Guns and Violence: The Sad Beat Continues
By Author Unknown | July 31, 2014
TriceEdneyWire.com) – At the recent “On the Run” tour concert in Philadelphia with half a million people attending, Beyonce’ and Jay- Z portrayed the pistol packing Bonnie and Clyde outlaw couple with lot of fake guns and fireworks.Meanwhile across the nation this July 4th weekend there were real drama, real tears, real guns, injuries and death. A small snapshot: Eighty-five people were shot in Chicago, fourteen killed which included a 14 and 15-year-old boy shot by police. In Rocky Mountain, N.C. grandmothers dived for cover, shielding young ones under their bodies as shots rang out at a picnic. And on Monday, Wanda Ross, a minister at DC’s Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church learned her nephew Joshua Johnson, 26, had been robbed, shot in the head and was on life support, and now he has died.Nearly all of shootings were Black on Black crime and data show Blacks are more likely to be killed by gunfire than White people. The Department of Justice reported that in 2010, the rate of firearm homicides for Black people was 14.6 per 100,000 people. By comparison, the rate for White people was 1.9 per 100,000.So what does the platinum pair Beyonce’ and Jay-Z so honored by the Obama White House have to do with the homicide epidemic sweeping across Black communities? Some would argue a lot.Keith Magee, a Distinguished Senior Fellow, of the University of Birmingham in England attended the concert. He says, “I was astonished by their masterful artistry and capable performances, but was equally astounded by the thematic thread of Bonnie and Clyde. To think that they would utilize outlaws and robbers noted for gang violence and murders in the midst of our current crisis of violence was disappointing.“Though they were careful to reiterate throughout the concert “this isn’t real”, the reality of what is happening in cities and town across American is. Jay-Z, a product of the Marcy Projects of Brooklyn, first hand knows the impact of gangs, gun violence and bloodshed. Beyonce’ was Time Magazine’s Person of The Year and therefore has global impact on young girls. The two of them should perpetuate positive, life affirming messages to the audience they serve.”To raise these issues is not to blame the current murderous cycle on Beyonce’, Jay-Z and their filthy rich hip hop cohorts. Certainly, parents, professors, preachers and others have a role. But those performers who have struck gold promoting drugs, guns and violence should take some ownership of the problems that lethal combination has created. They must be challenged to write and perform lyrics that inspire the young to value life, education and peace.Can’t be done? James Brown “Black and I am Proud” inspired a generation as did Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” anthem. Whether multi-millionaire idols like Beyoncé and J-Z own up to it or not they are role models. Their most popular lyrics have become part of the reality narrative mixed with guns and bravado that are raising the death tolls across America.Badly needed are alternatives, which groups such as the Black Women for Positive Change are working to provide. They are sponsoring a Harmony-jam for young poets, musicians and singers at Metropolitan AME church in Washington DC on August 23. The Harmony-jam will highlight young people who provide positive, inspirational messages as part of their National Summit on Non-violence.“We believe in the transformative power of music, art, poetry and rap. When culture leaders, such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg follow the lead of the top selling composer like Pharrell Williams they can greatly reduce the violence in the world”, says Dr. Stephanie Myers, national co-chair of the Black Women for Positive Change. She has also announced a National Week of Non-Violence focused on anti-violence activities August 16-23. An increasing number of mayors and activists have joined in. The song, “Happy” has proven there is an international appetite for optimism and positive messages. We are calling on our musical geniuses to get busy and demonstrate their power in positive non-violent ways,” Myers added.Meanwhile in Philadelphia, Beyonce’s and Jay- Z’s gyrating Bonnie and Clyde tribute has long since been overshadowed by police sirens and yellow tape. This is not the first time Joshua has been shot, according to his aunt, Wanda Ross. He was in a wheelchair in his home as a result of injuries received from a shooting in 2005. Robbery is the suspected motive for the shooting.Ross says, “Our whole family is in pain. If we lose Joshua, that will be two of my nephews gone. His brother was recently killed in Iraq. Sadly enough her own son, Stephen Anthony Ross, Jr. 20, was shot and killed in May, 1990.So the sad beat goes on– guns and violence—and we all wonder if it will ever end?