Apparently it was recently Rich Porter’s birthday and I see many hip hop celebs celebrating. Let me start by saying that I am from the Nostrand Houses in Brooklyn. I grew up in a decent Project compared to others in the New York City. We still grew up with dealers, thugs, and everyday hood life and mentality that accompany the streets.
Many of my friends, and family chose to hustle to survive. I never knocked how anybody gets their money because if you look at America we are rooted in corruption. John F. Kennedy would have never made it to President without his father’s connections he developed hustling liquor and women during prohibition. Frank Sinatra earned a lot of work from alleged illegal associates who kept him up when his star was fading. The most revered rapper, Jay-Z never lied about how he got his start. I say this to say I am not disillusioned about the realities of crime and success.
My issue is we have a problem in the hood. That problem is that we embrace the hustlers more than we do the doctors, teachers and the lawyers. We sing the praises of Freeway, Ricky Ross, Rich Porter, Supreme McGriff, and 50 Cent. Every rapper feels in order to identify with the hood you must show how you are similar to the hustlers. Even stations like BET celebrate the hustles with programs like American Gangster. Movies like the State Property, and Paid in Full is our answer to Scarface and Godfather. This wouldn’t be a problem if this stay on film or on wax, but unfortunately if you look at the streets, kids are dying to maintain an image.
As I look at the youth of today I see many who are unprepared to take on life’s challenges. They have limited education and resources. They are ready to begin a rap career, maybe a sports career, or possibly hustling. I can honestly say out of 50 people I grew up with, I know one doctor, and one person about to become a lawyer. I knew at least 30 hustlers. I have at least 10 deceased friends lost to the game. The rest of my friends are just working hard and carving out a life for themselves.
The issue is this, for every Jay-Z there are a million nameless faces that have been killed, imprisoned, or just lost souls that are wandering. While we take time to honor the hustlers who have made an impression on our hoods, stop to realize all those who have died at the hands of those hustlers. Some of the victims were innocent and some weren’t. Think of how many fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters were assisted in self destructions from narcotics. Like the movie The Bronx Tale we believe the working man is a sucker. I rather teach my kids that hard work will lead you to owning your own home, business, and a life to be proud of.
So happy birthday Rich Porter. But more than that, a special prayer to all those who were negatively affected by his work.
-Jay Billion | follow me @hotterthanmost
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