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Self Destruction 2021 – A Call To Action

This Is An Open Letter To The Black Community, Our Community Leaders and Elected Officials. We Can Either Be Proactive Now Or Re-active Later, But Action Will Be Required. The Choice Is Yours!!!

Henry Terry of SNUG and community leaders rally where 17-year old was shot 10:20 am the day before [Black Westchester]

The last two weeks Black Westchester has discussed on our radio show People Before Politics the need to get involved to end the senseless gun violence plaquing our streets. Both shows, Episodes 299 and 300 were a call to action. But I woke up this morning with a need to reach out to our readers with another call to action, because we are about to face a crisis. A pandemic that may be worst than COVID is heading our way and we can either be proactive now or reactive later, but one thing’s for certain, action will be required from each and every one of us…

In 1988 – during what we call the Golden Era of Hip-Hop – KRS ONE started the Stop the Violence Movement in response to the violence in Hip-Hop and the Black Community at the time in what became known as the Crack Era. After a young fan was killed at a 1988 Boogie Down Production (BDP) and Public Enemy (PE) show and inspired by the recent murder of his mentor and one of the founding members of BPD, DJ Scott La Rock, KRS enlisted an all-star cast of emcees of the time – Boogie Down Production (KRS, D-Nice & Ms. Melodie), Statsasonic (Delite, Daddy-O, Wise & Frukan), Kol Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Doug E Fresh, Heavy D, and Public Enemy (Chuck D & Flavor Flav) to create the classic anti-violence PSA, ‘Self Destruction,’ in hopes to encourage the Hip-Hop Community to end the violence being committed amongst ourselves.

This 2021 Black Westchester editorial is somewhat of a remix, 33-years-later without the All-Star emcees, with out over the samples of Funky Drummer by James Brown and Pass The Peas by the JB’s but with the same Call To Action and the same pleas of encouraging the Black Community to end the senseless gun violence being committed amongst ourselves. The Summer of 2021 has the potential to be as deadly and dangerous and again it will be us killings ourselves. This is a call to action to the Black Community as a whole – Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Yonkers, Greenburgh and Black and Brown Communities of Westchester and surrounding areas in particular.

The iconic 1988 Hip-Hop classic starts off with a sample of Malcolm X

We all agree tonight—all of the speakers have agreed that America has a very serious problem
Not only does America have a very serious problem but our people have a very serious problem
America’s problem is…

Self Destruction. you’re headed for Self Destruction

Back in the sixties our brothers and sisters were hanged
How could you gang-bang?
I never ever ran from the Ku Klux Klan
And I shouldn’t have to run from a black man – Kool Moe Dee

Before we can expect our young people to stop gang banging or avoid gangs, we the adults have to stop gang banging and avoid our gangs. We politically gangbang, and use political decapitation to destroy one another. I live in a Black run city and we do more damage to ourselves than the white man ever could. We are doing the devil’s work for him and we wonder why are city is in a hellish state. We wonder why the youth are outta control, where do you think they get it from? First step is admitting our role in the self destruction of our communities. In a city like Mount Vernon, you cannot blame the white man for our problems. You cannot blame Trump and the Republican cult the follows him, when you got Black Dems politically decapitating and trying to destroy each other.

While we all enjoyed the song when it played in clubs and on the radio did we forget Heavy D’s lyrics on the joint…

Ayo here’s the situation: idiodicy
Nonsense, violence, not a good policy
Therefore we must ignore, fighting and fussing
Heavy’s at the door so there’ll be no bum-rushing
Let’s get together or we’ll be falling apart
I heard a brother shot another, it broke my heart
I don’t understand the difficulty, people
Love your brother, treat him as an equal
They call us animals — mmm mmm, I don’t agree with them
I’ll prove them wrong, but right is what you’re proving them
Take heed before I lead to what I’m saying
Or we’ll all be on our knees, praying

33 years later the situation is still idiodicy, nonsense and violence, we’re still fighting and fussing and right is what we are proving those outside our community. Before we expect out young people to treat each other with respect and respect themselves we must first keep ourself in check as adults and Chuck D and Flavor Flav of PE told us…

Yes, we urge to merge, we live for the love of our people
The hope: they get along (Yeah, so we did a song)
Getting the point to our brothers and sisters
Who don’t know the time (Boyyyee, so we wrote a rhyme)
Instead in your head, you know, our job
To build and collect ourselves with intellect (Come on)
To revolve, to evolve to self-respect
‘Cause we got to keep ourselves in check
Or else it’s….
Self Destruction…

We have to stop talking about how the youth are outta control and check ourselves first. What kind of example are we setting, when they see the so-called leaders of the community, the elected officials, politicians, political candidates and adults (some who are just children over the age of 21 who never grew up and do not know how to act their age) fighting and doing everything to destroy ourselves and our community. Yes I said US and OUR community, because I mean ALL OF US! Not only what kind of example are we setting, what kind of cities are we leaving for them? What are WE doing to make their lives better?

