Monday, May 22, 2006


I never met Tiesha Sargent. I would have walked right by her on the street. No, I never knew Tiesha Sargent. But I feel as though I knew her all too well.

Though she was considerably younger than me, we probably bought Jolly Rancher stix from the same candy stores. I'm guessing she may have played double dutch like the girls I knew. She only lived a block away from the apartment where I grew up, the building where I grew up, the block where I grew up. Yeah, she probably played double dutch or freeze tag or, my personal favorite, “run, catch and kiss” on hot summer days. She probably threw snowballs at her friends on the way home from school during the cold-ass winter. And if she grew up at the address I saw for her parents she may have even gone to PS 92, where I went.

I used to fight all the time at 92. I remember one day, walking back from the coat closet, Jerry pushed me. I don't remember if we had been arguing or fighting earlier in the day. I don't remember if I was in a particularly bad mood. I don't remember very much about it. Fourth grade was a long time ago. But I do remember this. I remember spinning around, without missing a beat, as soon as I was pushed, and punching that nigga dead in his jaw. FIGHT!

I recently described that scene to someone and joked that it was like something out of some "Bugsy Malone" version of "Oz." No words were spoken. Things were that volatile. We were always one push, one dis, one hard stare from two niggas going at it like dey was fightin' over the last pair of Air Jordans on God's green Earth. So much anger. So much violence. And we were the top class. We were the smart kids. It must've been a real fucking zoo in those special ed classes...a Brooklyn Zoo.

BROOKLYN ZOO! Ol' Dirty Bastard coined the phrase. It was chilling how accurate it felt when he said it. It's a place I love. It's a place I claim. But sometimes in Brooklyn you are reminded in the most painful ways that human beings are animals. You are faced with the feared Niggers (Africanus Ignoramus). And as Tiesha saw, those muthafuckas eat their young.

A few years back my nephew came to visit me in LA. We went to the beach. There he was, a boy, skinny as J.J. Evans on Dexatrim. He braced himself as a big wave came in and screamed, "FLAAAT-BUUUSH!" I laughed. I knew what that meant. He took on that wave. Like any kid from Flatbush or Brownsville or Bushwick or "Do or Die" Bed-Stuy he knew in his gut that if he could face the Brooklyn Zoo, no stupid ass wave was going to knock him over. Fuck the physics! The little nigga knew the math.

I wonder if Tiesha felt any of that as she went to Brearley, the independent school that Prep for Prep sent her off to after she did her 14 months of hard academic time. I wonder if faced with the challenges of a college like Wesleyan, she ever stared down a final or a paper or a possibly racist professor and yelled, "FLAAAT-BUUUSH!"

Once when I was a teenager, I was in a corner store. A guy came in with his girl and bought a fifty-cent pack of cookies. As he left the store he stopped and turned back. He held up the cookies and said, "This pack is open. I'm'a get another pack." The store owner shot back, "No. You open it." At that point the brother did the only reasonable thing to do in a conflict over a fifty-cent pack of cookies. He pulled out a gun and started waving it.

He said a lot of things. He generally seemed to be commenting on the customer service at that particular establishment and his desire to address the return policy. There was also something about "shootin' a muthafucka" in an attempt to make his position clear. At one point, I saw down the barrel of that waving gun. I thought, "Oh shit. I'm gonna die this store...over a fifty-fuckin'-cent pack of cookies."

I chimed in. "Look, man. As far as I'm concerned you can have another pack of cookies. Can I go?" "Yeah, go ahead, shorty." I calmly slipped between my new best friend and the store owner and out of the store. As I walked back up the street to my building, I laughed.

I remember one day sitting in the Chinese restaurant that was on Bedford, about a block from my house. My mother had sent me to grab some dinner. My buddy, Dwayne, was with me. Then we heard a commotion. It was Liz Kids, a gang of girls who were a lot like the Girl Scouts of America, except they got their merit badges for "stompin' bitches."

Anyway, that kind of noise from that group of girls meant one thing...GIRL FIGHT! We followed them down Parkside. Dwayne and I laughed as we went. Girl fights were great. Eventually somebody always ended up semi-naked…usually titties out. Violence and sex. Sweet.

