The Exploitation of Bobby Shmurda
What is happening to Ackquille Pollard, also known as Bobby Shmurda, is nothing short of a tragedy.
Just last year, he was a rising star in Hip Hop and burning up the charts with the politically-incorrect yet catchy hit-single “Hot Nigga.” And now he is facing years in prison for a multitude of gang-related, gun and conspiracy offenses.
As New York Times recently reported:
“A $2 million bail package application posted Friday on behalf of the 20-year-old Brooklyn rapper, who is facing an array of gang conspiracy charges, was pulled on Wednesday, the office of the special narcotics prosecutor for New York City said.
“It’s our understanding that the suretor has withdrawn and that no hearing is currently scheduled,” said Kati Cornell, a spokeswoman for the office.
Kenneth Montgomery, Mr. Shmurda’s lawyer, confirmed that the bail arrangement, which was backed by the rapper’s “management associates,” has been put on hold. “We’re trying to do a new bond application and are in the process in the figuring that out,” Mr. Montgomery said. “We’re hoping to get it done within the next week.”
In other words, the kids went from having wealthy prep-school White folks co-signing his Shmoney dance while taking celebratory laps on golf courses, to not having a single person to show up and vouch for him financially so that he can go home while he awaits trial. And that is kind of messed up, if you ask me.
Listen, I know lots of people think the kid had it coming. And I don’t really fault some folks who have formed that opinion. From his song we know that Pollard is a dope boy, who more than likely has “been selling crack since the fifth grade.” We also know that he is not the most respectful towards women, particularly the ones uninterested in sexual relations, despite visiting him in his trap house. We also know that Pollard is the child of an incarcerated parent and has personally seen the inside of a jail cell, in particular spending 15-months in juvenile detention for probation violation.
Basically, none of these legal woes are outside of the scope of what most experts, statistics or the average Joe on the street could have guessed would happen to him. With that said, many folks who now shake their heads, suck their teeth and call him stupid for getting locked up and ruining his career were also the first ones to flip their baseball caps in the air, holler every lyric and break into the Shmoney Dance on the dance floor – even as the warning signs of his demise were clear.
Although Pollard had been christened the next best thing in Hip Hop, I didn’t pay attention to the Shmurda hype when he first stepped on the scene. To cut right to the point, I’m just not into trap music. However, I was practically forced into it by the media, who had his face plastered everywhere and had been playing his song ad nauseam on the radio. So to keep up with the youngin’s I decided to give him a couple of spins.
I am in no way a prude nor do I normally clutch pearls at Hip Hop lyrics. My favorite album back when I was 14- years- old was Dr Dre’s The Chronic and by 12th grade it was Wu-Tang’s Enter the 36 Chambers. I know of, and am related to, people who have served real jail time for some pretty hefty offenses. When I mention my high school in conversation some folks like to remind me, “oh yeah, wasn’t that the school where some kids broke a teacher’s neck?” I provide this disclaimer to suggest that there are likely few topics a rapper can spit about, which would truly shock me.
But my first spin of “Hot Nigga”made my soul cringe. And it wasn’t so much about his lyrics, although it was that too. But that his baby face didn’t match the heartless and cold bravado he was selling us. Likewise, he was surrounded by other innocent-looking young men, who also looked like they should be arguing over a game of little league pick-up rather than making gun gestures with their hands. And whereas the gangster rappers of the past used to grimace as they portrayed the roles of hardened killers on wax (even though many of them weren’t), Pollard and his crew didn’t bother with the charade of remorse. Instead they laughed, smiled and danced through his tale of their lyrical crime wave.
Now, I’m not trying to say the kid was a sociopath; however the heavy and destructive themes within the song combined with the sheer light-heartedness and damn-near whimsical nature of the young man performing it, suggested (to me at least) someone who hadn’t quite fully realized, or even respected, the seriousness of life. And that frightened me. No young person, outside of having an uncontrollable mental disorder, should feel that hopeless. As such, I did not want to dance along with this kid; instead I wanted him to be saved.
I wanted an adult, preferably a Black man, to pay attention. To listen to what he was saying. To peep how young he and his cohorts are. And then I wanted that same adult to put his arms around Pollard and give that boy both guidance and the hugs he had not received at home. But that never happened. Instead we smiled, danced and laughed with him for the sake of our personal enjoyment. And when the consequences of his lifestyle finally caught up with him, we tossed Pollard aside and moved on to the next kid willing to trade his miseries for our entertainment.
The kid, who had performed and danced to his murderous lyrics on just about every mainstream talk show for middle White America is now locked in a cage like he never mattered to us. The kid, who was pegged as the next big thing in Hip Hop music, and whose song was burning up charts from here to Belgium didn’t even get nominated for a Grammy Award. It’s like he is slowly being erased from our national consciousness.
If this were a person with a developmental disability or physical handicap, we would clearly see the error of encouraging him to do something that exploits himself. And yet we have no problem doing that to poverty-stricken and troubled kids like Shmurda, who for all intents and purposes, are just as much victims to the street life as they are perpetrators. So if Bobby Shmurda is a monster, and we knowingly supported his monstrous ways, then what are we?