Friday, October 24, 2008

Jennifer Hudson: the hood closes in

The South Side. Where life is cheap? No, but the quality of life's cheapened, too often by the very folk who tolerate the mess. Look, sorrow is a facile, weak term for what we're feeling for Jennifer Hudson now. Her mother and brother shot to death, her nephew missing. Just yesterday we were shrugging off "The Secret Life of Bees," and laughing at her engagement to "Punk" of I Love New York. Black drag queens were emulating her full lips.
But we seem to forget one thing. Jennifer is a Chicago girl...from the hood. The hood's like a werewolf's curse. It never goes away no matter how many Oscars or appearances on The View. And then there's all the stuff you think you've left behind. The place, the people--even family. The pathologies--of place. Of the people. Too much sorrow. Are you mad at me for these opinions? You've had them too. Don't lie.


Lisa said...

Who is this William Balfour person? Isn't he a cousin? He was in prison until recently.

Liz Dwyer said...

SO sad. And they haven't found the little boy yet either. I was just talking to my husband about this and I was telling him how crazy it is that our hometown is now murder capital of the US.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

At first I was mad at you for this post but it got me thinking. A lot of whack shit happens in middle class neighborhoods and there's certainly stuff in redneck hoods that makes this look tame, but there's something pervasively creepy and callous about the hood. Speaking as an escapee from West Baltimore.

Anonymous said...

Mr Chambers you are usually on point but with this post you are just wrong.

Tragedies like this occur across class lines and zip codes. Just because your name is in lights does mean that you are immune to the horrors of the world. Diana Ross' brother was murdered. Phil Hartman was murdered by his wife (who then committed suicide). Either one of those tragic losses occurred in the hood. You can't say that the Hartmans were from the hood.

But that doesn't matter to you. You just want to spew venom at the black people you look down on.

In some ways people like you are just a shade different than drug dealers who profit off despair.

At least drug dealers have an excuse.

What's yours, Mr Chambers?

To bad attending an ivy league school, becoming a successful author didn't prevent you from becoming an asshole.

Knute Rife said...

Chris put his post in a Black context, but I read it a bit more broadly, namely that if you come from a rathole, whatever flavor it is, it never loses the power to suck you back down. I've watched plenty of White kids seem to escape, shall we say, less than ideal environments only to be reeled back in like fish on a line. People have been expecting me to disappear back to Podunk Creek for over a quarter-century now, and it may happen yet.

Anonymous said...

LOL Monica has your number!!

But I disagree with her on this count. Phil Hartman's circumstance was a blue monn occurence. 99% of these white celebrity murders are either drug-assisted OD/quasi suicides not the extension of street crime. How many "entourage/posse" beefs and killings you have with folks like that? Also your odds of being a victim of street crime [random] is increased by ebing in certain areas. Maybe if Jennifer Hudson moved her mother to a house in Winnetka or some other white, wealthy suburb her only danger would be from a drunk soccer mom running her over? Yet wouldn't relatives and friends of relatives or casual criminal acquaintences of friends of relatives still turn up on her doorstep?

This is a tragedy. However, I don't think Prof. Chambers making light of it. He's a jerk about many things, but here he's just airing out dirty laundry which is the healthy thing to do. If Sarah Palin's mother and brother were killed and he exposed the vagaries of "poor white trash" pathologies, would you be equally outraged, Monica?

Anonymous said...

Carl, I would be outraged.

I'm outraged because "white trash" is the last acceptable racial epithet.

I'm outraged that a number of the criticisms against Palin are aimed at her working class background. Apparently she's not fit to be president because she only attended a state university. And,omg, she believes in creationism. Not only should she not be president, but she could confined to the Alaskan frontier, never to speak again.

I am sickened by any the violent nature of the country. This is not limited to poor people. It doesn't matter if it's in Appalachia or suburban Chicago, or Philadelphia.

Lisa said...

I think the real tragedy is that Nancy Grace is still losing her mind over Caylee Anthony and is giving only a few minutes per show to the Hudson case.

