Baltimore in 2016 - a 65 percent black city lorded over by a black mayor, majority black city council, and majority black bureaucracy/public servants - represents perhaps the best on-going case study in just why those architects of Jim Crow deserve an apology every waking moment.
The latest hilarity? The murder of a talentless black rapper [by a still at-large black suspect] is blamed, by black clergy, on white people. [Family, fans, community members pay respects to slain Baltimore rapper Lor Scoota, Baltimore Sun, July 1, 2016]:
As hundreds gathered Friday for the funeral of Lor Scoota, the Rev. Jamal H. Bryant raged against the racism and inequality that the slain rapper saw in the city and that shaped his lyrics.
"You can kill the messenger," Bryant said. "But you can't kill the message."
Scoota, born Tyriece Travon Watson, was fatally shot while driving back from a peace rally June 25 in what police called a targeted killing at a busy intersection in Northeast Baltimore. Police say they've received tips about the crime, but no arrests have been made.
At Friday's funeral and at a block party that celebrated his life, residents and fans recalled Scoota and his message.
Dressed in a black cassock, Bryant delivered the fiery sermon at his church, Empowerment Temple in Northwest Baltimore, touching on the dangers of speaking out and the risks that messengers for common people — from Jesus to Malcolm X — have faced throughout history.
People responded enthusiastically to the message, cheering and applauding.
The image of Scoota was everywhere. To get into the church, mourners passed three larger-than-life-size photographs of the 23-year-old. People posed for snapshots with them after the service and clamored to get copies of the funeral program. Others wore his picture on their shirts, depicting him with angel's wings or standing at the gates of heaven.
The service swung between jubilant cheers for Scoota's life and chilling moments of sorrow. As the choir sang Kanye West's "Ultralight Beam," a young man held his head in his hands. Some mourners walked from the church in tears. A distraught young woman had to be held up by others.
Scoota's song "Bird Flu" became a hit in the city, the lyrics striking an authentic chord with listeners. Councilman Nick J. Mosby called him a "'hood poet."
"He was Baltimore and Baltimore was him," Mosby said.
His fame and ambition attracted jealousy, Bryant said. "Whenever you speak for the masses, you will be a target for murder," he said.
Scoota's body lay at the front of the church. He wore a black shirt with white stars around the collar, his thumbs in the pockets of white pants.
His death Saturday shocked the city, and hundreds of people of all ages showed up at the church to pay their final respects. Many more have gathered across Baltimore to pay tribute at events that included a vigil Sunday and a wake followed by a concert Thursday.
Bryant called on the mourners to seek to better themselves, borrowing Scoota's motto to urge them to be "up next."
The pastor also railed against business owners who he said are disdainful of their majority-black communities, and also against African-American parents he said were willing to spend money to see Beyonce but not to look after their families.
And in an apparent reference to a tense confrontation between the police and people celebrating Scoota on Pennsylvania Avenue this week, he said he wished the police would surround Annapolis in riot gear. He condemned legislators for spending too little on education and too much on prisons.
"It's rigged for us to always come up last," Bryant said.Baltimore has the second highest per pupil spending in the country for its almost entirely black public school system, which conversely, is the primary reason the city has such a demand for new prisons: black individuals collectively commit a lot of crime, meaning short of abolishing all laws, a lot of black people are going to be incarcerated.
No, reverend, you are sadly mistaken: America is rigged so that black dysfunction/black criminality/black misery/ black failure will never require black people being held accountable or responsible for their own actions... not when there is an imaginary white person to blame.
But it gets better, where outlawed activity is protected by black elected officials. [Rapper's murder leaves peers with bleak outlook on Baltimore, Baltimore Sun, June 28, 2016]:
Popular Baltimore dirt bike rider Chino Braxton remembers joining with other local celebrities — including rappers Young Moose and Lor Scoota — to deliver a message of perseverance after the death of Freddie Gray. At four west-side high schools, they talked to student assemblies about overcoming challenges and achieving goals.
A year later, Young Moose is in jail awaiting trial on gun charges. Braxton survived two bullets to the head in February. And on Saturday, Scoota — real name Tyriece Watson — was gunned down as he left a peace rally, a death that is sending shock waves through the community.
Braxton, 19, was friends with the 23-year-old Watson and said the rapper's death has shaken him, even more so than his own shooting. He is now convinced he needs to leave Baltimore to pursue his dreams.
"I should have really woke up after my situation, but the situation with Scoota really woke me up," Braxton said Tuesday. "I definitely got plans on leaving. ...
"It's hard to do because it's home," he said. "But a lot been going on here, and it's just stressful. I want to get my family away."
Since Watson's death, Braxton and other young black men have been speaking out on Twitter about their exasperation with Baltimore's violence and their desire to leave.
"Tired of trying to keep it real. I'm gone son!" wrote Gervonta Davis, a boxer who shared the stage at the high schools last spring.
Tate Kobang, widely considered to be one of the city's top rappers, posted, "Honestly, I done all I can do for and in Baltimore. Word of advice … when the opportunity to leave presents itself take it. Goodbye."
And Braxton wrote that he didn't know "why it took me so long to realize it was time for me to go."
He is known for his prowess at dirt bike riding, a street pastime in Baltimore that has been outlawed since 2001. Braxton has achieved rare crossover success, making the transition to motorcross sponsorships after teaming up with the popular Philadelphia-based rapper Meek Mill.
In February, Braxton had his own brush with death. He was sitting in his vehicle in the Park Heights area when a gunman ran up and opened fire. The bullet remains lodged in his head, just inches from where doctors told him it could have caused brain damage. Another bullet grazed his head.
Braxton says he has no idea why someone would shoot him; police know of no motive, and the case is unsolved.
Braxton says he was lucky to find an outlet for his dirt bike passion in spite of its being illegal, a frequent target of police.
"I was fortunate enough for someone to see me, and now I want to open up doors for other people," he said.
To young people in the city feeling frustrated by recent events, he said, "I just feel like they shouldn't let nothing break them. Keep working toward their goals. Put the bad stuff in the back of your mind."
But he says that's difficult to do in Baltimore.
"Crabs pull each other down the pot. That's what everybody do here," he said.
"Nobody wants to see us shine."Actually, Baltimore has been the beneficiary of massive state, federal and foundation grants for decades (ever since black crime ethnically cleaned white people from the city their ancestors built), including $1.8 billion from the Obama Stimulus... of which nearly 40 percent went to West Baltimore.