So they got to the building of the girl who they were going to jump. They were screaming for her to come outside. A crowd was forming. Somebody came outside...but it wasn't the girl they were looking for. It was some muthafucka with a gun. He promptly busted two shots in the air. NIGGAS WAS OUT!

I ran. I hurdled the hood of a parked car. I was passing muthafuckas like they was standing still. My guess is that before those bullets came back down, I was back in the Chinese restaurant. I realized that I wasn’t so much afraid of getting shot because I might die, but because my mother would have wanted to know what the fuck I was doing down Parkside when she sent me to the Chinese restaurant. Dwayne showed up moments later, imitating how fast I ran when the bullets started flying. We laughed.

Once when I was a teenager, I was in Linden Houses, a project in Brooklyn. I was there to see a girl from my school. Some brothers started following me and I was pretty sure it was about to be on. My cousin, let’s call him “Shabazz”, lived over there. I turned around and said, “I’m Shabazz’s cousin.” Those niggas backed away like I had called the name of the Devil himself. Months later, when I saw Shabazz, we laughed about how his name saved my ass. Years later, Shabazz was shot to death. I guess you earn a name like that.

I once heard a woman who was upset about something that someone else was not taking seriously say, “It wasn’t not funny.” I loved that shit. Somehow the fucked up grammar helps to express how “not funny” she found that shit.

I think of Shabazz and I think, "We laughed. But it wasn’t not funny."

I think of our neighbor, Miss Rosa, being stabbed in the elevator. I think of how my teenage sister was the first person Miss Rosa saw. I think of the horrified way my sister described the blood. And I think, “It wasn’t not funny.”

I think of my cousin who was shot in the head in a fucking card game. And I think, “It wasn’t not funny.”

I think of Tiesha Sargent, who I never met. I think of Tiesha Sargent who I would have walked past in the street. I think of Tiesha Sargent, who I never knew. And it makes me sad that I feel I know her all to well.

Tiesha Sargent, a young woman, in her twenties, was killed last Sunday morning. She was shot to death. And it most muthafuckin’ definitely wasn’t not funny!

It wasn’t not funny that after getting through Brearley and Wesleyan, Tiesha Sargent could drown in one of the waves of violence that washes over neighborhoods like Flatbush every day, all over this country.

It wasn’t not funny that we grew up in Flatbush seeing so much violence, knowing so much violence.

It wasn’t not funny that I grew up believing that I probably wouldn’t live to tell the muthafuckin’ tale.

No, none of that shit wasn’t not funny.

So, though I’ve chosen to make violence the subject of a Musing, these days I don’t find it very amusing at all.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I wanted to share with my readers an editorial I wrote that appeared in the CPT, or Colored People’s Times. It is an open letter to our Commander in Chief…our spiritual leader…a man of conviction with suspiciously few convictions…the 43rd President of these United States…George Walker Bush. Or, as the Washington Press Corps call him in a ridiculous attempt to pretend that he’s their friend, “Dubya!” I have another nickname for him.

Dear Shithead,

I heard recently about your shit-for-brains plan to have the NSA keep records of every call made by every American. Respectfully, I can’t begin to tell you how fucking stupid that shit is. You need a more focused approach, King George. Your “plan” would be the equivalent of checking out every book in the library to get a paper done.

You haven’t the slightest fucking clue what that means, do you? You know, I always think of you when people complain about affirmative action.

Anyway, it seems to me that lack of information is not the shit that is fucking up the works. It seems to me that you don’t know what do with the information you’ve already got. (Remember the memo? The FBI warnings that people were taking flight lessons and didn’t seem interested in taking off or landing?) I’ve been taught that intelligence is the ability to process information. I don’t want to call you stupid, but…well…Do with that shit what you will.

So, I think your plan is un-American, illegal and generally fucking dumb. But as a good American I wanted to help out, so I’ll be sending the NSA daily activity logs. That way you can save the manpower it would have taken to keep me under surveillance. That frees up bodies to guard the Mexican border…which would have been protected better had you actually been true to your word and funded the Border Patrol…But hey, who am I to judge?

Here is yesterday’s log:

6:00 AM Wake up

6:01 AM Slap snooze button.

6:10 AM Curse out alarm clock and call it a “lying fucking sack of shit.”

