I originally wrote this as an introduction to a photojournalism project called “Black Innocence”. The editors decided not to use it. After hearing about the death of former FAMU football player Jonathan Ferrell, who was killed by a Charlotte police officer, even though he was unarmed and running to the officers for help, I decided to record it and put it out. Is there such a thing as “Black Innocence” in this society? Take a listen and you be the judge.
We’re labeled as babies that we’re cracked, killer kids
No head start we’re held back in tenements
At age 6 we’re arrested for lack of discipline
At age 9 we’re tested but the mission is
To use the test scores to determine our imprisonment
At age 12 is when we learn what suspension is
And school becomes a pipeline to feed us to detention bids
Age 15 disillusioned by what the system is
cause we’re subjected to daily Stop and Frisk incidents
At age 17 we get grown man sentences
We’re full blown predators shot down by Zimmermans
I often wonder if we have that privilege
When another brother’s killed over senselessness
And they tell us that we just have to live with it
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