J. Cole: The False Prophet

Photo by: https://dreamville.lnk.to/middlechild

by Jermaine Reed

In 2008 or 2009, in the midst of getting my firstbcollege degree and finding out who I was, I heard a lyrical rapper with the same name I had. That lyricist was a biracial college graduate from North Carolina, a state I had only ever discussed in passing. Having grown up in Chicago’s notorious Robert Taylor Projects, Cole’s analytical and humbling lyrics were a breath of fresh air. He spoke about empowering Black youth, deconstructing a racist criminal justice system and holding police accountable for their actions.

Then, COVID-19 happened, and the outsoken lyricist J. Cole from North Carolina went mute. With Chicago activist-rapper Noname questioning his whereabouts during the current struggle, Cole responded with ”Snow on the Bluff.” In it, he chides younger rapper Noname, 28, for scolding him instead of teaching him. He says that just because she is ”woke” and he isn’t, that does not give her the right to address him in such a way. Yes, he has a degree, but he is not as smart as everyone thinks he is, he argues. His IQ is average, he says. This position is foolery.

J. Cole’s career is founded on being woke. It is he who calls out racial injustice and encourages civil unrest. He is not some guy who does not know what is going on in the world. Quite the opposite: he does nothing but comment on the world, America in particular.

Recently, Dave Chappelle addressed not using his celebrity platform during this time of racial civil unrest. Chapelle argues that he does not want to hijack the movement. He is not needed now. When he is, he will come forward. This, I respect. He is not claiming ignorance, unlike J. Cole.

I am not calling J. Cole a coward, but where are you? You are the same age as the millennials and other generations in the streets fueling this movement. Outside of being offended by and making songs about someone who critiqued you, what good are you doing? You have thrown rocks all these years. Now, it is time to show your hands.

*Jermaine Reed is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, local news stories and national news stories. Please join his email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books.

#SilenceCandace Owens

Candace Owens, historical revisionist. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

by Jermaine Reed

Recently, Black troll and conservative blackface operative Candace Owens released a video attempting to denigrate the legacy of the man whose murder by police sparked the recent historical protests. Owens’s contentions are that because George Floyd was not perfect, Black people should not defend him. Not only is she wrong, she is dangerous. It is time to boycott and silence Candace Owens.

Before I get into the obvious self-hate that has warped Owens’s perception of Black people and herself, let me tell you who George Floyd was. George Floyd was a flawed Black man. Though he had run-ins with the law, he was a man who wanted things to change. He even released videos encouraging young Black men in the streets to turn away from that lifestyle. From media reports, he was also a convicted felon.

Owens’s argument that Floyd was a bed person rests on the faulty idea that, somehow, a conviction makes a person “bad.” One-third of Black men will at some point face some part of the criminal justice system. It isn’t because Black men are bad. It’s because of systematic racism. Owens is arguing that we should measure the characters of Black men by the same racist system meant to hold Black men down. Owens is telling Black America not to fight for the Black man.

Recently, I saw a video of a young white girl allegedly debating with her parents about race relations and how racism holds Black men back. At one point in the video, the girl’s father calls Black people animals or something similar. Though the girl is progressive in her reasoning on racism, her ignorant parents tell her she uninformed. The mother, attempting to defend herself as “not racist,” contends that Black people should raise their children and teach them “this is the world we live in.” Blacks must accept and embrace their second-class citizen status.

And therein lies the problem: racism is being taught in the households of white of America, and Black puppets like Candace Owens give cover to racist white ideas and attempt to paint them Black. Owens attempts to feed Black America the proverbial poisoned Kool-Aid, while defending and benefiting from systematic racism.

When Owens was a kid, her town’s democratic mayor’s son pranked called Owens’s home and made racist remarks to Owens. Long story short, her family settled a lawsuit with the mayor, and Owens has hated herself, Black people and Democrats since. Anything Black or in support of Black, Owens hates. She tries to rationalize that hate into seemingly reasonable contentions, but at the end of the day, it’s hate meant to discourage the plight of Black people to be truly free in this country.

Because of racism, more Black men disproportionately face the criminal justice system than their white counterparts. If you don’t believe me, tell me the difference between the weed that makes white men billionaires today versus the weed that made Black men felons for generations? The difference is that when powerful white men want something, they make it law. When it appears to be a Black issue, it becomes illegal. This is why a Black person convicted of selling crack faced ten times more time in prison than a person convicted of selling raw cocaine.

Black men have been hanged by the system every way you could imagine. Some of racist laws like Jim Crow have been dismantled, but there are thousands more leading to the disinfranchisment of Black men. People like Candace Owens mock the Black plight. She doesn’t love being Black. She doesn’t love Black people. She loves corporate white America and watching systematic racism kneel its foot onto the necks of Black people all around the country.

