Archives for : VIOLENCE

September 8, 1996: The Morning After

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September 8, 1996: 11AM: Suge Knight is released from the University Medical Center. 6:20PM: 2pac undergoes a second operation at UMC to repair damage from bullet wounds. Source: Las Vegas Sun, Cathy Scott.

The Move Organization: 29th Anniversary

 

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May 13th marks the 29th Anniversary of the MOVE bombing, in which Philadelphia police dropped an explosive from a helicopter in an attempt to end an armed standoff.

The Move Organization is a Black Liberation group from Philadelphia started by John Africa in 1972. In 1985 the group made national news when police dropped a bomb on their house on 6221 Osage Avenue from a helicopter in an attempt to end an armed impasse. The explosion and ensuing fire killed 11 people, including five children and the group’s leader, John Africa. Only two occupants survived—Ramona Africa and Birdie, a child. 60 homes were destroyed as the entire block burned.

Mayor W. Wilson Goode appointed an investigative commission called the MOVE commission. It issued its report on March 6, 1986. The report denounced the actions of the city government, stating that “Dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable.” No one from the city government was charged criminally.

In a 1996 civil suit in US federal court, a jury ordered the City of Philadelphia to pay $1.5 million to a survivor and relatives of two people killed in the bombing. The jury found that the city used excessive force and violated the members’ constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Philadelphia was given the sobriquet “The City that Bombed Itself.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:The $100,000 Hit?

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Little Known Black History Fact: Loyd Jowers

The shot that killed Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on this day in 1968 was presumably fired from Jim’s Grill, a café on ground floor of a rooming house. James Earl Ray, King’s assassin, was staying there. But Loyd Jowers, who ran Jim’s Grill, stated he received $100,000 to arrange for Dr. King’s assassination and said that Ray was not King’s killer.

Read more about Jowers here on BlackAmericaWeb.com http://bit.ly/1fRmMPW.

“King-Abernathy suite”.

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Ralph Abernathy testified to the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations that King and his entourage stayed at room 306 at the Lorraine Motel so often it was known as the “King-Abernathy suite”. According to Jesse Jackson, King’s last words on the balcony were spoken to musician Ben Branch, who was scheduled to perform that night at an event King was attending: “Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”
At 6:01 p.m., April 4, 1968, a shot rang out as King stood on the motel’s second-floor balcony. The bullet entered through his right cheek, smashing his jaw, then traveled down his spinal cord before lodging in his shoulder.  Abernathy heard the shot from inside the motel room and ran to the balcony to find King on the floor.
King’s autopsy revealed that though only 39 years old, he “had the heart of a 60 year old”, which was attributed to the stress of 13 years in the civil rights movement.

Lorraine Hotel:Room 306

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Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson, Dr. King, and Ralph Abernathy in front of room 306, April 3, 1968, a day before the assassination.

Rodney King: 23 Years After……

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George Holliday videotaped from his balcony, Rodney King being beaten by Los Angeles police officers, on March 3, 1991.  King was struck by the officers 33 times with batons, kick 6 times, and hit with a taser twice.

Trayvon Martin:(February 5, 1995-February 26, 2012)

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Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.  ‪#‎RIPTrayvonMartin

Damion ” World” Hardy: American Gangster Part I

LIL KIM

We all know that when the feds get a new case they construct it based on the lies, half-truths and insinuations perpetrated by rats, cooperators and snitches. It doesn’t matter if what the witnesses are saying out of their mouths is true or not. The feds just roll with it. There is no investigation or nothing substantial going on. The U.S. Attorneys just go by what their snitches are saying. The cooperator’s words become the universal truth that prosecutors base their case off of.  And in reality, the snitches are just saying whatever it is they think the feds want to hear, so they can get out of whatever jam they have managed to get themselves into. Whatever happened to the saying, if you are willing to do the crime be willing to do the time?

Nowadays these so-called hustlers, players and gangsters get themselves into a messy situation where they are facing the prospect of spending decades of their lives behind bars, due to the governments War on Drugs, the mandatory minimums and sentencing guidelines, and it seems they will say just about anything to get out of it. They’ll rat on their friends, their family and in some cases, even their moms. Basically they will tell the feds whatever it is they want to hear. There is no honor in the streets and when dudes flip they say, “Charge it to the game.”

These big multi-layered RICO act cases that the U.S. Attorneys crank out have become more a matter of the feds getting their snitches stories to fit the indictments they have concocted, and less a practice of justice or  looking for the truth. There have been numerous cases we have reported on and exposed here in this magazine that show how the U.S. government works. They are using statutes made to convict Mafia families and Colombian drug lords on inner-city drug crews, who are usually more unorganized chaos than organized crime. The feds have a tendency to identify the ultimate target of their probe before the investigation into their affairs has even started. If someone’s name is ringing in the street than they are a target. Especially in regards to the feds’ tough on crime policies as they apply to their war on minorities. Because let’s keep it real, black people account for 15 percent of the U.S. population, but 50 percent of the prison population. How can those numbers be justified?

