Lists, Race & Politics

The Great Name Drop

These ninjas shooting again? Take that to Bush Blvd.

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.

I smart.

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/

Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • http://itsmyurls.com/drmarctagon Marc A.

    Man, ever since Chris Rock said it, I could personally attest to the whole MLK thing…one of the cross streets of my block is MLK drive…and if I told you all crime, n*gga-ness and overall f*ckery that goes on that strip, I’d have enough to write a novel or two.

    • http://itsmyurls.com/drmarctagon Marc A.

      I’d rename the block Leroy Wells (of American idol fame) Avenue…

    • taylormay

      lol. yeah me and my friends were JUST talking about this a few hours ago

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      i think the novel has been written. it’s called hip-hop. lol

      • http://twitter.com/eazylittle Eazy

        Well played sir.

    • http://www.twitter.com/girlgetalife V.E.G.

      In Chicago, it never ceases to amaze me that MLK Drive stops as SOON as the ‘hood starts to get a little ‘whiter’.

      In New Orleans, MLK is a strip of nothingness. There’s a Popeye’s on it and little else.

      Sigh.

      • http://yourchildsmother.blogspot.com/ KMN

        Same here in wis…MLK Dr becomes Old World Third Street once you start to enter downtown Milwaukee..

        KMN

  • http://twitter.com/#!/legitimate_soul legitimate_soul

    Loved the Ice Cube reference and shots fired at Kwame Kilpatrick U. LOL!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      I fired shots?? Lil ole me? never.

  • taylormay

    Morris Brown College Center for People Who Don’t Reed Gud
    right. usually school’s like that (schools that have commercials between 10 am-4pm/ during the price is right, “stories”/soap operas, “judges”, jerry, maury, etc.) shouldn’t even be called college but rather 13th grade.

    • taylormay

      It’s bad enough that Whoopi Goldberg played his wife in a movie,

      rude. just plain rude!

      • just me

        co-sign like Bomquisha: :”RUDE” “Sekuritay!”

    • http://naturallyalise.com/blog/2011/03/11/questionable-quotes/ Naturally Alise

      LMAO @ 13th grade!!!

    • http://www.pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

      NOT 13th grade. LOL

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      Not sure I’d go so far as to call Mo B 13th grade or anything. I mean, in its heyday it was a very well respected institution that provided a lot of opportunities for a lof of ninjas that couldn’t catch a break. And Uncle Hosea went there (Williams, not Chanchez).

      I actually didnt Good Mo B had any commercials.

      • Taylormay

        lol i didn’t necessarily mean Mo B. It was just a segway into schools that are way worse

        • squeak

          segway = segue

      • Aisha

        Speaking of Hosea Williams, his street in Atl isn’t too bad and Andrew Young lucked out too…the exception not the rule tho

  • http://twitter.com/#!/legitimate_soul legitimate_soul

    I understand folks wanting to snatch back their name, but you can’t slap a black name on anything without attending to the conditions, access, etc. and expect it to be great just because it was named after someone righteous.

    It isn’t all black names either. There are some rough schools named after John F. Kennedy, and others. Plus, the bad things going on at some of these institutions named after noteworthy people of all races are not only due to those of color. Juss sayin’ for the record that we are not the only culprits of fooleywang.

    I’m sure a Mahatma Ghandi school in India might not be all non-violent either.

    • taylormay

      i agree. its fine to joke but we also have to be realistic and see that its not just black folk

    • Tes

      I was listening to a Vlog the other day about a city up in controversy because they’re civic center/visitor center might be named the Harry Baals Civic Center.
      It ain’t just us.

      • Cris Until I Find a Clever Name

        I love the name!

      • EastAJ

        Heh, the famous Fort Wayne mayor! Jimmy Kimmel was on this for a good min, almost like he’d never get off his baals….er, balls.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      while i’m painfully aware that there are conditions etc that lead to these schools, buildings, etc having those issues (same reason why MLK always runs thru the hood…we want it there as a shining beacon of our accomplishments and hopes,etc), i still can’t help but wonder if any of the folks, white or black – i just mentioned ninjas cuz of Dunbar high school and ran with it – would want to perhaps remove their name. lol. shoot, i saw my name on something that i wasn’t feeling and wanted it gone.

      you know, you can’t triple stamp then double stamp is all i’m saying.

