same old chocolate

Little children shot in Southeast, D.C. Someone stabbed in front of Howard Theater. Paranoia rules the streets as the city’s first white mayor appears more and more imminent.

This is my city.  Little children get shot in broad daylight as innocent bystanders. People stab people. White people, are said to be taking over the city.  Black folks would rather run the city than be safe, right? if Phil Mendleson becomes mayor and the schools work better, are black folks OK with that? if Mayor Phil becomes mayor and the brothers stop it with the drive-by shootings at noon, are black folks OK with that? This is all I am saying. Who cares if you own the restaurant if the food is bad? I rather co-own it if the taste of the spinach pie improves. Can you dig it?

Len Bias – June 19, 1986

Twenty six years ago today, I was in summer school at Frostburg State College. I think the course I was taking was Organizational Behavior. I was walking to class and my classmate Toby Henson stops me and asks:

“Gil, you hear about Len Bias?” I smile

“Yea,” I say,”drafted yesterday by the Boston Celtics.”

“No, man. Lenny is dead,” he says.

“Stop playing.”

Toby don’t speak. His face is cringed up in sorrow.  I check around the building. I know he is not lying or playing. Like me, Toby loved Len Bias.

Image

Yes, Len Bias had died early that morning of a cocaine overdose one day after being drafted by the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA draft.  Unfathomable. More than the September 11, 2011 bombing. More than perhaps anything I have ever witnessed.

Bias, the star basketball player of the Maryland Terrapins, one of my two favorite college teams, was a stud. How could he be dead after I saw him on television at the NBA Draft looking so alive?

One word: cocaine.

Cocaine, of course, continues to dominate the lives of black men in America. It is destroying a generation of black men because they go to jail for possessing it or selling it or they destroy themselves using it.

Lenny was probably that warning that this was a dangerous drug, a drug that could bring down many a stud.

I never forget June 19. It is June 19 to most people. But today, is the day Lenny died. That is what we called him. Lenny. God Bless ya, Lenny.

– Brian Gilmore

Chocolate Rocket

Clemens beats perjury charge, escapes Chocolate City

All these weeks in Washington D.C. and not once did Roger Clemens ride over to Anacostia and see teh Big Chair.  Shame shame.  Roger didn’t bother to come up Georgia Avenue either and see Howard University, or the Howard Theater, and Benjamin Bannaker pool where Daddy Grace used to baptize his flock (my mother tells me this).

Roger could have come up to Rita’s and got a roti and some rice and peas but we know he probably stayed downtown by the courthouse where he was on trial for lying to Congress.

Here is some other things Roger could have done. Ate at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Ate at the Florida Avenue Grill. Caught a show at Blues Alley. Gone to visit Marion Barry (maybe he did).  Rode the subway to Fort Totten station where I grew up and saw how they is about to gentrify that spot too. Went over to Southeast and got some kale from poet, Kyle Dargan. Went and had some chicken wings over Kenny Carroll’s house. The kind with mumbo sauce.  Ate at Colonel Brooks Tavern in Brookland. Visited the shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Went to church at the United House of Prayer. Caught a Go-Go show. Went just outside D.C. and pay respects at Peace Cross in Bladensburg, Maryland. Hung out with Mitchellville with the black folks with paper. Hung out in Potomac with Donnie Simpson, the radio legend, who I am told got paper.

I could go on and on but I bet Roger lived downtown, ate downtown, and was barely seen. He is from Texas. He thinks Washington D.C. is a strange place, I bet. If he had been convicted, he should know, the city don’t have prisons. He probably would have served his time in Texas. So long Roger.

revolution (for my father)

revolution (for my father)

my father was a dictator.

in 1968 dad suspended the house

constitution

instituted a state of emergency

suspended any rights that television

made us think we had.

he declared tarzan a fake

nat turner important

malcolm x a brother

we must understand.

it was strange this regime;

it promulgated propaganda about

the importance of reading books

the danger of always watching television

and how

being black was the coolest thing

you could ever know.

often my brother and i rebelled against

this totalitarian despot.

