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Got to Go Back Home: Dr. Clinton Hutton on Musical Resistance, the Role of Rastafari in Reggae, and the Formation of Politically Aligned Gangs in Jamaica

Photo
©David Katz. Not to be reprinted without permission.

From an interview conducted by David Katz and Saxon Baird, Feb. 7, 2015. Photo©David Katz. Not to be reprinted without permission.

We’re trying to look at the relation between music and politics in Jamaica. Maybe you can start by talking about some things that happened before independence.

Dr. Clinton Hutton: Well, music has always been a very important political vehicle for the majority of Jamaicans. From the time of slavery and colonialism, African-Jamaicans have created music, have created lyrical contents that serve them politically, [with] music against enslavement and colonialism; music that helped them to cope with their enslavement; music that expressed the cosmological roots of African freedom as it developed in Jamaica from a philosophical standpoint; music that helped to entertain. But some of the most enduring ideas about freedom in Jamaica originated from, or certainly were expressed in Jamaican music, as African-Jamaicans developed those forms during slavery, especially music associated with funeral rituals. Wake songs, for example were songs essentially about freedom. They were songs centered around the spirit of the deceased going back to Africa. And, so, I actually coin those ideas, and the attendant music to those ideas, I term them “repatriational freedom songs,” because they were songs about going back to Africa.

In fact, that tradition did not stop with slavery and colonialism. It continued through independence and in the late ’60s and in the ’70s, especially, there were many songs about going back to Africa. That tradition is from 18th century Jamaica, and we’re talking about songs in Jamaican popular music such as the song by the Abyssinians, “Satta Amassa Ganna.” We’re talking about songs like Bunny Wailer, “This Train,” which is really a cover of an African-American spiritual, and African-American spirituals were replete with songs about going back to Africa because to Africans, freedom was derived from going back home. And, in the context in which they could not go back home physically, because they were not allowed to do so and because of the distance, the idea was that their spirit will go back home. And that is why funeral rituals were actually the most important rituals for enslaved Africans, not just in Jamaica but throughout the diaspora.

So, we have songs like “Got to Go Back Home” by Bob Andy, a late ’60s song; we have a number of songs by Marley, “Exodus,” for example, is one of them. But you have songs that are related to those repatriational freedom songs about African redemption. Marley’s quite known for a lot of these songs, Peter Tosh, Culture, so that one cannot separate the issue of repatriational freedom from a broader knowledge, an embrace of Africa, and Africa as space, as a destination, for people who were enslaved and were desirous of going back home.

So there is an entire culture that has developed around going back to Africa. In songs, it is expressed a lot, but it is also expressed in the visual arts, including performance arts like jonkonnu, or more broadly speaking, the masquerade traditions in the Caribbean: rara in Haiti, Days of the Kings in Cuba, jonkonnu in Jamaica and in the Bahamas, and what they call mas for short in Trinidad and Tobago. So, there are many, many songs in the tradition of enslaved Africans about freedom and in particular about going back to Africa, and which, in the classical days of reggae music, when there was a shift in the politics in Jamaica…Michael Manley came to power and there was a shift in terms of the development of consciousness of the people. And certainly young singers and songwriters and musicians played a seminal role in denoting that shift in politics to a more anti-imperialist way of looking at things. And in fact, for rebuilding a nation, or to give birth to a nation that for over 400 years was the subject of Spanish, firstly, and secondly British, colonial occupation and enslavement of Africans.

It would be good for you to explain to the listeners about the rise of the Rastafari movement and perceptions of Rastafari in the wider Jamaica society.

The Rastafari movement emerged in Jamaica with the coronation of Ras Tafari, the Ethiopian regent, in 1930. Actually, Ras Tafari, or Emperor Haile Selassie the First, was declared a divinity by two traditional Jamaican religious entities: [there’s] a tradition in Revival called Poco [Pocomania], [which] actually declared His Majesty to be God Almighty. In fact, I have interviewed a Rastaman who came to Kingston in the 1940s, and he knew Marcus Garvey, Marcus Garvey went to his school in St. Elizabeth, one of our parishes in western Jamaica. So I asked him quite innocently, “At what time did you become a Rastafari?” He said to me, he became a Rastafari while he was in St. Elizabeth. I said, “No, but the history does not suggest that you would have become a Rastafari in St. Elizabeth, because there was no inkling, no strand of Rastafari in St. Elizabeth at that time in the 1940s. [And] he said to me that his Poco church, his traditional Jamaican spirituality, declared His Majesty to be God.

