Several days ago Baltimore City caught the attention of the masses, yet again. This time it wasn’t because a young man died in the custody of law enforcement or because our city was set ablaze due to civil unrest leading to an uprise in response to a young man dying in the custody of police. Naw, this time a corner in east Baltimore, approximately a stone throw away from the “city” of Johns Hopkins, encompassed by dilapidated buildings, deteriorated roads, vacant and demolished homes, trash strewn gutters and curbs, across the street from two churches, a struggling elementary school and directly in front of a bar, got its 15 minutes of fame.
Well in all honesty, it wasn’t the corner that got the attention it so desperately need. As a matter of fact, I’d bet, most people who watched the video uploaded to WorldstarHipHop , which accumulated more than 1 million views in less than a week, entitled “So Sad: 19 year old Baltimore Woman Tripping After Doing Drugs” wasn’t astutely paying attention to all that the girl was in the midst of, seen and unseen. Just like I’d surmised that most of us, myself included, aren’t always actively addressing the societal ills and influences that oftentimes lead our youth to be “tripping off of drugs.”
Less than one mile from the corner of North and Rutland, the location where the video, “So Sad” was recorded, is a methadone clinic. Every day the corner of North and Gay Street is inundated with loss dreams and broken promises. The corner is comprised of people who are just a shell of their former selves, who, for reasons unbeknownst to many, succumbed to the ills of society unable to wrestle with their reality without being inebriated. I know this truth personally because one of the many “inundated with loss dreams and broken promises” occupying that corner daily is my father. The video of the 19 year old young lady prompted hundreds of thousands to be outraged. I just wonder how outraged people would be if they could see the hundreds of individuals up the street from North and Rutland in the same exact stupor. Or how outraged are you when you visit the World Famous Lexington Market downtown Baltimore and see the exact same thing. Are you outraged then? Is it the same type of outrage? And if you are outraged, what are you doing about it?
The Turning Point Methadone Clinic is one that provides narcotics and “treatment” for the old guard of Baltimore addiction. However, the young 19 year old recorded “bent” on the corner of North and Rutland is the new and present pictorial of Baltimore City substance abuse. Sad, you say? Hell yeah! But the whole story is far much worse than what even that ten minute video depicted.
Do you have any idea how many of our young people are smoking weed and/or popping pills, daily? After the Baltimore Riots in 2015 when all of those pharmacies were burglarized and robbed, our then Police Commissioner Anthony Batts stated that there were enough drugs looted to keep our entire city high for more than a year. Man, a friend of mine just told me two weeks ago that he offered to give an elderly woman a ride home from the grocery store (he was hacking) and she offered to pay him with prescription pills. Oh yeah, we’re a city in turmoil. And addiction, alcoholism, substance abuse is the root cause of our problems. And sadly to say, whether we want to accept the harsh truth or not, but it’s just as many of our youth addicted to serious drugs as there are adults.
The question I’m oftentimes baffled with is, “why are so many of our young people amenable to get high?” When I was a kid, if anything, we wanted to be hustlers that sold the drugs. Nowadays, kids don’t want to hustle, they’d rather be the person indulging in the use of drugs. How the hell did that happen?
Throughout recent years, there have been many people who question the influence that drug induced rap music has on our youth. We’ve always been honest in our music. Shid, the same people who put out arguably one of the best rap songs ever, The Message, also dedicated an entire song to cocaine. In the early years of hip hop Run from Run-DMC once rapped that he “keeps a bag of cheeba inside my locker.” So the muse of drugs is nothing new to the genre of hip hop, but maybe the perspective from which we view the conversation of drug usage in our music is. Remember, there was once a time when we looked at peers with disdain if they were getting high. Today, getting high is celebrated. It’s encouraged. If you don’t get high, people began to wonder why you’re not indulging in narcotics because everybody else is trying to get “lit, lit, lit-ty!”
Is it the music? I don’t know, but I doubt it very seriously. We blame hip hop for everything. But even Jeezy, hip hop artist and self-proclaimed SnowMan/Trapstar had to recently ponder himself, “why all of the youth now want to get high and not get money?”
We presently live in a very drug friendly and accepting culture until it’s video recorded an plastered on a computer monitor or telephone screen for the whole world to see one of our children so high that she can barely stand. We presently live in a very drug friendly and accepting culture, until the access of drug usage leads to addiction, infinitely deferred dreams, a multitude of lies and foreseeable personal pain. In the ‘80s Nancy Regan told us to “Just Say No” to drugs. Well it’s apparent that shit didn’t work. Is it the music or is it the hopeless despair that many of our youth feel? Or is it the example that we either set or don’t set for our children to follow? Who’s the blame?
As for the girl, here the latest.