we declared civil war by

staying out until 4 or 5 a.m.

all the time.

el presidente would be awake

when we returned.

calm in his demeanor, he greeted us with

one of those well prepared speeches like

fidel castro.

this constant pounding on our brains made us

surrender eventually and end our unrest after

nearly 20 years of disorganized resistance.

the will of this monarch

became our will:

like, you will go to school.

you will not destroy your life.

now when i stop by my father’s house

the state of emergency is over

the revolution he declared was successful

the laws he passed are no longer in need

of enforcement.

these presidential duties are exclusively mine now

and if

i am ever so lucky to become

a dictator

i shall not hesitate

to dis’ tarzan and

give really long speeches

in

another language.

 – brian gilmore

Chocolate City, Watergate: The Frank Willis Story

Forty years ago, June 17, 2012, security guard, Frank Willis was just doing his job at the Watergate Hotel downtown by the Potomac River. Willis noticed tape on a door in a room at the Watergate used by the Democratic National Committee. He removed the tape and kept completing his rounds of the building.

When he completed his regular rounds, he came back by the room and saw tape there again even though he had removed it. Willis called the police, and the rest as we say, is history.

Willis’ diligence brought about the arrest of individuals connected to the Nixon administration who were burglarizing the offices of the main opposition party – the Democrats. The arrest was barely mentioned in the media but it eventually led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon in August 1974.  This indirectly leads to the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton because Nixon’s crimes against the state were so horrific, a Special Counsel law was created in the U.S. That Special Counsel law is what placed Bill Clinton under siege during his time in office.

Frank Willis died in poverty in 2000 in Augusta, Georgia. While the crooks of Watergate got rich and went on to second and third lives, book contracts, and even employment regularly, Willis barely held a job after the break-in. Willis even suggested more than once that perhaps employers were told not to hire him. In 1983, he was arrested for shoplifting. It never got much better.  He had to take care of his mother for many years and when she died, he had no money for a funeral, so he donated her body to research.

Frank Willis might have saved democracy in the U.S. on June 17, 1972. No one in Washington D.C. will remember this one day except a few of us.  Is there a plaque outside Watergate for Willis? Why not name a street after him?

Democracy

You got to know what the real issue in D.C. It is not gentrification, folks. It is not white versus black. It is democracy versus colonization.

Reach out to these so called gentrifiers. Educate them on their city. They will join the struggle, I am sure. People in America like democracy. They will fight for democracy. Do not be crabs in a barrel and be divided over foolishness. I mean this; get back to the real cause for the city.

The city does not control its money.

The city has to go to Capitol Hill to get laws approved.

The city has no representation in Congress.

No other city in the U.S. deals with this kind of arrangement.

 

Chocolate City: Conversation and Colony

The reason that Washington D.C. is experiencing all of these scandals is because of a conspiracy to take the city back from white people.  They want the blacks out.

But why would white people want a city that has no true democracy and is still just a colony of the U.S.

Because soon the District of Columbia will get statehood and full representation.

With all of those Democrats, stop dreaming.

I am serious. The whites will demand it.

And they will get rebuked.

Don’t count on it. They just want to have white control. White trumps everything.

Ha.

Don’t laugh. It is true, watch.

You sound paranoid like you really do believe in conspiracy theories.

I do.

So where’s your proof of one?

I don’t have any.  But it is true.

This conversation is one I hear more and more lately. Even some whites in Washington D.C. say it is true.  It began years ago when I actually worked at the D.C. City Council. I believe this was around the same time that the council elected more white members than blacks. The slow paranoia set in and the conspiracy theories began. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories but I do believe that the city’s demographics have changed and the movement politically in the city reflects that reality.

Yet, Washington D.C.’s problems isn’t a racial conspiracy but a problem of democratic control and political autonomy. The city has none. They control their laws locally but Congress, depending upon who is in charge, can squeeze the city politically anytime it wants. They have control essentially over the city’s money. It creates a sense of absurdity over the elected officials that is reflected in their careless attitudes. Why care about a place that really isn’t what we think it is?  Do what you want, in other words, this is just a colony. And it is.