Below is a blog post I wrote November 13, 2009 for the Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male at THE Ohio State University. In light of Gucci’s re-re-re-RE release from jail, I thought it would be important to revisit. Dig in.
Gucci Mane, featured on countless hits by The Black Eyed Peas, Plies, Mariah Carey, and 50 Cent was sentenced to one year in jail yesterday in an Atlanta federal court. His upcoming album The State vs. Radric Davis slated for a December 8th release is almost prophetic in nature as he will no longer don the icy chains and Gucci hats; his Fulton County jail inmate jumpsuit should fit just fine.
On a local radio station, Gucci’s lawyer stated that Gucci, I mean Mr. Davis, had three opportunities to comply with the court’s request to keep him out of jail: 600 hours of community service, attend drug and alcohol counseling, report to a probation officer, and make the court aware of any trips he would be taking out of state. He, in all his drunken stupor, has failed to even complete one hour of service.
This post, however, isn’t about the music, man, or his inability to protect his own legacy. It’s about the bigger, more detrimental issue that some African Americans are “upset”, “angry”, and “mad as hell” over the fact that Gucci is serving time.
Some are even posting on social websites such as Facebook that President Barack Obama needs to “pardon Gucci” because “we don’t need another Black man in the “system.”
Where does the glorification of ignorance end and responsibility begin?
As an educator, I meet hundreds of young Black boys who hear the stories from their parents, friends, and the media about how “the system” has taken another brother–these young boys don’t understand why “Gucci can’t just do his thang” and that “them folks always looking for a reason to lock a brotha up…” Through observation (the only way they can learn this poor lesson because many of them live in 2 story homes in the suburbs) that they do not have to be responsible for themselves or the people in their life. They can live a life that is contrary to reality and have no real understanding of consequences.
There seems to be an undercurrent of socialized thought that anytime a Black man is “oppressed” through the “system” that there’s a need to rally, create t-shirts that say “Free (insert rapper’s name here)”, and spend countless hours discussing, not the error in a person’s ways, but how unfair it is that he has to serve time for some “petty sh**.”
In consideration for the understanding of the subjectification of the Black male, the images in which he’s been portrayed (many unfairly done), and how he must live in a state of double consciousness (see W.E.B. Dubois), it is time that we remove this cloud of ignorance that hovers above our conversations that inundate our communities, schools, children, and mindsets.
Gucci will serve his time, rightfully so. I can only hope that he uses it as a time to reflect and regroup versus an easy publicity stunt that will boost album sales. As I told a student today as he adamantly defended Gucci and his exploits: “Getting ‘wasted’ on jail juice boxes just isn’t cool. Nothing ‘fly’ or ‘icy’ about that.”
On the Chase,