The deep freeze we’re under as I peck on the keyboard is a perfect metaphor for the sentiment we all thought had been forgotten. Unfortunately, it’s true: The hearts of men have gone cold.
About a week ago, I heard a story so preposterous that I had to check and recheck its validity. My crew in Chi-Town verified the reports, and, sho nuff, one of the saddest stories associated with hip-hop was true. On Dec. 24, 2013, Chicago police apprehended 24-year-old Qawmane Wilson and two accomplices and charged the trio with the alleged murder of Yolanda Holmes, 45, which occurred on Sept. 2, 2012.
Holmes was the owner of a popular business, Nappy Headz Salon, and according to reports, she was a beacon to the community, often lending her salon as a venue to publicize or host community events. She was also a mother to an only child, a son named Qawmane Wilson. According to the Chicago Police Department, Wilson masterminded a plot to have his mother murdered and hired Eugene Spencer, 22, to carry out the killing, and Lorian Johnson, 23, to drive the getaway car. Police also report that Wilson’s motive for the act was “financial gain.” Wilson was the sole beneficiary of two life insurance policies and the funds left in his mother’s bank account.
Here’s where the hip-hop angle gets introduced. For the past year, Wilson, under the guise of Young QC, amassed a growing presence on the Internet as a dancer, actor and rapper/singer. Pictures and music videos were posted on social media and blogs of Wilson holding money by the bricks, making it rain for the “fans,” burning a few dollars or tearing a $100 bill. That’s when he’s not at the luxury car dealership or sneaker spot. It’s easy to live that life after you liquidate roughly $90,000 from your mother’s savings account.
His behavior should be looked upon as an isolated incident, but it’s damning to a whole generation. How can anyone not think they’re right to state they aren’t surprised in the least by this incident? I can’t front—it’s harder and harder to defend our youth. Granted, materialism has for years plagued all facets of society, but in the hip-hop generation, idol worshippers are being created. Couple that with the “I need mine now!” attitude they bear along with the quest for fame or infamy, and we have arrived to where we are now—with a psychotic narcissist willing and able to subsidize the brutal murder of the one who gave him life.
Damn! I still say this is not a hip-hop or music issue, but even now, the staunchest supporters of the art and culture have to acknowledge the part we play in creating these Frankenstein monsters. We have 51 more weeks left in 2014 to try to right the ship.
A way to start will be on Sunday, Jan. 19 as Talib Kweli puts it down at SOB’s (204 Varick St.) for the second annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, which will be held in honor of Nelson Mandela. Kweli, while held in high esteem for his top-notch lyrical content and craftsmanship, bears his reputation well but suggests that he has more to offer.
“My music has been associated with those types of causes—with positivity, spirituality, intelligence and being thought-provoking and such,” he says. “I think sometimes people get caught up in that part of me as an artist and don’t necessarily understand the musicality or fully appreciate the music and the entertainment value behind what I do. I tried to stretch my wings a little bit and bring something that was less beholden to the world of hip-hop and more existing in the world in general,” he said.
Tickets are $22 in advance and can be purchased at the SOB’s box office or ticketweb.com.
I’m out. Holla next week. Until then, enjoy the nightlife.