2001, top of the new millennium, homicide was the third leading cause of death among African American male youth. In less than 10 years, homicide leap frogged over the first and second leading causes, (car accidents and suicide, respectively), to become number one. Overhwelmingly, this is a consequence of youth-on-youth violence. African American young men are killing each other in epidemic proportions. This is not just a crisis of the Black community, it is a crisis of entire United States of America. This song is being distributed, in part, to help counter this epidemic.
20% of every purchase ($0.20) goes to charities actively working to counter African American youth-on-youth homicide.
"Once you change your philosophy, you change you thought pattern.
Once you change your thought pattern, you change your attitude.
Once you change your attitude, it changes your behavior pattern."
"I have a dream my four little children will one day live
in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,
but by the content of their character."
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
You should be skillin', but you're killin' and you're botchin' it up;
the Dream that Martin had and Malcolm had
and many before.
Not ok! You outta your mind?!
Chil'ren, take a minute; listen to your elders!
You hurt your posture and your power with your pants at your knees.
Do you really expect someone to take you seriously?
Mark the time! You've fallen behind;
you are less prepared than kids from most other nations.*
someone oughta smack you!
someone oughta slap you
outta your darkness and into your light!
You could be a saviour for your generation!
what is your intention?
Are you society's invention?
Focus your thoughts and ennoble** your life.
Harness your mind;
your only limit is imagination.
(So sad, to see you do what you do; so sad, babies.)
"Enough is enough!! 42 homicides should be an outrage!!
We talkin' about our children!!"
Your Black forefathers worked too hard to gain a reputation
of being smarter, working harder; forcing integration.
How dare you say
"All of that's fine. But, what's that got to do with me; it's the 2000s?"?!!
Stop actin' silly, it's not pretty when you open your mouth,
and conversation like a slave from 1800 comes out!
What'll you say, when you're my age, and you’ve squandered away all your cultural advantage?
I'm not gonna give you another lesson in Black History.Chorus 3x
So sad. Stop the killin', babies.
So sad. Stop the killin', babies.
So sad. Stop the killin', please!
"Let each person do his or her part.
If one citizen is unwilling to participate,
all of us are going to suffer.
(What are you doin' babe;
what Dream you tryin' to get to?)
though it is shared by all of us, is realized in each one of us."
Congresswoman Barbara Jordan
* This statistic is generally relative to most American children and youth, of every ethnic group; it is not nor is it intended to be construed as a specific commentary on African American youth or the African American community.
** This is the Archangel Diaries recording of "Hey, Cool". (Archangel Diairies recordings are intended to be well produced demos.) For the chorus, I wrote what you see. However, when I was ready to record the background vocals, I decided to try "empower" instead of "ennoble". I recorded the lead vocals a few days thereafter, forgetting I had sung "empower". Rather than changing either one, I decided to go with them both; they're mutually inclusive.
|*** The gunfire audio
beneath the Marvin L. Cheatham, Sr.
quote is from an actual battle between the L.A. Bloods and Crips,
leaving another one of our children dead.
"Enough is enough!!"
a Black (Baby) Boomer who actively participated in the Civil Rights
Movement (in multiple states), I am deeply saddened by the decline of
African American youth in our subsequent generations. I am particularly
saddened by the fact that youth-on-youth violence in the African
American community has resulted in homicide now being the leading
killer of young black males in this country. From my perspective, I
agree with Bill Cosby and others who note that collective personal
choice is one of the primary roots of the decline and this national
health crisis. As an elder of the African American community, I have a
responsibility to actively participate in countering these trends,
however, although I am generally confident in my ability to reach my
goals, I've frequently found myself stymied in inner dialogue asking,
"What could I possibly say or do that would make any kind of
significant difference in that huge wave?"
The AIDS crisis taught us that silence=death. Being a silent observer changes nothing; somehow, we elders (and those who share our perspectives, including many of our youth), must speak out; we must find our unique voices, open our mouths and speak. Every timely communication designed to course correct and edify our youth makes a significant difference! Knowing this, yet also knowing that the right way is as important as the right words, I pondered both relative to my growing need to speak up. One day, while riding a bus packed with black kids coming home or going to work after school, I watched as far too many were choosing to pose as thugs and dumb down, just to get through their day without being victimized. (I've seen that dynamic in our community since I was in junior high/middle school!!) Far too many were representing that decline in ways that clearly indicated their behavior was a direct consequence of their personal choices and that, (for whatever reasons), they didn't care. That day, the proverbial straw broke the camel's back within me and I found myself speaking within my mind what became the words of this song, "Hey, Cool!"
If you are a like minded Black Boomer (or otherwise) and you find yourself empathizing with what I'm communicating, if the words of this song air your thoughts and give words to your feelings, please join me in speaking up and getting this message out there in two ways:
(1) buy the mp3, put it in your iPod/media player and share it with your family and friends and
(2) send the URL of this page to other Boomers in your contact list, as well as all therein whom you know to think and feel likewise.
The violence and disaffection of our youth is part of their screaming, plaintive cry for our help, for our guidance. Whether it's through the words of "Hey, Cool!" other songs or your own words, we can't just silently watch and privately rant; helping them entails talking with them and, for all of our sakes; we must speak up - we have enough death already. As Barbara Jordan said, "If one citizen is unwilling to participate, all of us are going to suffer." We can keep silent and watch them fall or we can speak up and help them rise; either way, rise or fall, we're not going there quietly.
San Francisco, CA