The feds are putting cases on people, but let’s face it they aren’t doing it alone. And the snitches play along, doing whatever it takes to get that time cut. They say one thing in their proffers to get people indicted, but once they get on the stand they change the story up, doing whatever the prosecutor wants them to do so they can to get that 5k1 or Rule 35 sentence reduction motion. Ain’t nobody trying to do that 20 year sentence even for their so-called man. In the streets it’s every man for himself. Because the feds don’t play. Dudes get busted and talk that “Death Before Dishonor” shit, but when it comes down to it if they want to get that time cut you know what they are doing. And it has nothing to do with death before dishonor. The prosecutors are the same way; they don’t care what they have to do to get their convictions. They have no sense of honor and justice or right and wrong. They will literally do whatever it takes. The whole profession of attorneys is a pit of snakes and sharks.

Maxims like “Death Before Dishonor” and “Stop Snitching” don’t exist in the drug game and criminal underworld anymore, except in very rare cases. They are ideals of the past, held up in memory and supposedly cherished, but not honored in the present day. Most dudes in the streets are playing a dirty game. When that indictment comes down its literally every man for himself. It’s like the buffet, whoever is first in line gets the best deal. You heard Rick Ross talking about, “I caught a charge,” but nigga you didn’t catch no charge. The drug game to you is a fantasy, a hip-hop video where you fake it to make it. But this shit isn’t entertainment, this isn’t about fronting and stunting, this shit is real life. Dudes are doing life because these crab-ass busters can’t hold their weight. These dudes are talking about how gangsta they are these days but in truth they are suckers. They think it’s a music video or a video game, like they can walk off the set, change the song or hit the do over or reset button when the feds roll in. But there are no do over’s in life, homie. The drug game and life in the streets is not Grand Theft Auto. The truth and reality of it all is much more serious.

The brothers doing life in the pen know what we’re talking about. They are the ones doing hard time. They have lived the life, talked the talk and walked the walk. They are the real gangsters. The ones the rappers rap about and portray themselves to be. Their lifestyles are what the rappers pretend to flaunt. The reality is not MTV Cribs though. Imagine being locked down since 2005 and you haven’t even blew trial or been found guilty yet. Imagine that the feds consider you so dangerous, so gangster that they have held you in limbo, even though they know their charges won’t stick at trial. You’re probably saying this doesn’t happen in the USA. This can’t happen. It won’t happen. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave, but we are here to tell you it can happen and it does. It’s not about justice it’s about Just-Us and in Amerikkka, the kkk mentality still pervades. Case in point, the Cash Money Brothers, straight outta Do or Die Bedstuy, Brooklyn, New York. The borough that brought us the Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Lil’ Kim, Big Daddy Kane and the part of the city that’s known for producing the most thorough gangsters, thugs and hoodlums to grace the streets of the Big Apple.

Cash Money Brothers was a crew formed in Lafayette Gardens Projects in Brooklyn in the early-90s by brothers Damion “World” Hardy and Myron “Wise” Hardy. With their homeboys and associates they allegedly held it down in L.G. and made a name for themselves across the city as a gangster and respected crew, but as various members including World went to prison on different charges the crew became inactive and remained just a legend on the streets of New York. But when a series of murders in the early 2000s were laid at the crew’s doorstep the feds stepped in.

On July 19, 2005, Roslynn Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced the filing of federal racketeering and narcotics charges against Damion “World” Hardy and 12 additional leaders, members and associates of the Cash Money Brothers or CMB, what they termed a violent Brooklyn street gang responsible for five murders, widespread crack distribution, the attempted murder of a witness, the kidnapping and attempted robbery of a drug dealer, assault and illegal firearms possession.

The charges and arrests followed an 18 month joint ICE, FBI and NYPD investigation coordinated by the U.S. Attorney’s office as part of an ongoing initiative to eliminate violent street gangs that erode the quality of life in many of the districts neighborhoods. “The arrests announced today strike a devastating blow to a drug gang responsible for spreading fear and violence in one of our communities,” stated U.S. Attorney Mauskopf. “When gangs flood our streets with drugs, assassinate rivals, attempt to murder witnesses and endanger the lives of innocent residents, we will mobilize all resources available, including federal prosecution, through the RICO statute. This case is the latest of several successful joint investigations that demonstrate our commitment to protect public housing from gang violence. We are determined to return control of these communities to their rightful law-abiding residents.”

The government’s investigation revealed that for more than 10 years, CMB members, led by Damion Hardy, controlled narcotics trafficking in the Lafayette Gardens Houses in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn through violence and intimidation directed against their drug trafficking competitors, innocent civilians and potential witnesses. Hardy, Eric “E-Bay” Moore, Dwayne “Thor” Myers, James “Popsie” Sessoms, Kenwayne “Stro” Jones, Robert “Troub” Footman, Carl “Big Jim” Davis, James “Jimbo” Farrior, Lamont “Sambo” Johnson, Zareh “Puff” Sarkissian, Abubakr Raheem, DJebara “DJ” McMillian and Isheen “Sha” Campbell were charged with conspiring between 1991 and August 2004 to distribute crack cocaine using apartments they controlled in Lafayette Gardens to cook, store and buy the drugs.

