Tuesday, March 6, 2012



All of the theories, analogies, logic and observations in this article are based solely on the mental frame and leg work of Lady Gray.

When will it end, this vicious circle in life that tears up the roots of people and ravages communities all across this nation. The games of life where the players get younger every year, the paper chase, the self-servings agendas of a self anointed few who ravage the communities that either spawned them or they choose to govern? When will the security bars come off from the houses we work so hard for, our children be able to play stick ball and football in the streets again safely, spend Sunday afternoons as bar-be-ques and family gatherings on the yards in our
communities, men and women dressed in their Sunday finest with their children in tow walking to church again? IF, the biggest, little word in the English language,a self induced sentence all of its own making.

I am a staunch believer of “strength in numbers” and “collective wisdom and knowledge.” I often ask those within my alliance and following who are incarcerated, what would happen if men and individuals took all of their negative energy and converted it to positive power?

How many of you have ever seen the old classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life”? In the movie, the star role is played by James Stewart. Although he sees himself as insignificant and somewhat minute in his existence, by the end of the film, his individual character has touched and enriched everyone within his community, in all
reality, he is the most important man in town. As individuals, for every life we touch or enrich, they will in turn touch and enrich a thousand others in their lifetime.

This summer I was speaking with two elderly black women in Detroit, they live near the university. One of the women is a retired government employee, has lived in her home for 40 odd years. Two blocks from her home, when she came to a stop sign, a young male specimen broke out the passenger side of her truck and stole her purse. At the end of her street, a young white male specimen was found hanging in a tree over a drug deal gone bad. But the saddest news of all or information that I received, was when they told me the young “corner puppies” and individuals on the “paper chase” were hanging the sneakers of individuals they had “dusted off” or “powdered” (murdered), in their windows and on their porches to mark their territory.

First of all, I felt sorry for the families who would never have those sneakers sit beside or walk through their doors again. Then I felt sorry for the individuals who had no strength of their own, they felt the only way they could obtain it was to take another life. But most of all, I felt sorry for society in general in the community, the individual who once filled and gave life to those sneakers, would not be “touching” or “enriching” their lives.

This display of character and mentality upset me. I would like to now address this issue of these animalistic rituals and characteristics which is practiced in many communities across our fine nation. I had no clue of this display by male specimens who run the streets and life’s gamut, so I went in search of answers. This was a difficult task, finding answers and knowledge of this bizarre display of male identity. Most of the men within my alliance are from state correctional facilities and can stand on their own two feet, they don’t belong to any organization within or without, they’re independents and choose to exercise their intellect for the good
of the whole tomorrow. The men who are within my alliance that have been connected to an organization, do not practice this display of “thuggism” either, however they do respect and honor the silent codes of other organizations, and could or would not discuss my inquiries into “sneakers”. So I decided to run down some of the puppies within my realm who have come to me for help in the past and wrench the information from their depths (smile). The following information, although not forged in iron, is of fairly consistent knowledge and you may gather from it what you may. That’s both sides of life’s fence.

SNEAKERS: When I think of sneakers, I thing of youth and sports. However, over the years, podiatrists have found themselves recommending the foot apparel of yesterday to the elderly of today, for comfort and support. There is however, another mentality that thrives in this country, and they use “sneakers” to mark their territory as a symbol of fear and terror within their communities for all who reside or pass through their neighborhoods. For those of you who have not seen this display, who have not ventured outside of your safe bumper zones in life, I will now tell you what I know of “sneakers.”

In some cities, communities and neighborhoods, “sneakers” are thrown over telephone and electrical lines as a symbol that the drug shipment has arrived and the dope man is there also with his wares of debilitating vices for you to purchase. “Sneakers” which are hung within windows of houses like prisms to catch the light have two meanings of display as well. The first is the individual within the residence is gang related, he hangs his shoes up as a sign of the “dirt” he has walked through and dealt out on the streets within the games of life he chooses to play and distribute. The second display of “sneakers” are trophy symbols, meaning they belong to the individuals that they have personally “powdered” or “dusted off”, in other words murder. They hang these in a symbolic attempt to distribute their fear and terror into the souls and hearts of their communities and rivals. These “symbols” and “trophies” are used mainly by the organizations known as the “Crips” and the “Bloods” along with several factions and wanna be huggers within their organizations. This is also practiced by some Spanish-American organizations within the U.S. I do not or choose not to have these individuals within my alliance; I do not speak Spanish.