And then in St. Thomas, a similar thing happened with Kumina, the Kumina practitioners actually declared His Majesty the earthly manifester of Nzambi a Mpungu, the supreme god in the Congolese religious tradition that came to Jamaica in 1841, when Congolese where first brought here just a little after emancipation as indentured laborers, and which played a significant role in the justification and explanation for what Europeans call the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865, led by Paul Bogle, but which the folk called the Morant Bay War. And in fact, there are a number of songs in Kumina today that are about that war. The Kumina tradition has actually carried over the narrative of what took place during that time into now. So that is one side of the creation.

Ras Tafari was the declared God by the traditional forms, but then some Garveyites, one of them was a leading figure somewhat in the Bedwardite movement of Alexander Bedward towards the end of the 19th century, and the first 20 years of the 20th century, his name was [Robert] Hinds, but Leonard Howell, who went away when he was about 16 [or] thereabouts, to the United States, he came back in 1933, declared His Majesty to be God Almighty and started to preach about him in Kingston. The first persons whose ear he caught in a big way were people from the Bedwardite tradition. Bedward actually died about six days after the first phase of the coronation of Haile Selassie; Haile Selassie was crowned, it’s a series of ceremonies, the first one was on Nov. 2, 1930, and Bedward died in the lunatic asylum in Kingston on Nov. 8—he was put there in 1921 by the British colonial authorities to silence him. In fact, Howell himself was put there as well, to silence him.

So, Howell came back a Garveyite, linked up with Robert Hinds, and the first audience to his preachings were members of Alexander Bedward’s congregation, but he met with much greater success in the parish of St. Thomas, that’s where the Morant Bay uprising took place, and which had a very strong tradition of African spirituality. And it was there that Howell preached all across the parish to hundreds of people, spied on by the police, arrested by the colonial authorities, tried for sedition. But that’s where Rastafari as an existential entity actually took root, and then the people who were closest to Howell, who found the core of his movement when he left or was driven out of St. Thomas by the colonial police—who also employed thugs to help them to do so—went from there to parish of St. Catherine, and bought a property called Pinnacle where a former British governor used to live in a Great House, John Peter Grant, who became the governor, incidentally, after the Morant Bay War, because Edward Eyre was sent back to Britain and he took over from Eyre and he lived at Pinnacle. Howell lived at Pinnacle and the core of his membership at Pinnacle were Kumina adherents, and it is responsible for really endowing in Ras Tafari some of his important identity features.

But Rastafari developed, not just at Pinnacle, but around what Rastafari called camps, and in the camps, what was constant was what they called “groundation,” reasoning with music, with the rituals of smoking the herb, or what they call the holy herb; I’m talking about ganja. And so, what actually emerged out of that, take, for example, the Rasta camp in east Kingston led by Oswald Williams, a man from St. Thomas known as Count Ossie. What grew out of his camp in terms of Jamaican popular music was the Skatalites: Don Drummond, Lloyd Knibb, Lloyd Brevett, Tommy McCook. All of these men were regularly situated at the camp in east Kingston—reasoning, playing music, their ritual of the holy herb—and which really was a space where the tone of the music that emerged in Jamaica—the way of playing the trombone, the way of playing the trumpet—was actually a transposition of the drumbeat. Count Ossie developed what is called the Nyahbinghi drumming tradition, which a young group of Rastafari in the late ’40s, 1950s, appropriated in their chants. Count Ossie developed this because he was trained by an elder, a master drummer in the tradition of burru which came out of Clarendon regional music, a drumming form coming out of Clarendon and St. Catherine. And, in fact, it is part of masquerade tradition. And what Count Ossie did was to develop a pattern somewhat similar to burru, because it is coming out of burru, but also, fusing it with the Kumina tradition that he was familiar with in St. Thomas, but also which went with Leonard Howell to Pinnacle.

And so these Rastafarian camps were like a breath of fresh air in a space with a lot of colonial mentalities and consciousness. And out of that sprung the music of the Skatalites, which really combines, and textured, and remake, and covered, and sampled traditions outside of Jamaica; the Cuban tradition mambo, rumba, son, was very important to the Skatalites. I interviewed Knibb, for example, and he talked about that, but you can hear it in the music: “Latin Goes Ska,” it is from a popular Cuban [song] coming from Perez Prado. But they also did the same with songs coming out of the black experience, especially out of New Orleans. And they were into a lot of jazz because most of these musicians were trained especially, and mostly from Alpha Boys’ School, and they played in a number of big bands before they formed the Skatalites.