      • WIP

        “you can’t triple stamp then double stamp”
        Classic.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/legitimate_soul legitimate_soul

        Gotcha! :D

  • http://twitter.com/Phidelity15 Phidelity15

    See I was with you right up until your last name…now I’m pretty sure I mentioned I went to Morris Brown a few times on here and here you go taking shots and ish. Not every college experience is going to be the same and not every teacher can teach…we all know that. Our institution has issues just like MOST hbcu’s, did it get out of hand, yes but don’t try and down the college or its teachers as a whole because of one class you took. You can’t judge a college based off a foreign language class like really who does that??

    • http://thatswhatgemsaid.wordpress.com Gem of the Ocean

      im not gonna lie– ive taken plenty of shots at Mo B in my day. but mostly at the scandals and crazy ish happening with the admin that made everyone like “who keeps authorizing these fools to run a school??” i cant really speak to the level of teaching/professors since i never had a class there, and was around the AUC when Mo B lost its accreditation because of its triflin a$s ADMIN!!

      all that to say, i still love you sawrah. and i dont think any less of you because you went to Mo B(etta Blues). im just glad you got out before they lost it all

      • ESQuared

        You know what, Morris Brown came up in conversation the other day. Ill never forget, I played in my high school band and I ended up on one of those lovely Delta Sigma Theta sponsored black college tours. While im there I ask to go to the bandroom and all that to see the band play, meet the directors and ect. Soon after I learn that while I was being promised all kinds of scholarships and things that the school had lost its accreditation and SHOULD have it back by the time I was ready to graduate. This was when i was a Jr in high school back in 04. Amongst these friends I was asked if Morris Brown ever got their accreditation back…I didnt have an answer….. *no shade, salt or shots fired. #justsayin*

        • Aisha

          It lost financial accreditation only and I believe it got it back on a probationary status last year so now students can get financial aid next year hopefully

        • http://thegoodoleboys.net Soundwave803

          I’m liking the Toonami Profile pic:)

    • IsOurChildrenLearning?

      I get that you’re an alum and are therefore sensitive…but Morris Brown is full of foolery and that is a FACT. We needn’t chalk it up to simple “differences” in educational styles. I mean, the real difference is that Morris Brown isn’t very good at being a college.

      You can admit that it is a sub-par school without having to admit that you were a sub-par student. I’m sure many people have gotten degrees from that school and done very well. However, we should be clear, they did well despite their undergrad institution not because of it.

      • YaleGent

        I agree and would like to add Clark Atlanta as a sub-par school.

    • Deeds

      So, does Morris Brown have it’s accreditation back?

      • WestPointProper

        Inquiring minds want to know…

    • http://twitter.com/Phidelity15 Phidelity15

      Everyone is entitled to their opinions and yes I am sensitive about my institution, but what I’m most bothered about is his blanket statement that everyone who attended/taught at the college was remedial. I was by no ones standard a remedial student and the courses I took at MBC weren’t either. And although PJ didn’t have the best experience as a one-class student at MBC doesn’t mean that people who haven’t even attended the College have the right to judge something they’ve never experienced.
      For the record no Morris Brown doesn’t have its accreditation back yet. But anything and anyone can be destroyed easily…it takes time to rebuild and despite what many think and feel the institution still stands, the principles and motto still hold true and its potential is even greater.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        i think you’re being a bit Isaac Hayes meets South Parkish. no dis, but of all the things we’ve taken shots at here, that wasn’t even that bad. i know its personal for you so take my statement with a grain of salt. but you know, speak your peace/piece. i’m glad you got the education you wanted from there. i love Mo B. always will.

