The Lost Boyz in the Hood
In light of the recent launch of the new Blade miniseries on Spike TV, a striking metaphor exists between that of its protagonist and the plight of today’s African-American male. Due to the fact that Blade is a vampire (therefore casting no reflection) as well as of obvious African descent, we have a double entendre that speaks to the very nature of how Black males are viewed in America. For those (hopefully many) familiar with Ralph Ellison, we can recognize the irony in this when recalling The Invisible Man; his prolific novel which catalogs the intolerance of America through the travels and travails of its nameless main character of color.
Mos Def once noted that ‘the invisible man’s got the whole world watching.’ Indeed we do, but in what capacity does society chose to view what it can’t see? For most, in the absence of light, the darkness can skew one’s vision and fill the mind with frightening thoughts. Enter the camera-luminous radiance of the media which casts a shadow on said image that many have not seen and do not want to see. After all, society’s success (or failure for that matter) is often gauged by whomever is deemed to be its worst representation.
Recalling The Lost Boys, a typical all White 80’s movie about vampires and the classic Boyz N the Hood movie of the 90’s, we see in the mixture of the two, a depiction of what the media has spun Black men into. We are a hybrid: half invisible man, half Manchurian candidate. One who has no identity outside of what has been created of us and propagated into our own self-image and the image unseen by our peers. An image which can cheapen our potential and lower the expectation and importance of our place in the world unless we begin to refocus the scope of the lens and redefine ourselves as men of value and substance.
* The term "Manchurian candidate," spawned by the book and later films, refers to an individual who has undergone brainwashing and / or mind control with the intent of creating a "Sleeper" personality within that individual.
“The Lost Boyz N the Hood”
While Just Another Black Girl Lost
is low on the marquise,
Lost boyz in the hood
are shown constantly.
Displayed across the
prompts of TV –
it’s a bittersweet limelight.
Underlined and underlying
like a Sharpie’s peak,
Our best efforts are undermined
by the parts we keep…
It’s an odd odyssey to see
our littered debris on primetime.
It trips me out when
our illiteracy gets highlights
Along with sky high criminally
We can’t escape justice’s blind eye –
the news coverage is smotherin’.
But when Quadrevion and Purvis
go missing in Wisconsin,
Prompts in the papers surface slow
like a whispered conscience…
They’re more quick to respond
when we’re robbin’ and plunderin’.
This blind eye turned
to invisible men
Is primed by the spurn
of our divisible skin.
We’re a critical blend
like Blade the ‘daywalker.’
While our best potential’s
ignored by the masses,
Our worst credentials
are exploited and blasted…
We’re in immortal caskets –
stuck in a past tense like JJ Walker.
We’re the mirrors of
a parasitic society
Reflecting its transparent
spirit of primacy.
They’re killin’ us silently with
silver tongues and Billboard bullets.
From the slick press depicting
that we die in the streets
To pigs pressin’ profiles illicitly
keepin’ eyes on me…
Why is our mystique exclusively
seen as pilferers
of young Gilmore’s pureness?
By displaying crimes repeatedly
torched into mental annals,
The light of daytime TV
destroys ‘dead men’s’ travels.
I see through these crystal channels –
their motives are clear and present.
The danger’s calculated and imminent –
No disclaimer can eradicate its discriminant…
This affidavit’s too eminent –
as its motif has smeared our essence.
We’ve been deemed as
easy targets of deviance
By a media that markets us
as heathens and hedonists.
We’re in too deep in this as
“Stereotypecasts” to the Associated Press.
Unless we’re talkin’ childish
spouts like pediatricians
Or caught wildin’ out with
weed in our systems,
The media won’t listen –
positive Black folks are
like tokes of smoke:
a waste of jaded breath.
Just look at the way they’ve kept
A lack of paraded depth
Surrounding wages of deaths
when drugs or violence is
removed from it all.
Why aren’t cameramen
Surrounding the cover up
with Martin Lee Anderson?…
His death was mod’rately handled when
he was roughed up by a crew of guards.
In the case of Florida’s juvenile detention,
Their coroner’s truth was wilder than fiction.