Now that I knew the gist of it, I wanted to try to find some level or plane of comprehension and reasoning behind these actions and rituals…evidently there is no sound logic behind this practice, so I had to indoctrinate my own reasoning and philosophy behind such a display.

Over the last two and a half decades, I have lived within and visited cities and communities throughout the U.S., where different factions of organized crime governed and dwelt. Within these neighborhoods the crime syndicate or faction did not need symbols of their existence or life’s feces droppings to mark their territory. Their names and actions within the neighborhoods carried enough weight and respect. Sad to say, but these are the neighborhoods I chose to live within, they were well protected and those who dwelt within rarely had crimes bestowed upon them, unless they chose to bring them down upon themselves. In other words, the governing self-anointed body did snot prey upon their own. For those of you who have lived within the realms of darkness, I prefer to think of these individuals as “Old Guard” and “Old School.”

However, there is a “new breed”, renegades or rogues who have spawned their own factions off organizations and syndicates of crime long ago. They prey upon society and communities indiscriminately, they have no cause, purpose or reason, they distribute their wares, fear and terror at will and with wild abandon. They have no sense of family values, moral or loyalty, yet they join these “gang factions” in an
attempt to seek out these very elements. But this is where I become confused…when young individuals tell me they joined these “gangs” and organizations for a sense of “belonging”, respect, family, loyalty, and these gangs advertise these attributes…if they don’t display it on the home front, and all of these individuals are
basically joining or being “plugged” in search of the same elements and aspects in life, how do they get it or find it in “the life?”

They don’t. Once again life has chosen to put a mirage in their travels. They become bitter, angry, spiteful and destructive, their animalistic and volatile behavior destroys the very communities that have given them birth. They start out on one block, one street, one neighborhood and when their virus has destroyed their
homestead, they move on to spread their incubated disease, envious of what is left still standing in life.

These fearless individuals who run in “gangs” or “packs” like wolves, mark their territory with the blood, sweat and tears of others, their greed and minds race faster than their legs, and soon they become engulfed by time, darkness and incarceration, if they’re lucky….

These are the puppies and waifs in life, who when they enter the dark halls and corridors of time, they are the first to wait for Mother Nature to provide them with release from their pain and self pity. They wait for it to rain, the rain drops masquerading the flow of their own fear now. They become preyed upon by men seasoned within times incarceration. Harassed, beaten, mentally and physically abused, taken for sexual “toy boys”, the very life they chose to prey upon, swallows them up in the bowels of darkness.

Facing conviction and atonement now alone, their biological families and “extended family” throw them to the dogs, they have nothing left to show for their time on the outside…no money, no material objects, no family, significant other or children. The only mementos of their life beyond the walls, are the scars, tattoos, and nightmares they harbor within their souls, and the hollowed shells of the communities they destroyed.

Two wrongs in life, don’t make a right, two negatives do not create a positive, and every time a pair of “sneakers” are adorned in some neighborhoods window…our youth and tomorrow, the future and hope of society slip within the horizon.

I leave as I came with a great deal of love and respect for life.
Lady Gray/bossladyjmc

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Old Man & 'Touchdown'....

The "Old Man" & "Touchdown"

"Touchdown" was a young boy born in Memphis, TN, raised in theScutterfield District. A young boy of 8 or 9 years of age, growing up in the projects and being raised by his grandparents. Like many young boys at this age, he was extremely impressionable, his eyes full of wonder within his dysfunctional environment, an adventurous young boy to say the least. His area of Memphis was like many hoods, impoverished, riddled with crime and street games. Individuals involved in life's struggle, just trying to survive the times.

