Sunday, August 20, 2006
What year is it?
Everyday and especially on the weekends on Crenshaw Boulevard you're likely to find some young folks with a new old message dressed in an old familiar way. "Black Power!" They yell out to passing cars with raised fists in the air. For a time you might find two or three of them on any given day but now months later, there's a whole bunch of them taking what they do very seriously or at least portraying that.
One day a couple months ago I listened to a young brotha preaching as I ate hotdogs with a few other people at a hotdog stand on the boulevard. Everything he said made sense despite a few bits and pieces being exaggerated. I liked his passion and then I noticed a little bucket that he was carrying. It was the first time I'd seen these new militants, if you will asking for donations. I donated a little something and I've seen this young man several times after that marching down Crenshaw, fist in the air and carrying his bucket. I cant help but wonder what this will lead to for him and will he and his other comrades continue? Will they stay true? Are they prepared for anything and everything that might come with what they're doing? I've yet to hear any message from them saying what they hope to accomplish, so for right now they've just become yet another group of people known to walk and/or stand on corners on Crenshaw Blvd.
Jump ahead to today when I stopped by Leimert Park where they were having a Marcus Garvey Celebration Day. There were different speakers throughout the day and one of them was a young man named General Taco(brotha on the mic). That's what he called himself. He didn't say he was the leader of this group but I'm assuming that he's up there. The brotha spoke with extreme passion and even had a flow similar to Tupac when he's angry. I watched him. I felt like I'd stepped back in time with the way everyone was dressed and all the fists going up in the air. General Taco spouted out words of revenge and a call to arms. Familiar stuff. He spoke a lot about guns, "the pigs," and more guns, etc etc.. He ended each point that he made with what seemed like his adopted slogan, "click clack!" Only one police car was nearby watching. The officers didn't look too pleased with what they heard and General Taco seemed to be making sure they heard him clearly. I really hope this group has a positive agenda for helping the community but based on the message preached today on behalf of this group, there was nothing expressed that would leave you feeling like they're gonna make a positive difference. Any noise that they end up making probably wont be covered. It'll just be something heard on the street or they might get a few lines in the Sentinel newspaper, our so-called black newspaper...
General Taco spoke fearlessly but some of his young comrades really didn't strike me as being fearless. I didn't see dedication in their eyes. Some even appeared to look as if they wondered what the heck they got themselves into. I wonder about their lives when they're on their own. Do they have a home? Do they need someone or something to believe in and this is what they found? This young group is growing in numbers so I'm curious to see where they are by next year this time. Instead of calling themselves the new Black Panthers, they call themselves the "Black Ridah's." Ride on but do it with conviction, pride and a positive goal to truly help the community.