“This case is another example of the continuing resolve of the FBI and our partners to reign in gang violence,” FBI agent Mark Mershon said. “The lethal combination of gangs, guns and drugs can terrorize neighborhoods and victimize innocent people. Our purpose fundamentally, is to secure for all New Yorkers the right to be safe and out of harm’s way in their own neighborhoods, whether they live on Park Avenue or in public housing.” World was identified as the founder and leader of CMB with E-Bay, Thor, Popsie and Stro being named as the main members in charge of the crew. The feds also attributed numerous murders to CMB.

Throughout the 1990s the government claims that Ivory “Peanut” Davis was one of CMB’s drug dealing rivals in Lafayette Gardens. On June 12, 1999, Davis’ nephew, Rumel Davis, shot and killed World’s brother Myron “Wise” Hardy during a so called turf dispute while World was locked up in the state. When World got out he investigated the circumstances of his brother’s death and the feds alleged that World and the other members of CMB retaliated by conspiring to murder Peanut and four of his associates. World, E-Bay and Puff were charged with the murder of Darryl “Homicide” Baum on June 10, 2000. This is the same Homicide rapper 50 Cent accused of shooting him nine times earlier that same year in May. 50 Cent also implied in his song Many Men that Hommo was killed in retaliation for shooting him. But like a lot of 50 Cent’s gangsta rap fantasies this tale has yet to be clarified one way or another. So in reality it’s up to the streets to decide.

Homicide was a Brooklyn stick-up kid and gun thug who counted boxer Mike Tyson as a close friend and employer. He was even living at Mike Tyson’s home when he was murdered. The feds concluded that World targeted Homicide because of his association with Peanut. They alleged E-Bay shot Homicide in the back of the head at the corner of Quincy Street and Marcy Avenue and fled in a get-away car driven by Puff. The feds implicated World, E-Bay and Abubakr Raheem in the August 1, 2000 murder of James “JR” Hamilton also. On World’s order E-Bay allegedly shot and killed JR inside a seafood restaurant that Hamilton owned at 102 Sarasota Avenue in Brooklyn. E-Bay than fled in a get-away car driven by Raheem. JR was supposedly killed due to his association with Peanut also.

According to the feds the CMB crew was not finished with their murder spree, more bodies had to drop. At 4:00 a.m. on the morning of August 10, 2000, E-Bay carrying a .40 caliber handgun that belonged to Thor, allegedly shot Peanut twice in the back as he sat in a car parked in front of Club NV, a nightclub on the corner of Spring Street and Hudson Street in Manhattan on World’s orders. Peanut sped away, but lost control of his car and killed an innocent pedestrian. Peanut subsequently died from his gunshot wounds. Both deaths were attributed to World. World’s and CMB’s revenge was complete but the killing continued.

On July 25, 2003, Homicide’s brother, Tyrone “T-Rock” Baum, who the feds alleged World believed was seeking to avenge his brother’s murder, was killed. On World’s order, Thor and Raheem located “T-Rock” by a construction site at Reid Avenue and Hancock Street in Brooklyn where “T-Rock” was shot three times in the head. “These arrests have dismantled a major criminal enterprise that has engaged in murder, kidnapping, extortion and narcotics trafficking. These criminals have threatened our citizens and the well-being of our communities. No more, today, they are off the streets and will be prosecuted for their crimes.” U.S. Attorney Mauskopf said. That is the feds’ line and they are sticking to it but during Raheem’s trial the government’s star witness Edward “Taz” Cooke didn’t testify because the government wouldn’t let him. The other witness Shelby “Moo” Henderson stated that Taz could have been the mastermind behind the murders of JR, Hommo and T-Rock because JR was running numbers and that was a business Taz was involved in, not World. And Hommo and T-Rock allegedly had something to do with Taz’s father getting killed. So Taz had revenge on his mind for Homo and T-Rock. And he wanted to get Brooklyn on lock with the numbers running so he got JR killed and once he got locked up he put the feds on World and got him locked up. Court records also relate that Taz was present at all three murders, not World.

TLC: 200% increase in sales!

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Geraldine McGee Rosenthal: The Real Ginger!

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Geraldine (Geri) McGee Rosenthal (May 16, 1936 – November 9, 1982) was the second wife of Las Vegas sports handicapper, Frank Rosenthal. She provided the basis for the character of “Ginger,” portrayed by Sharon Stone in the 1995 movie Casino. Geri and her sister, Barbara, grew up in the Sherman Oaks community of Los AngelesSan Fernando Valley and went to Van Nuys High School with Robert Redford and Don Drysdale.

Geri started going out with Lenny Marmor in high school. Their daughter, Robin L Marmor, was born December 27, 1957, in Los Angeles, and Lenny, who never married her though he was married three times to other women, talked Geri into moving to Las Vegas. Geraldine met Anthony Spilotro while at a convention in Atlantic City. She had an affair with him at that time. Later, after marrying Rosenthal the affair with Spilotro would resume.

When Frank met Geri, she had been hustling in Las Vegas for close to eight years. She owned her own house and was raising her 11-year-old daughter Robin, who was fathered by her high school sweetheart Lenny Marmor. Geri supported her ailing mother, Alice Pollock McGee, and her sister, Barbara Stokich (b. Feb 6 1934, d. May 7, 2000), who had been abandoned with two young sons after her husband left. In 1954, Geri’s aunt (her father’s sister) received a large inheritance.

