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Re: “Straight Outta Compton may be a great movie, but at what cost?

Charles - As always, you make an eloquent argument about honesty and responsibility in the making of art.

In addition to the issues you point out, this well-made film (read: Dre and Ice Cube) also spinelessly ignores key incidents in N.W.A history -- such as the group's severe misogyny and the beatings Dre inflicted on women including hip-hop artist and journalist Dee Barnes. Any of us reporting on hip-hop in L.A. during that period well remember these inconvenient truths. I agree with you that hip-hop took an unfortunate turn after N.W.A, even if musically a lot of great stuff followed. In leaving out the really ugly stuff, this film deprives younger fans of the opportunity for honest discussion of how we got to where we are today.

Here's Dee's story:…

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Posted by Mark Kemp on 08/27/2015 at 4:10 PM

Re: “Straight Outta Compton may be a great movie, but at what cost?

I also saw the movie and I think it was very honest. I think we have seen these instances, time and time again, where music is on a incline and then the decline begins. Its a life cycle, the concept of generation. Unfortunately, a lot of it has to do with the "powers that be" socially engineering blackness to be a self defeating concept. It seems like a never ending battle, when the studio exec okays the conscious music as well and the ignorant music. Artists have percieved power because of their success, which is addressed as well. We see many times where one generation starts on that incline, they get wild with drugs, promote promiscuity, the glitter of the industry itself etc and then they either leave the game, find religion, lose their minds and criticize the next wave, or even the next generation on whether or not its real music or a reasonable cause that the youth believe in. Both Public Enemy and KRS-One are guilty of the same crimes as N.W.A. regardless of their conscious effort. This has happened with Jazz, Blues, R&B, Hip Hop and Rap. The masses like ignorance as a means of expressing themselves because they feel that raw honesty is better because its cathartic, it appeals to their emotions...I think more than anything N.W.A. was used as a weapon against society and themselves like many others. Their cause was valid, but they didnt understand their responsibility as artist, they did what other artist did, they just talked about it. They wanted to be heard and be hot like any other artist. They lacked the understanding that emotions are barbaric and unless you are attacking the enemy, whatever you deem that to be, you will lose everytime, because your enemy has the strategy. Every time you lash out in emotion they have that figurative snapshot to use against you the next time. Brain vs Braun. It got them out of Compton and they weren't going to sacrifice freedom for moral responsibility because that wasn't paying at the time. I think especially in Hip Hop, because it is so current with American culture, that politics also play into the immense shade thrown at black culture. We cant talk about drugs, sex and violence, we cant talk about society, injustice, equality, but what has all famous and lasting art ever been about?

Posted by Cole Butler on 08/27/2015 at 1:53 PM

Re: “Straight Outta Compton may be a great movie, but at what cost?

@Lotto Thedreamchild thank you man and a big shout out to your help and and contribution to the narrative! Thank you for reading!

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Posted by Charles Easley on 08/27/2015 at 12:23 PM

Re: “Straight Outta Compton may be a great movie, but at what cost?

@Sue Johnson You are so correct that the art form was started as a form of conflict negotiation without violence which makes it all the more ironic that we see so much violence in present day hip hop culture. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!

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Posted by Charles Easley on 08/27/2015 at 12:22 PM

Re: “Straight Outta Compton may be a great movie, but at what cost?

Great article...very informative and makes people take a deeper look into the landscape of hip hop and the culture.

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Posted by Lotto Thedreamchild on 08/27/2015 at 12:16 PM

Re: “Straight Outta Compton may be a great movie, but at what cost?

You make a lot of sense. And besides it started on the streets of the Bronx as a means to avoid physical violence by using words instead. Nicely written my friend!

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Sue Johnson on 08/27/2015 at 11:08 AM

Re: “Selective hearing plagues liberals, conservatives alike

You actually have a point. The guy that started Black Lives Matter is actually white, makes you wonder if this group would have gotten the same press if a black guy started it.

Posted by dJ on 08/22/2015 at 1:42 PM

Re: “The new guard steps up in today's battle for civil rights

Finally. Decency has prevailed and the Confederate flag was taken down.

Within the next year we should expect completely decimated statistics on black on black violence, black single parent households, black newly infected AIDS rates, black high school dropout rates, black domestic violence, basically all the things the bruthaman down that were caused by a multi colored (actually colored, not the racist colored) piece of cloth.

This was a huge win. Huge.