6:12 AM Slap snooze button.

6:21 AM Wake up to alarm. Stare at ceiling and wonder why life is so cruel.

6:22 AM Drag to bathroom. Take morning shit. Wonder if Dubya takes a morning shit. Wonder if he’s amused by the idea that he doesn’t give a shit that he’s shitting on America. Shake head while washing hands.

7:14 AM Watch CNN story about Bush administration obliterating the Constitution. Wonder out loud why Dubya doesn’t just march up Capitol Hill, take a shit on the Senate Floor and wipe his ass with the original copy of the Constitution.

7:15 AM Mrs. NMN explains that “shit” and “ass” are not appropriate words to use in front of the niglets. NMN responds, “Why the fuck not?”

8:00 AM Put in daily call to Donald Rumsfeld’s office. Leave same message as always. “Have we found the WMD yet?” Wait for return call. That shit never happens. Move on with day.

9:00 AM Call Washington DC beauty salons and try to figure out who is responsible for the unfortunate situation residing on Condoleeza Rice’s head. No one admits to any wrongdoing. One queen named Geoffrey suspiciously blurts, “That is classified information!”

12:00 PM Stop at local restaurant for lunch. Watch Mexicans work their asses off. Marvel at their work ethic. Wonder why they all chose to come here just in time for the mid-term elections. That’s some strange shit.

1:00 PM Thrown out of LAPD headquarters after trying, once again, to get help proving that Dick Cheney shot Biggie.

3:15 PM Stopped by kid in street who is walking home from school. He asks why he’s been left behind. I explain that campaign promises are different from actual action and that Dubya never actually funded his education plan. Kid walks away mumbling, “What kind of shit is that?”

4:45 PM Donald Rumsfeld’s office calls. “Now we’re getting somewhere,” I think. An aide explains that phone calls are also covered by the restraining order. I threaten to bust the aide’s ass. He shits himself. I feel a little bit sorry…but not really.

5:30 PM Sitting in rush hour traffic, I wonder how many of the workers around me blame Mexicans for their shit wages and how many of them see through the bullshit and wonder why the national minimum wage hasn’t been raised in nearly a decade.

6:50 PM Watch video that was emailed to me. Shows Dubya playing dress-up under the “Mission Accomplished” banner. Boy, he really shit the bed on that one.

7:35 PM Prepare bottles for kids. Contemplate the fact that formula may be the only fluid that is more expensive than gas these days. Wonder if I can feed the kids gasoline. Won’t help much since, in LA, gas now sells for “pint-o-blood-per-gallon.”

8:00 PM Put kids to bed. Wonder what it will be like for them to watch White people spontaneously combust when the ozone is completely gone. Smile at comedic image until I realize they’ll be dead next. Fight overwhelming urge to find everyone who claims the “jury’s still out” on global warming, rip off their head and shit down their neck.

9:15 PM Enjoy TiVo’d episode of “The Daily Show.” Chuckle to myself at idea that this full of shit administration needs a political enema.

9:17 PM Cry when I realize that the Democrats will probably fuck things up in November and fail to administer said enema.

9:18 PM Call my sister to discuss. She responds, “They got your phone tapped/What you gon’ do/Now all they need is the right word or two/To make it all stick like glue/They got you.” She hangs up.

11:00 PM Fall asleep haunted by the idea that this country is going to shit.

Always Glad To Do My Part…and shit,
A New Millennium Nigga

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Is Fat Phat?

Baritone Voice-Over: You are watching the Nigga Network: Programming That Can't Possibly Be More Troubling Than What's On BET! And now the Emmy-Award eligible news show "Nigga: Confidential."

A New Millennium Nigga walks through slashes of mood lighting toward the camera. He stops. Over his shoulder we see:

NMN: First of all...fuck Ronald McDonald! The introduction was like so many others I had written, but somehow the story would prove to be different. It started out a piece about the obesity epidemic.

It was a story about how McDonald’s now sponsors “Sesame Street.” God forbid kids learn how to count to ten before they get hooked on the hormones, fat and salt that keep Grimace looking so fucking svelte.

