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Justice For Jason Mizell…

There’s a memorial event tonight in NYC for the late, great Jam Master Jay. There will be some memorable performances I’m sure because the lineup is outstanding. Snoop Dogg, Raekwon, Jim Jones, EPMD, Lord Finesse, Mobb Deep, dead prez, DeLa Soul and I’m sure there will be surprise guests falling through. We’ll have a good time partying tonight, but tomorrow I fear we will be back to doing the same things we always did, and thinking the same way before the celebration began.

Jam Master Jay is part of the statistics that say Black males are most likely to die via gun violence. What is troubling and profound is that there are a significant amount of these Black males being killed by guns although they have lifestyles that don’t have a direct connection to the use of guns. JMJ was not a narcotics dealer, or a stick up kid. Those are two professions that you might imagine someone would need a gun to have success in, if you could even consider that success.

JMJ was a deejay and music producer. Sean Taylor was a football player. My homey Ray Barnett was a civil servant. Gun violence has crossed over the tracks from being the province of criminals to finding the doorsteps of family men and fathers. At the end of the day we have less Black men to raise the babies, and eff the ladies who make the babies (no Tupac). Speaking of Tupac, It has been over ten years since his and B.I.G.’s murders and we have come no closer to closure.

I’ve been part of the problem I suppose since I hear the news of another Black man’s murder and I shake my head. I chalk up the deaths to a city or region’s hardbody quotient and I keep it moving. All the while there are families left shattered and devastated in the wake of the hurricane. I’ve never even questioned why handguns are manufactured in the first place. Their purpose has become apparently singular and wholly destructive. While Congress can find the time to attack Hip-Hop culture with verve and determination let’s see if they will pursue the gun manufacturers with equal intensity.

You might say I’m shooting myself in the foot (pun always intended), but I think my employer Harris Publications has some culpability in this situation. Their magazines relating to handguns and automatic pistols only serve to stoke the fires that buttress the desires to own these weapons. Handguns are for killing people. Period. Point blank. Who gets killed at a disproportionate rate due to the use of handguns in the hands of criminals AND law enforcement personnel? Black males. At what point will Hip-Hop say enough is enough? Will we ever say it out loud, or will we just hear the next grim news story and shake our heads in resignation while we keep it moving?

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