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Posted by hardtruth on 08/21/2015 at 9:39 PM

Re: “The Kerrick circus has fallen back on the same old, tired excuses

So what about the black officer's testimony that Farrell yelled "shoot me" at least twice? Seems like kind of an important detail.

Look, Ferrell's dead because he was an idiot, not because of racism. I mean, the guy walks up to a bunch of cops and charges one of them? Would you ever do that? And don't even bother with the "he had a concussion" crap because I've had a concussion and I can tell you it doesn't make running up on a gun sound like a good idea. You really shouldn't attack cops, ever. It's just not how the process was set up.

He knew he was in trouble, soundslike his life was kind of a shambles beforehand, sounds to me like he just snapped.

Suicide by cop, happens all the time. His family already got their payout, wasn't like this guy was going to produce 2 million anytime soon, how about letting Kerrick get back to work protecting people.

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Posted by hardtruth on 08/15/2015 at 6:05 PM

Re: “The Kerrick circus has fallen back on the same old, tired excuses

"A good start would be for Randall Kerrick to admit he shot Ferrell that night because he was reacting out of fear."

Just FYI, that's always a required part of every defense for homicide. The only legal justification for killing someone (even for police officers) is when the individual feels their life, or the lives of others, is being threatened. We don't allow the killing of people for property crimes. At some point in time, this defendant, like all murder defendants who are claiming justifiable homicide, will have to say that he was in fear for his life or the lives of the other officers.

Also, your statement about Michael Brown being video taped committing a petit theft is also factually incorrect. When you are caught stealing something, even a 50 cent candy bar, and then fight with the owner of the property to get away with the stolen goods, it becomes a robbery, not a theft. Whether you are armed or not is only relevant to the type of robbery. In the case of Brown, it would have been a 2nd degree robbery, also known as a strong arm robbery. Here is the statute, copied and pasted from the MO government Web site:

Robbery in the second degree.
569.030. 1. A person commits the crime of robbery in the second degree when he forcibly steals property.
2. Robbery in the second degree is a class B felony.

Here are the copied and pasted sentences for call B felonies:

Sentence of imprisonment, terms--conditional release.
558.011. 1. The authorized terms of imprisonment, including both prison and conditional release terms, are:
(1) For a class A felony, a term of years not less than ten years and not to exceed thirty years, or life imprisonment;
(2) For a class B felony, a term of years not less than five years and not to exceed fifteen years;

There are several more classes of felonies and misdemeanors, but I left them off since they were not relevant.

In addition, criminal charges are state, not federal, and there is no such charge as "theft" or "petit theft" in Missouri. The legal charge is just called "Stealing" there, and the penalties vary depending on the value and type of item stolen.

Hope this helps you out,


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Posted by John on 08/14/2015 at 3:08 AM

Re: “The Kerrick circus has fallen back on the same old, tired excuses

Hey Garth,

You're right about all these things:

1. I turned in this column before the Defense began making its case. I was able to correctly predict what the strategy would be because at this point, that strategy is oh-so-predictable. That's kind of the overall point I'm trying to make here.

2. In the eyes of the law, Kerrick is innocent until proven guilty of the crime he is charged with. I never said otherwise. The fact that he shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell, who was unarmed, is undisputed.

3. I'm very familiar with The Counted. I'm very familiar with Zachary Hammond's case. If his case had happened in Charlotte, I'd be writing about it. Despite the fact black people are seven times more likely to be killed by police, overzealous law enforcement is a huge problem for white people too. It's a major problem for all American citizens. So why is it mostly just the black community organizing and demanding change? Sometimes it seems like #nolivesmatter to everyone else.

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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Posted by Erin Tracy-Blackwood on 08/13/2015 at 11:15 AM

Re: “The Kerrick circus has fallen back on the same old, tired excuses

1. I'm not sure how you can justify the use of the term "big black zombie defense" when this column was submitted before the State had even rested its case and the defense permitted to being presenting its own.

2. You might also want to review your junior high school civics texts, focusing on that quaint "innocent unless proven guilty" part.

3. You might also want to look up a feature called "The Counted" in The Guardian newspaper - yes these days you have to look to the foreign press to get honest coverage of American news. In "The Counted" you will see that this year police in the US have killed 711 civilians. Only 184 of the 711 are black, yet in the media's eyes, every cop is out there looking for blacks to kill. The reality is that 343 whites, 101 Hispanic/Latinos, and nearly 100 "others" have had their lives ended by a police state that is out of control. This ain't no black thang, sista, it's a POLICE problem. We all know the names of the blacks killed by police: Rice, Brown, Garner, Gray, Scott, etc. How many of those 343 whites can you name, Erin? Perhaps Zach Hammond and then....? Uh? I can't hear you.