It was a story about a President of the United States, a man of leisure, who has seen to it that an entire generation of public school students don’t even get PE thanks to his bullshit education budget cuts. No child left behind?! They’ll all be left behind. They won’t be able to walk if they get any fucking fatter. On the bright side, I guess one way to deal with the Social Security shortfall is to start killing kids.

It started out a story about a lot of things. It ended up a story about a little boy --well, there was nothing little about him -- a great big fat boy who touched my heart, a boy named Tommy. Some of you were touched too.

Heather in Orange County wrote:

“That story about the little fat boy made me really sad even though you can't see it on my Botox-deadened face. I think some formerly fat people like Al Roker should hold a telethon to get all the porkers gastric bypass surgery. That's a universal health care plan I could get behind. Either that or they should puke after they eat. That’s what I do.”

Keep watching, Heather. What matters is what you feel on the inside not what registers on your plastic face.

Some of you were a little more hard-hitting. Tahmel in Brooklyn wrote:

“That story about that fat-ass kid was crazy comedy, son. We was all at the crib screamin' on him, god. That muthafucka was so fat he look like he shit Snickers bars. That's my word.”

Thanks for writing, Sha-kim.

There were others with a range of responses. But one thing was common to them all. They were all impacted by the little boy who ate Quarter Pounders until he weighed a quarter ton.

Cheesy keyboard music plays over the title: DO YOU BLEED BACON GREASE?

NMN walks along a sunny suburban street...pushing a wheelbarrow...with something that looks like a cross between Jabba the Hut and a young Ricky Schroeder wedged into it.

NMN: And that’s the story of Thomas Belcher. So although "Tubby" Tommy weighs 587 pounds, I’d say he’s worth his weight in gold. Goddamn! You are a heavy muthafucka for a 5 year old.

Out of breath, NMN stops walking when he reaches the front lawn of the Belcher House.

MRS. BELCHER: It’s not his fault.

MRS. BELCHER, a scale-tilter in her own right, bends down to “Tubby” Tommy in his wheelbarrow. She feeds him with a soup ladle from a bucket of Skittles. “Tubby” Tommy smiles.

“TUBBY” TOMMY: I can taste the rainbow, Mommy. I really can taste it.

MRS. BELCHER: I know, son. I know.

Fighting back tears, she pours a two-liter Diet Coke down his gullet. The irony is lost on her.

Choked up, NMN turns to camera.

NMN: Sure Tommy’s diabetes may be Type 2, but he’ll always be #1 in my heart. For 'Nigga: Confidential--

“TUBBY” TOMMY: Wait. Can we sing the song…one more time?

NMN: Sure we can “Tubby” Tommy. It’s your favorite.

TOGETHER: (singing sweetly) Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese…

NMN breaks down.

“TUBBY” TOMMY: What’s the matter, Mr. Nigga?

NMN: It’s just that…if we don’t do something about your weight, about all the fat ass kids like you –

BUUUUUUURRRRRRRPPPPPPP. “Tubby” Tommy lets one rip that rattles the windows in the neighborhood houses. NMN's glasses crack.

MRS. BELCHER: Well, they don’t call us the Belchers for nothing.

NMN and Mrs. Belcher share a laugh as “Tubby” Tommy chuckles through his signature fat man wheeze.


NMN walks down the same suburban street in the rain.

NMN: That was then. This is now.

NMN stops at the Belcher house. The empty wheelbarrow sits on the lawn.

NMN: “Tubby” Tommy died last Friday. I was with him at the time. It’s rare that a nigga witnesses the transition from life to death. It’s a once in a lifetime moment when a nigga actually gets to see a muthafucka explode. All you can eat indeed, “Tubby” Tommy. All you can eat indeed. Mrs. Belcher asked that I deliver “Tubby” Tommy’s eulogy. Here is some of what I had to say about our beloved round mound.


NMN stands in a pulpit.

NMN: Who knows? If he had lived longer, dealing with his diabetes, eating the shit he was eating, he might have gone blind. He might have needed an amputation. Am I right Mrs. Belcher?

Mrs. Belcher nods in no particular direction from behind her sunglasses. She reaches her prosthetic hand into a bucket of Popeye’s, pulls out a spicy breast and swallows it whole. The IV bag that hangs beside her reads “Kool-Aid.”