Geri’s aunt offered to send Geri to Woodbury Business School, as she had Geri’s sister Barbara, but Geri wanted to go to UCLA or USC. Instead she got a job at Thirty Drugs, then as a teller for Bank of America. Lenny would visit Geri and their daughter, usually for two or three days, often with the intention to borrow money for a “surefire” business deal. Occasionally, her father, Roy McGee, a California auto mechanic long separated from her mother, would visit. Besides Marmor and Rosenthal, Geri was also seeing John Hicks. Johnny Hicks was about 10 years younger than Geri. She adored Hicks and some believed he would have married her, except he had very rich parents who objected to the relationship.

The Hicks owned the Algiers Hotel and the Thunderbird Casino and didn’t want the couple to wed. Johnny Hicks had a $1,000-a-month trust fund and would have had it taken away if he married Geri. Johnny liked to act as a tough guy and hung around Downtown Las Vegas with a crew that used to beat up prostitutes.

 

Frank and Geri were married on May 1, 1969. They had two children, Steven and Stephanie. Their divorce was final January 16, 1981. Geraldine Rosenthal died from a drug overdose Nov. 9, 1982, and was buried at Mount Sinai Cemetery in Los Angeles. Frank Rosenthal spent $50,000 to have a private autopsy conducted.

Robert Johnson:King Of Blues

robertjohnson_stamp_0On this day in 1938  blues man Robert Johnson was allegedly poisoned by the jealous husband of a woman he was flirting with. Legend has it Johnson wanted to be the greatest guitar player so he sold his soul to the devil.

Johnson’s style of blues was very influential in the development of r&b and rock&roll. Dust My Broom, Sweet Home Chicago, Love In Vain & Crossroad Blues are some of his most well known tunes and have been covered by hundreds of musicians.

Bobby Debarge:March 5, 1956 – August 16, 1995

 

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The very underrated Bobby DeBarge was one of the greatest falsettos of all time. His struggle with substance abuse often overshadowed his great talent.

He first recording was with his band Hot Ice (later Switch) in 1976, the album
Pall Mall Groove.

In 1977 Hot Ice signed with Motown and the bands name was changed to Switch due to their ability to switch instruments. They released their debut album, Switch, in 1978. The album reached gold status and included Quiet Storm classics I Wanna Be Closer(written by Jermaine Jackson) and There’ll Never Be (Bobby DeBarge writer).

Switch released their second Motown album in 1979, Switch II,  which included another r&b Quiet Storm classic I Call Your Name,  written by lovesick DeBarge for LaToya Jackson, and the party jam Best Beat In Town. This album also reached gold status.

They struck gold again in 1980 with This Is My Dream. The standout tunes were Love Over And Over Again, written by Bobby and sister Bunny, and another love song for LaToya, You And I.

Bobby left the band in 1981 when Motown offered him a solo deal. He also co-produced the debut album of his siblings, The DeBarges.

Bobby never recorded his solo album so joined his brothers, after El and Bunny left.

His career came to a halt in 1988 when he was arrested for drug trafficking and sentenced to 5 years. He was released in 1993 and continued to perform while struggling with AIDS, contracted before his prison sentence.

DeBarge died in 1995, leaving behind his wife Terri with whom he had two children and three children from a previous relationship.

Terrence Howard: Woman Beater?

1098369_10151773868572300_825316566_n Terrence Howard has attempted to deflect negative  attention as of late, his troubling actions in the past are coming to the  surface.

 

Last week, “The Butler” star was accused of abusing his ex-wife Michelle Ghent after the two reunited  for a trip to Costa Rica. According to Ghent, the 44-year-old actor beat her  after the two got into an argument.

From an outside perspective, it was odd that she chose to go on vacation with him considering she filed a restraining order  against him in December 2011, claiming that the Oscar nominee began abusing her  a week after they wed in January 2010.

Howard calmly responded to the allegations in an interview with Entertainment  Tonight, in which he made it seem as though his ex was a lost woman whom he  was trying to save but couldn’t.

“Unfortunately I’ve tried to help people and it’s not necessarily in the same  enlightened path, of trying to help themselves,” he said.

Howard also maintained his innocence and cited the fact that her allegations  were made public on the same day that “The Butler” premiere happened as proof  that Ghent has a vendetta against him.

“I just wish the best for her, but as far as me harming somebody… I  really can’t harm a fly.” Howard said. “It’s completely against my spirit,  but I’m so heartbroken, that you can see that doing it on a night like this is  only for an attempt to try and hurt  me.”

Based on that one accusation alone, it would seem plausible that the “Hustle & Flow” star, who has proved to be a talented and versatile actor, was the  target of false accusations. But in digging a little deeper, it’s pretty clear  that Howard has a troubling history.

As Gawker’s  Defamer notes, Howard has been accused of abusing a woman on SIX different occasions, all occurring over a 13-year period.

According to Philly.com,  Howard allegedly assaulted his ex-girlfriend, May Seng Yang at  his home in May 2012. Yang accused him of  throwing her to the ground and punching her.

As the Philly  Post reported:

No criminal charges were filed  against Howard in that case, and Yang was actually arrested and charged with attacking Howard. These charges were later dropped. The lawyer claims in his suit that Howard then paid  Yang $75,000 behind the lawyer’s back “in exchange for signing a Non-Disclosure  Statement which obligated her to remain silent about the events of May 6, 2012…  .”

