pictured: “Hood Billboard” located on Kensington and Castle near Burgard High School.includes Raymond Kincannon, Mike Jemison, Jesse Doyle, Ben Cook, Mike Ray Jackson (Groove Lounge), and Zack Williford.
by Jesse Doyle
When you on the battlefield you need to know who you are. More importantly, you need to know who you are not. Let us start with who I am not. I am not the Bishop, not a pastor, not a politician, not a celebrity. Just a sinner trying to be saved by grace. A lot of time we look to the pastors, politicians, celebrities to carry the load. I think that is a mistake because that makes us complacent. It also made us voiceless. I said a few weeks ago that I did not like what is going on in our country. Deceit, hatred, and division. I also said give me some time. I was gone load up and clap back. That phrase simply means “what the retaliation would be to a WhiteH trying to gangsta this election.” I thought to myself. The people that vote always vote. They will vote regardless of their circumstances. To me that is like preaching to the choir. So, then I said, how do we wake up what sometimes seems like a sleeping society? The underground, the players, the hustlers, the uneducated, and the young single parents that feel like they are drowning in everyone else’s decisions.
God walked me through the violent streets of the 90’s untouched. So many people close to me along the way ended up in jail, hail, drugs, or thugs. I learned so much in the hood. I can hold a conversation with anyone from the bottom of the ghetto to the top of the White House and would not miss a beat. The biggest lesson is if you love and respect the streets, the streets will love and respect you back. Not long ago I woke up in the middle of the night. All I could think about were folks we refuse to include. The same folks we look down upon. In some cases, some of us have become so high class we refuse to even say hello to folk. But the truth is, there is untapped power in the streets.
It was clear to me. The difference in this election will be the street vote. Who better to get the message to the streets than folks that rose from the ashes of the late 80s and 90s? So many times, we see our Black men portrayed on the evening news in handcuffs or in the midst of yellow tape. Just to be clear. EDP is not a gang. EDP is a lifetime fraternity built with men and women over the years. Folks that came before me, during me, and after me. I felt like the MEN of EDP needed to take the lead role in this push for the street vote.
This election is so important. We put our money where our heart is. We spent our own money and rented the first “hood billboard” in the city for 30 days. The billboard is located on Kensington and Castle near Burgard High School. A small sample of EDP MEN on the billboard are Raymond Kincannon, Mike Jemison, Jesse Doyle, Ben Cook, Mike Ray Jackson (Groove Lounge), and Zack Williford. These BLACK MEN are business owners, fitness instructors, plant workers, supervisors, veterans, husbands, fathers, and providers.
These BLACK MEN wake up every morning in search of Every Dam Penny (EDP). In search of how to make our community better for those that came after us. Reach one, teach one destined in our spirits. Thought it was important to speak to where these BLACK MEN stand in the community on this day.
The legendary rapper Tupac Shakur once said “They can’t stop us. We been here all this time and they ain’t took us out. They can never take us out. No matter what they say about us being extinct. About us being an endangered species. We ain’t never gone leave this. We ain’t never gone walk off this planet unless y’all choose to. Use your brain. Use your brain. It ain’t them that’s killing us. It’s us that’s killing us.”
Our message to every hood in the town. Let us walk as one.
Time to get into some good trouble. We need you.