So they were professional musicians, they were master musicians, and in fact, the singers tend to be younger, and the young recording artists, they actually tutored them how to sing, how to harmonize, when to come in, all of that. I mean, a man like Ernest Ranglin—who was also part of that camp in Count Ossie’s in east Kingston, and who also played with the Skatalites—when you listen to a song with a young group of teenagers, the Wailing Wailers, a song like “It Hurts to Be Alone,” and you hear that solo by Ranglin, not even Ranglin himself can replay that solo, it was recorded extemporaneously. I have heard other takes of it, but I have never heard anybody, even those who played the Skatalites’ songs, who ever tried to repeat that guitar solo. But then there were very important and moving solos with people who are associated with the Skatalites, like Baba Brooks, “Shank I Sheck,” “Musical Communion.” Listen to those solos, these were people who were great jazz players who could improvise because they were master musicians and who could play extemporaneously.

The other thing I have argued is that Rastafari is one of the main foundations of Jamaican popular music in terms of the sound, the sonic representation of Jamaican popular music and its lyrics. Rastafari ruled the wave in the 1970s: Bob Marley and the Wailers, and before that, the Wailers; Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, the Mighty Diamonds, Culture, Pablo Moses. Rastafari ruled the wave lyrically and sonically in Jamaican music, and therefore, endow it with a philosophy that looks at a number of things: one, for example, in looking at Jamaican society after independence, both singers and musicians, they really questioned an independence which tells them that they are “Out of Many, One People.”

Out of many, the population is about 90 percent black. They were told that they were “Out of Many, One People” [Jamaica’s national motto], but in their own experience they are at the bottom of the ladder. In their own experience, Garvey was used by the political elite only to get votes from ordinary folks, by associating with someone who was popular and who in popular Jamaican music is seen as a prophet, is seen as the Mighty Revealer, is seen as Eshu, Legba, and where Selassie is seen as the Mighty Redeemer. So when we look at the lyrical content of Jamaican music and its philosophy and its implications for freedom and justice, then you can see why these musicians, these singers, these song writers, were very skeptical about this notion of “Out of Many, One People,” which, by the way, when it was declared, stopped the practice of African-Jamaicans who have celebrated Aug. 1, Emancipation Day, from the time it was done in the 19th century. Our national government stopped that practice, the celebration of the day that was most important to black Jamaicans.

So you mean, when independence happened that Emancipation Day was no longer celebrated?

Was no longer celebrated, but Rastafari continued to celebrate it. They never stopped on the basis that, if we’re “Out of Many, One People” and we celebrate that, we are celebrating a black thing. You see the stupidity in that? As if emancipation has no relevance to any other people.

You mentioned the way that Rastafari has made these crucial contributions to the development of the music, but I’m thinking of some of these early moments where it’s as though the society rejected their role from the start. For instance, I’m thinking of “Oh Carolina,” I’ve read that it had radio bans, specifically because Count Ossie was playing on it and it sounded too African.

Oh, yes, but there are many songs! I mean, in the period of the ’60s up until Manley won the election, many songs were banned. In fact, not only that many songs are banned, no books about black power were allowed in the island; there were people who were actually arrested for them. When I was 14, I read Soul on Ice [by Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver], that was 1968, but it was illegal to do so! A friend of mine, who was older than I am by about four years or so, he wrapped up the cover in a newspaper and gave it to me. There were lecturers on this campus of the university whose books were taken away from them. There’s a book, for example, about a black horse called Black Beauty; the book is about a black horse, it was banned in Jamaica because, apparently, the concept that black is beautiful was subversive in Jamaica after independence, its first 10 years!

And so they banned the music. A lot of songs were banned, the one you mention, “Oh Carolina,” produced by Prince Buster, and actually [he] did some other songs Count Ossie played on. In fact, Count Ossie wasn’t even allowed to play in certain places, he and his group of Rastafarians. And, by the way, those Rastafarians were not even wearing dreadlocks. In fact, Brother Royo, one of the members of the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari which came out of that experience with Count Ossie, Brother Royo said, for example, when they were playing at the Ward Theater, they actually were able to play at the Ward Theater because Marguerita, who was a part of the Rasta camp—Don Drummond’s woman, but who came from that side of Jamaica that they wish, “That girl should not be down there with these people”—she actually helped to open the door for the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari to play in certain public spaces. She was herself a Rasta woman belonging to one of the camps in east Kingston.

