When I first heard that Chad Holley was arrested AGAIN for the SAME crime he was committing the day those officers brutally beat him, my initial reaction was “Aww, hell naw.”
I wasn’t upset at Holley nor did I feel he let the entire Black community down like so many are saying. I definitely wasn’t surprised and I certainly don’t feel like those other cops should get off because of this. They gave Houston its ‘Rodney King Moment’.
My reaction was rooted in the fact that we let Holley down because we didn’t put a real good whipping on him when this all started.
As always, we as a community focused more on the heinous acts of the HPD officers who were caught on tape unjustly stomping, punching and kicking this young man. And they deserved and deserve to have the heat on them. However, we focused less and less on putting a whipping on Holley for his involvement in the criminal act. Pardon me: I focused less on putting a whipping on Holley. It’s my fault as much as anyone else.
Before you get too emotional reading this and say “Brother Jesse is being judgmental”, please read the rest.
I don’t know Holley or his friends personally. What I do know is I was doing what they are doing, but at a much younger age and in a different way. I was too afraid to rob houses while growing up, yet that didn’t stop me from wearing a bubble coat in the hot summer to steal as many products as I could from local grocery stores.
Yep, I did it. And I got a thrill out of it and shared my winnings with my homeboys as we shot hoops on a shopping basket that we also took from the store parking lot. Nearly getting caught twice frightened me to stop. Later on the fear of my grandmother’s serious Mayweather-like backhand, or any object within her reach, was enough to make me have a “Come to Jesus meeting” and fully resign from that.
It doesn’t mean I am perfect today, but who knows where I would’ve ended up had I been captured by the foreign owner who hated too many young Blacks coming in his store at one time. He made it known to us he was packing a pistol too.
Holley’s post-community outcry relapse is NOTHING new. Do you remember the case of The Jena Six? In 2006, six Black males were charged with second degree attempted murder for a school fight involving a White classmate in Jena, Louisiana. It all started with the hanging of three nooses on what was called the “White Tree” on campus. We marched, protested, held press conferences, rallied, and nearly 50,000 converged on Jena in Sept. 2007. Most of us hadn’t even heard of that city.
When the camera lights went away and the “Free The Jena Six” cry died down, a few of them got into some trouble with the law. To make matters worse, in the eyes of others, two of them embarrassed their supporters on the BET Awards dressing as so-called thugs and throwing up the number six in photos.
They were scorned by the same people that had cheered for their freedom. They were accused of selling out the movement and giving mainstream media more ammunition to question why people would go all out for Black teens, who were nothing more than hoodlums.
Although necessary, once again we got so wrapped up fighting the system, we forgot to tend to the minds of the young men involved. Organizations were so busy “raising” money, jockeying for a microphone and warring over city marching permits that we forgot to fight for the most important asset: The Minds of The Jena Six.
Although some had very intimate conversations with many of the boys, especially Mychal Bell, we could’ve done more. We helped to raise the awareness of Jena’s corrupted system, but we didn’t raise the boys’ self-awareness, self-love and self-respect enough. We didn’t factor in that they needed a whipping just as much or more than that racist District Attorney.
It’s a two-front war. We have to find balance between fighting against this system and doing what’s vitally necessary to help in transforming the lives of people we stand up for--especially the young Black males.
Holley and his friends need a whipping. Yes, right now. What do I mean? The definitions of whip I’m talking about are “to unite, bring together, or bring into line” and “to fish with rod and line, especially by casting the line frequently.”
I know you thought I meant we should hunt Holley and them down and beat them like those cops. Discipline starts at home. And it’s obvious that getting brutally beat down by HPD did nothing to curb Holley’s appetite for robbery. Neither did our protesting and marching downtown.
Mentoring is an excessively used term and yet a scarcely applied concept when it comes to high-profile cases such as Holley and The Jena Six. It’s the most critical part of the battle.
It’s too bad that often when these incidents happen, these young men are introduced to and kept closer to “activists” who are more interested in the spotlight than giving transformative knowledge to create a 180-degree change in their lives.
These young men see the fakeness and hypocrisy of the movement and that’s why they could care less about how we feel once they get in trouble again. They see “activists” shielding the victims while vying for personal financial gain, making false promises in front of the media and engaging in backdoor deals with the opposition. I don’t know if it’s happening in Holley’s case, but I know firsthand it happened with The Jena Six.
Holley and his friends could go through the Operation Outreach OG1 program with Reginald Gordon. Not just for probation requirements, but long-term. Gordon did nearly 20 years in prison and now is a real mentor to countless young people. He has a proven track record.
They can volunteer at and sit across from an elder at the SHAPE community center in Third Ward. It has been around for 40 years as the “United Nations of the ‘Hood.”
They can attend a meeting at Muhammad Mosque No. 45, hear a transformative message by student Minister Robert Muhammad and meet Black men who turned their lives around to become successful and industrious. The Nation of Islam has an 80-plus year track record of doing this with Black men in America and throughout the world.
Then, they could volunteer some hours at Muhammad Organic Farms and/or Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden and see what their peers are doing to serve the community.
Of course the home plays a critical role in all of this. Yes, everyone’s circumstances are different. Coming from a single parent household and being fatherless, I know the value of the mentors who gave me a good whipping when I needed one.
All of the members of The Jena Six have since been getting a good whipping and are doing well in school. In a recent phone conversation, Mychal Bell told me he will be graduating from college next year.
The Black community needs to whip the hell outta Holley and his friends. They will thank us later and may become better young men.
(You're welcome to follow Brother Jesse Muhammad on Twitter @BrotherJesse)