� Middle America - Quest for Bar-b-q | Main | Bluetooth Heaven �

June 12, 2004

Black Zombies

No, I've not died, nor have I fallen from the face of the earth.
That would be impossible, as the Earth is round. I recently went home, and witnessed my first home Yankees game in nearly 20yrs. Although they lost 8-1, it was good to see the 2004 squad live in the Bronx. Perhaps the best part of the trip was giving a native Mid-Westerner a glimpse of life in NYC. He got an opportunity to ride the subway and also experienced the notorious Bed-Stuy section of B'klyn. We B'klynites affectionately call this section 'Do-or-Die', as it relates to the struggle and peril that most black youth face, while growing up in this area. Truly survival of the fittest.

Despite some of the advances in the neighborhood, due in part to 'gentrification', many areas remain largely unchanged. We walked with our out-of-town guest from Utica Ave, up through Gates Ave and Lexington Ave. It was very refreshing to be on the streets again, as I rarely get the opportunity to walk in the Detroit-Metro area. I listened to the conversation of the young black men and women in passing. It seems that most have a grim outlook on their survival and exodus from the slums. Lots of hopelessness and misguided focus.

After heading back to my friend's home, we began to reminisce on our youth, particularly our time at Tech. He started pulling vinyl from the many milk crates in his sound studio. One LP contained, an underground cut called Black Zombie by Nas.

The lyrics were very timely, as it reminded me of the mind state of the kids that I passed in the streets earlier that day. I suppose that positivity is in short supply, especially considering that the unemployment rate is the highest it has been in nearly 10yrs. The economy is sluggish at best. Nonetheless, I still wonder what will become of our youth? Clearly the problem is systemic and not limited to B'klyn. I can go to any ghetto, East, Central or West Coast and see the same condition. People seem unable to grasp control of their future, stand with strength and refuse to fail. I say choose life or death, or forever stay among the walking dead.

On a positive note, I greatly appreciate the fact that Hip-Hop has a few contemporary MCs that are spitting conscious gems for our youth. Perhaps even the most commercial entertainers (ie Nas, JayZ), can redirect the Hip-Hop Culture to it roots? It would be great for these artist to finish what their forefathers (ie KRS, Chuck D, Mellie Mel, Zulu Nation, etc) began nearly 30yrs ago.

Posted by AG at June 12, 2004 3:05 AM