They said he died of a mild condition
of sickle cell anemia.
But the fatal flaw was this –
he only had the trait.
He was accosted and suffocated
with ammonium nitrate…
Yet the holes in this vile case have been
overlooked with selective amnesia.
Though there are scenes of evidence
from the filmed altercation
And a second autopsy effectively
revealed their alteration,
Evidently it’s been sealed in moderations
of blatant disregard.
Despite protests and rallies
from students and activists,
We haven’t viewed a second glimpse
since this tragedy hit…
Yet I bet if the hues had been aptly flipped –
they would’ve already
charged these heinous guards.
This is America a.k.a. Freedomland at its best.
Is it transparent enough? –
it’s easy to plan a Black man’s arrest.
It’s easy to snuff out a
measly man’s wrongful death
than to bring justice to light.
It’s more feasibly accepted
to assume guilty verdicts
Than it is to find an unbiased mind
who’ll willingly reverse it…
Even we’ve been enticed
by the appeal of the circuit –
I’ve observed and heard it as
it bumps in the night.
Glorified in our music and awarded
with plaques and Oscars,
I’m mortified when I view this
recorded as Black dogma.
We’re more than derelicts and crack mongers –
until it pays to be portrayed as such.
In an attempt to promote and reappropriate
how brothers struggle,
We’ve groped and sold our souls
as hustlers and jugglers…
Thus exposing our plundered jugulars
until it sprays from betrayals of lust.
With this blood on our hands,
we’ve invited this infiltration
Into the brood of our wombs
disguised as dignified indignation.
When we talk to our youth,
watch how we engage them –
we don’t condone, but we do condemn.
Telling them statistics is one thing,
But we’re already selling them
tickets to gun sling
When we assume they’re fools
in school except one thing –
which is usually gym.
We’re fooling these gems
when we limit their vitals
To how well they can
scrimmage for winnin’ titles.
The competition’s a bigger rival –
the threat’s unseen.
You’d best believe when these
boys meet the world,
it’ll be more than a lil’ savage.
If they’ve only been poised
for track meets and girls,
the damage is manic…
The gambit’s already been planted
and the nets are hungry.
This is entrapment, the media only sees us
as addicts, dealers, entertainers or athletes.
The rest they’ll manage to wield as
entangled in trash heaps.
They’ll angle off the latter as human
interest pieces in sweeps week.
Swept under the rug until the topic is run
That the only difference between
our fathers and sons
Is a dollar’s sum and a few swallows
from bottles of rum – but don’t worry,
they’ll keep it short and sweet.
They’ll spin it into parables of prodigal sons
Who were returning home when
they were mowed down by a cop’s gun –
Then they’ll give a rundown of plausible stunts
to downplay being killed in cold blood.
To further play up the Black component,
They’ll insinuate he may have had crack on him…
As right at that exact moment they’ll
reveal that the father was on drugs.
So what does this message deliver?:
Don’t bother n*ggas about being father figures.
They’re too involved with itch palms
on revolver triggers and liquor
to guide their vermin seeds.
This explains why the police beat is needed –
To tame the beast that
the media’s managed to weave in…
When it’s time to feed it,
they’ll step up the news feeds with fervent speed.
Any education reference in these forums
Are usually linked in suggestions to reform.
It’s accepted when we read in the joint –
where else are we given
federal resources so freely?!!
Lost and found in prison,
Our men’s thoughts are bound in prisms
Until they’re hostile, riled up wisdom
resorts to immoral ‘strategery.’
This allusion of grandeur reeks
of the rigor of Bushisms.
The illusion of slammers speaks
through a bigger system.
Our men are political prisoners –
victims of an invested bureau.
We’ve been expensed – our figure’s slated
to follow and stand approved
To be invisibly violent like
Christian Slater in Hollow Man 2…
As models in Manchu,
it’s impossible to fix an image
without a reflection eternal.
© Reggie Legend 2006
Steel Waters, Inc.
For more details on Martin Lee Anderson, please click here.
For more details regarding Quadrevion Henning Purvis Parker, please refer to: