The Ghosts of Jerry Heller

Ice Cube, born O’Shea Jackson, is truly a musical genius. He was writing some of the dopest lyrics in existence in any rap catalog at 15. He had a hugely successful rap career, even after leaving N.W.A in 1989. But in what is a very well known hip hop legend, he was still living with his parents even after Straight Outta Compton, the multi platinum album was released with Cube as both performer and writer… on EVERY song. According to Forbes, Cube had received only about $30,000 in album royalties at the time of his exit. His contract with Jerry Heller, Eazy E, and Ruthless Records proved to be legal robbery, and resulted in one of the most intense rap beefs in history. Talk about “No Vaseline”.

So recently Ice Cube has been interested in promoting a Black agenda to government, a very noble and innovative plan to have the needs and wants of the Black community heard by the powers that be. And here’s the thing, in the land of real ass Black folks, despite his Hollywood success, Cube is still that guy. Or he was until he fell for the same shiny penny our incumbent President drops in front of everyone with an anti-white supremacist policy they want to share with his whitewashed and shuck and jive administration. There is no in between. Dude cavorts with straight white nationalists or Black folks with Jermaine Jackson shellacked hair, a few dollars in the bank, and a MAGA hat dancing off beat to “You Can’t Touch This”. He is not your Svengali. He can’t save us from racism, sexism, poverty, or the deeds of Jerry Heller.

It’s less than 30 days to the election, the slave master ancestral spirits are out, and the ghosts of Jerry Heller are amongst them. Cube, you in trouble boy.

So, this is all you need to know about this Ice Cube business… at the VERY end of the day, he can talk to and promote anything he wants in the name of the progression of Black people in America. However, what is ALSO true is that (1) he is CLEARLY unlearned on how ANY of this works and (2) promoting that to a man who has picked a Black woman as his running mate versus promoting that to a man who is trying to get a White woman who thinks it’s okay to call Black people niggers at work a seat in the Supreme Court, who name checks a white supremacists group at a nationally broadcast debate, and who admits to sexually abusing women out loud on tape is wholly different.

Promote your contract on a bipartisan basis and sit down, you are no politician and therefore you don’t see that the incumbent is planning to make you look like a whole entire fool. He is Jerry Heller and this is your first contract… He dedicated $500 billion to your plan, promised to make Juneteenth a national holiday… he doesn’t know wtf Juneteenth is and doesn’t care and he has to get these billions passed through the Congressional budget. Remember Jerry Heller… $30K out of MILLION… with this dude you won’t see $500 of $500 billion. He’s a crooked ass politician… making promises he can’t knowingly deliver upon. Hence why Biden’s camp said, we will address it after the election. Beyond that, that clown is not promoting anything worth $500 billion for Black people. The last Black man to shuck and jive for him danced on camera at his rally where he contracted COVID and died, and dude ain’t sent condolences the first to Hermain Cain’s family publicly. Not a bleeding heart arrangement, a pan of fried chicken, NOTHING. You think he cares about a negro who wrote “F@ck the Police” … no sir he does not, just like he could care less about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and any other Black life.

You’ve already been hoodwinked, bamboozled, run amok. Anything that is said this close to an election is campaigning… not policy making. He would tell you he’d paint the White House black, put in some bead curtains and bean bag chairs in the blue room, play “Tell Me Sumthing Good” by Rufus and Chaka, and have a whole basement party if he thought that would get him elected. But be clear, Donald Trump is not at all interested in contracting with Cube, Kanye, or anyone else. He especially ain’t interested in contracting with Black America. What he is interested in is himself… that’s all. And he is Jerry Hellering Cube so tough when he gets up there might be Jheri curl activator left where his head was resting.

It’s important that we don’t allow our legacies to be trampled upon because we are fooled into believing both Biden and Trump are different sides of the same coin. They are not. This isn’t about Conservative v Liberal, Republican v. Democrat. This is about Decency v. Evil, Life v. Death, and Right v. Wrong. You can’t contract with evil or death. And you most certainly cannot be on the wrong side of this election. But any contract you have sat down with Trump to promote is already worse than Cube’s first contract. At least he got something, and eventually got his royalties. Your President is bargaining with chips he ain’t even got access to yet… he’s promising you billions on a $750 budget. Talk about No Vaseline. So y’all Black Republicans and negroes with the spirit of the house slave running through you, please stop acting like Cube is doing something righteous. He’s angry, I get it, but the only contract he’s making is with the devil…Lord of the Flies…Beezlebub. Period!

“You better check yo self before you wreck yo self
‘Cause I’m bad for your health
I come real stealth” -Ice Cube, “Check Yo Self”

I Request Equal Time…

So y’all already know I think and process in song lyrics.

Trump: This monster who was onstage with Mike Pence…

Senator Harris: Just killed another career it’s a mild day… (Nicki Minaj, Monster)

I got your monster, you joker!

We all saw VP Pence do that white patriarchal privilege bullshit at the VP debate on Tuesday, speaking over Senator Harris, attempting to force her to bend to his whim, mansplaining, being condescendingly disrespectful, undermining her intelligence and experience, and speaking to her as he was the superior intellectual on the stage. But like a true Boss, she tapped that. She gave him the business. She did so with full on face language in moments that cursing him to hell would have been inappropriate, by coming at him with facts, and calling him on his lies despite his evangelical tone.