Because Candace Owens hates Black people, we must #SilenceCandace. This must trend. We must boycott any “news” or station, podcast or internet show or any entity willing to spread the hate Owens spews. This means boycotting Trump at the ballot box this November, since he supports Owens’s view of Floyd.

Please help #SilenceCandace.

*Jermaine Reed is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, local news stories and national news stories. Please join his email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books.

To the Anti-Looters: Shut Up

by Jermaine Reed

Anti-looters, please shut up.

This is not a defense of looting; Rather, this is a chiding of those condemning what they have denigrated as ”looters.”

A common argument I am hearing is, what happened to George Floyd was wrong, but looting has no place in this. Another argument is that Black people are ”tearing up their own neighborhoods.” Both of these positions fail to consider the current economic state of Black people and the constant racial pressures which have led to the nationwide protests.

To begin with, no revolution is pretty. Americans should know this well; thousands of lives were lost during the Revolutionary War in which America won its freedom. What the media and opponents of the protestors have done is reduce the term ”pillaging” to ”looting.” Both are taking things during a time of choas. The terms are not strictly alike, but they’re similar. America has freely pillaged plenty of villages. The point is, no one in a revolution is perfect. Looting is an ugly but natural outcome of it.

Black people, if we want change, we have to view our race almost as a firm. Everyone has a role. Maybe you won’t loot, but don’t condemn the looters. Contribute how you can, even if your contribution is simply not criticizing the revolution. We each have a role. Maybe you are not the looter. Maybe you are an executive. Still, we need soldiers as much as we need executives.

Moreover, some Black people may burn down a store on the corner of their block, but that store is not ”their community.” True, these stores provide a service and may be in the neighborhood, but they are not a part of the community. Most of the store owners never give back to the community, and they disrespect the patrons and are generally not Black. That said, a group of Black people burning down a store is not them burning down their community. Even if it was, revolutions have collateral damage.

The point is, Black people, please do not criticize protestors. They are doing what many are afraid to do. Sometimes, you must scorch the land to experience fresh new growth.

*Jermaine Reed is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, local news stories and national news stories. Please join his email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books

”Anti-looters” or people against ”looting, ” shut up. I loosely use the term ”looting” in this article, but I do not believe the people being called looters are looters. Also, I do not condone violence or illegal activities. This article is about supporting the right to protest and gather, not to influence looting, violence or illegal activity.

Do Not Tell My People to Calm Down, Minnesota

pexels-photo-417070

From the serenity of my home office that doubles as my middle daughter’s bedroom, I write this at one of the most trying times this nation has ever faced. With COVID-19 testing the boundaries of our sanity as a whole, the racial tensions that have defined this country since its inception have come to a boiling point. The tragedy of George Floyd is no less common than it is tragic. The distinction now is, we have caught it on camera. To those watching Minneapolis burn to the ground, I say, do not tell my people to calm down.

For centuries, Black people have sworn by the non-violence mantra, even when violence was cast upon them like a toxic skin. While beating and raping us, hanging and murdering us, the system has urged us to be non-violent. The system has assured us justice is blind and that every man is equal. The system has repeatedly told us one thing and done another.

What happened when the Black people of Tulsa embraced white rage with Black love? Racist white men backed by every facet of law enforcement rode into Tulsa and burned it to the ground overnight. Those same men were the same men who contended Blacks were lazy and unfit to be Americans. When those Blacks became self-sufficient, white rage could not let them be.

We live in a society regulated by laws literally meant to keep Black men and Black people in a constant state of struggle. If this statement is hard to believe, explain the difference between white guys selling weed in dispensaries and a Black man selling it on the corner? The difference is the law. The law backs the white “entrepreneur” while crushing what it portrays as the “Black criminal.”

White people, intentionally or unintentionally, have destroyed the image of Black men. This is why a bearded white guy drinking beer on a motorcycle and toting a machine gun is not as unsettling an image as a Black man in a hoodie. White people have been so effective at destroying the Black image that white cops murder an unarmed Black man but the first thing released is the Black man’s past criminal history instead of details of the murder or the name of the officers involved. Yet white people defend the cops, and this is not their fault to a degree. Follow this example:

Charles is your next-door neighbor. You and he sometimes shoot pool. He’s a friendly guy who goes to church every Sunday. You’ve never seen him do anything wrong or heard anyone complain about him.

Alicia is the wife of Charles. He blacks her eye every month and takes her money. He has even threatened to kill her.

If I were to interview you about Charles and Alicia about Charles, you and he would have two totally distinctive stances. This is white people versus Black people concerning police and community relations. Cops are a part of the white community. They interact with them and protect them. They do not harass them. From my own experience and noting many others, in the Black community, cops harass Black men, they abuse Black men and the ones who don’t do those things don’t interact with the Black community in any positive manner. White people and Black people have two unique perspectives of cops. They are both legitimate.

