*Guess what? Waka Flocka Flame and his co-horts, Wallace Gator Bradley and United in Peace are working together to help stop the violence in Chicago with a special concert in June.
Like many other artists, Waka has been vocal about making the streets of the south side of Chicago safer.
“Senseless acts of violence is happening all over the world but it starts with us acknowledging the acts know. Chicago is the first but not the last for me [sic]” he commented.
Wallace Gator Bradley states, “To GOD be the GLORY, for touching Waka’s heart and allowing him to reach out and working with me (Wallace Gator Bradley, President) and Noble – Ameer Ali, Executive Director of United In Peace, Inc, in our efforts to turn the tide on Senseless Shootings and Killing across America in general but in the African-American communities in particular, especially Chicago.”
Proceeds from the concert will go to the United In Peace, INC., an organization dedicated to eradicating anti-social behavior.
*I called a friend the other day to wish him a Happy Birthday when we got on the subject of the same issue that has millions of people talking and protesting in the streets: Why has George Zimmerman not been locked up for killing Trayvon Martin? Zimmerman is the neighborhood watch wannabe cop who shot an unarmed Martin for no more than looking “suspicious” to Zimmerman as the teenager walked to the store on a rainy night.
The more we talked about it the angrier I got. My friend, we’ll call him Sam, tried to reassure me that justice would prevail in the end. But his words had the same effect of a man telling a woman to calm down in the heat of an argument, especially because Sam knows more than I that most times – especially in cases like these – justice never shows up. Not when men with debatable intentions are in charge of it. Sam, a retired Baltimore police officer who is at least 70, is no stranger to these scenarios. As much as I respect Sam’s point of view, let’s just say “A Time To Kill” is one of my favorite movies. Here’s why:
Before the killing of Trayvon Martin there was Oscar Grant. In 2009 Grant was shot in his back and killed by a BART police officer in San Francisco as he lay face down on a commuter train platform. The police officer only served 11 months of a two year involuntary manslaughter sentence before he was released in 2011.
Before the killing of Grant there was Robbie Tolan. In 2008 Tolan was shot by a police officer as he lay face down in his driveway in a suburb of Houston, Texas. Tolan survived the shooting but doctors couldn’t remove the bullet from his lung. The officer was acquitted of aggravated assault charges.
And earlier this month there was the killing of Wendell Allen. The 20-year old was unarmed when he was shot and killed by a New Orleans police officer. Allen’s family said the police department is stonewalling their inquiries.
Some people say the black community should be more concerned about the high number of black on black crimes. But every time I read about innocent unarmed people killed by a police officer (or a wannabe cop in Trayvon’s case) 100 percent of the time the victims are black. That’s not a coincidence.That’s indicative of a blatant disregard for the value of life of an entire race of people. And I, for one, refuse to ignore it.
The fact that Zimmerman has not been arrested and charged with (at the very least) manslaughter – in light of all the evidence – proves that local law enforcement didn’t value Trayvon’s life. In his case it’s Sanford, FL, in Grant’s case it was San Francisco, in Tolan’s case it was Bellaire, Texas and in Allen’s case it’s New Orleans. It happens in different cities across the country, but the constant is that local police are slow to seek justice for these obviously innocent victims.
And if state or federal law enforcement eventually arrests Zimmerman it probably will be just to pacify the masses. If they convict him it probably will be for something a step above a misdemeanor. Then he’ll spend a few months in jail and be released early for good behavior. Where’s the justice in that?
Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Send comments, questions and speaking requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This is not a movie, this is a movement!” - “Sixx King” CEO, Sixx Degrees Films
Deborah B. Pryor interviews Taleeb Starkes, co-executive producer and writer of the film
*For some, there will come a time when being a mere “observer” will not be enough. It may suffice when you find yourself absorbed in mindless entertainment, and it may even be necessary in the endless opportunities to learn something new. But eventually, when confronted with something so personal it keeps you up at night, you will have no recourse but to get up off your ass and actually DO SOMETHING.
This is, after all, how change happens.
In the 51-minute documentary being featured at the 20th annual Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, California, “Mothers of No Tomorrow – Genocide American Style” Sixx Degrees Films aims to initiate that change as they tackle the unnerving yet necessary issue of Black on Black crime. The film chronicles the lives of Ja’Vese Phelts-Washington, Leslie Willis-Lowry and Monique Rivarde - three mothers whose lives changed forever after the murder of their sons.
(Scroll down to see the trailer for “Mothers of No Tomorrow.”
