So over the past couple of years I’ve been working on this project called POLICE STATE. As I wrap up it’s final chapter, WAR, I begin to reminisce upon the beginning of this project. How did I get here, to this multifaceted tale of corruption, police brutality, prison, and murder? Where the hell did I start?
To be honest, when I initially sat down to write, my story wasn’t at all about social justice in any real sense. I wanted to write about hip hop, and I wanted to write about super heroes. I crafted a story in my head about a young rapper with gobs of desire, but not much ability, who is unwillingly corralled into an intergalactic battle of the bands. As I sat down to craft the universe of my fun loving, aloof hero, Ferguson burned.
I’ve seen Pittsburgh burn before, although in 2005, it seems people were excused for their savagery, as they reveled in the Steeler’s Super Bowl victory. Those people werent called thugs and niggers and animals. Those people were allowed to return to work after breaking, and burning and brawling in victory. Watching Ferguson burn was different, I was watching 2014 Missouri turn into 1992 Los Angeles before my eyes, I watched my people demonized for their mourning, and their insolence in standing up to men armed to the teeth with military gear. I was watching brave heroes and intrepid heroines fight back against an oppressive government, that when opposed with rocks, and bottles, responded with advanced military technology. It was the stuff of a tragic lore. My story changed.
See, I understood the people of Ferguson. I understand what it means to feel angry, and marginalized, and backed into a wall. Furthermore, I have three friends who have been shot by the police. One is dead, one is paralyzed from the waist down, and one sat in prison for six months with a bullet in him, without receiving any form of medical attention. To this day, he carries the bullet in him. I never wanted to write about my friends dying, or failing to receive medical attention. I never wanted to experience poverty and homelessness in my early 20′s, or to be marginalized by teachers and administrators. I never wanted to be the kid who never applied to college after high school, because I felt like my learning disability held me back. I never wanted my summer camp counselors to tell me that they were going to “Rodney King” me, when I was just 13 years old.
I never wanted any of that, and I never wanted to write this story.
I have to thank artists JC Grande, and John Becaro for helping me bring my story to life. True gentlemen and masters of their respective crafts.