Reflections External

I’m knee deep in a project right now that’s pretty much consuming all
my free time. So this week, instead of my usual ramblings, I decided
to post some material from my archives. Back in 2005 I had the great
honor of interviewing the incomparable photographer, Jamel Shabazz.
And although he is known primarily for his photography, I have always
believed that he has as much to teach verbally as he does visually. I
dedicate this week’s blog to my homie who recently got clean and
“threw out all [his] needles and pipes”… Keep your head up and stay
strong, kid!

And now, words from the great Jamel Shabazz:

Unfortunately, when the crack epidemic came, it changed everything.
Once crack came, and I have to say the movie Scarface kind of created
a blueprint for a lot of these young kids on the street, in terms of
the drug game, and then it was on. To this day, Tony Montana, is
worshipped as God. They took down the Martin Luther King posters and
Malcolm X posters, and they uplifted Scarface. You know, it’s a
tragedy that has happened. Many young people missed the message, and
it was just about getting paid, by any means necessary. And I was
troubled behind that.

What the crack epidemic did — it produced a divide between the old
and the young…the elders became the crack heads, and the young kids
became the drug dealers. So that whole respect element is gone. We’re
dealing with a whole generation of kids that were raised without
fathers, so they don’t really respect male leadership or male
authority… It’s a big difference…my generation – we were basically
all raised with mothers and fathers. We were raised in a loving
community where the neighbors looked out for you. Today it’s not like
that…drugs have really destroyed us.

I want to produce scholarships…gotta give out scholarships to kids in
the field of journalism and photography. I gotta give back, because
they need it. Having young children today, and having nieces and
nephews, I have to set an example for them. I would hate for someone
to roll up on one of my children and disrespect them…because these
kids got anger. That’s another thing in this day and time – they don’t
smile…to smile now is considered being weak. The thug now is the
leader. And I understand the science of a thug, because the thug is an
alpha male, the thug could be considered a leader. But it’s a twisted
interpretation…we gotta get away from that.

We have to stop calling ourselves dogs. We have to stop calling
ourselves bitches. That’s the message I take to them in the streets.
Because if you calling a woman a bitch, that means that whole respect
element is gone. When you refer to each other as dogs and ni–ers, in
a sense you destroy a person’s character and break this person down as
a human being. When you walk around the street looking mad and evil
all the time, it’s not healthy psychologically…I become very
disheartened behind that…when you approach people, they’re not
smiling, everyone is bitter, people are staring at you – and for what?
What’s that all about? And it really needs to be addressed, because
people really don’t know the impact that they have.

by third rail


~ by livefromheadqcourterz on April 28, 2010.

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