By now everyone has heard about the unfortunate situation that went down Wednesday night on the Texas Southern University campus during a huge community event called ‘Trae Day’which was a day long celebration meant to honor popular Houston rapper Trae the Truth and give out free school supplies. According to police reports, 6 people were injured in a drive by shooting as things were winding down.
Houston police were quick to point out the the shooting stemmed from rival gangs that reside in cities outside of Houston. For many in attendance, it was a huge black eye for organizers and participants who wanted to put forth the community activism and political maturing of Trae as well as many of the artists on the bill like Bun B who was scheduled to perform. The host of the event was Houston City Councilman Peter Brown who is campaigning for mayor and scheduled to attend was Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
This incident is one that is certain to evoke skepticism in the minds of some politicos who are wondering if engaging the Hip hop community is a liability. This unfortunately happens even if the artists themselves had nothing to do with the drama. In this case, Trae had already left the event when the shootings took place. But his name will be associated with what went down as more than a few pundits will gleefully try to connect the dots and conclude that rappers + large crowd=violence.
What i find even more disturbing is how this incident has made national news. It was one of the top stories on the news here in the Bay Area. They reported that story but not the flare up between the Neo nazis and KKK in Paris, Texas-why? I was watching the local news stations in New York City this morning and again this was a top story…Again no mention of the Paris, Texas incident-why?
Here in Richmond, California there was a multiperson shooting involving 4 or 5 people and it barely made the newspaper-so why did Trae who is relatively unknown outside of mainstream circles suddenly become a household name?
When I saw the coverage in NY they made sure to mention it was a Get Out to Vote event.. They didn’t make mention that it was an event that collected school supplies for people in need… Why was this not mentioned? AP and other major news agencies covered this story and I think it was only one local outlet that talked about the school supplies Trae and City Council Peter Brown who is running from mayor collected.
Lastly there were national acts on that bill, Rick Ross and Bun B they were never mentioned.. News coverage is always by design and not by coincidence. I think the game plan was to discredit an event that was doing exactly what we complain ‘street oriented rappers aren’t doing.. organizing and politicizing their fans and the communities they come from..
The usual tact after a shooting incident is to gather a bunch of pundits around and start examining the lyrics of rap songs and critique the style of dress. And while I’ll be the first to admit there’s always a time and place for such discussions, whats at stake right now is dealing with the larger underlying issues that lead to bad behavior, bad choices and nihilistic attitudes. This could include poverty, poor schools, bad housing and lack of health resources to name a few. The solutions to many of these ills are likely to come in the forms of a legislative or political decision where resources are allocated and laws are passed allowing one to obtain some sort of relief. Hence its good that Peter brown and Sheila Jackson were on hand. Its good that people came together and tried to make community activism and political education accessible to people normally left out of the process.
In anycase props to Trae for his work. Props to those who showed up to be inspired and get their polical and community grind going. Lets hope that we can all come together to resolve the causes leading up to last nights shooting at TSU.
The way we have to look at this is that in many corners of society where people are marginalized and communities are undeserved the best way to lessen the chances of incidents like this occurring is to address the underlying issues that lead to violence. In other words community events like Trae Day are not only needed but should be seen as crucial steps in our attempts to move society forward.
Something to Ponder
6 shot, wounded in drive-by at Texas Southern
By JUAN A. LOZANO (AP) –
HOUSTON — A drive-by shooting at a community rally on the Texas Southern University campus Wednesday night left six people wounded, a school spokeswoman said. Police believe the incident was gang-related.
One male student was among the six people who were shot and treated for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, TSU spokeswoman Eva Pickens said.
Witnesses told police that one car drove by and opened fire on the parking lot where a popular Houston rapper was promoting community service and voter registration, Pickens said.
Peter Role, a local music promoter, told the Houston Chronicle he heard what sounded “like the Fourth of July.”
“We heard some gunshots and everybody was hitting the ground,” Role said.
Campus police believe the incident resulted from a rivalry between two gangs, one from Missouri City, a suburb southwest of Houston, and the other from Fresno, a small town outside Missouri City, she said.
Among the rally participants was Houston City Councilman Peter Brown, who is running for mayor in November’s election.
Lucinda Guinn, who manages Brown’s mayoral campaign, said the rally — billed as a “family block party” — included a concert by rapper Trae the Truth and featured participants such as Brown and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. Guinn said she had no details on the shootings, but was dismayed that “an effort for bringing a very positive message to the community” would end in violence.
Nancy Byron, Trae’s publicist, told the Chronicle that the rapper already had left the event at 8:30 p.m. or 8:45 p.m. and did not see the shooting.
“We’re very depressed about it and we feel like its a black eye on an otherwise very community-driven event,” Byron said.
An e-mail sent to Lee wasn’t immediately returned. Her telephone mailbox was full and wouldn’t take messages.
Texas Southern is a historically black university in Houston with an enrollment approaching 10,000 students.
Associated Press Writer Terry Wallace contributed to this report from Dallas.