WWWD? (What Will Weezy Do?)

This is one of my most serious editorials that I’ve ever penned. It’s very serious because it deals with people’s lives and whether or not they’ll choose to live or die. In writing this piece, I have to reflect back on the lives of other men who found themselves in similar situations and use them as a basis to consider life or death. The men in reference are Pimp C, ODB and T.I.P. Please allow me to state that this is written in the utmost respect of the lives of the men mentioned, not to be disrespectful or distasteful to them, their legacies or their families. Hopefully someone’s life will be saved. With that said, when I think of the untimely demise of Pimp C and ODB, both dead less than two years upon their release from incarceration, and the mishap that T.I. has placed himself in less than six months of release from lock up, I think to myself, WWWD, What Will Weezy Do when he finally touches down?

By the time Lil Wayne is released from Rikers Island on November 4, 2010, he would have spent a total of ten months incarcerated. That’s only assuming that he does come home because tomorrow isn’t promised on the streets and definitely not while in prison. Prayerfully he does complete his last two months of his sentence and make it off of the island, safely. By doing so, he would have accomplished one task and that’s physically surviving prison; however, the most difficult and daunting task still awaits him and that would be, surviving and readjusting to life after prison, especially as a rich and successful rap artist with noted drug concerns.

My father has been a substance abuser my entire life and on the 28th of this month, God willing, I’ll be 37-years-old. It goes without saying that due to his addiction my life has been impacted in immeasurable ways. Yet and still, I love my father to death though oftentimes I admit resentment and animosity towards him because of my interpretation of him choosing drugs over me. I doubt very seriously if children of rich and successful stars will grow up to feel any differently from me. Still I trudge on, but if you only knew my pain.

When Pimp C died due to reported use of codeine and promethazine, while combating sleep apnea, I was saddened by his loss, but felt more for his loved ones who would have to trudge on without him. When ODB died due to reported use of cocaine and the prescription drug Tramadol, again, I was saddened by his loss, but felt more for his loved ones who would have to trudge on without him. When T.I. and his wife Tiny were just arrested on suspicions of possessing ecstasy, after being pulled over by police officers who also reported smelling a strong scent of marijuana coming from their car, initially it was hard to feel sympathy towards them, but immediately I felt sorrow for how their actions would negatively impact their children and the rest of their family. Two died from their actions, while the other is tethering on killing his career, risking his freedom and more importantly impacting the lives of his children in immeasurable ways. And while it appears to me that all of this could have been prevented I ask, why choose the things that could kill you, literally and/or figuratively?

Upon hearing the news of T.I.’s arrest last week, my middle school students initiated a conversation with me asking “why would T.I. do that after he beat the gun charges?” I was dumbfounded and baffled myself; I could not do anything, but speculate at his reasoning. Then one of my students said, “Mr. Dews, maybe he’s addicted.” To which he’s probably correct because it has to be something more potent than logic that will make a person jeopardize his and his loved ones life. Then immediately I recalled this Jay-Z line “I hope you don’t think users are the only abusers.” Though many of these celebrities would not consider themselves addicts, I interpreted the quote and its application to T.I. to mean the attraction of the “rap” game, the lifestyle it affords you, the luxuries, the sense of entitlement awarded to its participants and all of the other entrapments that leads to clouded and skewed thinking, which in turn leads to unwanted, but inescapable demise. Such actions are the equivalent to arresting a career drug dealer. When asked “what are you going to do after being allowed to re-enter into society”? They give their sentencing judge, PO’s, and probation officers the right answer “After paying my debt to society, I intend to make a positive contribution to the world.” And before departing, they give the infamous “Don’t worry, you won’t see me again” speech. But to their homeboys whom they left on the block, that continued to engage in the same activities, when they ask “boy, what you trying do when you get out?” They give an honest answer, “you already know,” without hesitation. Many then proceed to do what they’re addicted to doing. In most cases, it’s the same things that they did prior to their incarceration.

Honestly, that’s my fear for Lil Wayne. Based on his own account and admission, he’s a substance abuser and maybe of all rappers, he lives most like a rock star. He smokes marijuana in abundance and has been reported in indulging himself with drinking codeine and promethazine on the regular. His system should be fairly clean from his stint on the island. My concern is that if he attempts to partake in the same over exuberant lifestyle that he led prior to going to prison upon his return home, it could cause his body to go into complete shock, which could be detrimental. Oftentimes, people will try to go even harder than they did before jail, after returning home. Almost in an attempt to make up for the time they were away. Or maybe it’s an attempt to mentally deal with everything that transpired in their life and to those whom their decisions affected while they were incarcerated. Who knows? In this case, only Wayne does. For the rest of us, we’re left to wait and see WWWD?