The Philly Post has also uncovered the fact that Howard punched a woman he  didn’t know in a Pennsylvania diner in 2005. He also assaulted her fiancé.

The site sums up the incident as follows:

In March 2005, Danielle DiStefano and her then-fiancé Kevin Saffell stopped  into Ray’s Dining Car on Germantown  Avenue for breakfast. The couple was at the front of the busy diner’s line,  waiting to be seated, when Howard walked in and decided he didn’t want to wait  in line like everyone else. He attempted to be seated first.

When the hostess began seating Saffell and DiStefano ahead of Howard, the  actor stepped in front of them and asked why he wasn’t being seated first.  DiStefano told him that she and Saffell were first in line. Howard told her,  “Fuck you, I wasn’t talking to you.”

Naturally, her fiancé, a United States Marine, took exception to Howard’s  words and stepped toward the actor and told him to apologize. Instead, according  to police and court documents, Howard  punched him in the face, dropping him to the ground. Then he punched DiStefano  in the chest. Saffell tried to get up, but Howard continued hitting him, causing  him to lose consciousness, says the police incident report.

In 2001, Howard was arrested for beating his first wife, Lori  McCommas. According to the police report (which was obtained by the Smoking Gun), Howard went to his wife’s home, whom he was  separated from at the time, broke her front  door down and punched her in the face twice. TWICE.

Howard was charged with simple assault, making terroristic threats,  harassment and stalking. In 2002, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and  the other charges were dropped. That case has since been expunged. Howard and  McCommas divorced in 2003, remarried in 2005 and divorced again in  2007.

In 2000, the Smoking  Gun revealed that Howard was arrested for assaulting a Continental Airlines  flight attendant. The charges were later dropped.

Howard allegedly assaulted a Continental Airlines flight attendant after  refusing her request to return to his seat because the seat belt sign was on  (the actor, cops said, grabbed the flight attendant by the wrist and tried to  push her). Howard was arrested when the flight landed in Cleveland, where he  posed for the above Cleveland Division of  Police mug shot. The misdemeanor rap against him was subsequently dropped by a  local prosecutor for lack of jurisdiction.

It’s rather strange that these stories, which have always been public, have  not caught up with the actor. He still continues to book high-profile film and  TV roles despite the fact that he is a known abuser of women.

Comparatively, Chris Brown’s career has waned since he assaulted Rihanna and  he famously lost endorsement deals after the unsettling incident. In fact,  Brown’s very name has become synonymous with violence against women.

Perhaps if any one of the women Howard was accused of beating was a beloved  pop star, he’d be blacklisted from Hollywood by now.

Lena Baker: The Real Story

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Lena Baker is the only woman to have been executed in the state of Georgia during the 20th Century. She was pardoned 60 years after her execution in 2005 by the state, who called the failure of the all white male jury to grant her clemency “a grievous error.” Baker was executed for shooting her employer in self-defense, who had evidently imprisoned her and was threatening her with death at the time of his killing. She shot him with the gun he had been attacking her with in a desperate act to save her life — hardly a murder.

N.W.A:Straight Outta Compton 25th Anniversary

imagesCAA69AW7Straight Outta Compton is the debut studio album by American hip hop group N.W.A, released August 8, 1988 on group member Eazy-E‘s record label Ruthless Records. Its title refers to the group’s native town, Compton, California. Production for the album was handled by Dr. Dre, with DJ Yella giving co-production. The album has been viewed as the pioneering record of gangsta rap; with its ever-present profanity and violent lyrics, it helped to give birth to this then-new sub-genre of hip hop. It has been considered groundbreaking by music writers and has had an enormous impact on the evolution of West Coast hip hop.

Straight Outta Compton redefined the direction of hip hop, which resulted in lyricism concerning the gangster lifestyle becoming the driving force in sales figures. It was later re-released on September 24, 2002, remastered and containing four bonus tracks. An extended version of the album was released on December 4, 2007, the 20th anniversary of the original album.

album reached double platinum sales status, becoming the first album to reach platinum status with no airplay support and without any major tours.

As the hip hop community worldwide received the album with a high note, the members of N.W.A became the top stars for the emerging new era of gangsta rap while popularizing the lyrics of Ice Cube. The album also helped to spawn many young MCs and gangsta hip hop groups from areas such as Compton, California, and South Central Los Angeles, as many thought they had the same story to tell and the ability to pursue the career track that N.W.A had taken,hence groups such as Compton’s Most Wanted coming into being.

Because of the recurring violent and sexual lyrics and profanity, often specifically directed at governmental organizations such as the LAPD, N.W.A always enjoyed a particular reputation with U.S. Senators and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This situation persisted over the years with the group’s visible head, Eazy-E. One of the reasons for this was “Fuck tha Police“, the highly controversial track from the album that resulted in the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service sending a letter to Ruthless Records informing the label of their displeasure with the song’s message, and N.W.A was banned from performing at several venues.