So, a number of songs were banned, but books were [also] banned: literature on Malcolm X, literature on the Black Panthers, Angela Davis, who was really one of my heroes, but also, all Marxist literature was also banned. So, the danger to the new government, the new independence government, the danger to them was Black Power and Marxism. And so, in 1968, a young professor who studied here at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies—Walter Rodney, a Guyanese—studied here, got a first-class honors degree in history and then went to Britain to study; by 23, he got his Ph.D., went to Tanzania, and then came to Jamaica here, and, actually introduced to the curriculum at the University of the West Indies Mona campus, the teaching of African history. He went to Canada in 1968, to a black writer’s conference, and when he came back at the airport in Kingston, he was told that he cannot come off [the airplane]. He was declared persona non grata and it actually caused a lot of rioting in Kingston. But he was expelled from the country; his family had to follow after. The university was closed down; the government sent tanks on the campus of the University of the West Indies, which is not the property of Jamaica but of the University of the West Indies, a regional institution.

Walter Rodney, why he was actually banned was because it was felt…certainly Edward Seaga, our former prime minister, who was in the Cabinet at that time, I think [he] was minister of welfare and development, he actually wrote in a more recent publication of his—he’s now out of politics, he’s a fellow here at U.W.I.—he actually said that people were fearing that, if Walter Rodney was allowed to continue to do what he was doing in Jamaica, that is, to go in the inner-city communities of Kingston talking about Africa and African history and black pride and black liberation and Black Power to those people, and if he was allowed to continue to do it in the rural communities which he also went to, then Jamaica will lose its tourists, who were then almost totally all white people, because he will be saying things that they don’t like, or more importantly, that he is stirring up hate, that black people will hate white people for this thing. So he was expelled.

And of course, Prince Buster’s song about him [“Doctor Rodney (Black Power)”], about that, [was] banned as well, and actually made a statement in the song that this country and those in charge, the political elite, which was brown and also black, but the economic class which was largely brown and white or off-white…even, I mean, there are people in Jamaica who consider themselves white, and when they go to other countries, they’re called something else and they don’t really like it, so they would make sure they come back quickly to Jamaica where they have the status of whiteness. So, essentially, they think that when black people speak out for their rights that they are uppity, and they have no right to do so. But, look: We’re not going to stop. Prince Buster was a very, very progressive man at the time, and he linked up with Walter Rodney, but, the Rastafarian community, to this day, the older Rastafarians who knew of Walter Rodney, they hold him in a reverence. And Walter Rodney himself became highly influenced by Rastafari’s culture, its spirituality and its philosophy, and he weaved those into his own philosophy of blackness. And so was expelled. And therefore, the expulsion of Rodney is a reflection of the banning of the books, is a reflection of the banning of the songs, [like] “Oh Carolina,” which is regarded as one of the best-produced popular Jamaican songs in the last 50 years, which is known across the world.

But other songs were banned, you know. A number of songs done by the Wailers, and especially, those that are led by Peter Tosh, they really seemed to have something for Peter Tosh’s songs; “Burial” was banned. There’s a song by the Ethiopians, “Everything Crash,” [which] was banned. And of course, the PNP then used that song, Michael Manley, in his election campaign, that’s one of the songs used in the election campaign in 1972.

Nineteen seventy-two, the campaign was going on, and a number of artists, because they are the ones who were feeling it, a number of artists actually campaigned with Michael Manley by going on the campaign trail. That’s the first time I saw Marley perform, [when] I was 17; he came to my parish, Hanover, and performed in the capital, Lucea, and we walk from Jericho, four-and-a-half miles from Lucea, and the thing’s just a little outside Lucea, we went to that and we saw Marley perform for the first time. In fact, [promoter and MC] Tommy Cowan is very good at impersonation, and I remember his impersonation of Alexander Bustamante, Michael Manley, and Manley’s father, Norman Manley, and I think Hugh Shearer, he impersonated him as well. But members of Third World, Ibo Cooper for example, was quite instrumental in that, but especially Clancy Eccles.