        “But anything and anyone can be destroyed easily…it takes time to rebuild and despite what many think and feel the institution still stands, the principles and motto still hold true and its potential is even greater.”

        marriage and Mo B have the same struggle i guess.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      as an AUC alumn I reserve the right to fire shots at any other AUC schools. As a Morehouse alumn I reserve the right to fire shots at any other HBCU. As Panama Jackson, I fire shots.

      i feel your passion. its your school. i’m with you. i went to morehouse. i know a little something about ninjas throwing rocks. but i also take it in stride. deez jokes. i’m proud that you are proud of your alma mater. and i support my hbcus. i still rock my morris brown sweatshirt (i love that joint) with pride. but errrum, let us not pretend that there aint SOME truth here.

      • http://twitter.com/Phidelity15 Phidelity15

        Ok so I seem to be coming off a bit extra and understand that its not my intent. I’m totally used to other people from the AUC throwing shots…thats just how we do, so thats normal and I do take that with a grain of salt and a shot of 151, but as a former student I can’t sit back and not say something. As this is your blog, you gave your view and your opinion, as a commenter I gave mine.
        Now about that sweatshirt..you wear a smedium right?!? Yeah I’ma need you to run that!! LOL…no but seriously run your shirt son

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          no, my shirt is sized extra gangsta.

    • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

      Ahahahahaha. I was thinking the same thing: Who would go to an HBCU like Morris Brown to learn French? Only a 3.5, that’s who. :)

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        believe it or not, as French was one of my majors, the class i needed to take was only offered at Mo B that semester. that’s how we got down in the AUC. most of my upper level french classes were at Spelman (hence the major), but every now and then id take a class at clark or mo brown.

  • http://harambee.ryan@gmail.com Young Brolic

    Don’t forget Booker T. Washington. My man discovered Tuskegee, and thought black americans should be skilled workers and be proud of their heritage. Most inner city schools have a BTW high school, and they have high drop out rates, crazy teen pregnancy issues, and rampant illiteracy. I think Steve Harvey taught at the fictional BTW high school in Chicago on his tv show. Who wants Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer as their teachers? lol. I’d take that fine Tasha Mack as my principal though. I digress. That kind of name dropping alone should have BTW himself turning in his grave. Unless of course BTW is co-signing everything Steve Harvey stands for; giving bad relationship advice, zoot suits and stacy adams shoes.

    • stlunatic

      I feel like BTW in Houston is an exception-everyone I’ve met from there has been on point, academically. A lot of them are shuttled to OU and successfully complete engineering programs there.

      • Tentpole

        That’s because BTW is not in the 3rd Ward

        • stlunatic

          hm. . .my high school was in 3rdward, and boasted a 100% graduation rate, and 95% matriculation to college. What you tryna say about the tre?

          come cosign @simplysope

          • LadyC

            You must not have went to Yates lol…

          • simplysope

            Bahaha!

            faithful #cosign :)

            But lets be real, our school was an oasis in a concrete jungle. There was a psych ward down the street. o.O

      • deltadiva07

        You probably only met the people from the engineering program. It may have changed now, but BTW was 2 schools in one – the regular school and the engineering program. The regular school can be classified in the same category as the other BTWs

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          its kind of like that in Atlanta with Douglass high school. all of the projects out of towners have heard about feed into Doug (bowen homes, bankhead courts, hollywood, courts – RIP to all of them btw) but they also have the engineering school program which separate them ninjas out.

      • mochazina

        OU Minority Engineering Program reppin!!!
        I used to get sick of the Houston/Tulsa BTW wars… good thing both are good schools.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      BTW in Atlanta is a weird school. It has the highest drop out rate in the city, but the students who do attend tend to go on to do good things, collegiately. it’s like a natural social experiment about self-selection.

  • Hawaii

    What you know about Shuggie Otis, Pan Jac??!!
    Mayne… Inspiration Information, Island Letter and a drink to go w/ my two-step?? Already.

