Marlo said it best, “My name is my name.” Rihanna echoed, “ooh na na, what’s my name?” Snoop poeticized, “what’s my name, fool?”
What’s in a name?
There’s a high school in Washington, DC, that has currently been having more problems than three hypochondriac crackheads with an itch and a cough. There was recently (well last late year) a girl sexually assaulted in the school by a bunch of males who then had her name, face, and phone number plastered all over fliers that were passed out around the school as an “easy ride”. They’ve got gang problems. In fact, for a solid two months, I noticed no less than 10 police squad cards parked in front of the school. It’s a shame really. This school in its current iteration is a direct descendant of the famous (especially amongst older Black Americans) M Street School.
Yes, this high school is Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School.
And you know what? Every day I drive by I wonder aloud to the invisible passengers in my car if Dunbar wouldn’t want his name removed from that school. I know I would. If my name is going to be attached to something, which is an honor, I’d like it to be attached to something that doesn’t involve police, violent crimes, and plain ole f*ck sh*t. Of course, since most of our heroes names get attached to stuff in the Black community, which is generally inner city, well, we’re kind of stuck like chuck.
I remember The Boondocks episode with Dr. Martin Luther The King in it where he hilariously thought that somebody really needed to ask permission to use his likeness for ads. And kind of like dead rappers getting better promotion, dead icons get all the accolades by having their names attached to places where the folks have no idea who they are. So here’s my list of what I’d guess would happen if icons could ask to have their names removed from sh*t that their name is attached to when their named is attached to sh*t they can’t go for (that, no can do).
By the way, if I could have any other person’s name in life, it would be Shuggie Otis. Thank you.
1. MLK Ave, Street, Drive, Blvd, Circle, etc
As Chris Rock famously pointed out, MLK was a man who universally stood for peace. If you are anywhere near MLK in any city, you know that there’s some violence going down. My particular residence in ATL…is on MLK. From Harland Terrace all the way through Adamsville, there always seems like something is going down. I’ve witnessed shootings with my own two eyes. Flatlands FTW. And its like that in every city. Of course, its a double edged sword. MLK goes through the Black community because well…
…he Black. We’re not going to NOT name a street that. But I’m sure if MLK had his way, his street would run thru the north side of town, since in most cities (most, not all) the North side is where its generally the most peaceful.
Quick Panama fact: I once nearly bought a condo near the intersection of Malcolm X Blvd and MLK, SE in DC because I figured it had to be the Blackest intersection in America.
2. Medgar Evers College
I’m too lazy to find all the documents but MEC was going through ALL kinds of f*ckery at their Brooklyn, NY, campus. School presidential issues, misappropriation of funds. and a big booty b*tch to go with it. Just saying, It’s bad enough that Whoopi Goldberg played his wife in a movie, NOW he’s got ninjas kick dirt on his name educationally? I’d want my name back. Call it Kwame Kilpatrick U or something more apprpriate.
3. Morris Brown
College Center for People Who Don’t Reed Gud
Speaking of colleges, I’m not sure it even needs to be stated, but if I was that ninja Mo B? I’d snatch my name off the school with the quickness. We got criminal scandals, eight students, and and teachers who know less than the students. Real talk, I took a class at Morris Brown my junior year. It was a 400 level French class. So we’re talking about reading French Lit and writing papers, etc. When I tell you that Professor Jenkins Jackson from Uganda didn’t speak any French…well he didn’t speak any French. And he’s my teacher? I should have known something was wrong when the “classroom” was this ninjas office. Standing room only.
That’ll do, pig.
Folks? What you got? Who do you think would want their name snatched back from an entity because it’s the antithesis of what they stood for?
And better yet, what would you rename these locales?? Let your soul glo(w). Let it shine thru!
Talk to me.
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka lower.case.p aka SHUGGIE JACKSON aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3
ATTENTION: Our Three Year Anniversary is upon us, and we are celebrating it in DC on Saturday, April 2. Introducing VSB Lounge: Three Deez. Yes, this means The Champ and Panama Jackson are finally meeting in person! RSVP here, while supplies last: http://vsbloungethemeetup.eventbrite.com/
- Purchase our new book, Your Degrees Wont Keep You Warm at Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime on Amazon.com
- Get on the VSB VIP List!
- Look out for details about The Champ’s interview on the Michael Baisden Show today. And Panama will be speaking at Princeton University this Saturday, March 26, at the Hip Hop: Arts & Life Symposium. For those in the area, details are here: www.princetonhhal.com Cornel West, Tricia Rose, Imani Perry, etc are featured speakers.