Who's the Mack?

Lola Bean - Posted on 10 September 2010




Generational Culture Pimping: Hollywood and the Young Non-White Male’s Upbringing

The arguments my father and I had about race and identity, would stay locked in my mind for years, keeping his demanding ideas of how I needed to "assimilate to white culture not act too black" as a reminder to myself what i could never become or tolerate, living as a young NON-WHITE male.

I thought about how he carried his self when he was my age, did he hear and see the racism I tasted on the daily, poisonous spoonfuls being served up by teachers and store clerks alike, that I would vomit up in an intense reactionary response at their feet. Even though we had a serious generation gap between us did he contain fear in these moments and end up being a racist, hating what they didn't like about him. I thought about this as, we battled for the 1000th time about school and what I was becoming, in his eyes, a failure, a future bum on 7th street wasting away life by the Oakland Pier.   

Fear of who I am brought me here, unable to understand why I, why we don't love ourselves, planted in our thoughts, toxic seeds,

bursting through like uncontrollable weeds,

 pushing past our true roots,

got me writing fuck Amerikkka inside of my Social Studies textbook

as my pops supervises me like a correctional officer, he’s waisting his time.

 instead of 8th grade cirriculum, I was writing rhymes,

the puzzle pieces to our fucked up times,

 thick is the silence, cuz we used up all the words,

 all the verbal violence

over how one should act,

 he says white, but mothafucka

I'm black, my spirit’s not like that.


Around the time I was born, a Hollywood film company came to Oakland CA to film a movie based on a script written by Robert J. Poole, about a young pimp's trials and tribulations. The director, Micheal Campus chose Oakland as sole film location because of it's notoriety for pimping as he learned from stories actors had told him about legendary men of leisure who drove luxury cars and had stables of women statewide. Bringing along Max Julien, a young actor, who in turn brought his friend, a then unknown ,Richard Pryor, and they made history with the highly influential classic, The Mack."Traveling to Oakland, Julien and Campus sought the help of the Ward brothers, four men who ran Oakland's criminal world"."Trouble came when Huey Newton and the Black PANTHER PARTY-who ran  the political side of Oakland-felt the production had infringed on their turf. Julien was friends with Newton, but before filming completed Frank Ward was shot in the back of the head and killed. "The film crew wrapped up the rest of the movie in L.A and even included the conflict in the storyline with pro black freedom fighters kidnapping pimps and dealers led by the main character's brother who delivers the classic lines sampled by Dr.Dre in the intro of lil ghetto boy off his 1992 album THE CHRONIC.

Watching this film as a 9 year old I only picked on the scantly clad women and the violent revenge seeking hero killing all the bad guys. Rediscovering it as a teenager, I saw the revolutionary conflicts and the redemption of a lost soul that I missed the first time I viewed it. I even saw how these elements were small in comparison to the highlighted, overemphasized imagery of the pimp game, but were enough to insure this movie wouldn't be the next blockbuster for mainstream audiences when it was released in the 70's.I wasn't sure if my dad had seen The Mack, but when I first saw it I mentioned it and he dismissed it as crap "you lil niggas shouldn't be watching." He then began to be concerned about what I was watching and listening to, especially when he found my Prince and The Time cassettes with songs like "Annie Christian" and "My Drawers." At 9 years old, I didn't fully understand much of the meanings of this material, but I understood one thing my pops and I were like two different families, that didn’t want to eat at the same table, when it came to culture. He despised hip hop, which at that time in it's infancy was non-white unlike the radio friendly, suburban Emimen, Justin Bieber, Depeche Mode, sell your soul to Madison Ave, sound of today's modern rap artist. After arguing about what I was gonna do after flunking out of 7th grade, my answer was rapper. He said no son of my is gonna be a rapper, eventually cursing me from ever securing a multi-million dollar deal for these dope rhyme skills i got, B. By the time I saw The Mack again was convinced my father was not from Oakland, he was never a pimp, and most importantly he was never a revolutionary. Truthfully, he was born and raised in Oakland, and every man in Oakland was not either a pimp or a revolutionary, but how could you not be affected by these 2 different movements being black and alive during this influential time period in such a soulful, independent locale such as Oakland. His family and most black families migrated to Oakland in the early 1940 segregated days looking for freedom and opportunity from the South, where my 3rd generation descendant changed his slave name Duplessis to the more French sounding Trevigne to gain access into the military as white man to fight in the first world war. Was this legacy my father, wanted us to carry on? Was I the fool for thinking our legacy was Eldridge Cleaver, Nat Turner, and Marcus Garvey? A dummy for thinking our legacy was Huey Newton, Harry Allen, or Krs 1. Even stupider for acknowledging the Philipino side of me in joSE Rizal, Agueda kahabangan, and Bonifacio and the Katipunan, WHO helped defeat the Spanish enslaved us with christianity. The same philipino BLOOD of my grandfather, whose final words on his deathbed to my father were "fuck you nigger."

Eye caught on that it was deeper, a factor for his poor health,

that underneath all his complicated layers, he hated his self.

his inner self destruction washed away my innocence

and kept me not present through life like he had been

our difference was while he despised his own people

i was one of hip hop and black anger's son screaming fuck white people

breaking the cycle with a mind so lethal.

no movie cameras to record our acts

the system must hoe up and let the people be the Mack

and drive off into the sunset in liberated cadillacs


Check out these articles and more on our sister sites at Real Change and the International Network of Street Newspapers: INSP Vendor Blog: http://www.insp-blog.org/ INSP Main Website: http://www.street-papers.org/ Real Change Blog: http://www.insp-blog.org/realchange/ Real Change Main Website: http://www.realchangenews.org/

Imagine having to live down the fact your father was not from Oakland, and wasn't (gasp!) a pimp! Clearly, the son of a man who doesn't engage in human trafficking will never get any respect.

What a silly question! It's obviously two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.

I feel this is a story so many will be able to identify with. Your level of awareness even as a child is striking and very impressive. Your understanding of what you and your family went through and are still going through will give hope and insight for many people. Your ability to see through so many layers of confusion and get straight to the core issues of your story is such a gift.


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