From Gangstas to Guerrillas:
Savin’ tha ‘Hood from the Muti-Verse of Madness
Min. Paul Scott
“May God forgive us though we dwell inside a paradox/ thugged out ,drug dealin’ ,from the wound to the block”
Revolution — Tupac Shakur
Yung Dawg and Huey Shabazz Jackson sat staring at each other from across the prison cell. Dawg had just been picked up for shooting an innocent three year old child in a drive-by, while Shabazz was there for sparkin’ a riot at an anti-police brutality rally. Five years later, Yung Dawg would be back in the streets poppin’ bottles at a lit ,homecoming cookout , while Jackson still sits on his lonely, prison bunk with a note pad, tearfully, scribbling about the day when all Black people will be free….
For the last 30 years the issue of gangs has been the topic of ,countless , seminars . books and lectures, as well as the stuff that a billion dollar music industry dream was made of.
Even on the public policy level , politicians across the country have ,low key, glamorized gangsta life by instituting “gang prevention” policies under the old premise that “it takes a thief to catch a thief” and only by some application of mythical “street knowledge” can the hood be saved.
Unfortunately, more than three decades after mainstream America discovered Colors and NWA came Straight Out of Compton , the violence has only escalated. In 2022, Mothers are still fainting over closed caskets yelling “NOT MY BABY ! “
Meanwhile the solutions that have been offered raise more questions than answers.
In Black America, we are trapped inside a paradox. On one end , street life is glamorized and presented as a rites of passage through which all Black males must be initiated in order to enter into full manhood. However, on the other side ,gangsta-ism is condemned as destroying the moral fabric of society. In other words, everybody at the family cookout loves Cousin Kevin “Lil Killa” Johnson until a stray bullet pierce’s Lil Tomeka’s car seat.
While some may blame white America’s fascination and financial investment in gang culture for the destruction of the Black community, in reality, according to books like Tom Wolfe’s ,Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, during the late 60’s , White folks were also fascinated by the Black Panther Party. Historically, they seem to get a thrill outta living, vicariously, through rebels either with or without a cause. Remember, they embraced the revolutionary Tupac Shakur as much as the Death Row Pac, just as long as he kept the drama in the hood instead of their front lawns.
So, the main problem is that the Black community has created a multi-verse of madness where one can, simultaneously, be an angel in the house but a demon on the block.
So, how do we escape ?
We must be clear, there have always been measures to counter the influence of gangsta-ism. At the same time that gangsta rap was invading America, Hip Hop artists on the East Coast were also warning the Black community that we were “headed for self destruction..”
Even out west , as hypocritical as it may seem, the rappers were proclaiming they we were “ all in the same gang,” while, simultaneously, celebrating drive-bys.
And although gangsta rap morphed into trap music , then drill music, the subject matter has remained consistent..
Although many people are talking about the recent arrest of Yung Thug under the RICO Act, Young Thug ain’t Malcolm X and the RICO ain’t COINTELPRO. We must make sure that Black youth recognize the difference.
So by using a form of dialectical materialism we must come to some sort of synthesis that will allow us to make our communities safe but avoid the demonization and mass incarceration of young Black males.
Our task must be to change rappers into revolutionists and gangstas into guerrillas. The solution is developing a technique we are calling Intellectual Guerrilla Warfare.
From the jump, we must deal with the contradictions that prevent us from stopping the violence in the hood.
Why is it that the Black Panther Party was neutralized in four years but street gangs, as we know them, are still alive and well after more than three decades ? And why did the media make Bloods and Crips household names , but they ignore George Jackson and the original intent of the Black Guerilla Family to politicize inmates or the ability of Bunchy Carter, gang member turned Black Panther, to reach the streets? By exposing these contradictions we will make it clear that the violence in our communities is part of a genocidal agenda.
Secondly , we must convert our everyday activities into political education exercises. We must turn visits to the barbershops and bus stops into Black history classrooms. Even our daily excursions into the social media world must be done with the intent of raising the consciousness of our people.
Lastly, we must develop a syllabus that will challenge the traditional street narrative containing books such as Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, Huey P. Newton’s Revolutionary Suicide or Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice.
This is how we defeat the culture of death that is currently posing as Black culture.
As Kendrick Lamar said , “ And to my neighborhood let the good prevail. Make sure them babies and them leaders outta jail.”
Min. Paul Scott is founder of the Durham NC based Black Messiah Movement PO Box 15123 Durham NC 27704. He can be reached at (919) 972–8305 or email email@example.com Twitter @truthminista