Chris Spence (Ja’Vese’s son) was a 20-year-old health-conscious, trophy-bearing Philly linebacker shot once in the chest after an altercation inside a local lounge with a bad reputation. Songha Thomas Willis (Leslie’s son) was a 27-year-old who finally gave in to a friend’s invitation to join him at a club – only to be accosted outside that club for the flashy gold chains worn by his two friends who got away. Bobby Tillman (Monique’s son) was a handsome, happy-go-lucky 18-year-old, stomped to death at a house party by four guys who simply had nothing else to do at the moment.
During the Q&A that followed a screening of the film, with Leslie Willis-Lowry and Ja’Vese Phelts-Washington in attendance, there was no denying the extreme emotion in the room from the audience members and filmmakers alike. Through tears he was unable to control executive producer, co-writer and director, Sixx King told the audience,
“We have to be the vanguards of our generation…of our future. Black men have to stand up for our communities, for our children. This is what [this film] is about.”
In speaking about the motivation for making the documentary, King recalls hearing a news story about the death of Songha Thomas Willis twelve years ago. He says it was a story that stayed with him, one that he could not ignore.
“I had this rush of emotion come over me, and I started searching for his mother, looking for her…I thought about my own mother, and I knew that my…mother would never want to make my obituary and bury me. It made me hurt, it made me emotional, it made me revolutionary.”
Sixx King, Ja’Vese Phelts-Washington, John Salley and Leslie Willis-Lowry
Kings mother, Abiona Adadevoh,was also in attendance.
“Circumstances, circumstances that are prevalent in the African American community; homicides, Black on Black homicides specifically,” is what Taleeb Starkes, Co-executive producer and writer of the film tells EURweb journalist, DeBorah B. Pryor inspired the film. “As fathers, as members of the community, we felt we had to do something. We took the story of three women who symbolize what mothers who lose their children to senseless violence go through. We chronicled the pain…and eventually their resiliency.”
Starkes says that as men, such pain as a mother losing her child can never be understood. “But these women never lost their capacity to stop being mothers, to stop loving,” he says.
King wants to make one point very clear: This is not just a Black problem, it is an American problem. “More than 7,000 Black people are murdered in this country each year, which is significantly more than the total 6,754 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001,” he explains. “Once other people segregate this issue out and attempt to make it a Black problem, they are able to detach themselves from it. Domestic terrorism is decimating all of our communities,” he concludes.
A proud father himself, King developed “Youth, Politics & Empowerment,” a program designed to introduce young people to film and television with a political flair. In making ‘Mothers’, he admits he ran his team ragged during the entire year-long-plus process, and commends NBA Champion John Salley, who shares Co-executive producer credits on the film. “John graciously came onboard [and] lent his name to get this project going,” Says King.
As everyone continues to wonder where or how did things go so wrong, the words of one audience member, an intern who says she works as a counselor to young gang members, may shed some light and give some perspective. “They are kids who don’t know love…They have no examples…many of them are being raised by their grandmothers because their mothers are dead or incarcerated. They want to belong, so they join a gang. At 14-years old, many of these kids still wet in the bed…They ask if they can call me ‘Mom’ but I tell them ‘no you have to call me officer and respect that’. They leave my office and resume the big, bad attitude they feel they need to be part of the group.”
“The next step now is to get it in the schools, to get it distributed,” offered David Massey, an audience member at the Q&A who Co-chairs the Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers and said that he would help in whatever way he could.
The challenge with independent films and many Black films in particular, is that many of them start out being financed by the filmmakers. There is no studio behind them. For this film – whose viewership should include teens at juvenile centers, gang-intervention facilities, and jails and prisons, any decent distribution will come from word-of-mouth. Audiences have more power through word-of-mouth than they give themselves credit for.
“We are doing a social media campaign,” says King. “We’re asking for people to go onto Face Book – “Mothers of No Tomorrow – and use the “FB Group” because social media is so powerful. If you are on Twitter, its twitter/forourmothers…This story needs to be told. I can’t wait on Universal. I can’t wait on a big studio,” says King.
“Mothers of No Tomorrow-Genocide American Style” will have its final run at the Pan African Film Festival on Friday, February 17, 6:35PMin the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza/RAVE Theaters, 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Los Angeles. The film is presented under the Short Series 10 programming.
Phillynews.com and Globalgrind.com contributed to this story.
PHOTO CREDITS: Jhonn de la Puente, Sixx Degrees Films
DeBorah B. Pryor began her career in journalism in New York City more than 30 years ago. She has been a contributing writer for EURweb since 2003. She is also an adjunct instructor, and will be teaching her popular workshop “Public Speaking for the Private Person” at UCLA Extension on Saturday, March 3rd, and at Glendale Community College on Saturday, March 10th. Visit her website at http://www.dpryorpresents.com for more information.