“Ok first things first I’ll eat your brains…”

Meanwhile Black women far and wide could relate, and were posting and group texting about how they endured that same level of sexism that showed itself in his ‘the man will get the last word’ behavior and the added intersection of race that led him to question her qualifications and experience like she could not be the most qualified and experienced person on stage. It is a reality we are all too familiar with, sadly. We are often the first or the only in the room. Our intelligence, skill, and ability questioned and excused as good guesses and somehow only pursued to engage in some nefarious activity like we are all out here on our Jamila Davis. No shade to Jamila… she’s a Boss in her own right.

Not just victims of sexism or racism, Black women face the intersectional realities of being both Black and female in a nation that hates women and both fears and despises Black people. We are often marginalized by everyone… White men, White women, and sometimes Black men. We are labeled as weak of mind to expose our alleged inferiority to White men, but strong of body like animals, to inform our need to be controlled like savages. While white women are seen as needing protection to maintain some false purity standards. Yet we are among the most highly educated group of people in America, we have increased our entrepreneurial efforts by over 200% in recent years, and we are making it harder for anyone to deny our skills, talents, and success by how unapologetic we are being about spreading our accomplishments across the social sphere. Despite the stereotypes, we are professional, educated, skilled, and respected in every facet of American finance, law, industry, government, education, healthcare, technology, art… everything!

“You could be the King but watch the Queen conquer”

The truth is, like Senator Harris, we come prepared with a script on how to handle these shenanigans, borrowed from the boardroom and translated now across every place where we take up space. Our facial expressions say everything from …

And when you don’t get those, we are forced to use our inside voices and our SAT words to slice you a new asshole, and you know it’s happening, but it’s done with such precision and care, you don’t know you are a bloody mess. Then we settle back into ourselves to give you a chance to right your wrongs. But when you question our very presence, you can’t help but be a bigot and throw your privilege around like a boomerang… until we again, less gently, fact check the shit out of you, and your own privilege ricochets to smack you upside the head. We have an answer for your every move, but it’s an exhausting game that we have been told we must tiptoe around to avoid being cast as the very stereotypes that haunt us.

But I am here to tell you, after a decade of fighting with White men and women with my pen, careful words, tempered anger, and lowered voice, I can tell you that it won’t change your circumstance or their behavior to stay in the pocket. Being angry at mistreatment is normal, you don’t have to scream and holler but you can surely call out their discrimination, bias, privilege, and disrespect by name as your full self without worrying about the stereotypes you might fall into. You were born into these stereotypes, they aren’t yours by ownership though to claim or discard. God gave you a voice to speak up and out, to educate the ignorant, and to call out the clowns. You were put into that position divinely.

You don’t think some fool man tried to take over Harriet’s plan and try to mansplain to her how to best cross the delta in the darkness… you know Soloman B. did. But Harriet’s sideeye said to him…”How many slaves have you freed?”

You don’t think some extra dainty White woman hasn’t tried to tell Serena Williams a lithe body would fare her better in tennis, of course Amy did. But Serena had to politely tell her with a laugh… “I got Masters you just got plans.” But Queen Serena wasn’t joking.

You don’t think some White man told Oprah she’d never amount to anything more than a local TV host, of course Tanner did. But now Tanner works for her, and at the latest Harpo picnic Oprah invited Jay-Z to perform … “Call me a Phil Collins I feel a billion is in the air. I affiliate with Billy Gates, that’s my peer.” (Jay-Z, A Billi)

So my sistas, don’t cower, don’t bend or beg, don’t wait for scraps. Let them know you are there and if you don’t get equal pay, equal billing, and equal time where you have earned it, first you’ll ask for it. Then you’ll take it. Periodt!

Divorce is Ok

I have a wide cross section of friends who are married, single, divorced, some in relationships and others not. Most of us don’t define ourselves by our marital or relationship status, they are surely a large part of who we are, but not indicative our whole person. There are a few women I know personally and many I’ve encountered socially who are married and believe divorce is quitting… or they say things in that spirit.

I’m here to tell you that it most certainly is not!

I have been married. I’m currently divorced and in a committed relationship. I am a serial monogamist. I am that girl whose friends say “you always have a man.” The truth is, if I always had a MAN, I’d still be married. I have been in relationship with many men who simply were not mature enough to be with someone who has her shit together, standards, and her own. I have never been looking for someone to take care of me or to lace me, I lace myself… but I am certainly looking for a life partner. In that process, I have had to learn the hard way what is best for me. That means there are some things I’m unwilling to be involved in long term. Period. But ESPECIALLY for a lifetime. We should all have some boundaries. I honestly believe many women get married and shed and erect those boundaries as they go. As Tamar would say… that right there, she don’t do that !

Gone are the days when women had to be and remain married for financial security. Hell, not that I would suggest it, but women are choosing to have babies without a mate… times have changed. Women spend as much time outside of the home, working to financially support her family, as men do. I have plenty of friends who bring in more than their spouses. But even with those very clear markers that women no longer need to completely sacrifice and compromise themselves to stay married … never had to frankly… we continue to do so.

