Before I publish the first episode of my forthcoming podcast “The ErbnArt Perspective” (which will also be accompanied by the official ”We Hate It Here” blog, both available on We-Hate-It-Here.com this fall) I think it’s only fair to give you all some details of my personal background, so that you can have some preliminary insight into my perspective. Those who know me are by now no longer shocked by my views, probably because they’ve built up a herd-immunity, lmao, but for those of you who only know me through social media, this is me formally introducing myself to you.
So wassup yall. I’m the guy behind the currently banned facebook page that Fart Fuckerberg apparently loves to hate so goddamn much. You’re a penis-faced fascist, Fuckerboy. Drink bleach you goddamn cyborg. Fuck you.
Anyway, where was I… oh yea, lmao I was tryna make a good first impression.
As I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself: I’m the skinny dude with the spectacles you might have seen riding shotgun through NYC with my crimson twin, Face Murda. I’m also the drunken substitute hype-man you may have seen on stage with King Magnetic in El Paso embarrassing myself with inebriated abandon, lmmfao. Yep that was me, having one of the greatest bad experiences of my life, lmao.
My name is Kwesi (Quay-See) Ford, and I am Erbnart.
I’m almost 45 years old. I was born in 1975, at the very end of the Black Power movement to a single-parent mom from Harlem NYC. I was 5 when Ronald Reagan was elected. That was the year we moved to John P. Mitchell Projects in the South Bronx, where I attended first grade at P.S. 154.
From then, all the way up until now, I have been an avid observer of national and geo-political events.
I’ve never been a sports fan. I was a Micheal Jordan fan, but never a sports fan.
Politics is my sport. There was a time, really throughout my entire youth, when I was very politically active. I’ve never been a Democrat, I’ve always registered as an Independent. I’ve voted for Republican conservatives and for liberal Democrats.
When I was an active voter, I was a well-informed voter, and I voted based on who I felt represented my interests on each particular issue that I was concerned with. First and foremost among those interests has always been the socioeconomic and political condition of the descendants of the Africans who were enslaved in and by America.
Malcolm X was my childhood hero. As a child I despised Martin Luther King, and I regret that as an adult. I’ve never pledged allegiance to an American flag. I was exempt from that shit in school because my mom was studying with Jehovah’s Witness at the time. I wasn’t, but she was. I’ve never been a Christian. My mother never forced her religious beliefs on me. Mainly because I would argue with her and the bible study teachers about it, because the whole concept just never made any sense.
I dropped out of high school in the 9th grade. At the time, I mean this was like ‘89, I was 14 years old… At the time though, the narrative in America was that young Black men were hyper-violent super-predators who ran the streets of urban areas in large rabid wolf packs, vandalizing property and menacing peace loving American citizens (wink-wink). Daily News reporters said that we used to call the activity, “wolf-pack wilding”.
I personally never heard that phrase from anyone other than a journalist or politician until they put it in the public lexicon. But I digress. Often actually, lmao… where was I… oh yea..
So this was in the middle of the Crack epidemic, when the Black Man in America was seriously considered to be an endangered species, destined to be either dead or in jail before the age 18. Yea, they said our average life expectancy was 21 years of age. This is what we were being programmed by the mass-media and government rhetoric, to believe.
Me being me, I decided that if I was going to be either (a) in jail by 18, and/or (b) more than likely deceased by the age 21, then there was absolutely no way in this white man’s world that I was about to spend my few remaining years on this planet in a classroom being fed pure bullshit by people who I knew for a fact didn’t give a fuck about me. I mean, one of my substitute teachers, a little humpbacked dwarf named Mr. Ennis, literally had a nervous breakdown in class one day from debating with me. You can’t educate a child that you’re afraid of.
So, on some real shit, I was like “Nah, fuck this, Im not tryna die before I at least get me some pussy… I’m out”, lmao… Dead-ass tho, I just eventually stopped going. I was arrested 3 times when I was 15. That was a bad year for the kid. I got a GED from the Job Corps when I was 16. By 17, even though I was enrolled in Hostos Community College for Business Administration and Accounting, I was also already on probation for an armed-robbery and assault charge I had from 2 years prior. I violated that probation so flagrantly I was re-sentenced to serve 1 ⅓ to 4 years in state prison.
I went to Job Corps in a place named Cassadaga NY. If you didn’t know, the majority of NY is a rural state. NYC is a tiny tiny portion of the overall NY in reference to its land mass. NYC is a metropolis, but upstate NY is like down south with snow.
Anyway most of NY was also stolen from Native Americans, so that’s why all those lil towns and cities up there have names like Oneonta, Cassadaga, Buffaloe, Syracuse, etc. The first time I visited an Indian Reservation was on a beer and cigarette run, when I was in the Job Corps. That was the first time I met and interacted with a real Native American.
So I was 15 goin on 16 when I went there. I was tryna to finagle my way out of violating probation (again) by getting myself a GED. At 15 I was too young to take the test, but I obliterated the pre-test, and since the real exam was a two part two-day exam back then, they made an exception for me. My 16th birthday fell before the second test date, so I was good. Of course I bodied that shit. Easy A, my nigga. Nothin but net. Whatever.
The Job Corp facility where I was a resident, was the only one in the area that had a full size gym with a full sized basketball court, and a rec room downstairs. That gym also served as our assembly hall.
So one morning not long after I had first arrived, we were called to an assembly in the gym. After we were all seated and settled down, a Native American woman began to speak. She introduced herself, and gave a brief explanation of whatever Native ceremony we were meant to honor that day. Then she, this beautiful Pocahontas lookin, traditionally clad, red-faced, Native American squaw, very casually, requested that we all please rise, and recite the pledge of allegiance. To the American fuckin flag, no less.
I was appalled.
I’ve said before, I refuse to stand for that flag or that song. I never have, I never will. Someone would have to physically force me to do that. So, I was highly upset. I mean HIGHLY.
Now I’ve never been a big dude and I hadn’t even hit my meager pubescent growth spurt by this time, so of course I was seated down front on the bleachers, plainly visible to the speaker and to school administrators. They could see me sitting there, face frowned, arms crossed, hat turned to the back, more than likely dressed in army fatigue pants and jacket, wearing a Champion hoodie and a pair of high cut gore-tex Timberlands. Squinting at them furiously through a pair of extremely thick-lensed but still very fashionable, gold toned YSL frames. I was that kinda kid. Very defiant, now that I look back, lmao.
Well, as soon as the pledge was complete, the speaker looked right at me, and asked me why I hadn’t stood up.
So I stood up.
This was damn near 30 years ago; I smoke way too much weed to be able to remember what I said then verbatim. I do remember that when I was done talking, I walked out of the gym, because I wasn’t going to be involved in the exploitation of a Native American tradition performed for the benefit of the same government who had exploited them in the first place. I said whatever I said, emphatically, no doubt, and stormed tf out.
What I didn’t notice at the time, because I was indignantly full of adrenaline, and never looked back when I left, was that the whole gym including the Native American squaw who was speaking, had quietly stood up and followed me out. I’m talkin at least 2 or 3 hundred people.
You know that part in the movie ‘the Grinch’, when Jim Carey comes to Who-ville as the guest of honor for the Great Who-bilation? Remember how he ended up chastising the whole city for their hypocrisy, then started a riot, spits a fireball onto their giant Christmas tree, and just fuckin bounced?
Word to my mother that’s how I felt that day. I’ll never forget that shit, or the way I felt at that moment. That day I was very proud of myself.
Of course, two months later I had a fight with my roommate who was a bully that made the mistake of trying to handle me. He was older than me and too big for me to beat up, but there’s more than one way to hurt a mf. I learned that very early in life. I ended up throwing his speaker system through the window. He loved that system lmao. Of course that little stunt got me expelled, but fuck it. Shit happens, right?
Ok, end of sidebar.
So now it’s August of 1994. I was awakened by a Correctional Officer at around 3 am, told to pack the few belongings I was allowed to have, and shuffled from my C-74 dormitory to the mess hall on Rikers Island, so that I along with hundreds of other Black and Brown men could be unceremoniously shackled and shipped to off to prison. I spent my 18th birthday in a cell in Downstate NY.
The sentence that I was given determined that after a minimum period of 16 mos, I was supposed to be eligible for parole. In criminal terminology, it’s called a skid-bid, or at least it was back then. It’s basically the black man’s equivalent to a slap on the wrist, which if you think about it, really says a lot about this country.
Anyway I wasn’t supposed to be in prison very long; at the time there were early release programs that I was eligible for, since I was a first time offender. There was actually a shock-program back then that was styled like a military boot camp where I could do 6 months and go home on work release.
I ended up serving almost 7 consecutive years in prison, the maximum term for 2 separate sentences between NY and Pennsylvania. By the time I made it home, it was Y2K, the year 2000, the turn of the new millennium, and two months before my 25th birthday.
One day Imma tell yall how all that happened. One day. Not today tho.
For the first time in a decade, meaning since I was 14 years old, I wasn’t on parole or probation, or running from one of their officers. Having served the maximum term for both sentences, I was for the first time in a long time supposedly “free”. At least, I felt I had paid my ‘debt to society’. Whatever the fuck that bullshit means.
