In case you have been living under a rock (or in one, your preference) we are entering a new era here in America. Word got around that Jan 20th was the day to be in DC and over 1 million people made that word their bond. I was among the multitudes of different genders, races, ethnic groups and nationalities all sharing in the cold air that gave life to our new President and his administration. But lets rewind back a bit to Saturday when I got off the Bolt bus in Chinatown DC.

Shino and I carried our bags on the DC Metro down to the waterfront where we would stay with our friends Maiko and Mike (plus their super cute son Musashi). I got my first taste of Ethiopian cuisine this night and it was pretty good. A little spongy on the bread part but pretty good. However across the street from the Ethiopian restaurant was a DC landmark called Ben’s Chili Bowl. Now this fine establishment had lines around the block causing 2 hour waits in the cold because of one man’s chance visit. Pres. Obama. However that meal would have to wait for another day.

On our second day in DC (Sunday) there was a free concert at the Lincoln Memorial which we missed. When we reached the area I did run into a guy I see in BK all the time and we never got to meet so that was cool. There were tons of people out there all attempting to leave the area at the same time. This was just a preview of what was to come in terms of numbers for Tuesday.

Going into Monday the energy of the city was high. We took a walk down to the Smithsonian and ran across a few floats being put together for the parade. The sun was shining on us because we walked upon the home floats for both the President and Vice President Elect. Making our way onto the Mall deciding to take in the loads of people visiting the nation’s capital like us. We saw families, photographers, good vendors, hustlers and macaroni dudes…impostors. The jumbo-trons replayed the free concert from the previous day for those like myself who missed Stevie Wonder, Usher, Bono and others showing their support for the new President. We walked almost the whole Mall, down past the Washington Monument and just kept running into happy and enthused people.

After all of that walking we went down to U-Street during happy hour and just hung out at the Bar Euphoria owned by a fellow Okayplayer (what’s up Remy) until it was time to party. You see Dj Spinna , Bobbito and DJ Rich Medina had the grand idea to put on a double party (Half Wonderful Half Funk) . Shino and I were only able to boogie hard to the Wonderful portion of the evening. During the party we all got caught up in the moment chanting “Obama, Obama” to the beautiful musical backdrop of songs like “As” and “Another Star”. I got to boogie hard to some great Stevie Wonder songs before heading to bed for the great day in American history. As we entered the train station rushing to catch the last train we saw a woman going the opposite way with a huge sleeping bag, 4 bottles of water and a heavy coat. This was at around 1:30. I guess she was a sign of what was to come.

See Part 2. for the conclusion and the beginning, if you get my drift.
All photo’s taken by Me from my iPhone (because I left my camera in my other bag)


Whenever things like this happen (way too often) I think of O’shea Jackson. I think of walking with my boys on new years eve and seeing my friends get patted down, while I pretend my elementary knowledge of freemasonry will prevent me from harm. I think of the generations of men and women who have to teach their sons how to deal with the police. At the same time I think of those who don’t have to think of this ‘rite of passage’ and for them dealing with the police is not a life or death situation.

There has never been a time in this country where Black men were NOT the target of police brutality. It’s not a daily occurance where the police kill an unarmed man. However when it does happen you can pretty much guarantee that the victim is Black. In writing this entry I did a google search for the numbers of unarmed men kiilled by police in the US and every answer on the first page was a Blackman. I didn’t ask for Blackmen but that’s what I got because that’s who they kill. A Blackman’s life has never been worth much on US soil since the first slave ship arrived. Yet here we stand less than two weeks before the first Black President is sworn in (I’ll be there) and a 22 year old Black father is shot dead on the ground like a dog…again.

The folks in Oakland are taking this both “lying down” and standing upright. I’ve been told a number of protesters layed out in the street in the same position as the victim Oscar Grant. While a gang of folks took to the streets on foot starting out peaceful ending with smashed windows and police chases. The latter is what you see in the following pictures.

I’m not going to ask the usual why questions because I feel like between Diallo and Sean Bell I’ve exhausted those in my own mind. Honestly after Sean Bell I just felt tired. Tired of all the weight, of people not understanding or not caring. Tired of feeling powerless to stop something that’s been going on for generations before me. I wonder if having more people of color in higher positions in politics will change the face of this American tradition. In NY the city council just signed a resolution requiring police officers to fill out detailed reports when a weapon is discharged. ( In 2009 this is just NOW being addressed? I guess progress is progress. I would love to hear your view points on this whole ordeal. Please leave a comment to express…whatever you want to express.

For more info (and video) see this link.

Photo’s courtesy of Thomas Hawk and mashget.