Growing up with two older Uncles in their late teens involved in "street life", "Touchdown" became enamored at a very young age with the "street games" and "preying" on those weaker within life. He would often listen late at night to the older teens and young males talk of their endeavors within "drugs, pimping, robbing and gang banging". Late in elementary school, he was excelling in sports and had many friends due to his Uncle's position in the neighborhood. He soon followed in his Uncle's shoes and portraits of negativity, turning his small "click" into his crew of "neutral"followers. Not yet "plugged" into a gang, "Touchdown" looked for "youthful" ways to attain money for himself and "crew". They played arcade games, ate pizza and hung out with the older teens and male individuals within their "hood". Often they would make "beer runs" for the older gang members and this seemed like an honor to them. But they all wanted to be like the individuals around them who sported new cars, jewelry, girls, smoked dope and partied.

There was this "Old Man" who lived down the street from the projects who had two dogs. He had a fence around his yard and often left the dogs in the yard to take fresh air. This "Old Man" was a centurion in his neighborhood. He had survived time and was filled with life's knowledge, pain and suffering. He would watch all of the coming and goings on his street. One day the "Old Man's" two dogs got out. "Touchdown" and his "crew" walked by and the "Old Man" asked them if they had seen his dogs? If he found them for him, he would reward them."Touchdown" knew where the dogs had gone.

Everyday the "Old Man"would take the dogs for a walk to the park. "Touchdown" knew this was where the dogs probably were. So he and his friends went to the park in search of the dogs. Sure enough, they found them running and playing in the park. They took the dogs back to the "Old Man". Grateful and true to his word, he rewarded the boys. He gave them enough money to get a pizza and play a couple of arcade games.

It wasn't long before "Touchdown" turned this event in life into a money making game. He and his "crew" would go by the "Old Man's" house and let the dogs out. Then go and hang out with older gang members for a while before walking past the "Old Man's" house once again. They knew there was only one place the dogs would go, to the park, the only place the "Old Man" would take them. They'd come by and the "Old Man" would ask them to find his dogs again. This left the young "crew" with inflated egos, because now they had a money making game too, just like the older gang members in the neighborhood.

At 43, "Touchdown" is now doing a heavy sentence for gang related offenses and organized crime. Being "plugged" into the "GangsterDisciples" in his young teens by his "Uncle", he soon rose through the ranks of the organization. He had his own crew and set. He was also a star athlete. Many within his neighborhood protected "Touchdown" hoping that he would be one of the "lucky" survivors who made it out of their hood. True to their dreams and hopes, "Touchdown" excelled in sports in High School. He became a protected fixture in the neighborhood. He was left out of the harsher side of "gang banging". He became a State All-Around Athlete and attained a Football Scholarship to a University where he played Quarterback. In his sophomore year of College in one game he blew out his knee. His dreams and desires came to an end. He returned to his "hood" and those in his "crew".

All of this time he had been protected, family and individuals within the community were counting on him. Once again "Touchdown" picked up the "street life" within the GD Organization and excelled. After all, in his heart he owed many of those around him who had protected him from the darkest chapters within life.

At age 43, one-third of his life spent behind bars, "Touchdown" is one of a handful from his set that has reached 40. This is only due to the fact that he has been incarcerated within State and Federal Penal Facilities. As he sits now in his cell, buried within time, many of those he shared life with taken by the "games" and "plays" of the streets. He sits back and thinks about that "Old Man". Was he as stupid as they all thought, or was he truly one of life's Angels? He knew everything that went on in his neighborhood, he had nothing better to do, then sit and watch time pass him by. Did he give the young boys money, hoping that they wouldn't follow in the footsteps of others in his neighborhood? Was he hoping as he saw these young boys open his gate and pass by his house, that they would be the future and the real "warriors" in life? Could they possibly by the ones who wouldn't fall into life's traps and pick up the "struggle" where he left off.

The "Old Man" now gone with the passage of time. "Touchdown" sees life through his eyes a little late and the hard way. He lies in his cell and thinks about these younger days in his life. The "Old Man"didn't look so stupid anymore…for "Touchdown's" only desire now, was to take up life where the "Old Man" had left off. Sitting in a small house, in front of a window in his neighborhood, watching the "struggle" and "the life" claiming its victims. Maybe, just maybe, he will be able to finish what the "Old Man" had started and find the new "Warriors" to fight the "struggle" before "life" claims them.

I leave you as I came with a great deal of love and respect for life.
Lady Gray
This article is dedicated to "Touchdown" presently incarcerated in a Federal Penal Facility