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Posted by Garth Vader on 08/13/2015 at 8:30 AM

Re: “Shred Charlotte: BMX pros + secret skate park + hexicopter

This is demolished... Spent hours looking and some local homowners told me i had been torn down to build the train related,something. Fml charlotte has nothing for the bmx street rider in 2015

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Posted by Mad Ratchet on 08/09/2015 at 2:07 PM

Re: “Long-term Travel Truth: Relationships suffer

Thank you for sharing this with me and everyone else who lives this life and knows these emotions. I left the USA in 2009 with no real plan of becoming a nomad. It just sort of happened piece by piece and momemt by moment. Home started to become as mythical as Nirvana and Utopia or Zeus and Thor. I still have friends in a place that I often refer to as home, but having spent exactly 9 months there since 2009, I am not sure what that means anymore. Home. I don't love my friends any less and I couldn't possibly miss them any more, but the road is my drug of choice and I am an addict.

I don't mean to make a life of travel sound morbid and depressing, although there are some days when I just need a hug from an old friend. What I mean to say is that once you start learning to exist anywhere, you exist everywhere. My mind is my personal cloud storage and every expat bar, mom and pop Vietnamese noodle shop, Thai moo ping street food vendor, turbo prop plane ride from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang are my analog interfaces to my digital nomadic life.

Happy is how other people see me and often how I feel. But when I am not happy, I am lonely and lost. Waiting for that next inspiration to send me spiraling towards some unknown destination and adventure. I don't know if I will ever know a HOME again, but it's nice to know that I am not really alone.

Posted by Marcus L. Williams on 08/07/2015 at 2:36 PM

Re: “The new guard steps up in today's battle for civil rights

I'm glad we're using social + technology to speak out...However, in addition to speaking out, we have to infiltrate the "system". I applaud Marilyn Mosby and others who are working within the system to make a difference.

Posted by Jasmin Goodman on 08/06/2015 at 6:48 PM

Re: “The new guard steps up in today's battle for civil rights

@KishiaDinkins They say the only thing that is constant is change so some folks are just going to have to get with the I understand the fear. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

Posted by Charles Easley on 08/03/2015 at 5:43 PM

Re: “It's time to fully recognize black women

Robert Earl Lawrence
Dillon Taylor

Say those names too.

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Posted by Garth Vader on 07/30/2015 at 9:52 AM

Re: “The new guard steps up in today's battle for civil rights

Change is hard but Necessary! I grew up in a small rural town in SC and segregation was always the way but now change is scaring some folks straight into an early grave.

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Posted by KishiaDinkins on 07/27/2015 at 10:17 PM

Re: “The new guard steps up in today's battle for civil rights

It has always been our young. They are probably most suitable to be the primary faces of or any current civil and social of movements activities but only when they are properly led by right minded “elders” who know the lay of the land and who can counsel as to where the landmines can be planted. Sadly too little teaching and too much resistance to change has placed the two at odds. We need right of both. In the meantime, I think we have to guard against suggesting that non violence protests and their close kinship to our faith-based heritage has somehow become inanimate and should be retired to a rural county assisted living combine. There have always been varying approaches to our social needs, domestically and international, from those whose protests have been classified “active” and others “passive”. But non-violent organizing and strategies are what fueled both for the most part and have created in their wake a veritable hallowed hall of great men and women that have been world changers, though their methods were often at the expense of our patience and endurance. Our young today with their enthusiasm and social media savvy has been able to build across vast divides that physical limitation once thwarted. “Share” and “reblog” options are doing what civil, social and religious institution memberships did exclusively just a generation ago. I still think this generation is passing through a kind of “honeymoon” period of gains that will eventually be replaced by the knuckle down grind that social and civil rights causes require. In either case, the powers that be have reason to be dismayed and disheartened. It’s almost like you old heads are not dying but multiplying …

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Posted by Tony-Tony Stark on 07/27/2015 at 4:12 PM

Re: “The new guard steps up in today's battle for civil rights

More Black victim think BS. If Black Americans would put half the energy into reducing single parent households, emphasizing education over the .0001 chance of making the NBA, and took responsibility for the enormous amount of their youth commit, rather than play make believe about cops hating them and the ridiculous idea of white privelige (which gives them a cop out for their own failures), then they would be improving their plight in this country much faster.

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Posted by truth on 07/26/2015 at 9:21 PM

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