And so a number of songs, or sayings from some songs, were used by the PNP, by Michael Manley, in his campaign. For example, the song by Delroy Wilson, “Better Must Come.” In fact, that was the principle theme song of Michael Manley’s campaign. “Hail the Man,” which is really a popular Rastafarian greeting, was also used [by] Michael Manley, in the campaign, on the trail, and in TV advertisement as well, which also was popularized in a song by one of these artists. So in the use of songs, the PNP really started an ethos that we have never seen before in this country, the use of songs, popular songs, for political campaign. The PNP, of course, won, and we could say that young people really had a right to want to vote for the PNP, because, one, they were the ones being killed by the police, they were the ones whose songs were being banned. They were the ones who could not vote, right? The voting age was 21 and over, and most young people that age could not vote, they were not on the voter’s list; Michael Manley not only rectified that, he removed the voting age from 21 to 18, which still stands today in Jamaica.

When you went and Marley performed in the PNP bandwagon in Hanover, Marley in his later years always professed that, as a member of the Rastafari faithful, he was nonpolitical and he didn’t back either party, yet there he was in ’72, on the actual campaign trail for the PNP. So when he performed, did he explicitly say, “I want you to vote for Manley”?

No. None of them would have said that. Just by being there, the conclusion would have been drawn by the audience. None of them, I remember, said that.

Clancy was very vocal in his support for the PNP, but Marley…?

Yes, you are right. Clancy Eccles was very vocal, there were also other vocal people, I don’t remember seeing him playing at the thing…”Maccabee Version,” I always forget Max Romeo’s name, and he is such a key figure! I think he has written one of the best songs in Jamaican politics, what I would regard as a fraternal warning or chiding of Michael Manley, “No Joshua No”: “If you are my friend, Joshua, I want you to know, that Rasta is watching and blaming you.” That song is magnificent.

But yes. One could argue that Clancy Eccles was an out-and-out PNP partisan. I don’t think that could be said for most of the rest of the musicians. And he was just a bit older than the rest of them, and I suppose he was generally in charge, a leading figure, in getting the musicians; I don’t know if he was paid to do that, but in any event, he wanted change like anyone else.

1972 was the year when you began to see musicians, and Rastafarian musicians particularly, be embraced by a political party?

Yes, because, after ’72…well, certainly, let’s be clear, the PNP used Rastafari symbolism to come to power. And linking with young people, who generally, even when they were not Rastafari, who were influenced by Rastafari. I wasn’t a Rastafari in ’72, I was influenced…when you look at my paintings, right? Because it represents what was progressive and new for young people. But also, remember, though, that in the 1960s, one of Rastafari’s best-known elders actually participated in the election. Of course there is some Rastafari like [Mortimer] Planno who would have not supported that, but Planno is also highly political; not in a partisan way, but political as it relates to blackness, as it relates to Africa and African redemption, which all of the Rastafarians were. But Ras Sam Brown actually participated in running in the constituency that Edward Seaga won, and was actually arrested in the 1966 State of Emergency called, he was one of those arrested. And in fact, the reason for…you can understand why young people do these things.

There was a place in west Kingston, which is the constituency that, since 1944, every other election, another of the two political parties would have won it; it was a typical swing constituency. The JLP won it first, and then the PNP won it five years after. Then the JLP won it, and then PNP won it until 1962; it was the JLP time to win it and they did something that would allow that constituency to remain JLP to this day, from ‘62. What actually was done is that they bulldozed of the biggest squatter communities: Back-A-Wall, [which means] Behind the Wall—Back of the Wall. They destroyed Back-A-Wall in 1963. Independence was ‘62, and we have a national government, not a colonial government, a national government, bulldozing. Sending police. Big tractors and shovels. And they destroyed the place. Justifying it that it’s a criminal entity, that these people were the worst criminals in the country. And by the way, there are Rastas. Nobody has any sympathy for Rastafari. The best song of lamentation in Rastafari is Bunny Wailer’s song, “Black Heart Man.” And on that same album, there’s another one, “Battering Down Sentence.” Those are classical songs. So, they destroyed Back-A-Wall. Young people saw that. They were affected by it too.

