12:54 AM June 2nd...First Blog post/Zack/Summer
Hi, reader. This is my first blog post on my personal website. It may be a long a one...
So I have so many racing thoughts in my head. I'm always moving. I'm always going. Tonight, I lay in my bed as my ears are submerged in the sounds of YGTUT.
What's on my mind? The typical Chicago shit.
I'm not feeling melancholy but I'm definitely reflecting on all that has transpired in the last week. I guess it all started when I heard that Mubu Krump was murdered.
Mubu Krump was a 30-year old drill rapper who DJ Akademiks dubbed as Chi-raq's "Scorekeeper". He ran with MUBU, a Woodlawn-based movement of young men that were made Chicago famous and founded by rapper King Louie. I didn't know Krump personally but he was constantly on Instagram Live telling hood war stories, "looking for smoke" from his enemies (opps, usually BDs), and on rare occasions imparting wisdom to his viewers on how to maneuver in Chicago streets. My first encounter with Krump was while working as a package handler in college. My coworker would spend hours looking at timelines of Chiraq twitter and Krump's page was one he would habitually visit. Krump and I had a mutual friend in Zach Stoner, better known as ZackTV.
Krump and Zack were killed within a week of each other.
I met Zack several months ago. I hit him up on Twitter asking if he would like to chat and interview for the Chicago Defender. I wasn't necessarily a fan of his work but I respected it to a degree. Zack chased news. He kept his ear to the streets. Only a few men out here are crazy enough to put their feet in Chicago trenches and capture the raw realities of Chi-raq. O-Block, STL, Jojo-World, Jaro City, Terror Town, TYMB, Dro City...there wasn't a hood that Zack was too scared to visit. There are a plethora of videos of boys flashing their guns, crossing their fingers into gang signs, and disrespecting their opps on camera. This was problematic to cover but this was the reality of some Black communities in Chicago. Zack provided the hard truth that defied mainstream and independent media that comes with bias. This angered few who went as far as to call him an informant due to some south suburban boys being arrested after police viewed one of Zack's video. He was probably killed for that. I grapple with myself about if what Zack was doing is ethical. Niggas were really threatening other people's lives over his channel. It's all there.
He was loved for it too. Zack made those who were discarded by society feel affirmed, validated, and famous. The guy who gave Chief Keef his first interview actually wanted to fuck with people who were kicked out of school, scolded in the church, and are used for their aesthetic but are dehumanized into academic and media talking points. The man who captured the stories of the forefathers of Drill Music had interest in the fucked up youth. He would shoot music videos of unheard of Drill talent. Zack even gave a look to the first out gay teen Drill rapper–Kidd Kenn. When I received word of his shooting, I've never seen so many warring gangs in the city simultaneously show the same person love.
He was a lifeline to many. He dispelled a lot of potential shootings in the city. Zack mentored a kid. He talked to youth in schools. He gave people opportunities. He tried to enact gang truces. He would sponsor gun buy-back programs. He would give clothes and food to the homeless. Zack was the unsexy activist. He didn't know what "safe-space" meant and probably couldn't tell you much about the Black Radical Tradition. He just wanted to help the streets and climb himself out of poverty.
Sometimes I think what would happen if Zack had gone to film school, journalism school, or was trained in social justice work. He didn't have those opportunities until late in life. Six years ago, he picked up his camera and wanted to document a budding movement that was the result of Chicago's lack of concern for Black youth.
I mentor a group of young Black teen boys every Thursday. It's tough work. We're trying to teach them Black Liberation from a feminist perspective so they can be able to serve their people in the now and future. At the least, the goal is for them not to be transphobic. I know summer is hot in Chicago and one of them may see the end of it. I may have to attend another funeral. Last week, shootings occurred on our block. Three doors down. Five people were hit in a store.
During programming this week, many kept telling there is a war going in the neighborhood. I know some of them may be targets. We house and feed them for 4 hours. The facilitators and the program itself can potentially become targets. We're not armed. We don't have opps. We're not looking for smoke.
But in Chicago, that doesn't matter.