Yesterday I watched the Breakfast Club interview with Dr. Umar Johnson. Like many people, I felt inspired, yet simultaneously without a specific solution as to how to solve everything that’s been going on. I was reminded of the power of conditioning, and the role the media plays in assassinating the characters of our Black men. The 45-minute video evoked nearly every emotion possible. But yet, I still needed a concrete solution. A solution that would allow our community to take back control of our destiny, despite navigating a system that was never designed for us. This morning I found a solution. BROTHER. HOOD. Brothers in Hood. Brothers in Hoods. Brothers From The Hood. Brothers Afraid Of The Hood. Brothers Slayed In The Hood. Brothers Paid In The Hood. No matter how many times I broke down and analyzed different scenarios, brotherhood always remained the root of the issue.
Sam Trump is a Chicago-based artist by way of Houston, Texas. This morning, watching his video might’ve had an impact on me that I haven’t quite fully embraced. Sort of a delayed gratification if you will. We share three very important things. Both former students of Columbia College Chicago. Both artists. But mostly importantly, brothers. Brothers in a deeper sense. It doesn’t matter that I’ve never met Sam before, but what matters is the moment of realization that both him and I represent something much larger than ourselves. Last night was a sleepless night for me. I went to bed frustrated. Searching for a solution, not knowing that I would wake up early this morning with the answer. Brotherhood.
There’s a Black renaissance happening right now in Chicago, and Sam Trump reminded me of this. As I watched Brother on loop for 30-minutes straight, I saw many of my peers. Photographers. Videographers. Musicians. Sons. Fathers. Brothers. I saw a village. Most importantly, I saw myself. Mike Brown. Trayvon Martin. Alton Sterling. It hurts as I type their names. Because for far too long, Chicago and many other communities like St. Louis and Baltimore have witnessed an unjust education system, gentrification, a corrupt police system and an undeniable access to wealth. And while this won’t change overnight, there’s something else going on in the city that is. There’s a movement of Black artists who are responding directly to what’s going on in Chicago through their art-forms. The media most likely won’t show you this because it goes against their narrative. Black people are both some of the most resilient, yet forgiving people you’ll ever meet, except for when it comes to their own people. For too long we’ve told ourselves that love is the answer, without applying it to the most important people. Ourselves. Love for our community. Love for our sisters. Love for the Black brother sitting next to you on the el who just lost his job and is trying to figure out how to put food on his table. But this brother can’t think straight because he’s being harassed by the cops on the way home. Not a clear mind; just a tear, for fear of being down to his last dime. We don’t have conversations anymore. How can I help you if I am unsure of how you’re hurting? Sam Trump reminded me of the importance of Black brothers uniting. The importance of Black brothers crying together, fighting together, building together. Vulnerability. It’s one of the few things we can control and perhaps one of the most important things we can do to rebuild our communities. Brotherhood. We’ve got to get back to the point where, it doesn’t matter if your pops wasn’t around because you know your neighbor will hold you just as accountable for your actions. Our beautiful Black sisters have been holding us down for too long. It’s time for us to step up to the challenge. Kudos to Add-2 for an amazing verse, Cam Be of Camovement for the video and Calvin Valentine for the beat that’s been stuck in my head all morning. Thanks for reminding me of the value of Brotherhood.
“Can’t look in the eyes of my brother. Without shedding a tear for my brother.”