The FBI letter only helped further popularize the album and N.W.A  and in the group’s 1990 song “100 Miles and Runnin’, the follow-up to Straight Outta Compton, while the music video shows the crew running from the police, Dr. Dre raps “and now the FBI is all over my dick!” as a response to the FBI’s warnings. Also, in his 1990 song “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted”, Ice Cube mocks the FBI with the line “With a pay-off, cop gotta lay off, FBI on my dick, stay off.

The lyrics on the album were mainly written by Ice Cube and MC Ren. Some critics of the album expressed their view that the record glamorized Black-on-Black crime,[which?] but others stated that the group was simply showing the reality of living in the areas of Compton, California, and South Central Los Angeles. Steve Huey in a retrospective review for Allmusic feels that the lyrics are more about “raising hell” than social criticism, but also feels the album is “refreshingly uncalculated” due to its humor; something he feels is rare in hardcore rap.

Many critics feel that the albums’ lyrics glamorize gang violence. The Washington Post writer David Mills wrote: “The hard-core street rappers defend their violent lyrics as a reflection of ‘reality.’ But for all the gunshots they mix into their music, rappers rarely try to dramatize that reality — a young man flat on the ground, a knot of lead in his chest, pleading as death slowly takes him in. It’s easier for them to imagine themselves pulling the trigger”.[citation needed] However, Wichita Eagle-Beacon editor Bud Norman noted that “They [N.W.A] don’t make it sound like much fun… They describe it with the same nonjudgmental resignation that a Kansan might use about a tornado.”[7]

Production

The production on the album was generally seen as top-quality for the time, with Dr. Dre‘s production performing well with his instrumentals and drum machine beats, and DJ Yella‘s turntable scratches and overall co-production seen as proficient by hip hop critics. Some critics find it somewhat sparse and low-budget given the significance of the album and compared with other producers of the time such as Marley Marl.[1]

Content

The album’s most controversial track, “Fuck tha Police“, was partly responsible for the fame of N.W.A as the “World’s Most Dangerous Group”and it did not appear on the censored version of the album. The song “Gangsta Gangsta” talks about the danger and violence in South Central and Compton. “Express Yourself” speaks of the ideas of free expression and the constraints placed on performers by radio censorship.

Every N.W.A member except DJ Yella recorded a solo song. Dr. Dre, who mostly produced rather than performed, did a solo effort in the single “Express Yourself.” Ice Cube performed on “I Ain’t tha 1” and “A Bitch Iz a Bitch”. MC Ren made his solo performance in the songs “If It Ain’t Ruff” and “Quiet on tha Set”. Eazy-E‘s only solo recording was a remix of the song “8 Ball,” which appeared on N.W.A’s previous album N.W.A and the Posse. The only guests on the album were Ruthless Records ghostwriter the D.O.C., who appeared on “Parental Discretion Iz Advised,” rhyming the intro, and founding N.W.A member Arabian Prince, who contributed minor vocals on “Something 2 Dance 2.”

Seven tracks from the album were released on N.W.A’s Greatest Hits: “Gangsta Gangsta“, “Fuck tha Police“, “Straight Outta Compton (extended mix),” “If It Ain’t Ruff,” “I Ain’t tha 1,” “Express Yourself,” and a bonus track from the remastered version, “A Bitch Iz a Bitch”.

Commercial performance

The album first appeared on music charts in 1989, peaking on the US Billboard Top LPs chart at number 37, and peaking on Billboard‘s Top Soul LPs at number nine.[17] It re-entered the charts in 2003, peaking on the UK Albums Top 75 at number thirty-five, and on the Ireland Albums Top 75 at number twenty.[18]

The album has sold over three million copies[and was certified double Platinum on March 27, 1992. It was N.W.A‘s best selling album, as their debut, N.W.A and the Posse, was certified Gold. Their final album, Niggaz4Life, was certified platinum.[ According to Priority Records‘ calculations, 80% of sales were in the suburbs, beyond the boundaries of black neighborhoods.

Critical response

Upon its release, the album was generally well received by most music critics. Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune gave Straight Outta Compton three and a half out of four stars and praised its production. The Richmond Times-Dispatch‘s Mark Holmberg described the album as “a preacher-provoking, mother-maddening, reality-stinks diatribe that wallows in gangs, doping, drive-by shootings, brutal sexism, cop slamming and racism”.

Newsweek noted that Straight Outta Compton “introduced some of the most grotesquely exciting music ever made”, and added that “Hinting at gang roots, and selling themselves on those hints, they project a gangster mystique that pays no attention where criminality begins and marketing lets off”.Following its 2002 re-release, Jon Caramanica of Rolling Stone magazine cited Straight Outta Compton as one of hip-hop’s most crucial albums, calling it a “bombastic, cacophonous car ride through Los Angeles’ burnt-out and ignored hoods.“cal response

“The lyrics on this record are unrelenting in their unpleasantness,” complained Peter Clarke in Hi-Fi News & Record Review, awarding the album a rock-bottom “D:4” rating. “The cumulative effect is like listening to an endless fight next door. The music on this record is without a hint of dynamics or melody.”[25]

Accolades

“It’s definitely the best rap record I’ve ever heard,” remarked Sinéad O’Connor. “Of course, I can see why people might be offended by the lyrics. But as a human being and not as a public figure, I’m not offended at all. I realise from reading interviews with people like Ice Cube, when they explain that they’re not talking about women in general but about particular women they know, it makes a lot of sense. I think the sound of the record is brilliant. I really like hardcore hip-hop and reggae stuff, so it’s right up my flight of stairs.”

“Rappers haven’t always referred to themselves as ‘niggers’ on record,” remarked Hip Hop Connection, placing it at No.3 on their countdown of rap’s best albums. “It came as something of a shock then that here were five politically astute black men calling themselves niggers and their women bitches at a time when Afrocentric rap was the current vogue… Straight Outta Compton sounded so exciting, insignificant details such as realism and integrity could be overlooked.”[27]

In 2003, the TV network VH1, named Straight Outta Compton the 62nd greatest album of all time.

It was ranked ten in Spin magazine’s “100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005”.

In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source’s 100 Best Rap Albums.

It is the group’s only album on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (ranked #144), and the first hip-hop album ever to get a 5-star rating from them in their initial review, and when comedian Chris Rock wrote an article for the magazine about the 25 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of all time in 2005, Straight Outta Compton was number one on his list.[28]

The album is ranked the 109th best of all time by Acclaimedmusic.net.[29]

In 2006, the album was listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The same year, Time magazine ranked it as one of the 100 greatest albums of all time.

Q magazine voted it one of the ‘Top 50 Titles Of 1989. Alternative Press (7/95, p. 88) ranked it #45 in AP’s list of the ‘Top 99 Of ’85–’95’. Vibe (12/99, p. 164) included it in Vibe’s 100 Essential Albums of the 20th century. In 2004, DigitaArts included the album’s cover in its list of the 25 Best Albums Covers.[32] In 2012, Slant listed the album at #18 on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s” saying “The juxtaposition of midtempo, Cali-languid grooves and violent wordplay positioned Straight Outta Compton as the sound of the West Coast firing on New York’s Fort Sumpter in what would become ’90s culture’s biggest Uncivil War.”

New Yorks Finest

644270_195006134009057_441999036_nIn Municipal Court: Cab Calloway, Felix H. Payne Jr. (in uniform), attorneys John G. Killiger and Maurice J. O’Sullivan, Kanss City police officer William E. Todd and Lucille Bluford, who covered the hearing for The Kansas City Call.
“Come… on out tonight,” Hampton told Cab Calloway. “We’re really got the place jumpin’ . . . I’ll make arrangements with the management.”
Lionel Hampton was invoking the power of celebrity. There were few exceptions to the normally inflexible rules of racial separation, but this was one. The rules said blacks couldn’t just walk in and claim a table at the Pla-Mor. But it was OK for one world-famous black entertainer to visit another. So neither Hampton nor Calloway had any reason to expect trouble.
Calloway bought two tickets for $1.50 each at the box-office and he and Felix Payne entered the lobby. As they started up the carpeted stairs to the ballroom, Will H. Wittig, the ballroom manager, stopped them. Now, Wittig was as familiar with the privileges of celebrity as anyone, and Hampton had already told him that Calloway and Payne were expected. But at that moment, Wittig wasn’t thinking about celebrities. He saw only nameless black men making a beeline for the ballroom.
For even though Calloway had played for thousands at Municipal Auditorium a week earlier and had been in movies and cartoons and had his face plastered on record jackets for 14 years, Wittig didn’t recognize him.
He took the tickets from Calloway and refunded the $3. The men would have to leave, he told them. The show was for whites only.
That’s when a suit full of bad attitude named William E. Todd walked out of the coat-check room and saw Wittig arguing with two black men. Todd was a husky little guy with heavy eyelids who moonlighted at the Pla-Mor as a security guard to supplement the $165 a month he made as a Kansas City police officer. His understanding of his responsibilities was uncomplicated: Protect the Pla-Mor’s property.
“Why, I was invited,” Calloway told Wittig. “I’m Cab Calloway. I came to see Lionel Hampton.” Payne and Calloway, two sober and respectful citizens who had spent the day Christmas shopping and visiting with old friends, had bought the tickets as a professional courtesy to Hampton and expected to be treated as honored guests. The last thing Calloway anticipated was an excitable cop playing a drum solo on his head.
Calloway reached for his wallet to show his identification, but before he and Payne could explain who they were, Todd took charge. He grabbed their arms and shoved them toward the door.  “You heard what the man said,” Todd said. “Get the hell out of here.”  Payne resisted and then two men grabbed him and locked their arms around his head so he couldn’t see what was happening.
Todd shoved Calloway off the steps to the floor. As Calloway tried to get up, Todd hit him with his fist. When Calloway got up again, Todd pulled a .45 semi-automatic and beat him on the head with the gun butt.  Calloway went down, blood streaming from his split scalp. The little finger on his left hand was broken, smashed by the gun as he tried to protect his head soon on-duty patrol officers arrived and took Payne and Calloway into custody.
They drove Calloway to General Hospital No. 2 — the one for blacks — and a doctor put eight stitches in his scalp and wrapped a white bandage around his head. Then he and Payne were booked for public intoxication and resisting arrest.
Back at the ballroom, Wittig was faced with a crowd of angry people.
Hampton had refused to play a second set.  “The place was jam-packed and all at once someone came in and said they beat up Cab Calloway at the front door,” Hampton recalled. “So I went out front and got into an argument with the doorman. So I told the band, ‘That’s all, man. Let’s go.’”  The musicians packed up and left and the Pla-Mor paid out $2,000 in refunds. Hampton never played there again.See More

Pee Wee Kirkland:Street Legend

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Pee Wee Kirkland famously turned down a contract to play for the Chicago Bulls because he made more money hustling. Legend has it, Kirkland executed the first crossover and spin to the basket. During the 60’s and ’70s, Pee Wee was pulling up to the Rucker in Rolls Royces and then drop 50 in a game.

