I don’t mind being the Big Homie.
I’m not a Blood gang member, never claimed colors, but I’m not surprised the Bloods and other black gangs’ popularity is rising throughout America.
Chris Brown recently made headlines once again after his VMA after-party was riddled with bullets leaving reputed Blood gang member and former Death Row Records executive Suge Knight near death. Brown himself has been seen publicly repping his Piru Blood set.
Not surprising, since the controversial pop mega-star is a product of the estimated 70 percent of black kids reared in single-parent households, making him vulnerable to seek the family environment a gang provides.
As a black man perceived as someone of value in today’s society, young men turn to me for guidance.
In my eyes and that of other upwardly mobile men, they search for the map to navigate life’s twist and turns not provided by their absentee fathers.
In gang culture, the Big Homie offers them his own blueprint — behind the barrel of a gun. His respect is earned by putting in work, which could range from simple intimidation to leaving rivals cold and crumpled on concrete.
This culture of the lost leading the lost and its casualties is being seen played out in Chicago where age-old gang wars have left the city drenched in blood.
During my recent NiteCap conversation with SD, one of the faces of Chicago hip-hop, he explained why his mixtape cover shows a picture of him with two pistols pointed at his head:
“It’s the way of life. You’re put in a death or life situation,” he explained. “We need someone to show us the way. In Chicago we need a leader.”
SD’s words struck a chord with me in regards to a conversation at a recent South Florida Times editorial meeting in which a colleague discussed the importance of mentors.
I drove home pondering my own search for a journalism teacher, that wise elder to offer me the map, but in all honesty I never found one.
In every newsroom I’ved worked in, I found that elder black male gurus were either threatened by me or too consumed by their own self-preservation to bother with playing big brother.
In retrospect if I found one, maybe things in my career would have gone smoother or maybe I wouldn’t have such a passion to now be the Big Homie.