Be clear, I’m not suggesting divorce as a remedy for simple marital problems. I am suggesting that when you see signs that the man you chose does not intend to respect, consider, and commit to you as fully as you have him, after you have exhausted all other remedies, you don’t have to remain with that person who is refusing to treat you well. Period. We all have our own boundaries… mine are simple. If you are unfaithful to me by bringing another person into the intimate bounds of our relationship or by sharing your body with them, you gotta go. If you mistreat me or my child, you gotta go. If you steal or take from me, either materially or otherwise, you gotta go. Lastly, if you are unable to be trusted and show that continuously by your actions, you gotta go. Otherwise, the table is open for discussion and solution. But I’m not talking about you being unable to control yourself sexually, financially, or behaviorally. Go talk to a therapist.

Those women who qualify it as quitting, are typically women afraid to be alone. Women who say things like, they feel sorry for women who are dating. Women who don’t know their own strength and power.

If I’m practicing for a marathon, and the shoes I picked are not supporting me, are hurting me, are making me feel like I can’t finish the race, it’s time for a new pair of shoes. Doesn’t matter how much you spent on the bad shoes, how long you had them, or how good the reviews were. You need good shoes to plant in to make your relationship with the ground as steady and solid as possible. It may rain, the sun may go down. Other people may be ahead of you, or pass you, but your only competition is you and if you felt like you gave it your best. You can’t be at your best with janky shoes. You can’t be at your best with a janky man either sis!

Marriage is hard. Divorce is much more difficult. When you cleave to a partner, to end it, you have to chop them off like a limb. And like an amputee you will feel phantom emotions from that person you cut off. It’s very much like death. It’s also much like ending a book before the last chapter and having to wonder what might have been. So before you make that choice you have examine and exhaust all the possibilities for healing. But if you dig and find nothing but more dirt, eventually you can stop. There is nothing there. The choice is yours… but by no means is it a choice based on quitting. It’s a choice based on you, choosing you.

If you happen to be reading this and you are married and have sacrificed and compromised yourself into a person you no longer recognize for the sake of marriage, but you choose to stay, I hope you find comfort in that decision. But don’t attempt to weaken the person who makes a different choice. Like you, she too deserves support.

As for me, I chose not to subscribe to the very negative propaganda that is spread about Black couples, Black marriage, Black men, Black women, and Black love. Marriage is difficult to maintain across the board, but so can be your sense of self. One shouldn’t be sacrificed for the other, ever. Choosing you is NEVER quitting. It is imperative. Divorce doesn’t make you a quitter, just a survivor.

If you need to… and only you know that, quell the chatter, divorce is ok!

You get Justice, if you’re Lucky

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know .
-Maya Angelou, Alone

Life in 2020 is a constant cycle of trauma if you are Black in America. Black men face the constant pressure of being walking targets of brutality and fraudulent representations of waywardness. Black women treated as the weakest link when we literally anchor the totem in our dust. The last nine months have ushered in a physical and spiritual pandemic that has America in a chokehold and is both exhausting and overdue for Black folks. Protests, the exposure of racism and racists practices, and the real conversations on white privilege, supremacy, and responsibility are a true comeuppance. Yet simultaneously the constant broadcast of injustice, dead Black bodies, and loss of innocence are heartbreaking. My son’s drivers training class is having a discussion on “driving while Black”… a conversation whose necessity is obvious and life saving but also the face of racism and it’s affect on the Black cultural reality. The coming undone plays musically like the Janet Jackson sample…

Poetic Justice.

Black reality in this current space is like…
Pac and Janet.
Innocence and Pain.
Life and Death.
Trauma and Healing.
Cause and Effect.


Get your umbrella.

***

Read slow, and you’ll find gold mines in these lines. -Kendrick Lamar, Poetic Justice

Racism has always existed in the US, it is literally built upon it like bricks. It is the blood and bones of African slaves buried beneath Washington’s monuments. Yet 2020 has been a modern day Middle Passage, but cars instead of boats and prisons and cemeteries instead of plantations. State and government sanctioned murder and oppression of Black people, broadcast in living color. It reads like payback for our ascent that has challenged White men of what they thought was their birthright. A leader who with coded language and lies encourages the bad behavior of supremacy. Police officers who otherwise might have thought twice about shooting a Black man, woman, or child knows luck is on their side and justice will likely be suppressed. It seems, today is a good day when somebody got killed, instead of loved, in South Central LA.

The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan. –
Maya Angelou, Alone

Blackness is a state of being and a state of mind. In America, our story is one of infinitesimal degrees of separation both physically and spiritually. Out of about 400,000 slaves shipped to North America through the slave trade, we now number over 42 million. We are connected very intimately to one another genetically. Brothers and sisters literally. Since our feet stepped on American soil we have lived with external oppression that has tricked some of us into internal betrayal, by breaking those bonds between us through separation, familial destruction, and mental torture.

There is, in every hood a series of dichotomous experiences. Pleasure and pain: we exude style, confidence, and creativity that is often forced to live in the shadows of violence and generational curses. A Pac and Janet, hood boy and good girl, love story set against a backdrop of hopeless and violence. The boys and girls in the hood suffer the trauma of racism and cultural confusion that affects both how we love and what we hate.

