Willie D: "For Black People, Being Educated Is Not Enough"
"Racism is a cancer that America does not want to cure." -- Willie D
But perhaps especially about race and racism.
Earlier this week, he released "Hoodiez," a song/video that served half as new music, half as a civil-rights petition. It has officially been run through the blogosphere, landing everywhere, from nationally validated sites like Nah Right to regionally appreciated MP3 stalwarts like Tha Fixx, operating as the catalyst for 1,000 different conversation streams between them all.
According to Willie, he has since been inundated with interview requests. We stood in line to ask him a few questions. He offered more than an ample share of time and insight. Working backwards through the conversation, some highlights:
Rocks Off: The last guy in the video, D-Boi, who is that? His name doesn't ring out yet.
Willie D: That's my artist. He's from Huntsville.
RO: Huntsville, Alabama, or Huntsville, Texas?
WD: We don't respect Alabama. We're Texas boys. [laughs]. If we say "Huntsville," that means Huntsville, Texas. If we mean to say Huntsville, Alabama, then we say Huntsville, Alabama.
RO: This is the first new music for you and Scarface since, what, like six or seven years, right?
WD: Yeah. This was the first thing we've done since 2005.
RO: Can we take this as an implication that a Geto Boys reunion, or even a two-thirds Geto Boys reunion is imminent?
WD: This was just me asking him to be a part of a song. I called him up and asked him to be involved, he said cool.
Then came this question: This is going to be extra-cliched, but it seems like it needs to be asked: Why did you feel like "Hoodiez" needed to be made?
From there, intellectual and unencumbered force of nature Willie D is, he blasted off into a very considered, very honest dissertation on race relations on the tributaries that vibrate in its wake. A few quotes:
Honestly, at first, I wasn't even considering a song. I was at this thing they were having at Emancipation Park looking out into the crowd and I saw these kids' faces and I just... I saw kids my son's age or my daughter's age. I saw my sister's kids and my neighbor's kids and I was like, 'Why? Why do they have to be subjected to this shit? Why? Because somebody doesn't like the way they look?
They should be at home doing homework or playing or thinking about when the next Playstation is coming out.' It was like they were looking at me saying, 'What are you going to do make sure this doesn't happen to me? I'm just a kid. Are y'all going to save us?' I couldn't take it. I was in a daze. After I felt that, Isiah [Carey from Fox 26 News] put the microphone in my face and I went off.
Everyone watched the video. I heard a lot about it. After that, I just wanted to be a part of the reaction.
Regarding living as a black man:
For black people, being educated is not enough. Doing the right thing is not enough. Obeying your parents is not enough. There are people that will say, 'You can do anything in life, unless I feel like stopping you because I don't like the way the way you look.' That's a reality we have to deal with every single day.
Regarding the police:
I know cops who are bullies. I personally know them. I know cops who are real cool dudes, who just want to do their job and then try to make it home to their families. But I know guys that stretch their authority every chance they get. There are Zimmermans out there, everywhere. Everywhere.
They're in the police departments too. They can go out and hunt a black person. They can go out and hunt a Hispanic person or an Asian. They'll provoke you and then say, 'I felt like my life was threatened. I thought he had a gun.'
And then they gun you down and they get suspended while it gets investigated by the same police department that employs them. And they have their own brotherhood, their own code of silence.
Regarding George Zimmerman's likely response had Trayvon Martin been white:
Let me tell me you something: If that kid was white, nobody would say they thought he had a gun. Nobody. But because he was black, it's okay to say it.
Regarding the "Hoodies" movement:
Even that reveals something. Look, we had to have rallies, we had to have protests, we had to have celebrities speak on it, all for what? To get an arrest made for a guy that murdered a child. For a guy that killed a child in cold blood for no reason other than because he was black.
Regarding how he believes white people have processed the situation:
There are hundreds of millions of white people who are tired of this shit too. They have to deal with it too, people looking at them like, 'Are you like that?' Of course they're not all like that, just like all black people aren't one way either. It's uncomfortable for everyone involved, that's the truth. But not talking about it is not the answer.
Follow Willie D on Twitter at @WillieDLIVE.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.