Who is J Reed?

If you ask me who I am, I will tell you that I am a mercenary from a far away country who has come to America on a secret mission to rattle things up. And if I happen to ask you rather you believe me and you in fact do, then I have done my duty of being the greatest storyteller on the planet.

My name is J Reed, coming from Chicago, the Windy City, home of Al Capone. None of what I have told you so far truly defines who I am. But isn’t “Who are you?” a loaded question? Who really can sum up in words who he is? What I am saying is that I am a day-by-day work in progress, so I who I am today is not necessarily who I was last year or who I will be ten years from now.

Because of that, I can tell you only that I am a father of two beautiful little girls, ages 6 and 8. I live in Chicago, write stories, am a college graduate and that I have experienced many hardships in my life. I also run the devilshornet2.wordpress.com blog. I was raised in the notorious Robert Taylor Projects where drug addicts were the talk of the day. Somehow, I lived throughout it all.

Have you ever seen your niece die? Been accused of shooting your best friend? Been afraid of where you sleep? I have. It is those things that made me who I am today. I am Jermaine Reed, whatever that means.

Netflix’s American Son is an American Fail

Netflix’s American Son centers around an educated Black mother and her estranged white FBI agent husband and their son who is in trouble with the law. For the most part of the film, the audience does not much more about the son’s whereabouts other than he was pulled over by the cops with two other Black friends. Written by trial lawyer Christopher Demos-Brown who is a playwright, the film is less a movie than a too-generously funded play.

In trying to attack stereotypes head-on, the story of this film only furthers them. For instance, this film is based on the myth of the single-Black mother raising a troubled son whose father isn’t around for whatever reason. The myth of the single-Black is not busted in this film, only seasoned with a different form of bias and perpetuated.

From the beginning, Kendra, the mother, has a falling out with the sole cop helping to give her information on her son. While some of the dialogue feels real, most of it seems forced. Instead of coming off as a concerned mother aware of a biased policing system that does not value the lives of Black men, she comes off as a person looking for any opportunity to use the race card. Everyone knows the culture of law enforcement inherently denies Black men equal protection, but this film does not approach the issue in a manner consistent with that lack of equal protection.

Moreover, Kendra spends over half the movie arguing with her estranged husband. He comes off as a jerk who may be a little racist. She comes off as too racially aware to have ever dealt with a man such as him. Yet they stayed together for almost 18 years? How? There is a weak attempt made to explain their union when the two discuss the things they like such as hard work. But is the love of hard work enough to bring together an educated Black woman who is aware of racism and a white FBI agent who is racially indifferent, if not outright racist? That would be a stretch.

While arguing with her husband, Kendra goes off when he uses what she calls “white trash” language, bemoaning the fact that she did all she could to keep her son from using “slang.” She basically contends that she whitened their son up so the world could accept him. Their son is rebelling because he wants to be some sort of artist even though he’s basically a genius and his father wants him to be more practical. It is an age-old tale of parental oppression, and it fails here.

The writer is attempting to point out the prejudices in America that makes being Black a hazard. The writer attempts to raise a play to the level of motion picture. The intentions are there, but they lead to a hell of racial biases and failures.

Advertisements

Amber Guyger, Joshua Brown and the Thickening Plot

Days after testifying against murderous white former cop Amber Guyger in her trial for her slaying of innocent Black man Botham Jean in his own home, Joshua Brown was gunned down. So far, no one is in custody for the slaying of the witness who was also Botham Jean’s neighbor. This is how forgiveness ia repaid.

Botham Jean and his family have roots in St. Lucia, a tiny island. In a show of compassion like the people of that island are known for, Botham’s brother hugged Guyger after her conviction, and Botham’s father said days later that he would like to one day be her friend. Though this is part of the healing process for Botham’s family, make no mistake: Amber Guyger is a murderous demon.

White nationalist operatives, likely Dallas, TX, cops who served alongside Guyger, are murdering in her name. They are killing anyone who dares stand up against the oppressive white America.

Also, it’s important to note that another witness, a Black woman, has been fired in retaliation for recording the aftermath of the slaying of Botham.

Black America, you must open your eyes. White nationalists have begun a call to arms.

Amber Guyger Got Away With Murder

Much as I predicted, the Dallas, TX, white former cop Amber Guyger who murdered an innocent, unarmed Black man named Botham Jean in coldblood in his home allegedly thinking she was in her own home has been sentenced to just 10 years in prison. To put this in perspective, the girl who licked the ice cream in the video that eventually went viral is facing 20 years in prison. So, a woman who murdered a man in his home faces less time than an accused ice cream licker. Black lives matter less than ice cream, at least in Texas and maybe throughout the entire United States.