The reality of most urban communities is that Black and brown people have been pushed into these pockets by poverty, racist housing policies, and a lack of opportunity. But as communal people we make a family out of these circumstances the best we can. Play cousins; Aunties giving you dollars for As; your cousin braiding your hair in the porch steps; getting Grandma a new church crown; and doing the hustles at the family BBQ. Simultaneously battling internal struggles about who we are and our worth that have been handled down the emotional family tree like kinky hair and curves are handed down genetically. Black on Black crime is a fallacy; we are able and intelligent despite biased test scores; we are worthy despite the ruin we often live in and around m; and we are powerful despite the lack of our faces in public spaces. It’s not nature, but external cultural oppression that breeds internal cultural betrayal.

What we have in common is pain. -Kendrick

South Central, LA gang stories make sense, but love stories? Despite lives of hardship in a hard place, the characters played by Tupac Shakur and Janet Jackson were soft reminders of the beauty to be had by healing their deep pain and generational toxicity. Grief, death, fear, misogyny, distrust, selfishness colored their experiences, yet they were both representative of the very real innocence of love and connection. Violence and aggression are stories of necessity, like hip hop, they tell our story. Softness and love are our truth, like R&B, they make babies and families and communities. Lucky had a softness only hardened by reality, like Pillsbury and Doughboy were hardened by heat…choppas or circumstances. Be sure that hard shell you develop is only protective of your softness, and not preventing your brothers and sisters from reaching it.

As we protest that longstanding oppression ALONG with our own traumatic responses to watching our brothers and sisters killed in today’s streets, we find ourselves exhausted and in need of a reprieve. Karma will be our savior. Poetic Justice. The Buddhist theory of samsara teaches that after death, our spirits return to either the good realm or bad realm depending upon our actions during life. That realm is where we’ll exist until another death. Rebirth. As we heal and pay homage to our communal history and our generational truth, we are being reborn free. The oppressive shackles of racism only have wrists and ankles to bind that are afraid to break. Healing breaks you so you emerge whole. Trust, this entire year is one big therapy session. We gon be alright!

If I told you that a flower bloom in a dark room, would you trust it? -Kendrick

Ever wonder why we got all this rhythm? How we turn our blues into funk? Why we sing and cook and dance with soul… collard greens in our feet, baked mac and cheese bubbling over, and the sweet honey colored juice of yams coating our vocal chords so we can sing high line Minnie and deep like Mahalia. Why our hair winds, twists, turns up to the Heavens? Why we are painted in color? We are the sons and daughters of soul. The very place where love lives. The softest place on Earth.

And this is our exhausting reality. In one moment we mourn Breonna and the next celebrate Kamala. We are here to teach everyone else how to emerge from the ashes, whatever burned them. Only healed hearts can have that experience. You get Justice, if you are Lucky; if the stars align; if the color of your shirt is blue; or if you have dirt under your fingernails. But that doesn’t mean you ever stop fighting for her if you don’t get lucky. Despite what you’ve been told and no matter how many of your teeth they try to pull to force feed you racism, know that in reality they only want to slur your speech. We must speak, write, tweet, telegram, and Pony Express our experience, and let our collective, communal, and familial words holler out for justice and freedom, come hail, snow, sleet, or…

…there’s blood in my pen. –Kendrick Lamar

Rant: Make Sure Your Information is Correct

I have a gripe.

Y’all just WONT STOP putting misinformation out into the atmosphere and then assuring folks you read, you are smart, you are involved, you care. You most likely are all those things, but I have another description for you… you are wrong.

Some of y’all are so woke, you are blind! White folks are not the enemy, white supremacy and white privileged are the enemy. Racists are the enemy. Black people who support racists are the ultra raggedy enemy! Yes, every conservative is not a bad person. But every card carrying Republican that supports the alt-right, racist policy, and hatred is. Every liberal is not a good person. But if I have to chose between a human who has made mistakes, even racial ones and an inhumane racist… my choice is easy.

During desegregation in the 50s, we saw Black children trying to enter schools after Brown v. Board of Education, met with extreme hatred. After white flight, racist behavior and tactics still kept many Black students out of the more fully funded and educationally superior schools in White neighborhoods, so the Supreme Court in 1971 determine that forced busing could be used to ensure racial desegregation. This meant sending Black students from often poor neighborhoods to affluent White ones, where they were often treated as inferior, less intelligent, and unwelcome … and sending White children to schools in Black neighborhoods that were underperforming their native school.

When Biden made the comment about sending his children into a “racial jungle”, and YES he could have used a better word than jungle which has race implications in and of itself, he was specifically against forced busing because he thought the methods being used would not further racial harmony but drive a wedge through it. He was for integration, specifically housing integration, but felt forced busing only exposed the unequal education present in Black and White areas, and would ultimately lead to a race war. Integrating communities, he felt was a larger and longer lasting change to really help Black and White families to break down racial barriers.

