only associating with other artists. Now I have to force my own hand. It makes a man wonder where do waning passions retreat to and does Southwest fly there?

 

Without my drive I am incomplete looking back down the road of past success. Scared to go forward and scared to put my art out there. I’ve allowed myself to become spoiled by the complacency of having dental benefits and a professional title. I have forgotten that I am a savage. I forgot that I don’t care. I know I promised myself that I never would but I fear that I have indeed lost my soul.

 

Notes on the killer of Jazmine Barnes Being a Black Man

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Earlier today it was revealed that the killer of Jazmine Barnes is not a white man in his forties but rather a black man in his twenties. My thoughts on the matter can be summed up in one sentence: “We need to keep that same energy.” A seven-year-old girl was murdered and we should be just as appalled that a black man did it as we were when we thought the killer was a white man. There should be just as much outrage, there should be the same outpouring of sympathy, and there should be the same amount of media coverage now that we know that the killer is black. As a matter of fact, even if we knew that the killer was black to begin with there still should have been national outrage.

 

The other day I wrote a blog condemning America for its racism as it manifested itself in the murder of Jazmine Barnes. Today I want to speak to the problems that come along with not highlighting black on black crime as the most significant issue facing our community. And I think that everyone who lives in predominantly black communities from Newark to Chicago to Oakland would agree with me when I say that a black life is just as precious no matter what color the perpetrator that decides to take it.

 

When Nia Wilson was killed by a suspected white supremacist in July at Macarthur BART Station there was international outrage. There were even several celebrities who condemned the act. Less than a week later a 21-year-old woman was shot to death along with a 19-year-old man in East Oakland and there was nothing. Outside of the Deep East Oakland community where the killings took place it seemed as if no one cared. As if black teenagers being killed presumably at the hands of another black individual isn’t quite sensational enough.

 

I blame the current state of lack of outrage on people who don’t live in the ghettoes of America controlling the Black American narrative. For everyone who lives in the hood knows that the dialogue of improvement needs to begin with us conversing with ourselves first. I hate that anytime a black person says “What about black on black crime?” when the topic of violence against black people comes up they are more often than not generalized and dismissed as being a sellout or being out of touch. It bothers me because it focuses the conversation on victimhood instead of control. We, as black people, control whether or not our lives matter we just don’t know it. We control whether or not middle class white people around the country make a living of us as police officers and prison guards we are just blinded to this truth. It is our job to keep our little girls alive and free from violent deaths. Jazmine Barnes is dead at 7-years-old and a black man killed her. We should all be outraged.

Notes on the murder of Jazmine Barnes

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Jazmine Barnes was gunned down by a white supremacist the other day. She was 7 years old. No less than 6 months prior Nia Wilson was murdered by a white supremacist. She was 18 years old. There’s a good possibility that Nia’s killer may be deemed unfit to stand trial. The killer of Jazmine Barnes has not been apprehended. I don’t want to hear anything about progress. Race relations have not improved. We are not becoming a more perfect union.

 

Do you know how exhausting it is to be a member of a race of people that have to organize an international campaign to prove to the world that our lives matter? How hopeful can I be when a 2nd grade girl can be murdered with impunity just for existing while being black? Our little girls and our women are being attacked. What recourse do we have but to protect them by any means? In the mind of the public this has to constitute as justification for revenge. Wars have been waged for less. I mean what would your people do under the same circumstances? Would the world at large expect them to sing, pray, and instantly show forgiveness? Or would the world be on edge anxious to see what your next move would be?

Cooning with Compassion: Notes on the Kanye West Oval Office Meeting

 

I just want Kanye to own everything he said yesterday in his oval office meeting with President Donald Trump. I want him to stop blaming his strong reverence for The President on mental illness. He needs to keep that same energy that compelled him to claim that Donald Trump is a father figure to him when he goes on black radio and talk shows. And I’m not saying that everything that Kanye said was negative because it wasn’t. Some of it I can only describe as brave and profound. He said marvelous things about former Chicago gangster and community leader Larry Hoover in hopes of getting him sprung from prison. He spoke about bringing honor and dignity back to the black community and making sure black fathers are in the household. He placed himself in a position that makes him impossible to simply dismiss as ignorant. He cooned with compassion.

 

Yes, he definitely put on a show for the white president, the white photographers and journalists, as well as all of the white republicans watching at home, but isn’t that what the American political game is all about? Any time an African-American lobbies hard for white people isn’t that cooning? So, would you feel better if he would have given that speech at the feet of Bernie Sanders or Hilary Clinton? Would it be more acceptable then? I don’t think so. I feel like a lot of African-Americans are upset because they snuggled up to the wrong white person. Kanye aligned himself with Trump and Kanye won. He now has a direct line of communication with the president.

Yesterday Yeezy tap danced on the master’s desk until all of the polish wore off of his shoes, until the soles cracked, and until his feet ached. He went ALL in and no one forced him. He called President Trump his daddy and gave him a hug. He took arrows in the back for the President and teetered the line between calling black people out and being their representative. Kanye is not a victim of the Republican party or Bi-polar disorder. He is doing exactly what he wants to do. All that I ask is that he stands strong when the black tide of judgement washes over him. Don’t blame it on being crazy then Sir. Please don’t, for there are too many people who are really suffering with mental illness for you to hide behind it whenever your people hold you accountable. All that I ask is that you keep that same energy.

-Roger Porter