Young people were being killed by the police before independence. I have happened to have interviewed a number of former gang members, now these are men in their late 60s and in their 70s, some brushing 80; a couple years ago I interviewed some of them because I wanted to write an article about how the garrison was created in Jamaica—how the garrison politics was created, which is a blight. It fettered the development of a democratic culture in this country, and turned young people against young people, young men especially against young men…but they fought it.

The singers fought it, against this way of tribalizing people, who were all held down by colonialism. And so you have an antitribal political response from our young musicians, “Ballistic Affairs,” right? Leroy Smart. “Ambush in the Night” by Bob Marley and the Wailers. And later on, there are many of them actually, but these are, the ones I’m trying to find are the classical ones. “Political F[r]iction” by Half Pint. These were songs that were really against political entities turning young people on each other. And they are the ones who were doing the dying and all the type of victimization. So they are not only being turned against each other in that way, and they were being cautioned now. In fact, there’s another of these classical songs by the Itals, “In A Dis Ya Time”: Man haffa mind/ Him get carried away by captivity, carried away by captivity/In a dis ya time/How can you say you love Jah Jah, yet you ah fight tribal with your brother/In a dis ya time. What he is actually saying, do not allow the mentality of enslavement cause politicians to allow you to divide and kill each other.

When you interviewed these gang members, what did they tell you about, when did it start? When did the actual relationship between politicians, to get street gang members to do their bidding, how does it begin, and when, and why?

The first thing to note is that gangs were formed in Jamaica especially by the second decade of the 20th century. And in my interviews, the first one from that period is the Mau-Mau, and they didn’t call it that. It’s the police who call it the Mau-Mau, because the police wanted to invoke what was happening to Kenya to drive fear into the brown and white population in Jamaica, so that the police could do what they want to do with these youths. So I interviewed members of the Mau-Mau…and this is what I was told by several members of different gangs. I interviewed them [at] different times, [in] different places; there was no collaboration, and I got the same thing: one of the primary reasons for forming gangs in Jamaica before independence was to combat the colonial police; the police set upon young men, especially in inner-city communities, with impunity. You know that these communities are yards, big yards, with zinc—fenced off.

There [were] studies done on these communities, from the late 19th century and the early 20th century, that have been published, and believe me, the communities in the ’60s and even to some extent now, it’s the same description that I read about that were written in the 19th century and the early 20th century. The police figure that young black men, especially those from inner-city community, are least susceptible to the civilizing mission, and therefore, you have to deal with them in a different way. And they would set upon these youths, drive into the community, raided houses; they don’t have to have any warrant. They beat them up; some were shot and killed. There are descriptions of police tying strings with stones on their scrotum and drop it…that’s before independence, [and] after independence, it continued! I interviewed people like King Stitt, and others in the dance, and this thing, I get it over and over and over and over again!

You have Spangler[s], you have one called Twenty-One Strong or the Toughest or Phoenix, led by a young man who was killed at 23 years old, and who was regarded as the first “Don” in Jamaica, which is a paramilitary leader that is found in inner-city communities. That gang that he belonged to was transformed into the 1970s, and especially into the ‘80s, into the Shower Posse; the person who took over from that 23-year-old man, who was actually called Zackie the High Priest, [the person] who took over from him was Claudius Massop—very articulate, very charismatic—who apparently seemed to have been set up and executed by the police. And then after him, Jim Brown came to power, and Jim Brown is associated with what happened to Bob Marley when he was shot, and then, of course, Dudus took over [when] his father was killed; nobody believed that he just died by accident, he was supposed to be extradited to the United States and it is said that he said that if he was extradited, he would spill the beans, and [a] little before his extradition, a fire took place in his cell and he died of smoke inhalation. And his son who would have taken over from him, little Jah T, was killed; it might have been the day of his burial, I don’t remember.

It was like three days after, while he was on a motorcycle, I think.

Right, he was killed, and then Dudus took over, and actually took the organization to a higher heights in terms of its reach and power.

If Dudus had seen his father saying, “If you extradite me, I’m going to spill the beans,” and then his father dies in this mysterious fire, and then his older brother is shot and killed, why do you think Dudus would then say, “O.K., I’m going to take over”?

It’s more than that. There are young people, young men, who are thrust into position, because the community look around and say, “You are a leader. We want you to take over.” Christopher Coke is a very bright young man, and even without being in a gang, he probably would’ve become very successful. But that was his legacy, it was there. His father died, and the next-in-line died, [so] he was the next to that.

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