NMN: No, “Tubby” Tommy is in a better place now, a place where chairs are wide and doorways are wider. He’s gone on to that great big buffet in the sky. So, in conclusion, I offer this prayer.

May the food there be all processed.
May the sugars be refined.
May the portion sizes be out of wack
And fucking blow your mind.

May there always be ketchup
To drown your super-sized fries
May you never see or never know
Another day of exercise.

And now…I ask that you take out your Big Mac and Wendy’s Frosty.

NMN dunks a Big Mac into a chocolate Frosty and wolfs down the whole thing. Everyone in the congregation does the same.

NMN: Do this in remembrance of “Tubby” Tommy Belcher.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Musings Of A New Millennium Nigga: Shut The Door Behind You!

Shut The Door Behind You!

NEW MILLENIUM NIGGA NEWS BRIEF (transcript provided by Reuters)
(credit given to Paul Mooney who introduced the idea of "The Nigga News" years ago)

NMN: And so, if you don't see your Mexican co-worker today, that's why. Today has been declared "Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes" or for you Anglos out there, "A Day Without Immigrants." Or as I like to call it, "Sure Hope Y'all Don't Get Fired and Live To Regret This Day Day."

That's it for this New Millennium Nigga News Brief. And now back to "Mr. New Millennium Nigga's Neighborhood" on the Nigga Network: Programming That Can't Possibly Be More Troubling Than What's On BET!


MR. NEW MILLENNIUM NIGGA sports a red cardigan. He is surrounded by a bunch of kindergarteners who listen intently to the story being read. He turns the page and shows them all a picture of Lady Liberty standing at the door of a house.

KIDS: Aaaaahhhhhh...

NMN continues reading.

NMN: And the people of the world were all confused. Vicente the Mexican stepped forward and said, "Si, pero what about when you say, 'Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.'"

Then Lady Liberty thought for a moment and said, "Yeah...not so much. Sometimes, once your people have gotten into the house, you have to..."

NMN smiles at his riveted audience.


NMN (reading): "Could it be that the house that immigrants built truly could not tolerate or accomodate any more immigrants?," the people murmured. They walked away, angry at Lady Liberty and all that she represented.

They never knew that the evil Republican politician, who claimed to love Lady Liberty, had been holding her hostage the whole time.

The End."

As NMN closes the book, The Minister of Propaganda walks over to him and whispers something in his ear.

The Minister of Propaganda hurries away.

NMN: There's an emergency, children.

REDHEAD KID: Do you have to go now, Mr. Nigga?

NMN: No. Not really.

NMN sits in the silent classroom for seven inexplicable minutes.

NMN: Alrighty then. In honor of "Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes" or as we say in English "Sure Hope Y'all Don't Get Fired and Live To Regret This Day Day," let's sing The New Millennium Nigga Remix of "The Star-Spengled Banner." Available in stores.



KID WITH AFRO: Mr. Nigga, there's no sex in your remix. Why did you use that cover art?

NMN: Because sex always sells in the world of music, Kid with Afro. Just like hate always sells in the world of right-wing politics. Plus, once the Rush Limbaughs of the world peep this remix, a simple little Spanish translation won't seem like the end of the fucking world after all. Now...let's sing.

They all sway as the MUSIC STARTS for "The Star-Spangled Banner."

ALL: Jose, can't you see?
We can't give you rights.
We like Wal-Mart sales.
Of low prices we're dreaming!

It's an election year.
And Iraq didn't go right.
So though nothing has changed.
We'll discuss the border o'er which your people are supposedly streaming!

And we know it's bullshit.
Hate's a disgusting habit.
In '04 it was the gays.
In '06 Mexicans must pay.

And we know it's not fair.
But we don't really care.
Ellis Island's alright.
But how did so many brown people get here?

Jose, please excuse us
for acting like we belong in caves.
From the land of the free...
unless you're a slave!


NMN: Fuck you very much, kids. Fuck you very, very much.

Mr. Nigga waves as he heads out the door.

REDHEAD KID: Mr. Nigga...?

Mr. Nigga pokes his head back into the room.

NMN: Yes, Redhead Kid?


The kids all laugh. Mr. Nigga smiles, hands on hips.

FADE TO BLACK...or brown...or red...or yellow...It's all good with A New Millennium Nigga.