After being gone for damn near a decade, nobody in my old neighborhood really knew me anymore. My mother had moved out of the projects. People had moved on in general. Honestly I realized around that time that I had made very few and therefore remained close to even fewer childhood friends. I was pretty much a lone wolf at this point, probably still institutionalized from doing almost half of my prison time in keep-lock, or solitary segregation. I was never good at dormitory living; apparently I don’t play well with others under close conditions.
The upside to all this though, was that after such a long absence from the block I grew up on, no one was after me. I didn’t have any conflict or drama with anyone, for a while at least, lmao. My point is I didn’t have a gun on my hip, or a knife in my pocket, or a single-edged Gem Star razor blade concealed in my mouth, deftly tucked between the folds of my inner cheek, because I didn’t need one anymore. I wasn’t a threat to anyone, and I didn’t feel threatened by anyone, other than the NYPD, lmao. I felt like an adult.
I got a job almost immediately. A long tedious series of jobs to be more accurate. I’ve done everything from blue-collar to food-service to social work. I’m an artist; I get bored extremely quickly. I married the woman I had fallen in love with in 2002, when I was 27, the same year that I began to study Human Services at Metropolitan College of NY, which was then the Audrey Cohen College for Human Services. I’ve actually met Audrey Cohen. How I got enrolled in that school is a funny story lmao, but again, for another time.
My wife gave birth to our first daughter when I was 29, and to our second when I was 31. We’ve been married for 19 years, and have raised 4 beautiful and intelligent children together, as she had my oldest daughter and my son before I had come home.
I’ve never used the term step-parent or step-child. When I married their mother they became my children. Moving right along.
Eventually with a lot of input from my twin Face, I started a small, home-based business called ErbnArt, selling graphic designs and logos, and making tee-shirts.
Since I had been adjudicated a youthful offender in NY, my case there was sealed because I was still technically a minor when I caught the charge, and I maxed out my time. My case in PA is two misdemeanors, (menacing and terroristic threats they called it) that for some reason I was sent to the same prison in Huntington, PA, that Mumia Abu Jamal was being held on death row.
It’s a level 4 maximum security prison bro. The criminal justice system of Pennsyl-fuckin-vania sent me there with a two-year bid, smgdh. I maxed that one out too.
I’ve told you all that to say this: because I was a youthful offender in NY, I only have the misdemeanors in PA on my record. So even though I spent all those years in prison, I’m not a felon. I can vote. Every gun in my home was legally purchased for the defense of my family and my property. I pay taxes, I own and operate a business and a non profit. I started off as a construction mechanic and ended up being promoted to the Signs and Marking Specialist for the Town of Carrboro.
My life has taken me places I never thought I would be, from Rikers Island to Santa Monica beach to North Cackalacky and back. I’ve been broke, and I’ve fucked up some bread. I’ve never been wealthy, but today my life is rich.
On some real live shit, I’ve lived comfortably in places the average American doesn’t know or won’t admit exist, under conditions that the average American could not fathom much less survive. Because I’m not an American; but I was built for this shit.
100% Made In America, unlike your President’s silly little red hats.
All this is what makes my perspective, I think, a lot different than the average American’s. So lemme finish my self-synopsis now.
I registered as an Independent, voted for Kerry in 2004, and was fully on-board with the Obama hopey-changey train in 2008. A Black President, I thought… Maybe America is changing… shit I knew I had. My wife and I had by now relocated our family from the Bronx, NY to Durham, NC in 2010. We wanted a change of scenery, a better environment for the kids. I think it was the best move we ever made. My wife hates it down here, but since we’ve been here she’s done very well for herself so i’m not worried about it, lmao.
I voted for the Democratic candidate for President in 2012. By the end of the Obama administration in 2016, I was thoroughly disgusted by his effete and feckless manner, and basically done with American politics altogether.
The only vote I’ve cast since then was in the Democratic Primary election in 2016. I voted for Bernie over Hilary. I wasn’t a Bernie supporter. I just really regretted the votes I had cast for Obumass, as I will forever refer to his bitch-ass from this point forward. So I took 2 votes from Hilary (my vote, and my wife’s vote; we vote and/or don’t vote as a couple).
Yes. I can be intellectually petty that way. Don’t judge me.
Since that time, watching the progressive degradation of the already flimsy political infrastructure, I have become consistently more certain that America is in decline, for reasons that I relish the opportunity to discuss with you all.
I for one applaud it’s demise, and look forward to my children and their children having the chance to build something better from the rubble.
Fix your face, buttercup; I said what I said.
Hey, you gotta destroy before you can build… I mean, if you wanna make real Democracy, you gotta topple a few white-supremacist institutions, right? So come on, let’s get started. Let’s examine and consider the past, present, and future condition of race-relations in this country, together. Come and take a look at America through my eyes. If you think you can handle that.
I welcome you all to The ErbnArt Perspective. Oh, and P.S
We hate it here.