michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 89)


as of yesterday six years ago…  you were deemed ‘not guilty’ by a jury ‘of your peers’.  having read the transcripts, i would have to say i concur with their decision.  unfortunately, it’s one of the rare occasions justice has actually been served, both in the state of california and the whole world.

it’s really difficult for me to look at the footage from the trial.  it really hurt to see the camera on you as you walked in the courtroom before the verdict was read; and watching you walk out after you were found ‘not guilty’ on all charges hurt even more…  all the life had been taken out of you.  obviously you were in shock, but there was another element which moved me: it was as if your faith in humanity had been shaken…  i always go back to how you always said that if there were no children on this earth, you would slit your wrist, or jump out of a building.  i could only imagine how you felt during the proceedings…  it was a child- again- who charged you with violating his right to exist as a child.  it was a child- again- who was forced to sit between you and a father’s (or mother’s) ego.  to me, this is the REAL child abuse in this case.

i don’t think you were considering slitting your wrists, but again, i saw the sap of life slowly drain from the roots.  by the time 13 june 2005 rolled around, your sad, beautiful, deep, large brown eyes held the presence of vacancy.



and with that, it was symbolic of the process of the facade of justice: despite the outcome of the verdict of your case, it was a long, drawn-out unnecessary process.  and just as in 1993, tom sneddon served as the main prosecuting attorney in 2005.  over the years there have been people such as aphrodite jones and william wagener who have chronicled  sneddon’s dealings as a district attorney:

In an interview with Online Legal Review’s Ron Sweet, (Gary) Dunlap claimed that Sneddon stacked the charges against him in order to get a conviction on at least one count; apparently, this is a common occurrence in Sneddon’s office.

Santa Maria City Attorney Art Montandon recently filed a claim against the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, alleging that they falsely accused him of bribing a defense attorney in a case that Sneddon was prosecuting. Montandon had evidence favourable to the defense and prosecutors tried to stop him from interfering by threatening to bring bribery charges against him. A judge later ruled that Sneddon’s office had no right to stop Montandon’s involvement in the case.


even though the masses of incidents regarding sneddon have not been promoted, just looking at how much the prosecuting team worked to alter evidence symbolizes how the ‘system’ is not supposed to work in favor for the darker peoples of this nation.  no…  there was a point your hue changed; still, your heart beat the blood of the motherland.  for me, it was not hard to see.  and of course, your ethnicity became a convenience to media organizations- when they sensed you (a black man with ‘financial power and global influence’) were a danger to ‘their’ children.


and as the anniversary for your ‘not guilty’ verdict has occurred; injustice still remains, in both the state of california (and around the world).  libya is still being invaded, yemen was bombed (at the hands of u.s. tax dollars), and we are still in iraq and afghanistan.  and in california, thomas mehserle (the cop who murdered oscar grant in cold blood in front of many witnesses at a BART station) was just released after 11 months of a TWO-YEAR sentence for…  can you guess?  INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER.   despite various VIDEO RECORDINGS (and an original charge of second-degree murder with a maximum of 14 years) for murdering an unarmed black man…  then claiming he meant to use his taser.  obviously i just answered my own question without even asking.  but let’s just imagine for one second the (los angeles county) jury saw something in the original charge.  the jury obviously saw some criminally negligent behavior…  and yet, judge robert j. perry decided mehserle should be released on time served in combination with ‘good conduct’.


this is not, and should not be about whose life is valued more…  regardless of class, there are many ways the injustice system plays out in relation to black life.  there is that ceiling very few reach (even with substantial finances).  that ceiling, as i’m sure you know, bears large moral repercussions.  in this system you are only of value if you make the conscious decision to relinquish a significant portion of your soul.  if you choose to relinquish little to none at any given point in your career, then there is a price to pay- you either make the decision to forfeit your involvement in that system (not unlike someone like dave chapelle), or you see the ‘media/political witch-hunt’, as in your, paul robeson or jack johnson’s cases).

a person like oscar grant (or amadou diallo or eleanor bumpers or ayana jones (the 7-year old murdered in the middle of a raid gone bad)) holds no tangible value in this system; he is seen as a person with no true political power so he is expendable.  it comes full circle; once you have reached the ceiling in terms of global and financial influence, you are just as expendable.

just think about that.


