By Dennis J. Freeman
Young Monte’ (M-Bone) Talbert of hip hop sensation Cali Swag District has left us too soon. Too many others have like Talbert have left us too soon as well. Not because they wanted to go. They left us unexpectedly and unwillingly.
They left us because there is a lot of self-hate spewing itself around our communities and have inflicted self-imposed destruction up on our own people.
Last Friday, more than 2,000 people said their final good-byes to the 22-year-old Talbert, a product of Inglewood, California, where he was slain. How many press conferences are we going to hold in the name of stopping the violence? How many articles have to be written to try to shed light on a grisly problem that we have not taken full ownership of?
How many community activists have to go out and campaign warning our communities against people doing the wrong thing. How many young black men and women have to have their lives cut down unmercifully before we get off our duffs and do something than just appearing for a photo-op?
It’s time to stop playing games with the perpetrators of violence in our communities. It’s time to put these killers of dreams back into the pit of hell that they come from.
Providing a safe environment for our children is going to take more than a news conference. It’s going to take more than taking pictures with an elected official. It’s going to take more than pointing fingers at law enforcement and religious leaders.
To solve this problem is going to take extraordinary efforts from ordinary citizens who want see more than future generations lose their lives to senseless violence. It’s going to take love, patience and understanding of today’s wayward youth. It’s going to take spending time with the misunderstood student, who society casts out as a misfit.
It’s going to take a joint effort between law enforcement and private citizens to formulate new strategies on how to combat urban crime.
The Justice Department has even taken up this matter. Atty. General Eric Holder attended and spoke on youth violence at the Minneapolis Youth Violence Prevention Conference recently about the issue.
“Today, we know that the vast majority of our children – more than 60 percent – have been exposed to violence in one form or another – whether as direct victims or witnesses,” Holder said. “These patterns of violence can take many forms – from pushing, hitting, and bullying to gun, knife, gang, domestic, or sexual violence. And they aren’t limited to any one region, community, or demographic group. Exposure can happen at home, in the streets, during school, or on the Internet, where children face serious and unprecedented threats.
“Like many of you, I have seen the devastating impact that violence can have on young people, their families, and entire communities. And research shows that whether a child is an observer or a direct victim of violence – the experience is often associated with long-term physical, psychological, and emotional harm, as well as a higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse later in life. Young people exposed to violence fail in school more often than other kids – and are more likely to suffer depression, anxiety, and other post-traumatic disorders. They’re more likely to develop chronic diseases and to have trouble forming emotional attachments. And they’re more likely to commit acts of violence themselves.”
I find it incredulous that the individual(s) responsible for taking young Talbert’s life now has the audacity to hide after committing such a blatantly cowardly act of mayhem. They can hide, but they won’t get away. Justice eventually will be served.
As I sat watching video footage of Talbert at his funeral at Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, all I could see was energy, a megawatt smile and a person full of laugher.
I saw life. That life is now gone. Talbert may be gone, but his legacy has already been felt worldwide. Memories of Talbert and his legendary dance moves in Cali Swag District’s “Teach Me How to Dougie,” will always outshine the darkness of evil that claimed his life.