How can so many of us who benefited from the many programs, Little League Baseball, The Razorbacks, PAL, the Boys and Girl Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts – insert any program that you credit for saving your life here – how can we not volunteer our time and money to help save our young people, our youth, our children? How can we not do all we can to provide them with safe spaces to just be children?

I have often said and written, the only reason I did not end up dead or in jail like many of those in my generation (some of which I hung out with and went to school with) was because several older people outside of my parents invested in me. So I say to all reading this, if the youth are outta control, it’s not them failing us, IT IS US FAILING THEM! If you missed that I was say it again. If the youth are outta control, it’s not them failing us, it is us failing them! What happened to It Takes A Village? What happened to Each One, Teach One? Sure no one of us can save them all, but if we each reach out to at least one…

I believe that children are our future
Teach them well and let them
Lead the way
show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense
Of pride
To make it easier
Let the children’s laughter
Remind us how we used
To be…..
The Greatest Love Of All- George Benson

The summer of 2021 is coming, in cities like Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Yonkers as with many inner cities in the country, we have already seen senseless violence, in most cases that led to the death of our young brothers and sisters. How many future leaders have we already lost to senseless gun play or a privatized prison system created to incarcerate them while they are still in elementary school.

As adults, we realize that the real future lies in the hands of our children and grandchildren. But since most will tell you they realize this simple truth, why aren’t more adults doing more to secure the future of the youth? Why aren’t more adult investing in programs for our youth, either their time or their money or both. Our first priority should be the nurturing and education of America’s youth. Education is not limited to what they learn in school. Like many inner city children, some of my greatest life lessons were learned outside of the classrooms, when school was not in session. We are all products of our environment, but we do not have to allow our environment be who we are.

In 1998 Hip-Hop was being blamed for everything, especially what the media coined Black on Black Crime. Funny I never heard or read them refer to White on White Crime, they call that Organized Crime, but I digress. In 2021 we who grew up on lyrics of Knowledge Of Self and Conscious Rap the evened out the so called Gangsta Rap have become M.I.A. and allowed to industry to force feed our youth with non stop negativity with no push back to the radio stations where they tell us Hip-Hop Lives. Instead of fighting to elevate the music or demand better we turned into a generation who wants to be cool in our kids eyes and rock their music with them instead of teaching and exposing them to better. WAKE UP PEOPLE! Its time to wake up, stand up, and fight for our kids and show them better.

in 1995 Mobb Deep warned us that, There’s a war going on outside nobody’s safe from, but were weren’t listening or somehow forgot. There is a war going on for the souls of our young people. A war of miseducation. A war to incarcerate them in them in the School-to-Prison Pipeline that feeds on a disproportionate tendency of minors and young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds to become incarcerated because of increasingly harsh school and municipal policies, as well as because of educational inequality in the United States. If you do not have time for the youth now they already have plans in place to have plenty of time for the youth later. Many of us are Missing In Action. We have fell asleep at the wheel and now want to get upset when the kids crash the car.

I repeat this summer has the potential to be one of the deadliest and most dangerous. We are looking at a perfect storm. They released inmates because of COVID and Bail Reform (which we asked for) without creating any training or programs in place for those who were released. They didn’t come home to the stimulus checks and extended unemployment checks many of us received due to COVID. If they can not find work or training programs to teach them a trade, what do you think some of them will do for money. How about whatever landed them in the the so called “Correctional” facility in the first place. I put correctional in quotes because for most there is not correction going on. We are setting them up to fail.

The streets were somewhat safe and peaceful for awhile due to COVID restrictions that have just been lifted. That kept them in the house but not they are all coming back outside seeing people they haven’t come in contact with for awhile. Unsettled beefs and all that pick up where they left off and the pistols’ go pop once again. And we all know the saying, when the weather gets hot, the streets get hotter! It’s not even summer yet and we got teenagers being shot in broad daylight on residential streets and 6-years-olds getting caught in crossfire.

Its too late to talk about what hasn’t been done, or who didn’t do what. Time for passing the buck and pointing fingers is over. This is a CALL TO ACTION! We all need to get involved. We all need to work together to save our youth and reclaim our streets. We need to Get Up, Get Out and Do Something! Or mark my words and remember I said it on Monday, May 24th, we are heading for self destruction, we’re headed for self destruction!

The most important thing I can leave you with is remember when you were young. Remember your rebellious period and what or who helped you get through it or taught you a better way. You didn’t have all the answers but you thought you did. You may not have always listened to the adults at the time, but you remember what they told you and it help mold you into the adult you are today. Who were the adults that were present in your life when you were a youngster, that were instrumental in your growth or your success? Who is the person you can identify with that saved you from going in the wrong direction many of your peers did? Answering those questions, should make you want to pay it forward and be that for the next generation. So I end this Call To Action with this question, What Are You Doing To Reach The Youth??? If you are not part of the solution you are definitely part of the problem whether you want to admit it our not!!! REAL TALK!!!

BLACK LIVES MUST MATTER TO BLACK PEOPLE FIRST BEFORE WE CAN EXPECT THEM TO MATTER TO EVERYONE ELSE!

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About AJ Woodson (2327 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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