Inner city schools should have the same resources and its students the same opportunities as those in the suburbs. Black people should be able to live where they feel most comfortable, whether the city or the suburbs and still have quality education for their students where they live. The policy makers were not interested in ensuring all children were given a quality education, but instead desegregating with the least common denominator. It wasn’t a practice in social change but simply a legal mandate that many of them didn’t agree with. Biden wanted to find ways to integrate that would result in racial peace not war. You can’t read one article and get the whole story. No professor in America would take your one source bibliography. Stop it!

We want people to vote, but we (intellectual and civic minded folks) do ALOT of misquoting and misdirection in our posts and comments about things going on today and things that shape opinions about people. Joe Biden is FAR from perfect, but he’s not a racist. I don’t deal with or find any human value in a racist. So in my opinion, Biden is the only choice. But be careful what you put out there… somebody may take your words for gospel and use them to make a decision. Make sure your information is correct!

Similarly, if I have to chose between criminal justice for my child’s state sanctioned death and millions of dollars, there is no amount of money that is worth my child’s life or justice for it. However I can want both. And if I cannot get justice, for whatever reason, taking the money doesn’t make me wrong or mean that I’m selling out. If I can use my life to fight for my child’s legacy and every child like her, and I have the money to do that without worry… my choice is easy.

When we are ignorant of the law, we should keep our opinions on legal settlements to ourselves. {If you need a lesson in civil v. criminal cases see my post yesterday. } However, imagine losing someone to a crime and them getting off without a conviction but you being awarded a settlement because of their death. The standards to make those determinations were completely unrelated. While you are angry that there is no justice for the death, you realize now that you can pay back loans you took to help you maintain during the trial, for the funeral, and now you can start scholarship funds, non profits, and be an agent of change in your community with the money you were awarded. You can put a loved ones kids through school. You can dedicate yourself to their legacy.

Yet people are accusing you of taking money to settle the criminal case. That’s not how ANY of that works… but that’s the vile sentiments some of y’all are putting out into the world. That undermines the need for police reform, court reform, and spits in the face of those of us who chant Black Lives Matter, who pleaded for the arrest of Breonna Taylor’s killers, and who are working to bring awareness to police brutality and its oppression. Don’t defile her death with bullshit. Make sure your information is correct!

Now go forth and do your research, not just read one article from http://www.medianewsrus.com, and be better!

End rant!

Dear Breonna Taylor,

Your life meant more than you were likely ever told when you were alive. That’s how it often goes. Folks love you, revere you, want to sop you up with a biscuit, but never really show you or tell you while they can. And then, one day, they can’t. How we all wish you were alive. None more than your family. But perhaps even those of us that never knew you feel like we do, and wish we could have shown or told you how amazing you were… how amazing and valuable Black girls are, Black women are, Black women named Breonna are. We hope in that last hour you were held, told you were beautiful, felt your heart beat to the rhythm of your favorite song.

Yet in death, I want to try to educate our brothers and sisters on some very important legal truths to give some clarity to your fate and the aftermath. A fate, again, that was sad, unnecessary, baseless, negligent, reckless, and unjustifiable. However, now it is your legacy that is left. Your legacy should shape how we are treated in our own homes. You, Botham Jean, Korryn Gaines, and Atitiana Jefferson. Police reform is mandatory. No knock warrants should be forever banned. Black lives should AT A MINIMUM matter. Black people must understand the law, their rights, and their legal options.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

You were a 26 year old emergency room tech, a first responder, someone to be exalted and honored. Instead, because you once had dealings with someone with a criminal past, a no knock warrant to find that person, who was already in police custody and lived over 10 miles away from you was issued. A battering ram was used to break down your door, two police officers entered without warning, and you were killed. One former detective went outside of your apartment shot into the window covered with blinds and neighboring apartments. That was March 13, 2020. We have marched, protested, hash tagged, wore tee shirts, and loudly called for justice for you for six months. Today we heard from the Attorney General… the same one who spoke at the RNC.

This case might be legal chaos, but it is not morally or systematically complicated. Yet, no charges were brought against the officers in your killing. Today the former detective, whose weapon was not involved in your murder, was charged only with wanton endangerment for shooting into neighboring apartments. This is not an uncommon result in the killing of Black men and women by police officers… no justice. I guess Daniel Cameron does turn a blind eye to unjust acts. Black people are simply not treated justly or fairly in the exercise of thwarting crime by police officers, police departments, and courts. It is due to the very sad reality in America that the lives of Black people in the criminal justice system are deemed valueless. Your precious life was cut short and he gets charged for shooting at a wall?!?

Yet again, this isn’t new. This is the very real reality of the state of white privilege, racism, and the lack of justice in America. Wanton endangerment sounds like an ’80s cover band and not the indictment in the death of a human being in her own home. This is a state sanctioned homicide at its worst! The issues here are not so much what happened after police got to your home, your murder was the direct result of what happened prior to the police arriving at the scene. A haphazard investigation into the case that brought on said warrant. A negligently issued no knock warrant. A virtual crutch to police officers feeling a duty to act reasonably. Everything about this was wanton.