*Racism is alive and well in America, but sadly, most of the work is being done by Blacks against other Blacks.
I’m not talking about so-called Black-on-Black crime either.
I’m talking about the unwitting work that many Blacks do which hurts the cause of us all.
For example, African Americans with comfortable backgrounds chastise poor Blacks for no other reason than they are poor, blaming them for their poverty.
In nearly every arena, Blacks are blaming other Blacks for everything that has and will happen to them.
It seems as though we really don’t like each other.
I recall when I first launched Rap Sheet in 1992. I caught pure hatred from a confused Black woman because I was passing out free copies of my magazine at an event sponsored by the competition, The Source. She was clearly angry and began yelling at me. This was only two minutes after her boss, the white owner, came over to congratulate me on my new venture.
It was sad indeed that one of my former employees began telling people that I didn’t really own the publication and that I was merely a front for the white man. Even sadder that he 0was my fraternity brother and was hired directly by me.
There is no “white conspiracy” to silence me, but I do get ignorant people demanding that I stop discussing our issues in public, because “the white man may be paying attention”. Still, other evil idiots disrespect me simply because they disagree with me.
We work against ourselves when we leave our communities to flee to theirs while they flee back to ours.
We work against ourselves when we believe that SOME of us getting over should make ALL us feel good, or when we go on television looking either foolish or dangerous or when some of our sisters act like they have arrived because they are smarter than their brothers, and that most Black men would never arrive, because we were simply too lazy to get there.
We work against ourselves when we start passing out lies that hurt us. For example, telling ourselves that we are the biggest perpetrators of violent crime and that we are bringing all of the drugs into the nation to sell in the inner city and that Affirmative Action was actually “hurting” us.
Carrying the most impact, we work against ourselves to convince some of us that there really is no racism at all.
There is certainly still racism in the nation, blocking the way of many African Americans who are striving to get up and make it happen. However, the evil and ugly ignorance we perpetuate amongst ourselves must be crushed.
We work against ourselves by promoting a hatred between the “Haves” and the “Have-nots.” Yes, some of us have, but many of those “Haves” are notorious for hating on the Have-nots.
Blacks are so entrenched in being Have-nots that even people from other nations can come into the country and before long, they are Haves above us. Just take a look at the Koreans who migrate to America and come right into the ghetto, where they set up shop and quickly have.
Now, the Haves of all races, including some of the Black Haves, chastise the Black denizens of the ghetto for not having and for allowing others to come in and capitalize off of their inability to create commerce. But they leave out the fact that Have-nots are often so far up to their ears in surviving that many of them also have not the skills or the FICO score to acquire those things necessary to become Haves.
Another fact is that Have-nots often have not the public services that Haves often take for granted when they move up. We can blame the poor kids or their poor parents for the condition of the schools, but our tax dollars are supposed to provide an equal education for the entire city. Why is it that the books in the ghetto schools are fewer and in bad shape? Why is it that the teachers are paid less and are either less experienced or less concerned? The few good teachers are the ones who stick in there, even when they hear liars talk about the kids as though the school system is run by them.
Any fool can take a drive through Anycity, USA and see the difference in the streets of the ghetto and the streets in the rest of the city, which is a direct result of lop-sided government spending.
When you begin to place blame at the feet of the impoverished, do not pretend that all things are equal, and do not pretend that there are not race-based decisions being made all the time.
We work against ourselves when we place blame at the feet of the impoverished, do not pretend that all things are equal, and do not pretend that there are not race-based decisions being made all the time.
I have a big, fat, wet slap for the face of the next self-hating ignoramus who talks about “boot strapping” his or her way out of the ghetto. It is nearly impossible to raise yourself up by your bootstraps when you don’t have any damned boots.
We work against ourselves by walking around looking and acting like damned fools, bucking our eyes out for entertainment, calling each other Nigger and pointing fingers of blame from each side of the gender divide.
Racism has been The American Way for centuries, crushing entire groups of people, including Native Americans and Blacks, but over the past few decades, many of us have decided that the most powerless group of people has begun to oppress themselves.
In some ways, they are correct.
We have begun to oppress ourselves not by actually taking jobs away or preventing ourselves from progressing. And our self-oppression has not come from bringing drugs into our communities, arresting and jailing ourselves without merit or even from infecting our women with HIV.
Our self-oppression has come from taking the bait of self-blame and self-hatred, efficiently propagating the racism and racist programs laid down so many years ago.
The racist white man doesn’t have much work to do to get us. We’re doing a great job of getting us for him.
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” Now, listen to Darryl live on BlogTalkRadio.com/DarrylJames every Sunday from 6-8pm, PST. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com.Reach James at email@example.com.