Check this out from CNN: "William Balfour's MySpace page states that he is married to Jennifer Hudson's sister Julia and has a stepson. It also says he lives on Chicago's South Side." This guy is a violent ex-jailbird. I don't think it's wrong to ask questions.

Conservative Black Woman said...
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Conservative Black Woman said...

Wow, I'm really not some sort of sick freak of nature. I initially had your very thoughts but I figured my internal black folks bring too much sh*t on themselves radar was on overdrive, so I didn't share my thoughts. I'm glad you decided to say if for me. Regardless, my heart is broken for Jennifer H.

Anonymous said...

OK this is totally off topic but I am watching the "Snapped" marathon while my fiance o.d.s on Redskins-Lions and Giants-Steelers. With the exception of murderous daddy's little girls killing their undereducated boyfriends, there're aren't too many black women featured on the show. I would say most ARE P.W.T. from trailer land and then only a few are bored housewives who wanted insurance money!!

PS I bought the Darker Mask and love it. My brother has stolen it. I will buy the hard-cover as a collectors item. When will you be touring in NY-NJ-CT again?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this crime committed allegedly by a family member? This could have happened anywhere, then...

Knute Rife said...

Nothing Nancy Grace does is tragic. Idiotic, self-absorbed, prostituted, mind-numbing, etc., yes. Tragic, no.

Tafari said...

"The hood's like a werewolf's curse. It never goes away..." So true, so damn sad!!!

I fear the worst for the boy but I think most of us know his fate.


Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...
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Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

I wonder if The HOOD is "physical"?

If so, then this post is really a shoot in the foot.

If The HOOD is a state of mind then you are RIGHT!.

afronerd said...

Not that Mr. Chambers needs me to come to his defense but I am extremely appreciative that he spoke truth to power regarding this tragedy. And no….Monica does not possess Chamber’s number-we can go “tit for tat” when it comes down to dysfunctionalism or pathology between cultures but the Hudson tragedy represents the kind of violence that occurs DISPROPORTIONATELY in underclass communities of color in this country. We can no longer use the tired excuse that “White people do it too” to diminish behavior that is literally dismantling the Black community’s ability to move forward. I have stated this countless times on my blog, Black folks appear to be more eager to address issues that possess a racial dynamic (especially if violence is at its center…like the recent 2nd Texas dragging incident or Jena 6) but when INTRA-racial matters occur, suddenly excuses are developed, problems go unanswered and the death toll continues to rise. It’s time to let go of the excuses and begin to talk HONESTLY about the self-defeatism and nonsensical violence that are killing us…..

Monroe Anderson said...

Afraid you pulled the trigger too quickly on this one, Christopher.

This terrible tragedy is a domestic. It happens in poor hoods and on rich estates--and anywhere else where love, ego and jealousy become a deadly cocktail.

Sometimes there is only one victim. In other cases, it may be a murder-suicide. This time there were three, a mother, a brother and a nephew.

Reports have just broken that the body of a boy was found in an abandoned white SUV on Chicago's West Side.

afronerd said...

Whether the issue centered on a domestic dispute or not still does not take away the "ghettocentric” aesthetic that permeates this tragedy. A young mother married to a criminal that ultimately kills or maims the female in question (or her family/friends) is an all too common occurrence in the “hood.” It’s a tragedy that must be dissected and discussed so that it doesn’t happen with the current level of frequency that we are now accustomed to seeing. In the immortal words of Juan Williams……ENOUGH!

MartiniCocoa said...

Why would a woman with a small son marry a violent ex-con to be around her son?

Yes, I'm going there.
Where is her sister's responsibility to make sure the people she brings around her son are not going to bring him down but elevate and help him grow?

As it stands, the cops have found Jason Hudson's truck with a body of an AA boy in the truck. It is not confirmed that the boy is Julia Hudson's son.

If it is, Julia Hudson has to ask herself why would she risk the lives of her family by partnering up with someone who didn't exactly seemed rehabilitated.