The decision to issue this type of warrant and the failure to adequately research the circumstances surrounding the warrant are directly related to the racist systems and policies in place across the country. Judges most often approve no knock warrants in urban drug cases. The brainchild of a Senate staffer during the Nixon era, they are historically one of the tools used in the 1980s war on drugs in America’s Black neighborhoods. According to Radley Balko, an investigative journalist and the author of the book Rise of the Warrior Cop, about police using the so-called no-knock warrants, about 10 innocent people and 30 potentially drug involved individuals are killed during these raids. Moreover the reckless use of such a dangerous tool sheds further light on the unimportance of protecting and saving Black lives. These warrants also insulate police by allowing them to use practices that limit their responsibility to use deathly force. Police should always be and must always be held accountable for firing their weapons. They should not ever be relieved of their duty to protect.

Yet, here we are yet again. Another Black life left to perish with no consequences for the obviously flawed and biased system that is supposed to protect and serve Americans, especially the innocent. You were innocent, unprotected, and underserved.

You deserve justice of every kind.

CIVIL JUSTICE

In April 27th, 2020, your mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the three police officers involved in your killing. The suit also alleged the police used excessive force and the issuance of the warrant was grossly negligent. The result was a $12 Million settlement in the civil suit. This is larger than any settlement paid in Kentucky’s history and larger than those settlements for Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, or Freddie Gray. An unprecedented act, the suit also resulted in the commitment to make police reforms including officer review of search warrants, mandatory paramedics in search warrants, identifying officers with red flags, social workers on dispatch cases, keeping investigative files into officer conduct open, among other things.

What is important here is the understanding that civil justice is not the settlement of a criminal case. They are two completely different types of jurisprudence that have very little to do with each other. Civil wrongful death suits need only prove by a preponderance of the evidence (51%) that the defendant caused the death. A criminal case, particularly murder needs both intent and must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, a very very high burden. So a person can be RESPONSIBLE for the death but not have criminal intent and be found not guilty. They are two very different lines of inquiry. It is important that we understand this, and are not sitting in judgement or shaming families who seek civil justice.

Families of people killed by the police, racist state actors, or as a result of the racist systems and policies in place that attempt to justify the death of a Black people should be able to put their lives back together. Many of these people sacrifice their jobs, savings, and livelihoods waiting and advocating for the indictments of their children, sibling’s, spouse’s and parent’s killers. They are often unprepared and go into debt burying their loved ones. Families such as your own deserve to send their fallen soldier’s children to college, or pay for their spouses and parents to dedicate their lives to advocacy and activism against police brutality, racism, the politicalization of criminal investigations and indictments, and the oppression of marginalized people. They also deserve a means to get commitments from police departments and States that will prevent the continued death of Black people at their hands. It is not settling to accept this money – settling for money instead of justice. In many instances, it’s the tool to continue living.

And keep living we must. The fight is too big. We need all the soldiers we can muster. There are too many names. Too many dead Black people. Too many unconvicted police officers. Too many excuses. Too many failures. We deserve justice of every kind.

Please know, we said your name. Breonna. We said your name deliberately, loudly, often, and with passion. Breonna means noble, virtuous, and strong. Everyone who knew you well says you were all of those things and more. We can see it in your eyes and your smile. We honor you. We remember you. We will continue to fight for you. We mourn you. You deserved justice of every kind.

I Dissent

I write legal decisions for a living. I am a 2002 graduate from Wayne State University Law School where constitutional law became my law of choice. In light of that, I always loved Justice Antonin Scalia, despite most often not agreeing with him, but being in awe of his masterfully and magically written decisions that often read like fine poetry without the meter. I particularly loved the dance he and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg did in written word. Her dissents often unwrapped his words like they were fine chocolate not to be broken or marred, but then suddenly devoured once naked. His would seem to ooze vitriol, throwing hot lava on her cool simplicity. They were an interesting pair. But she was something special. She was smart and calculated in how she highlighted sex discrimination in her career, and how she promoted humanity and equity through her court decisions. Her brand of female liberalism was injected with a passion to expose and end sexism and see women’s rights championed and not kicked and trampled over by a court full of men. If a pen was a choppa, she “kicked in the door waving the .44.” She was notorious indeed!

My absolute favorite decision of hers is her dissent in Bush v. Gore. In the 2000 Florida recount case , y’all remember the hanging and dangling chads, she stated … “The extraordinary setting of this case has obscured the ordinary principle that dictates its proper resolution: Federal courts defer to state high courts’ interpretations of their state’s own law. This principle reflects the core of federalism, on which all agree.” Her dissent was a masterclass in tearing down a clearly conservatives court overlooking of the law to further political gain. Her use of previous SC decisions on federalism was a clinic in jurisprudence! And in GRAND and SAVAGE fashion, she ended her opinion with only, “I DISSENT!” The traditional “respectfully” left off the end. A veritable “Beef is when I see you” to the foolish decision of the majority. She was notorious indeed.

And in this day of her death, we mourn her, but mostly we should honor her. On her deathbed she proclaimed:

A statement that was inspired by Mitch McConnell’s blocking of President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court during the 2016 election. Invoking the so called “Biden Rule”, the Senate refused to hold confirmation hearings until the election was over after Justice Scalia’s death. So because what’s good for the goose is absolutely sometimes good for the gander and McConnell is a BAN… she demanded the same. ON HER DEATHBED yo! Not for herself but for the country she loved. Another confirmation by the incumbent will result in a highly conservative and frankly MAGA minded court that will tear down the social justices that have happened in America since the early twentieth century. Race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, abortion rights will see fates that will forever change our country, moving it back to the Jim Crow era. RBG was an equal rights advocate and knew the damage that could come from a Trump confirmation. She was “all purpose war” on her hospice bed… she was notorious indeed.

