Nia Wilson was murdered just last night at the very same BART station that I’ve gone to with my daughter several times. Macarthur BART station is a transfer station so you can get anywhere in the bay from its platforms. And it is right around the corner from Marcus Book Store which is the oldest black owned book store west of the Mississippi. It is within walking distance, for me at least, of Fenton’s Creamery—my absolute favorite place to assuage my very serious sweet tooth. And now it is the place where an 18-year-old black girl got her throat sliced open. At this point the only justification for the crime is that she is black…I mean was black. And that’s where the rage sets in for me.
We should never have to speak of an 18-year-old girl in the past tense. A woman who slowed down on her exit from the train to help a lady with a stroller. Shortly after that she was murdered and her sister was stabbed. Her aunt sad Nia was “100 pounds soaking wet” yet she was killed so brutally. And in such a public place. And all media outlets are saying that it is random but all black bay area natives know better. Her killer is a terrorist who viewed her as a soft target. Had she been white or male I’m certain that he would have looked elsewhere but she was a black woman, the least protected human being on Earth so he went for it.
Nia’s life was precious. She couldn’t help the fact that she was born in a place that would rather sell an image of peaceful hippies and hipsters than deal with its overt racism. An area that acts like Oscar Grant wasn’t killed on BART, and like the Black Panthers didn’t start here because of how oppressive and hateful it is. BBQ Becky, Permit Patti, and Jogger Joe are not anomalies. Neither is the killer of Nia Wilson. Nia will forever be a black an 18-year-old black girl killed by a home-grown terrorist in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is nothing more than a 2018 California lynching.
Depression is the permeation of nothingness. It’s the acceptance of futility. It’s feeling helpless and needing help. It’s wanting to talk to someone but not being able to find anyone who speaks your language. It’s needing rest but not knowing how to stop. It’s being alive but feeling dead inside. It’s cutting everyone off then getting upset because no one ever calls you anymore. It’s not knowing how to find happiness. It’s not knowing how to sustain happiness. It’s not knowing what happiness is. It’s envying everyone else because they look so happy. It’s being uncomfortable with being comfortable. It’s failing so much that you fail to try. It’s feeling done with this whole thing. It’s inescapable grief. It’s the certainty of uncertainty. It’s grappling with the reality that you will never be able to make him proud. It’s always wanting to go back and do things better. It’s feeling out of touch with everything but pain. It’s losing sight of an escape. It’s having your whole body glued to the floor and being afraid to scream for help because you know that if they hear you then they will kill you. Depression is about knowing that you fucked up and that you will continue to fuck up because you are indeed a fuck up. It’s about feeling as though your inadequacies are contagious so you quarantine yourself in hopes that the “fuck up virus” will kill only you. It’s about believing that the world can’t get better until you are no longer a part of it. It’s about going from keeping everything to yourself to telling all of the wrong people. It’s about not always wanting to be so weird but not being able to help it. It’s about the disconnect between you and everyone you love. It’s about not knowing how to make anything work. It’s about searching for peace in vain. It’s about succumbing to anguish. It’s feeling too tired to fight back. It’s about having a strong idea of what normal is while knowing that it’s something that you could never be. Depression is how you feel at the exact moment when you realize that the good part is never going to happen. You didn’t miss it and there is no need to wait on it. Everything is a lie.
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.