Black Americans have been subjected to every type of discrimination and racism than one could name. At one point, they were sold and valued as property no higher than a chair or ink pen. This is why Black people chant “Black lives matter.” It seems that the system has never valued Black lives but has never been afraid to put its boot on the neck of innocent Black people under the guise of justice.

Amber Guyger, with good time, will serve less than 5 years total. She’ll get out, have her record expunged and likely become a cop elsewhere. No one will hold it against her that she murdered a man in his own home for no reason.

Guyger’s trial was nothing more than a political show meant to calm Black people while protecting the white girl who murdered a Black man for no reason.

Black lives do matter, just not to America.

Ex-Officer Amber Guyger Found Guilty: The Quiet Before the Storm

Today, a jury unanimously decided former officer Amber Guyger had committed murder when she killed an innocent unarmed Black man inside his own home, supposedly believing it was her home. Ironically, she claimed self-defense.

After instances such as LaQuan McDonald and Philando Castille, I am a pessimist. Black lives in this country are undervalued in the criminal justice system and that cops who slay Black men are not appropriately disciplined. Today, Amber Guyger was found guilty, but that does not mean I was wrong in predicting she wouldn’t be in my last post.

I predict Amber Guyger will appeal her conviction, have a retrial and cop for a lesser charge that will see her go free in less than 5 years. I can not see the system letting a white girl rot behind bars for killing a Black man, regardless of how wrong she was. That would be un-American.

Ex-Officer Amanda Guyger Will Get Away with Murdering a Black Man in His Own Home

After a hard day of working in his community, Botham Jean, a 26-year-old Black man and pastor of a sort, was gunned down in his own home seven months ago byAmanda Guyger, a white former Dallas officer who had been distracted sexting with her married partner.

In a rare move, Amanda Guyger took the stand in her own defense and used what white girls have always used to overcome the hurdles of justice: Her tears. On the stand, Guyger sobbed as she told how she walked into the wrong apartment thinking it was hers and slayed Botham after he supposedly refused her orders to freeze. From what I’ve read, it was a riveting tale from her perspective, the only perspective we have.

Guyger took a man’s life, did not do sufficient CPR and failed to use the first-aid kit in her backpack to help the victim. She did not follow protocol. If she suspected someone had broken into her apartment, she was supposed to back out and call for backup. Instead, she erroneously murdered a man.

And what will happen to her?

Guyger will not be found guilty of murder, even though she committed a home invasion and committed a murder in the course of that home invasion which would make her eligible for felony murder and the death penalty. No. This crying white girl with blonde hair will either be let off the hook or found guilty of some other lesser charge and serve hardly no jail time.

Put the shoe on the other foot. Imagine a Black man creeping into some white woman’s apartment and slaying her. Imagine the outrage, the unforgiving jury and the unrelenting media. Not once would anyone take his story seriously that he had thought he was in his own home and had killed this woman in self-defense. He would promptly be put on trial, found guilty of murder and thrown into a cell to rot for the rest of his life.

I say, this is America, and for Black men, it will most certainly never be his country.

Dave Chappelle’s Hilarious “Sticks and Stones” Stand-Up May Break Some Sensitive Bones

Dave Chappelle’s Hilarious “Sticks and Stones” Stand-Up May Break Some Sensitive Bones
Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix special “Sticks and Stones” is a rude knock on the door of political correctness and a sizzling challenge of America’s casual socioeconomic racism that has thwarted Black progress for generations. Standing on a stage emblazoned with his “C” logo, Dave Chappelle is as comfortable in his green jumpsuit as an comedian about to ruffle every feather of sensitivity they can.
Touching on the fiery issue of race, Dave Chappelle digs his heels into what he calls “drug-addicted whites.” With a smile on his face, he delves into America’s opioid epidemic, an epidemic crushing the white community as crack did to the Black community.