So ladies, let’s be like RBG. Let’s dissent… respectability be damned. We must put on our jeweled bib, our fishnet gloves, a cute lippie, and pearl earrings and loudly dissent with passion, savagery, and no apologies. Let’s allow no one, despite how long their reach, to pluck our star from the heavens! Let’s be steadfast in standing up in our beliefs and our purpose with passion and urgency! Let’s be diligent in voting for OUR OWN interests and not those of our father’s, brother’s, and husband’s… because our vote was hard fought by feminists and activists from every walk of life, some to the death. Let’s always remember we are the life force! We hold within ourselves the cypher of life… we are to be honored and respected at all times and at all costs. And when we are not, we should don our crowns and let these patriarchs know that if they don’t take us serious, no holds are barred, and well “Fuck around, shit get dark to him…”

Now go forth and be notorious!

Rest in Power Super Diva!

Forget About Dre

“Now days everybody wanna talk like they got something to say…”

1. Dr Dre married a LAWYER in 1996, who was formerly married to NBA player Sedale Threatt,

2. Dr Dre has a history of drinking and violence towards women, both domestically and otherwise. His tack record says he’s an abuser.

3. In 1996 Dr Dre formed Aftermath. He produced, made beats, signed 50 cent in 2002, sold Aftermath for $52 million, made over 11 million in 2004, had a net worth of $30 million in 2012, sold Beats by Dre and is now worth $800 million.

4. He and his second wife Nicole signed a prenup. Many prenups have domestic violence clauses that negate the prenup if there is abuse.

5. She asked for $2 million a month temporary support after filing for divorce.

That’s the knowledge. Here’s the truth.

Who gives a damn about a woman beating drunk and how much money he has to pay to his soon to be ex-wife? He put a WHOLE woman’s WHOLE head into brick wall. He seems to like to beat up in a lot of the women he comes into contact with. You think for one minute this negro who said “it ain’t no big thing, I just threw her through a door” never put his hands on his current wife? Are we sure about that? Would you bet on that? Dude been hitting more than corners and low lows. Trust.

Here’s the thing, they married and live in California, a community property state, she gets half of his assets acquired during the marriage if there is not legally enforceable prenup. This woman is not an extra dancer in his video, she had been married to an athlete AND knows the law well enough to get a really good lawyer. Dr Dre wasn’t new when they met. So anything about him was public knowledge, including his violence. She should give back her law degree and her lawyer should just hang up his Johnston & Murphy’s if they didn’t plan for that in the prenup. Just throw your degrees in the garbage because y’all both trash in that area. But I can’t imagine that…

So she budgets $900,00 for entertainment. Well perhaps when they were happily married he flew out Toni Braxton to serenade them on date night. Maybe once a week they rented out a stadium to play a game of one on one with Charles Barley commentating. Maybe back in the day they had Bob Ross come give them painting lessons… little trees and happy clouds. It really doesn’t matter because in the grand scheme of things, $2 million is going to be her shoe money when she gets that check for $400 million. She could spend $2 million a month until she is 73, and still have money left over. She could wipe her ass with $100 bills, that’s her business. When you put your hands on women for sport as he has a history of doing… karma is knowing your money is as shitty as you are.

So I advise you, men especially not to get caught up in the matrix, no one wants your blow up mattress and your comic book collection, be easy. In fact, just be smart. If you got a few pennies, protect your assets, get a prenup, and keep your hands and your penis to yourself (there are infidelity clauses as well in prenups). But as for Dre… he gotta break her off something, and it’s FOR SURE gonna be bumping!

Sadly genius doesn’t always extend to every area of our lives and is not often a factor in common sense. But these are first world problems, and while we are living in third world conditions, I implore you to… yep… you said it already yourself… on cue…

Forget About Dre!

Hey… those are Lucy’s Diamonds

So let’s start from the beginning.

Ancient Greek philosophers learned Mathematics, Science, Language, the cornerstones of intellectual thought, deduction, and reasoning in Egypt… from Egyptians… in Africa. They wrote of this in the history of their philosophical manuscripts, but that’s not apart of general education. You can’t subjugate and marginalize people if they know you learned everything you claim as the basis of your superiority from them.

Similarly, the oldest human bones were discovered in Africa. Lucy is everyone’s ancestor. Yet that’s not apart of general education. You can’t mistreat and brutalize people if they know your racial categories are just made up tools of classic, racism, and supremacy, and they are the original beings from which everyone else descended. Lucy is humanity’s guiding star. We all see through her eyes… a collection of history and tragedy and triumph that shifts and changes colors like a kaleidoscope.

