D. Watkins

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How Glamorizing Drugs is Killing Black Kids

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The author via Salon.com
The author via Salon.com

Local writer D. Watkins  is an adjunct professor at Coppin State University and runs a creative writing workshop at the Baltimore Free School. He holds a Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Baltimore.  The following essay was published on Salon.com.

Weeks after William Leonard Roberts, better known by the stage name Rick Ross, won his case in a battle over the name with the real Rick Ross, my 11-year-old nephew Karl and his bugged eyes ran up on me with some Ross rap music. He was all excited like “Uncle D, Rick Ross is the biggest drug dealer ever, he’s so G, he only raps for a hobby because he already made millions moving crack!”

My nephew never sold a drug in his life because of me. Sell a drug and I’ll whip your ass is what I beat into his reality; however, he is still from east Baltimore and I can’t stop that. Being from east Baltimore means that you are biologically programmed to be infatuated with drug culture — who’s getting money, who’s snitching, who has the best dope, who’s driving what, who murdered who and so forth.

Why My Mother Made Me Call Her Tina

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somali-girlUniversity of Baltimore MFA student D. Watkins tells the difficult story of his Somali mother, Tina, who gave birth to him when she was 15, full of big plans other than being a mom.

Tina is a loud-mouthed, club-hopping, plate-snorting, someone-else’s-Mercedes-driving, street-fighting, pink-rollers-under-a-ripped-stocking-cap-wearing, PTA-meeting-missing, new-best-friend-every-day-having, mother of five children with four different fathers–I’m her second oldest.