Now, with the videos of victims like George Floyd blasting across the internet, it is harder for cops to deny their brutality. Some white deniers of police brutality have become believers. Others who are not believers are finding it harder to explain a cop pressing his knee so hard into the throat of an unarmed Black man that he kills him. They try to contend that civilians do not know what cops are thinking at a particular high-adrenaline moment. The videos show that many times, there is no threat to the cop. Most times, the cops are committing flat-out murder in these viral videos.

This is where we have come in this country. Minneapolis is facing riots with fire and chaos. Do not tell my people to calm down. Show my people that things will change.

 

*Jermaine Reed is a writer from Chicago with something to say. Sign up here to join his email list for more editorials and writing advice.

 

BREAKING: Another Mass Shooting, 3 Dead in Arizona

Photo by: Daily Mail

By Jermaine Reed

According to AZCentral, 20-year-old Armando Hernandez Jr. killed three people in a random shooting in Arizona’s Westgate Entertainment District. Hernandez allegedly filmed himself on Snapchat as drunk beer on the way and referred to himself as ”The West Gate Shooter.” In the parking lot, he surrendered after police confronted him while he was armed with a machine gun. Several others, including a 19-year-old man, were taken to the hospital with life-threatening wounds.

In the midst of a global pandemic, Hernandez, heavily armed, decided to pop up at a mall and commit first-degree murder. What does that say about America and its people? What does it say about the stay-at-home orders and their sudden reversal in some states? It says that America is not ok.

Before the pandemic, gun control was an issue, and this incident will catapult it back to the forefront of our national stage. But as always, the Right will blame unaddressed mental illness while claiming this shooting was an isolated incident. The Left will stomp and scream and threaten to blow down the country without new, more effective gun control laws. And nothing will be done. And another mass shooting will creep up on us.

What Hernandez did was atrocious, hateful and outright evil. After he attempts to pay society the debt he never can, he will answer to the Most High. Still, something has to be done to prevent the next mass shooting. The only way to prevent the next shooting is to vote out the current administration and eventually the Senate as well and replace them with trustworthy Democrats and Independents. Until then, we’re all just sitting ducks.

*Jermaine Reed is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, local news stories and national news stories. Please join his email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books.

A Child’s Murder Goes Unsolved: A Chicago Thing

In 2015, after 2-year-old Kyrian Knox’s dismembered body was found in Chicago’s Garfield Park neighborhood, the city was stunned. The ensuing manhunt led to the arrest of Kamel Harris, a Chicago caretaker. With seemingly no evidence tying Harris to the crime, police and prosecutors forged ahead in charging Harris. Last year, Harris was fully aquitted by a jury of his peers.

Flashing back to the initial arrest, no one gave Harris a chance to defend himself. He was convicted by the public long before his trial started. Now, with his being found not guilty and the city potentially having to pay him millions, it is clear that our public officials are costing taxpayers dollars.

The question is, where do we go from here? Prosecutors have an unbelievable amount of power, and they can legally operate in secret. For instance, prosecutors do not have to explain why they gave Tyrone Black ten years for theft but gave John Smuckenhouser just a year of probation for the same crime. We don’t need only justice reform. Specifically, we need prosecutorial reform. How do we get this?

The first order of business must be eliminating the grand jury. By law, at any time, grand jury proceedings can be suspended. Getting rid of the grand jury evens the playing field for the defense. Grand jury proceedings are notably one-sided. The prosecution basically holds a mini trial in which they present their evidence to a secret group of jurors and those jurors almost always find probably cause to indict (charge) the defendant. Hence the popular idiom ”A grand jury will indict a ham sandwich.”

Prosecutors used to stand for justice. They operated and charged where they believed a crime had occurred, not where they simply needed to charge someone so they did. Nowadays, prosecutors pray on the poor and weak while pandering to the likes of the wealthy and politically powerful. Being a prosecutor, to the extent and prevalence of malicious prosecution, is no longer an honorable profession. It has been tainted by racism, greed and the human need to do what the influential orders.

For far too long, racism in this country has been reinforced by prosecutors who have never set a foot in the places many of their defendants come from. It is time for a prosecutorial overhaul. Prosecutorial decisions must become transparent. Racism or prejudice in prosecution must be called out.

The most troubling part of the Harris case is not the fact that taxpayers will likely have to pay him millions; it isn’t the prosecutorial misconduct that led to Harris’s being charged. It is the fact that Kyrian’s death remains unsolved. A child murderer is walking the streets. Maybe the police should actually do their job and figure out who committed the murder.

Thank you for visiting the Reeders Block. Don’t forget to sign up for my email list for more great blogs, writing advice and upcoming free books.

Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty of Rape

Today, renowned movie producer and Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape for performing oral sex on Miriam Haley in 2006. The charge carries 5-25 years. He was also convicted of assaulting an unnamed woman as well. He was found not guilty of predatory sexual assault which carries life in prison.

The #MeToo movement is a double-edged sword. Proponents argue it holds the most powerful of men accountable for abusing women. Opponents say the movement unfairly attacks men for minor infractions like flirting with women. Fact is, both sides may have valid points, but women have been sexual victims since the beginning of time.

The #MeToo movement may have flaws, but its potential impact on how women are treated by men in society outweighs any potential flaws it has. For years, women have been oppressed, and this movement offers them a voice.

#HarveyWeinstein #metoo #miriamhaley

Feel the Bern: Capitalism v. Socialism

Bernie Sanders is the answer that both establishment Republicans and Democrats fear. During this primary season, Bernie has been winning. Most recently, he took Nevada with nearly 50 percent of voters choosing him. Still, with his so-called “socialist” views, his critics accuse of him of wanting to rob the hard working rich and give their wealth to the lazy poor. Donald Trump believes he could crush Bernie, and this is why Trump has been congratulating Bernie on winning primaries.

Donald Trump is a frustrating conundrum. Somehow, he has managed to gain the support of the poor and uneducated — even though his policies like his Tax Act make them poorer — and the wealthy who remain in his corner. When Trump’s voters who happen to be poor or uneducated see Trump, they see a man who is defiant, rude, unapologetic and bold. To them, he is “real.” In their eyes, Trump can do no wrong.

Poor, uneducated people can be taken advantage of, and Trump is doing exactly that. Trump is betting poor people fear the world Bernie wants in which every person gets what he or she deserves. The reason is, poor, uneducated people tend to vote against their own interests. Without doing proper research and reading about candidates’ ideals, poor, uneducated people who take time to vote are like a godsend to someone like Trump, who operates by telling lie after lie, because he knows his voters will eat it up without questioning him.

Bernie Sanders is the answer. Though he is a politician, he is as far removed from Corporate America as any candidate could be. He is not perfect, but he knows unchecked capitalism will eventually collapse this country and those at the bottom will suffer the greatest. Capitalism does not work for everyone. Bernie knows this, and now, voters are beginning to know this as well.

#bernie #berniesanders #nevada #trump #feelthebern

Jermaine Reed is an author from Chicago currently pursuing his Creative Writing MFA. Click this link to explore his books. 

The Audacity of Gayle King

For too many years, women have been objectified by men, raped and beaten by men and used for whatever sick purposes those men wish to use them for. Rape has been a constant stain on both past and present, but that doesn’t mean all men must be attacked by this suddenly woke culture more concerned about offending someone than letting the truth settle where it may.

In a search for nothing more significant than ratings, Gayle King attacked Lisa Leslie with loaded questions about the rape allegations against Kobe. When Lisa refused to speak ill of Kobe, Gayle pressed harder and said Lisa wouldn’t be able to see Kobe in such a negative light cast by something as gruesome as rape because Kobe was Lisa’s friend. Gayle’s line of questioning bordering on accusatory was nothing short of judgemental. Gayle is the embodiment of a movement electrified by women who lack any sense of responsibility and who blame men for their own shortcomings.

Kobe was not convicted of rape. The case was closed nearly two decades ago. This country’s judicial branch says “innocent until proven guilty.” It seems that even when a loving, charismatic man like Kobe makes something of himself, things he has not been convicted of is all America can seem to remember. Why didn’t they bring this up the years he was alive after the alleged incident?

Jermaine Reed is an author from Chicago. Buy his books here.

Tyler Perry’s “A Fall from Grace” on Netflix is Quite Possibly the Worst Movie Ever

If you’re looking for a movie with poor acting, a horrible plot and an even worse storyline, look no further than Tyler Perry’s A Fall from Grace on Netflix.


The movie stars Jasmine (Bresha Webb), a public defender known for getting plea deals for her client. She takes on the case of Grace, a churchgoing woman in her fifties accused of killing her younger husband.


The worst of the acting takes place at the beginning of this movie when Jordan (Matthew Law) who is Jasmine’s police officer husband , tries to talk a suicidal woman down from jumping out the window. He screams “no” several times, but there is no conviction in his voice. He does not display the proper emotion or tone for someone witnessing what he is at the moment.


Moreover, the most problematic aspect of this movie is that in an attempt to build suspense, the viewer is shorted on information. To fill the viewer in on some details, Grace tells her story to Jasmine, and then flashbacks unfold. This tactic bores the viewer.


In the end, the viewer finds out what actually happened to Grace’s husband and who else is involved. The action in the movie comes in around this time, but it is too little, too late.


I would give this movie two stars out of five. It is a boring waste of time with lazy writing and even lazier acting.