    Okay, back to actually finishing the post :D

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      aside from the fact that he has the coolest.name.ever? lol. come on now, this here’s PJ. music man.

      i think i literally listened to nothing but shuggie otis all day yesterday. which means i had three albums on repeat ALL DAY LONG. lol. you know something’s wrong when you are a musical prodigy who’s entire catalog consists of three albums you recorded before age 21 and have managed to live off of it ever since. of course, that’s mostly cuz of Strawberry Leter 23. point is, Shuggie is my dawg.

      plus i always found it fully interested that his father, Johnny Otis, was a Greek immigrant who chose to live his life as a Black man.

      • just me

        LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Shuggie Otis…my eldest child answers to “Shuggie” b/c that is what I have called him from day one…heck, b4 he was born!

        btw…did u know that he is one of Prince’s favorite artists?

        California cool….did not know that about his father…i thought he was bi-racial/mixed/mullato…is his mom black? Anyway his music jams and u can catch him in concert still in cali…that’s what i heard.

  • bumilla

    i’m just now realizing that i went to an MLK elementary school … i think most of us made it out OK. even the white kids. despite having to sign personal statements that we would not turn non-violent objects into weapons of mass destruction.

    also, i currently live right near dunbar. and while i am not up on their specific incidents of criminality, i can attest to a healthy portion of their dredlocked male student body being blazed from homeroom onwards. (save the teen rape- good neighborhood, affordable rents, y’all) must make algebra interesting.

    but here’s my thing: why can’t we get past the porch monkey ish? i mean, really. we get a few, great, hopeful negroes out there and that’s it? i get socio-economic issues but, um, that doesn’t really excuse tomfoolery that results in us all knowing that MLK drive is not where you want to be past 5:30pm on any given day.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      who you callin’ a porch monkey!

      U-N-I-T-Y!

      • bumilla

        to clarify:

        porch monkey [pôrch muhng-kee]
        -noun
        1. a ninja/ninjess who cain’t spell unity as a result of their tutelage at an MLK/Malcolm X/ W.E.B. Dubois institution for highish learning.

        related: gucci mane

  • morvam
    • http://www.twitter.com/RealTalkSuki2 nowsayitwithme

      One woman, who lives on the same floor, suspected the man was selling drugs out of the apartment and he recently warned her not to let her children play in the hallway. “He was really nice to my kids. He used to give them candy or toys.”

      ^^ Hahahahahaha. Sorry but that sounded so sus. Now what the hell-o kinda f*ck sh*t is this? Is he Candy Man or a Drug dealer? Lol confused.

    • Yoles

      i could not help but notice that they named the projects the sonia sotomayor houses of soundview… it was already a bad and dangerous place… i wonder how sonia feels about that… geesh

    • WIP

      Is this weightism? Does the fact that he weighed 400 lbs have anything to do with the story? I can’t recall the weight of victims being a common item in newspaper articles.

      • IsOurChildrenLearning?

        You are absolutely right. He was overweight. What exactly does that have to do with the story? It would be one thing if his weight made it difficult for enforcement to remove his body, but he was chopped up and stuffed in a duffel bag. His weight should have been a non-issue IMO

      • http://www.twitter.com/girlgetalife V.E.G.

        I think the fact that a 400 lb body could actually be stuffed in a duffel bag is kinda ‘interesting’ if not newsy.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          you know, i know you weren’t trying to be funny, but that almost made me guffaw b/c i immediately thought about the biggest duffel bag i could find.

          i’m sorry. i’ll do a few hail mary’s and mother may I’s.

        • Girl Kanyeshrug

          How did he get in there???

          • WIP

            There was a bloody axe found inside, so I’m guessing he was chopped up.

            • http://www.twitter.com/girlgetalife V.E.G.

              Even chopped up, those are some big body parts in need of a big bag.

            • http://www.twitter.com/girlgetalife V.E.G.

              And that was one determined murderer, to do all that chopping.

              See…the weight angle is key to the story.

        • DQ

          V.E.G. killing fellow commentors one post at a time.

  • http://www.twitter.com/RealTalkSuki2 nowsayitwithme

    Hahaha I died at “f*ck sh*t”

    Can’t think of anything right now that would deserve a name drop. Lol this was entertaining to read though.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      so if i said to you…”are you not entertained?” you’d say, “fa sho” ??