Friday, June 22, 2007

Iceberg Slim, Sidewalk Justice

It's been a long time I shouldn't have left you...I know, I know, I keep letting you down. Sorry but there's been one too many things happening in this crazy thing called my life. Please believe I been working real hard on bringing you high powered, super-charged up, ultra-magnetic articles to read for the future.

It all began when I started doing research about one of my heroes Robert 'Iceberg Slim' Beck. I've never seen an article, or a book about the man who inspired a movement. Gangsta lit/ghetto lit whatever you wanna call it, started with him way back in 1967. Beck wrote seven books, three of which were autobiographical. Of those three books: "Pimp: The Story of My Life", "Naked Soul" and "Airtight Willie and Me" he was loose with certain facts about his life. I thought to myself that it would be cool if someone - using journalistic techniques, told the story of the man behind the books.

Nice idea, right?

It is the hardest project I have ever undertaken. For one thing his widow refuses to do interviews. His first wife - well, common-law wife, is too sick to talk. His daughters? Oh my God, they are hard to find. I reached out to them through a lawyer and two publishers, to which I got no response. Which means, that they too don't wanna talk.

Which is ashamed. We're talking about a man that started a movement. We're talking about a man that is said to be one of the best selling African American writers ever. He sold somewhere near six million books that have been translated into four different languages in forty years. So we're not talking about some obscure guy. We're talking about someone that has had an impact on our culture... And his family doesn't want to talk publicly about him? That doesn't sound right.

If it was my dad that had a major impact on American culture I would share anything I could about him. But I guess, not everyone thinks like I do. Shame.

I pitched the story around to magazines and newspapers, all of whom passed...they don't get it.

But all is not lost true believer.

I told my editor Andre Torres at Wax Poetics what I had been working on and he's interested in it, so all I gotta do is find an angle and edit what I have and we'll take it from there. Stay tuned on that front...

I was talking with my home boy Ronin Ro last night and we got to talking about the 'Stop Snitchin' movement that is plaguing our communities. Here's my take on 'Stop Snitchin'...

If you and I are both doing grimy ass, illegal ass s%#!t together and I get busted...I can't rollover on you and tell the cops what your doing. I have to do my time like a man. If I tell on you - then I'm a snitch.

There are certain occasions when it is necessary to go to the cops. For instance: Your next door neighbor sits in front of his window (curtains open) all day jacking off looking at little kids. What do you do?

Me, I'm knocking on his door first. He'll have his dick in his hand, I'll have a baseball bat or a hammer (which oddly are both phallic symbols, but the similarities end there) in mine. He will quickly get the point that if he doesn't...

A) Close his fu$&kin window.
B) Stay the hell away from my kids and everybody else's kids

He will see that a baseball bat and or a hammer are harder - and more deadly, than his dick. After that I'd go to the property management and tell them that I promised to discombobulate and do some real primitive ish to the retard in 4E.

Let's say I knew that the guys next door were bank robbers - would I call the cops? Hell no. Robbing banks is a victim less crime (for the most part) the insurance pays the bank off.

But let's say, the idiots next door to me are bank robbers who have gone on a violent bank robbing spree. Would I tell?

Hell yeah. Now they've involved innocent people. What if that was your kid? Or your grandmother or moms cashing a check when Wally Gator and crew come in and stick the bank up and start pistol whipping customers. They deserve the wrath of the law.

Here's where it gets more interesting.

Let's say my son saw a robbery take place. He saw first hand the whole thing and even knew the guys that did it. Do you know what I'd tell him to do? Keep quiet.


Kids are in a different social structure than we are. I'd tell my son: Look, you saw what you saw, you know what you know, but for your own safety, you didn't see nothing. Kids can get to other kids real quick. Kids roll in large groups. Your average thirty and forty year old doesn't roll like that. The best way for a kid to protect himself is to be quiet and to stay out of the game.

However, if it is a violent crime that my son has witnessed ie; rape or murder, then we are both going to the cops. After that Smith and Wesson will be actively protecting my residence.

As adults we have different responsibilities. If I see a violent crime ie; rape, murder, carjacking, molestation I'm going to the cops. I'm a regular dude. I ain't a gangster. Gangsters have it to where they can exact their own revenge, your regular average ordinary pedestrian doesn't have it like that. We have to go to the cops for justice.

"Stop Snitchin" has turned our communities into places where justice rarely ever gets served because no one wants to be involved and no one wants to do do anything. So the sense of community is non-existent because our homes and stores have become havens for criminals

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