He was an imperfect man just like the rest of us. He was a smart man, a wise man, and a complex man — just like we all are. His life as complex as it was is worthy of the praise he is receiving. This piece (which is fantastic by the way) makes clear the difficulties those of us who “make it” have when straddling the fence in the hood.

We’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t. If we leave — we’re sellouts. If we stay close and advocate (financially, verbally, etc.) — then our people are jealous of us. They ain’t happy when we leave, they ain’t happy if we stay. So what do we do? Our people aren’t happy until we are dead sadly. What is that about? Why are we so evil, so miserable, so hateful we would rather tear a man down than to help be great so you can reap some of the benefit from it. I say all the time if Black lives mattered we’d act like it, and I get called a Republican or a conservative for speaking truth. I’m human. I care about people, and as you’ve said in your piece — violence begets violence. Why can’t Black folks get that and do something about it.

Hip hop is not good music, it never has been. It’s just a raunchy method to tell stories. Our stories don’t have to be told in the way they are. Nor do rappers need to glorify their hatred of homophobia, street drugs, the dope game, disrespecting women and baby mamas, etc. It’s senseless. The words in most songs don’t build us up, they tear us down. Why? And why would they want that to be their legacy?

These rappers sing about drugs so much the feds have DEA agents listening to the music in order to catch basic dummy heads in the hood. Rappers don’t give a crap about their people, their helping the government do what they love to do best — -catch and kill us…by any means necessary even if it means using us to do it.

Kevin Fret, a Puerto Rican rapper was killed a few months ago and it barely got a mention from the Hip-hop community. Hip-hop is violent. Hip hop is homophobic. Hip-hop is drug addicted. Hip-hop is a reflection of too many man-children with no pappy in their lives although that’s not the case for all rappers. Hip-hop is a reflection of all the things we can control, but don’t.

Women should stop being the tools of these men who sing lyrics about them. We women should stop making babies with shitty men who don’t love themselves because no one ever loved them — so they are incapable of being a good daddy. We women should teach our sons how to be good decent men, the kind women and communities need. We all need to work on community development. Support schools and mentoring programs, help get knuckleheads off the street, and let’s glorify grown men going to work everyday being garbage men, nurses, EMTs, entrepreneurs and other careers young people see daily so that they know it’s okay to be regular, basic, and working-class.

Let’s clean up the hood by cleaning it up ourselves. We don’t need the police to tell us what to do. Stop having babies you can’t afford to take care of and you don’t have time to raise. Stop abusing kids, they just grow up to be angry people who hurt people. The correction starts in our homes. Poor parenting, kids with disabilities and mental health issues not getting what they need to be good, failing to take advantage of opportunities to escape poverty, fathers AWOL…c’mon man. This shit is not that hard to fix!

I get so angry every time this happens because we are silent about it. If we aren’t going to care for ourselves, how can we demand others treat us with care? It’s an ugly conversation, but it’s past time for us to have “the talk.”

Thanks for kicking us up our pants (yet again) about how we are not living our best lives, living up to our full potential, and taking out our own people who are doing good in the hood.

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