After laying out the facts about the fateful ripples the opioid crises in America has caused in the white community, Dave says, “I even have insights as to how the white community must have felt watching the Black community go through the scourge of crack, because I don’t care either. Hang in there whites.” Dave says in a mock white, nerdy voice, “‘Just say no. What’s so hard about that?’” This is a hilarious direct calling out of the slogan “Just say no to drugs,” a slogan used to fuel the racially-motivated war on drugs that ripped the Black community to shreds.
At one point, Dave recalls a time when he was called into the Standards and Practices office of Comedy Central about using a slur in relation to gay people. When Dave asked why he could say the N-word and not the gay slur, the person in charge told him, “You’re not gay.” And Dave retorted, “I’m not a n**** either.” Through his sarcasm, Dave subtly points out that his fellow whites thought of him as the N-word.

With an ear-to-ear grin as he covers “drug-addicted whites” and gun violence, Dave encourages every able-bodied Black person to get a legal firearm, warning that they will need guns to survive in this faltering white America. He even relays a side-busting fictional anecdote in which he kills a “drug-addicted white” who had broken into his house to rob him.
Dave Chappelle’s “Sticks and Stones” is a must-see. If he makes you uncomfortable, he has done his job. Dave is back, funnier than ever while telling truths that many chose to so conveniently ignore.

A Review of Emeka Ossai and How He Preys on Self-Publishers and Authors

During a recent search on YouTube while trying to find information on how to sell my self-published books, I came across Emeka Ossai, a charismatic young man originally from Canada who now lives in Mexico (I believe). In my opinion, Emeka is the last person you should spend your money with, if you take writing seriously.

Emeka does a series on YouTube on how he lives a passive income lifestyle through publishing on Amazon. He claims that he wants to help other authors reach the same success he has, and to do this, he offers some free guides and courses the author has to pay for.

During an email conversation in which I confronted Emeka about the errors in his free guide, he wrote, “Why do you think I don’t write my books? I’m not an author, I hire people (ghostwriters) to write my books for me and I publish them under pen names. I’m a publisher not an author.

Summed up, this is Emeka’s business plan that he sells to self-publishers: hire a ghostwriter from Upwork or another site, publish your book with great keywords and swap reviews with other writers and sell your books. Basically, if you’re a serious writer like me, Emeka’s course isn’t for you. His course is for people who want to make some quick cash by publishing something they got from someone else.

Not to be misunderstood, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a ghostwriter. But when your goal is to use double-talk like Emeka and prey on self-publishers, it’s wrong.

For instance, in my recent emails with Emeka, he claimed to have published over one-hundred books under various pen names. When I challenged him, he named one book that I doubt made any money. When I challenged him on this, he wrote, “I already told you that was my 2nd book ever that book is shit.” He then directed me to watch his videos for the names of other books. I watched a bunch of his videos, but I haven’t heard one name of a book yet.

Emeka is all smoke and mirrors. He claims to have had so much success self-publishing, yet there is no proof of it. He gathers self-publishers for his upcoming “annual” Cancun retreat/summit and have them pay a ridiculous sum of money to participate. He claims to have the key to self-publishing success, but he is really just a charlatan using a bunch of videos to entice self-publishers who want to share their work with the world and make some money in the process as they deserve.

Emeka isn’t a “successful” self-publisher. All he knows is black hat tactics and rhetoric. Don’t spend your money with him. Everything he’s telling you, other successful self-published writers like Joanna Penn, Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant tell you for free, and they can be trusted. Joanna Penn even opens her books to show you her sales.

Steer clear of Emeka Ossai.

The Chicago Police Have Failed Us, and So Will Lori Lightfoot

While watching Lori Lightfoot hold a press conference about gun offenders and weekend violence, I cringed. Part of the reason I cringed was because of the creature standing behind her, the failed Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, the same man who did nothing to punish the officer who shot Rekia Boyd in the head and lied about a suspect having a gun. The other reason I cringed was because, in this country, people are innocent until proven guilty, but Lori Lightfoot and Johnson stood at the podium arguing that those allegedly caught with guns should be incarcerated and not out on bond. What happened to due process?

For far too long, the Chicago Police have been a corrupt organization of unruly cops having their way with minorities. Take for instance the SOS Chicago officers who beat and framed suspects as recently as 2010 or the Jon Burge reign in which dozens of Black men were tortured and framed. People say that all cops are not bad. Sure. But have those people ever heard of complicity or accessory? 

In the LaQuan McDonald case, several officers lied in their reports to protect their fellow guilty officer Jason Van Dyke. There is a known code of silence amongst cops. They don’t snitch on each other. Doesn’t a cop covering up for a dirty cop make the other cop just as dirty? 