But let’s fast forward to modern day, during the most racially tense time we’ve seen since the Civil Rights Movement… where Black people are told to go back where they come from, that they come from shithole countries, that them living amongst the majority is understandably unwanted, and that their dead bodies being laid out in city streets like urban snuff movies… when images such as the one above permeate the media as a joke. But in reality it is our thoughts, art, music, style… cultural intellectual property… that is stolen and used like it emitted from their fingertips like pure magic. This can be especially true in the professional dynamic between White women and Black women. We are sick of Melania. We are taking control of our own credits!

I work as a public servant. I’m underpaid and overworked and could make much more money in the private sector… but this is the path I chose. I have a law degree and upon getting my job where I decide, analyze, and write legal decisions for federal service, I knew as the only legally trained officer I’d fare well. And I did, at first. I moved to more complex and autonomous cases quickly, leading to my first promotion training other officers. I helped develop a program used nationally to help prepare new officers learn the law in a practical setting. And then our office got whitewashed. All the minority leaders were pushed out, and my Black face didn’t look like success. So, they found a way to push me aside and hire White women to benefit from my work and take credit for it. But nope… I keep all the receipts. You won’t cheat off my paper and get an A while I get a B.

So here it is… put your name on it. Add your spice to it. Pour honey and cocoa on it. Make the shit yours, so nobody can ever mistake that it belongs to you. Be Beyoncé with it. Put on your leotard and nude stockings, bling it out, and Black it out. So when they put on them dukes, holographic fringe boots, and cropped sweatshirt… you know it’s appropriated cuz it’s missing your tag. Make sure everybody knows it’s yours. Make them work for their own if they want the credit for excellence.

Similarly, be your own voice, and make everyone else have to use theirs if they want the credit for change. How often Black women are allowed to put themselves on the line and speak up for the mistreatment of women because we have experience speaking up for mistreatment because we are Black… with no support on the front lines. Then in the mess hall everybody wants to big up you for saying what needed to be said. Nope! Speak for you until White women, Asian women, other women of color join you as an ally. Talk in the office instead of in the conference room. Don’t kneel for anyone who wouldn’t even stand up for you! Take fierce ownership of your intellectual property.

Michelle Obama is a national treasure. Melania Trump is the President’s wife. We ain’t all the same. Some of us make history, others of us just want so badly to be great again. Some of us are Lucy, and ain’t nobody fucking with our clique!

“Picture yourself on a train in a station
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile
The girl with the kaleidoscope eyes… Lucy in the sky with diamonds”
-The Beatles

Ladies, Ladies, Ladies…

These raggedy men (if you ain’t raggedy but you got instantly peeved, then pull your skirt down, I’m not talking about you dear heart) are not worth all the time you put into collecting quotes and shit to let them and everyone else know… that you know … that they ain’t shit. Notice, you rarely hear about the raggedy broads men come into contact with unless they are rappers and they write songs about it. Otherwise men deal and move on from raggedy shit to ready themselves for something better. Otherwise, they become these ragged dudes we are discussing right now. It’s time to take on that same disposition… he ain’t want you, he was taken, he was inconsistent, an asshole, a cheater, or just unsure… whatever it was or is… stop giving old boy your time and attention.

“You gets no love… from me!”

We have all had at least one. One somebody who wasn’t who or what we thought, whether he just had the bomb representative and a shitty reality or because that’s what we so badly wanted, we imagined he was all of these wonderful things he never demonstrated. The key to moving beyond that trash on to greener pastures is our ability to recognize our part in our heartbreak and then acknowledge when we saw who he really was and why we ignored it. Cuz people show us who they are, hell, they often TELL us before they show us in reality. And most often we ignore it and trip over it until we face plant. Don’t stumble over your own insecurity.

“It’s not right, but it’s okay! I’m gonna make it anyway!”

Insecurity. It is a manifestation of diseased thinking about yourself. You aren’t smart, y’all, thin, pretty, interesting, fly enough… or whatever lies you tell yourself. Well guess what… Raggedy dudes have a radar for that shit. They scan rooms, parties, restaurants, their friends Facebook buddies pages to seek out women who clearly need someone to pay them a compliment or give them a little time and attention. They look for the obsessed and compulsive. They look for the fisherwomen, throwing that bait out for compliments and likes and looks. They look for women who constantly big up themselves for the public… the loudest are usually the most insecure. These guys are waiting in the wings, capes on, but they can’t fly and they certainly can’t save you. They just see easy bait. Don’t be easy bait. Don’t be easy at all.

” It’s over now, go on and take a bow!”

Make him work for your affection. Make sure you know he’s worth it, because he’s already deduced your worth. And that’s the thing, if he’s looking for short term… his deductions are based on what he wants not necessarily what your traits truly represent. So when he’s had his fill of what he wants, he’ll likely not even stay to see who you really are. And that’s ok. That’s his prerogative. But you are responsible for you… your heart… your healing. So you have to limit folks access to you. Be responsible for who you let into your peace zone. And be honest with yourself, if you fail to do these things, why do you invite chaos. For attention? To cure the lonelies? Because you mistake unhealed abandonment issues for extroversion? Whatever your ailment, heal it. Toxicity only shocks the system, it doesn’t embrace it. So allow your system to heal from toxic shock syndrome before you open your doors for guests and visitors. You are more than just a stop over on a long trip. You, my dear, are the destination.

You gotta let ’em know…

“What’s my name boy?”