I do believe in redemption but I believe in being a protective, pro-active, intelligent parent more.

Anonymous said...

Living in Chicago and I testify that the Englewood neighborhood, where the Hudson family lived, is perhaps the single worst neighborhood in Chiacgo with the highest crime and murder rate in the city. From someone I know I talked to yesterday who knows the family (when they for a while attended his church) they consistantly refused to move out of the neighborhood despite Jennifer Hudson offers to move them out and pleas from people to leave as well. Add to that the sister's Julia marrying the main suspect two years ago shortly before his release from prison while serving an 8 year setence for attempted murder and car jacking and you've got that "hood mentally" run amuck.

Now don't get me wrong here. I'm in no way saying or inferring that the Hudson family was responsible for the tragedy that happened. Of course not. This sort of senseless violence is happening much too often in black communities all over the country, most of it goes unreported. Of course since this occured to the family of a major celebrity it attacts much more attention from the media and the public at large.

But I'm tried of this "white people go crazy too so it's all right if we do" excuse. I remember a while back when I was a kid when we used to think of ourselves as morally superior to whites. Now as my sister once said, "the white man is jumping off a cliff so we're jumping off too trying to catch up with him"

Anonymous said...

Is this effect of 8 years of GWB in the White House? Are we all just stuck on stupid?

Based on what has been written among these comment, you would think this was a drug deal gone bad. It wasn’t. This was a case of domestic violence and domestic violence crosses all class and racial lines. It’s not limited to blacks (or whites or Latinos) who don’t have money.

To demonize Jennifer Hudson’s sister and all people formerly incarcerated is not going to stop people from murdering family members. Most cases of domestic violence don’t involve ex-cons or casual family acquaintances. Using this tragedy to personify the “pathology of black culture” is misguided and speaks to “assholiness” of some members of American bourgeoise in general and the Black bourgeoise in particular.

How such a large population can be educated and just plain dumb baffles me?

I find it interesting that no one spoke about the pathologies of South Asian culture when that Asian financial professional killed his family and committed suicide in California. He was driven to commit these heinous acts because of stress and shame.

If that had been a poor person (regardless of color) they would just been criminals and it would have been their family’s vault for being in the house that day.

Pebbles Flintstone said...

I'm baaaack! I for one am sickened by this news, by any news that a family has lost a mother, brother or son. I am even more sick at the news that they may have found her nephew. It is tragic. This type of news is always tragic no matter where it occurs. None of us are immune to this type of behavior. However, I think Chris does shed some light on the disproportionate amount of crime that occurs in poor urban neighborhoods. It is just a fact. As much as Ms. Hudson has worked hard to create a different life for herself, he family chose to stay put. Her family and any other family in that neighborhood is subject to becoming a victim. Chris I applaud your honesty. We need to realize the truth no matter how tragic it is. Now, the question is how can stop it, turn it around and create something better? I say shame on the city of Chicago for allowing it to become the murder capital. I say shame on the US for allowing this to happen. My thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Hudson and anyone else who is suffering at this time.

Monroe Anderson said...

Dburt: You're mixing apples and oranges. Of course black on black crime is rampant and there's black life has become devalued in too many parts of the black community.
But, domestics occur in every community in America, black, white, brown, rich, middle class and poor. Novels are written about domestics and movies are made about them. There's even a term for them: crimes of passion.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Monica! The patriarchal views with regard to DV do nothing to move us toward a safer society.
Check out The Black Snob's post on this tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Domestic violence may happen in all communities, but I think Chris makes a valuable point about the merits of leaving "the hood" behind.Anybody remember Sean Taylor?

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Monica, the issue with Palin is not class (actually she grew up with more money than Obama) it's that she is not bright and revels in her ignorance. GWB is from one of the wealthiest families in America and was/is criticized for many of the same issues as Palin.

If you are anti-science you really don't need to be anywhere near the White House.

Re: the Hudson family. I can't even imagine. Jennifer tried to move her mom out but she refused to go. People heard the gun shots but didn't call the police because shots are heard all the time in that area.