Over the last two days the nation has been aghast at footage showing a 16 year old Chicago student being beaten to death in a gang-related mass brawl.
The student, Derrion Albert, was viciously attacked with board planks outside his school. While others fought around him, Albert went down and was repeatedly stomped in the head and punched.
Witnesses finally came to his aid, and a female friend screamed for him to wake up as he was picked up and brought to safety. Later, the honor roll student succumbed to his head injuries.
It was later discovered that Albert was not involved in either gang, but became a target during the melee.
Four teens have been arrested in connection with the murder: Silvanus Shannon (19), Eric Carson (16), Eugene Riley (18), and Eugene Bailey (17). In a taped confession, Shannon admitted that he jumped on the victim’s head, although Albert never attacked him.
Nas, who lost his close friend Willie “Ill Will” Graham to senseless violence in 1992, addressed his open letter to teens wasting their lives in gang warfare against each other.
“Dear Young Warriors fighting the wrong wars! Killing each other is definitely played out. Being hurt from the lost of a love one was never cool,” the Queensbridge legend stated. “Dear Young Warriors fighting the wrong war! I know that feeling, that frustration with life and needing to take it out on someone, any one. But we chose the dumbest things to go the hardest for. I remember seeing deaths over 8 ball jackets, Filas, and name plate chains. Deaths over ‘he say she say’!!!!! ‘I’m from this block or I’m from that block”, or ‘my moms n pops is f***ed up now the whole world gotta pay!!!”
Nas recounted his own conflicted emotions growing up, and how he can relate to the teens in Chicago despite growing up in an earlier time and location.
“I remember feeling like I was the hardest n***a breathing. And I couldn’t wait to prove it. But let’s think. What are we really proving? And proving what to who?” Nas challenged. “Everybody knows Chicago breeds the strongest of the strong but I just feel, me, being your brother from another state feels your pain as if I grew up with you in your very own household. You have the ability and mind power to change they way we are looked at.”
“Look who’s watching us young warriors, look who’s throwing us in jail constantly, look at the ignorance in the world. Look at the racist dogs who love to see us down. Loving to bury us in the ground or in jail where we continue this worthless war on one another. Young warriors, we are wasting more and more time. We got to get on our jobs and take over the world. Cuz this movie left the theaters years ago: Juice, Menace, Boyz N the Hood , Blood N Blood Out, Belly!”
In closing, Nas bluntly framed the street wars as destruction against one’s self, and said a prayer for the slain teenager.
“When we see each other why do we see hatred? Why were we born in a storm, born soldiers, warriors, and instead of building each other up we are at war with each other,” he detailed. “May the soul of this young person find peace with the Almighty. I’m with you young warriors. You’re me and I’m you. But trust me! You are fighting the wrong war.”
At press time, the four arrested teens are being held without bond and face first degree murder charges. Every one is expected to be charged as adults.