Defender Associate Editor, Aswad Walker


“Jeen-Yuhs,” the Netflix documentary trilogy on the life of Kanye West, for me, has been a reminder that there is a human being underneath all our memes regarding, jokes about and condemnations of Ye. I’m not dismissing his craziness, MAGA fascination or the stalking of his ex-wife, etc. But watching his rise, his struggles and his insatiable drive to be great gave me a newfound respect for the brother. And it reminded me that we are, in a way, all Kanye.

We’re all geniuses who have gone through some things. We’re all guilty of doing things we’re not all that proud of. We’re all dealing with stresses and demons of some kind. And Lord knows, we all need a Donda in our lives; someone who believes in us so wholeheartedly they provide a consistent comforting presence. We could all use a Coodie Simmons too; a homie willing to ride with us through all our ups and downs. So, if you haven’t seen it, check out “Jeen-Yuhs.” But more importantly, check out the “Jeen-Yuhs” in you!

Jeen-Yuhs: Message from Associate Editor Aswad Walker
Jeen-Yuhs. Kanye and Donda West. Image courtesy Netflix.


March Madness is alive and well, and it seems everyone’s all in. No, not the NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments. I’m talking about the fact that it’s Women’s History Month, and sisters are still catching it from all sides. Naomi Osaka was recently brought to tears by hecklers at the Indian Wells Tournament. After losing a match and enduring negative crowd comments, Naomi grabbed the mic and told spectators that she’s been heckled before and it was no big deal. But the fact that it happened at the same place where decades ago, Venus and Serena experienced the same treatment, worked her last nerve. And sisters had to recently march on Washington to make sure those D.C. lawmakers (our employees) move with the quickness to get Ketanji Brown Jackson sworn in to the Supreme Court. Plus, it’s awards season, and Black women’s brilliance is again being overlooked. And Brittney Griner still ain’t home. Basketball tournaments be damned. We need a March win for Black women.


It took over 100 years before there were enough white elected officials to sign off on anti-lynching legislation. Put another way, the vast majority of white lawmakers and the people they represent gave zero Fs about Black people being lynched. Put yet another way, these folk fought for over a century AGAINST a law to punish murderers who lynch(ed) Black people. THIS IS AMERICA. And just in case you have any doubts, it took over 30 years for the U.S. House to pass a reparations bill. Not to give reparations to the descendants of enslaved Africans. Just to study the idea! The bill, originally introduced by the late U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. in 1989, was voted down or ignored over a gazillion times before finally seeing the light of day. Why is this important? To remind us of two things: 1) the amount of energy folk put into denying our rights and 2) our ability to fight through that madness and keeping moving forward in spite of.

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...