Back to the damaged credibility of the Chicago Police Department, who’s to say that everyone these cops arrest for gun crimes actually committed those crimes? You know who is to say that? A judge or jury, not the mayor. Lori Lightfoot is mayor of Chicago, and it is her duty to protect the City’s citizens. Part of being able to do this is by acknowledging the crookedness of the CPD. Not all the CPD is bad, but in this case, a few bad apples can spoil the bunch. 

To Lightfoot, make it your business not to jump to conclusions about who’s guilty and who’s not, lest you end up like Rahm Emanuel and be made a fool of as he was by the very department he tried to protect. 

#laquan #laquanmcdonald #chicago #police #chicagopolice #lorilightfoot

America’s Trash: The Average Black Man

As the commander-in-chief douses with gasoline the racial fire that has consumed America and led to two recent mass shootings by at least one known white supremacist, this country’s judicial system continues to be tone deaf when it comes to the plight of Black men. This is obvious in the case of Gaston Tucker, a 32-year-old Chicago man who was on parole and allegedly caught with a pistol during a traffic stop. After reviewing his phone calls, prosecutors used what he said against him to argue for a no bond. 

According to a Chicago Tribune piece by Jason Meisner, Gaston was recorded by phone call reflecting on the stop that led to his subsequent arrest. Gaston supposedly said over the phone, “Everything happens for a reason man…what I was  doing this summertime, man, I would have gotten caught shooting that [firearm]…that would have been life in prison…Boy, I quit. I ain’t carrying [a gun] no more.”

Tucker didn’t know this phone call would be used against him. So, this is as genuine as it can get. For all intents and purposes, this sounds like a man resigned to his fate, a man who knows where he went wrong and knows what he needs to do to get better. This is a man who is beyond the denial stage. At this point, he is in the stage where a helping hand is all he needs. Gaston has been punished his whole life  by the streets of  Chicago, by the judicial system, by society. He understands he has made bad decisions that could have been worse. Now, he wants to do better. This is what a compassionate person would get from the phone call he allegedly made. 

However, the judge , U.S. Magistrate Maria Valdez said, “[Gaston Tucker] feels that he is stuck between the crosshairs of Chicago” and used Gaston’s supposed phone call against him as a reason to instate a no-bond order for the man. Instead of feeling compassion for a man who wants to do right and knows he did wrong, this judge punished him for feeling stuck. Haven’t we all felt stuck before in our lives? 

Gaston’s situation is not unique. His story is one told every day dozens of times across this country where Black boys and Black men pay a price heavier than what their white counterparts pay. This is a country where a judge argues that a white man convicted of rape deserves a light sentence because he could have a potentially bright future and comes from a wealthy family or where a judge can sentence a white man to probation after that white man kills four and paralyzes two while drunk driving and flees the scene and the judge agrees that the man was too rich to know right from wrong. While the Black man or boy is punished for being poor and doing wrong, the white man or white boy is slapped on the hand and given a light sentence if any at all. 

There is no love or compassion for Black people in this criminal justice system. The same burdens that were put upon Black people by the system are the same burdens the system continues to punish Black people for. Gaston Tucker is a prime example that when the system has the chance to help a Black person at his lowest, the system instead kicks and spits on him for being so lowly. 

#ethancouch #gastontucker #chicagotribune #chicago #chicagonews

An Ode to a Frenemy of Mine

Tom Deriggi and I came from completely different backgrounds, but, as the universe would have it, our paths intertwined. He was a heavyset guy with bright red flushed cheeks that seemed to accentuate his greyish blue eyes. Politically, we were on two opposite spectrums: Tom on the far right, arms folded, chest out; me on the left, feet set and ideas ready to pour from me like fire from a dragon.

Today, I found out that Tom is dead. I do not know what led to his death or even the specific date he passed away. What I do know is that he’s been gone since at least June 2017. As I read the FB post “Rest in Peace” underneath his photo and saw the same words emblazoned over a picture of Tom posted by his brother, I felt a deep pang in my chest.

Tom and I built a close relationship rooted in arguments and different ideals. He challenged me as much as I did him, and he offered me a different perspective from my own. Him being nearly three decades my junior, I respected how he apologetically held his ground. Even in the heat of our debates, we found time to laugh and relate.

Without a doubt, I will miss you, Tom. Our brief friendship faded as quickly as it came. There is so much I do not know about you, that I want to know about you, that I will never know about you, not on this plane. You will continue to be a mystery to me, one that drives me to do better and learn what everyone thinks.

I am glad to have known you, Tom.