How Glamorizing Drugs is Killing Black Kids

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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

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.

“So Karl,” I say.

“K. Dot, uncle D. Call me K. Dot!”

“So K. Dot, you know Rick Ross isn’t the real Rick Ross, right?”

He goes on to tell me how Rick Ross is a master of stretching coke. How he takes one kilogram of cocaine and morphs it into three or four or five, maximizing his profits far beyond anything we could ever comprehend.

“So Ross to coke is kinda like Jesus with the making water into wine thing?”

“Exactly. You’re my favorite uncle because you get it!” he yells, overpowering my sound system, drowning out the Jay Electronica I’d been listening to all week.

I let K. Dot cut Ross on. His beats knock and he and his MMG (Maybach Music Group) crew have amazing energy. They’re the best in rap right now. K. Dot is bopping his head as we cruise, feeling the vibe and reciting every lyric as his neck makes yes-like motions. I wonder if he knows that he’s affirming every idea that comes out of the speakers.



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