i think about it sometimes…  i look at you, i look into those sad eyes which became void of even sadness for a moment six years ago, and it gives me relief you are in a better place.  it seems like when you left, the world moved farther away from the teachings you worked to espouse; the murder of oscar grant did occur the same year you left…  however, the energy around us just seems to be getting darker and darker; and the marketing tools you were so fond of utilizing became immensely personalized by international corporations instead of artists.  the world’s moving at such a pace where we don’t even know what to decipher as real or hoax anymore.

which is why the hoax thing in relation to you is interesting…  hoaxes are still being regarded as done by individuals as opposed to a corporate effort.  who is to say this hoax was NOT created by sony, so as to gain favor with the fan base without the fan base realizing it?


there’s so much i want to say, and it all seems to travel cyclically.  i keep thinking about where i am in my life, and the events which brought me to this place.  it’s been a fairly draining couple of weeks- emotionally, physically and otherwise…  i’m looking at my right leg, and it’s all bruised up in places i wasn’t even aware of.  (oh yeah, i didn’t tell you, i flew off the bicycle.  it’s a long story).  i look at my leg and i think of the times i got bleaching cream put on me (and how no one really seems to remember this).  it all seems unreal to me.  i think about it, and i cry.

and it goes back to hoaxes…  of how the facade of race (versus ethnicity) is a hoax in collaboration with economic injustice.  and how so many black parents go out of their way to let their children know how undesirable they and their features are.  for someone to tell you about your features- your nose, hair…  anything- does irreparable damage in many cases.  if not physically, mentally.


and then i think about images i saw…  the image of your scalp, and the massive hair loss as a result of the second and third-degree burns.  not only do i have some sympathy for the situation (since i know how it feels, to a lesser degree, to be burned- either self-inflicted or by accident); i also feel sorrow at such an event.  to see the bald spot on your head gives me pause.  i can’t figure out why though.

yesterday i did see an image which gave me much sorrow, yet gave me simultaneous relief.  it feels somewhat like an invasion, but i’ll say it anyways.  perhaps you’ll be upset with me, but i do feel it needs to be said, as it was actually the one thing which gave me closure, in relation to any discussion of your transition on this earthly plane.  it was an artists’ rendering (from the autopsy report, i believe) of what you looked like upon your transcendence.

most people would say it’s a frightening photo…  you see, you didn’t have any hair (as per the autopsy report), and your features were distinctly different than what people have been used to, under all the lights and altering.  you did indeed see the effects of what happened to your nose.  your cheeks were a bit sunken in.  your eyes were both 3/4ths shut; the right eye was shut farther than the left.  it looked as if you had taken a beating, mentally.

despite what i just said, there was nothing morbid about it.  the beauty in the image was what i have been saying all along:  your beauty has nothing to do with the facade of make-up, hair or anything.  i saw a beauty there most either are not willing to, or just are not able to see: that light.  i still saw light.


our essence never goes away even after our physical transcends (which is why i consciously choose the word ‘transcend’), which is how we can still feel the energy in one’s art after they go.  this is how, when we speak about someone after transcendence, we feel warmth or comfort.  this is how many generations after one’s transcendence still resonate with the art of those who have transcended.

your large, beautiful eyes were sadly, closed, more or less.  but it gave me relief to know you are now resting.  they could regenerate and observe the spirit world.  i initially saw the image, and it threw me back for a moment.  it amazed me.  despite everything which happened over the years, and what anyone has said; you could not in any way deny the motherland living inside of you.

there is a distinct image i cannot get out of my head: upon your returning home, looking at this artists’ rendering there were those undeniable ‘jackson’ features.  considering all of your medical conditions, i will not say you were in any sort of denial of your lineage.  all i know is that when i saw this image, i saw how much strength truly existed in our people.

this is the undeniable beauty i saw.

before i ceased writing the book, i wrote about moving beyond your looks when it comes to your beauty.  and writing about this artists’ rendering i realize it’s much more difficult to write about something you cannot capture in words.  all i know is that the image was the most truthful thing which came out of all of this sensational drama regarding your transcendence.

because you are still teaching us a lesson.  we’re just not collectively ready to accept it.  i hope to continue work on focusing more energy towards these teachings.

thank you for being here.  and there.

love, jamilah



About jamilah

i think about a lot of things, and sometimes i write about them.
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