Featured Story, Hustling & Hip-Hop

Uncle Fridge’s Pulpit

From Thugs to Men

Out of the 46 homies that were on this case (Short North Posse) with me, I’m strictly talking about the fellas that stood strong and kept it 1000, almost all of them are married and living pretty good “square” lives. Only two of us remain in prison. Myself and Antwan “Trouble” Woods, and even HE’S married. So what does that say about us? What does that say about the Just-US system locking up teen-agers until they’re in their late 30’s to late 40’s? It says what we’ve always known. The public school system as well as the welfare system has crippled us, the strong black male, but in a strange twist these same systems have managed to empower the black female. How did this happen?

Many of us come to prison after doing our stints in the drug game as shell-shocked vet’s, ready to dig deeper into self and see what really lies beneath. This takes some work. The first thing a former Street Nigga has to do is pull the scabs off ALL the old wounds in order to investigate what lurks beneath the surface. That’s really the hardest part of becoming a better man. Facing one’s demons. Very uncomfortable thing. Then we have to face the facts; admit to one’s self some very hard truths. Like the fact that everything a nigga learned about his so called life is (mostly) a MUTHA-FUCKIN’ LIE!!!! That it was all based on debauchery and degradation. Having to admit that life is not about a constant state of got-damned survival as if we were born on the wildlife channel, is a shock to the system by itself. It’s all we know.

We deal with being black men exclusively for the majority of our lives. You’re born in the womb full of fear because more than likely you’re an accident from the start. Mom is stressing you out before you take your first breath. “Is this nigga gonna leave me?”, “Am I ready to have this baby?” She feels trapped because the truth of the matter is that black folks are more conservative than any Republican, so abortion isn’t really an option for us. So she grows you up in her LOVE for you and her HATE for the man you look just like, blah, blah, blah. You have to learn how to “Act” around white people, especially the cops, and those bitches started pulling guns on me at age 7, and I was simply walking home from Kroger’s, carrying groceries, how about you?

Dirty niggas on the corner, child molesters of all kinds, it just goes on and on. You can’t ever look up if you’re always looking down. But in prison, we’re sans the pressure of bitches and bills and all the stuff that forces us into one stupid decision after another. Instead we finally get time to look at ourselves. We get to take the opportunity to stop hating white males long enough to see HOW they grow themselves into men. We find the “successful Blackman” and use their pattern for a successful life. Once we stop running from life as if we’re prey and start engaging it properly, we become a whole other animal. Which is why my homies get out and women drag them down the alter IMMEDIATELY, to hell what all the “BLACK” female publications are saying.

Another truth is that we are AFRICANS first. We love togetherness. But with all the mind games played on us by our former slave masters and their grandchildren (I’m never letting this fact slide, so if you’re rolling your eyes, fuck you! You don’t roll your eyes when everyone from school to media shoves Hitler down your throat!) We think we have to move away from one another to find happiness. Little white picket fences, white neighbors. Then we get it, and hate it. But once Real Niggas go down hard and learn to celebrate life in all its facets we learn to live among other black folks in Harmony, we know that we simply have to find like-minded folks.

A lot of us “former street niggas” move around each other because we know the delicate balance needed to live like real men and women. We ran in so called “gangs” because we “needed” something. We love the hood because it who we are. And this is not flawed thinking, we’ve been doing it like this since the days of the hunter gather tribes. But we have got to stop letting these people call us Gangs every time more than two “Negros” decide to move in one direction. The black woman is what has sustained us throughout history, and now that the same people that have been shooting us misdirection for centuries have learned this, they’re prying her from our cold, almost dead hands. When I see that statue in D.C. of a brother kissing Honest Abe’s hand as his black woman looks on in disdain…let me stop. I said all that to say: Homies are living together in pockets now around the nation, and are doing it in a boss way. So don’t go with what the media is telling you, we have homes now and are living well after the game, it ain’t all about recidivism.

As “thug niggas” we had a lot of trifling ways. As an older Ohioan I know firsthand that we all thought we were half Pimp! Ha! Ohio is a player state. But after a man has been subjected to intense solitude and lives a life absence of affection, it changes you in one or two ways. If you’re a moral slime ball at heart, you’re going to slang more dick than you did when you were slangin’ yay. But if you develop into a man, you come to understand the value of a simple kiss. Because of the constant displacement of prison you appreciate the stability of a HOME and having one. And since we are old Street Niggas, we don’t really have problems with the women we choose in act two of our lives.

We are better judges of EVERYONE’S character, because a man that does this many years in prison becomes a master psychologist. And being an old goon we also satisfy a woman’s primitive desires. And let s face it, when a real nigga concentrates all his passion on one woman, she might find herself over satisfied.

Keeping it real, we’re known for slangin’ some pretty good dick…That’s right….

Let me clearly define what a man is (for the most part):

A M-A-N is really a boss muthafucka in control of himself, his life, and all it entails. If something happens on a real MAN’s watch he takes full responsibility for it and either makes a speedy reparation or leaves it to hang with the apology. A MAN that gets dealt the weakest hand will find a way to turn that shit into a winner of some sort to provide for himself and his people. A MAN is not satisfied in his own ignorance. A MAN is old school bible, eye-4-an-eye type nigga, win lose or draw.

He knows how to live in peace. He knows when to exercise force. He knows that beating on women is bullshit and moves away from that. A MAN knows that the world is not in favor of him or his kind, much like black men, masculinity is also on the extinction list, but despite all that, he moves forward at all cost. Young street niggas have some of these qualities. But the ones with the temperament to smooth out the rough edges make the best men when they lay the game down and learn to exercise their minds. And that’s why all my guys have rings on their fingers and are winning after the dope game. My next book: The Short Side Blues, deals with the subject of life after the dope game.

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