Defender Associate Editor, Aswad Walker

NRA Texas ‘Two-Face’

So, Texas, the state that brags most about gun ownership, gun rights and gun freedoms; the state that worships guns more religiously than Jesus; the state where gun owners would sooner slap their mamas than submit to any kind of gun bans under any circumstances, apparently did a huge Texas Two-Step. Or should we call it a Texas Two-Face, as in hypocrisy on fleek, or on jam, or on fuego (or whatever the young whipper-snappers say these days).

Turns out, when the NRA was in town for their convention, refusing any kind of gun reform or regulations or bans, even in the face of the Buffalo massacre and the Uvalde tragedy, these folks walked into the George R. Brown Convention Center with zero guns. That’s right. The NRA, in Texas no less, banned individuals carrying firearms from the premises during their conference in order to ensure the safety of twice-impeached former president and GOP white nationalist “messiah” Donald Trump. Think about that one for a moment.

Davien Moran (far right) joins other NRA protesters at Discovery Green on May 27, 2022. Photo by Aswad Walker.

Black Music Month

June is Black Music Month (as well as Headache & Migraine Awareness Month, Iced Tea Month, Soul Food Month, PTSD Awareness Month, and Give a Bunch of Balloons Month, just to name a few). But focusing on Black Music, I just learned that Chance the Rapper played a major role in helping Anita Baker gain ownership of her masters — the music reels by which all future recordings (and money) are made. Turns out, Electra Records, which was supposed to relinquish ownership of Baker’s masters once her contract ran out, simply refused to do so. So, for years this sister was battling this company that was clearly in the wrong, to get what was rightfully hers.

Hearing her story reminded me of what Bell-Biv-Devoe said years ago: that they got into producing (the business side of show business) after they found out 95% of artists with a No. 1 song eventually go broke. They chose to conduct their business in a way that protects and honors artists. But so many in the biz don’t. So, as you’re jamming to your favorites this month, just remember, they’re in a paycheck-to-paycheck existence like many of us. And we all deserve better.

Mo’Nique, D.L. Hughley & Brittney

So, as I’m you’ve heard, comedians Mo’Nique and D.L. Hughley have been beefing over their recent show in Detroit, and…Brittney Griner is still a prisoner in a Russian jail! While these Negroes are beefing over some dumb “stuff,” Griner has been jailed in a hostile, foreign nation for over 100 days. I’m glad Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and others organized a rally on behalf of Brittney, but we can’t rest until she’s home. 

Before I go… Juneteenth Watermelon Salad

So, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum went full Walmart and tried selling Juneteenth Watermelon Salad. They, like Walmart a few weeks ago, have been catching hell for this poor business decision, trying to commercialize Juneteenth (although, we knew it was coming). But something to think about: Before racist made watermelon a symbol of supposed Black laziness, many of our formerly enslaved ancestors saw watermelon as a symbol of self-determination. It was a crop they readily grew and a product they easily sold, allowing them some semblance of financial freedom. So, this Juneteenth, let’s take watermelon (and everything else they stole from us) back!