While incarcerated, he scored 465 points in 8 games.  Coaches like John Wooden and Red Holzman were recruiting his services and Sports Illustrated referred to him as “the fastest man in college basketball” when he balled at Norfolk State. He had the opportunity to play with Kareem at UCLA, but was too immersed in the gangster lifestyle. Kirkland was basically unstoppable. If Pee Wee would have chosen the right path, he would have become one of the 50 Best NBA Players of All Time.

Now a reformed man, Kirkland travels the country speaking to youth about decision-making and pathways to success, in addition to self-esteem and other various issues plaguing the inner-cities of America.  He presents his messages in the “School of Skillz” — a basketball and life skills campaign that is co-sponsored by Nike.

The camps began in the 1990s on Saturdays in Harlem and has since become a nationwide endeavor.   As an educator and social worker, Kirkland utilizes the respect he receives from young people because of his gangster past to reach at-risk youth and break down their misconceptions about “keepin’ it real” on the streets.  Pee Wee Kirkland earned a master’s degree in human services from Lincoln University in 2000.

Roy Middleton: Lucky To Be Alive

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Lying in a hospital bed the night after he was shot by Escambia County sheriff’s deputies in his own front yard, Roy Middleton only had one question: Why?

Middleton, 60, of the 200 block of Shadow Lawn Lane in Warrington, was shot in the leg about 2:42 a.m. Saturday while trying to retrieve a cigarette from his mother’s car in the driveway of their home.

A neighbor saw someone reaching into the car and called 911. While he was looking into the vehicle, deputies arrived in response to the burglary call.

Middleton said he was bent over in the car searching the interior for a loose cigarette when he heard a voice order him to, “Get your hands where I can see them.”

He said he initially thought it was a neighbor joking with him, but when he turned his head he saw deputies standing halfway down his driveway.

He said he backed out of the vehicle with his hands raised, but when he turned to face the deputies, they immediately opened fire.

“It was like a firing squad,” he said. “Bullets were flying everywhere.”

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the incident Saturday.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating, as is standard in deputy-involved shootings. The deputies, who have not been publicly identified, have been placed on paid administrative leave.

In Baptist Hospital and groggy on Saturday, Middleton said he would be in recovery for several weeks. His wounds are not life-threatening.

“I’m just glad they didn’t hit me here or here,” he said, pointing toward his head and chest. “My mother’s car is full of bullet holes though. My wife had to go and get a rental.”

The neighborhood where Middleton lives was quiet Saturday afternoon, and there was no evidence the shooting had even occurred. However, neighbors said only a few hours earlier the area had been congested with law enforcement vehicles and yellow crime scene tape.

Several neighbors said they heard the commotion, but weren’t entirely sure why events unfolded the way they did. A teenage girl who said she witnessed a portion of the incident said she never saw Middleton provoke the deputies.

“He wasn’t belligerent or anything,“ she said.

Middleton, too, said he doesn’t understand how or why the incident escalated so quickly. He also said deputies never offered him an explanation or an apology.

“Even if they thought the car was stolen, all they had to do was run the license plate,” he said. “They would have seen that that car belonged there.”

Willie Reed:The Witness

 

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Willie Reed did not know Emmett Till, whose murder in the Mississippi became one of the most infamous lynchings in the history of the Jim Crow South. Mr. Reed saw him only once — on Aug. 28, 1955, during the last hours of Till’s life — in the back of a green and white Chevrolet pickup truck.

Mr. Reed, a sharecropper, risked his life at 18 to appear as a surprise witness in the prosecution of the white men accused of the crime. He became the momentary hero of the Till trial, an event that helped spur the civil rights movement but left a moral stain on the American legal system.

Mr. Reed knew speaking out against the defendants in the case would make him, too, a target for lynching. But he “couldn’t have walked away,” he said years later. “Emmett was 14,” Mr. Reed told the CBS News show “60 Minutes,” “and they killed him. I mean, that’s not right. … I knew that I couldn’t say no.”  By the time the trial opened in September 1955, images of Till’s disfigured corpse had circulated throughout the nation, horrifying Americans of all races and helping to galvanize the building movement for civil rights. Tens of thousands of mourners paid their respects at his open coffin in Chicago.

The prosecutor told the jury, “Willie Reed has more nerve than I have.” Civil rights activists arranged for Mr. Reed to be spirited out of town and taken by train to the Chicago to better secure his safety. He remained under police protection for several months and was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. Mr. Reed changed his name to Willie Louis and worked as a surgical orderly in Chicago area hospitals until 2006.

Stand our Ground:United We Stand….

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Stevie Wonder started the domino effect, hopefully more real artists will lead by example, until Florida do right by Trayvon Martin, everything they do will crumble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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