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Author Archives: Naomi Bonman

Former and Incarnated Drug Kingpin, Rudy Williams, Shares Story of Redemption for Youth

Rudy Williams

Rudy Williams

By Naomi Bonman

When we hear of our young Black men and teenagers deterring in the wrong direction, we give them the wrong response by turning our heads and ignoring them. They need solid advice and a positive, but raw message from someone, preferably another Black male, who has been where they have been and has or is experiencing the consequence. This will showcase as an eye opener and wake up call for many.

In lieu of making this happen is through a media platform entitled, Gangster Chronicles. Gangster Chronicles is geared towards giving current and ex-convicts the ability to share their stories, put an end to mythologies by unveiling hidden stories and reach the youth through literature.  The roster consists of men who were leaders of well-known gangs, such as the Vicelords and Black Mafia, and even a man who inspired a character on the popular HBO series “The Wire.”

The first of three young men that I want to introduce is Rudy Williams. Williams was a notorious gangster from Baltimore who is currently serving 130 years plus life in prison for operating one of the most violent drug rings in the city’s history. During his 20 years of incarceration, Rudy has devoted all of his time to reading, writing and teaching youth that crime is a genocidal trap and not the answer.

Below are a few questions and answers from an interview conducted via email.

What was your life like before you got locked up?

My life was a bubble and a constant target of angry cops, judges and prosecutors. Having achieved the drug dealer’s twisted version of “The American Dream”, a false reality in itself from the git-go, I foolishly believed that I had insulated myself within my own tiny world of glitter, privilege and pleasure.  I had to always be on my P’s and Q’s and never got caught slipping.  One crucial mistake and it’s all over with, in either the penitentiary or the graveyard.   So make the right choice,  now! 

I went to so many funerals that upon being introduced to someone I would look into his eyes and wonder if he would be the person who would kill me or vice versa; however, because I loved my mother, my wife and children so dearly, I always kept them in mind and conducted myself in a manner that all but eliminated the possibility of them having to bury me and come to my funeral, especially for some stupid s–t, like making unnecessary enemies.  

I was extremely courteous and I always had to be at least one step ahead of others.  Most of the time one step was enough, but not always.  I was smart but not smart enough to quit while I was ahead.   Thus, one day in the blink of an eye it all came tumbling down on me and the end result was a sentence of Life plus 130 years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Prior to 1995, Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary averaged 16 murders a year. Half of them occurred on B-Block.  If the Bureau sent you to Lewisburg, the Feds wanted you dead.   If you was put in B-Block, they had a priority on it.  I was assigned to B-Block for 2 years.   My life is not one you should want to live. DON’T SELL DRUGS.

What led you to a life of crime?

I was lured into crime by poverty, boredom and adventure.  I stole the things that I couldn’t afford; because school was boring, I played “hooky” and got sent away at age 13 to a juvenile facility that was actually a crime school.  When I got out, I was a “real” criminal.  Besides not going to school and shoplifting, I stole cars and did burglaries.  I thought I was cool; I wasn’t cool.  I was stupid.

 

What have you learned about yourself since you’ve been in prison?

In spite of racial discrimination, if I had given myself a chance, with the right guidance I could had accomplished more legally than I did illegally.

The Universe is a perfect sphere because every point on it is the center.  No point is more important than others, and since every point is equal, no matter where you are, you’re always in the center of the Universe and the Here and Now is always the most important Time and Place.

The happiest people are not those who have the most, but those who make the most out of what they have.  The worst disease is misery;  the best medicine, happiness because the life of this world is short and will be over before you know it, enjoy the Here and Now while you can.   Don’t let anything stop you from being happy. I have never seen a sick happy person.  Have you?

What advice do you have for young boys and men who get trapped in the drug or gang war, and think it’s their only way out?

The Federal Government took over the so-call drug game long ago.   They control it completely.  They will let you make alotta money and then bust you so that they will look good on t.v. and in the newspapers to get promotions.  By releasing  snitchers back to the streets, they keep “the game” alive.  Nine out of 10 persons dealing drugs are working for the cops.  They have a government license to do what they do.  When they get caught, they get a DO NOT GO TO JAIL PASS.  The drug game is just a death trap to fill up the prisons and graveyards with poor people, especially  Blacks and non-white Hispanics.

You don’t have to sell drugs to achieve your goals or to get the things that you want out of life.  Money can’t buy happiness.  If you don’t enrich your mind first with knowledge, money will become your worst enemy and your worst nightmare.  You’ll be the constant target of larceny, jealousy, envy, flatters, con artists, and gold diggers; and of course cops, bandits and killers. No matter how smart you are, you will get caught and do big time unless you become a rat and snitch on your family and friends for a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE PASS.

The Feds will not let you beat it continuously and make it look foolish and incompetent. It will lie and cheat to put you in prison for a LONG, LONG, TIME, or you will be murdered, probably by a friend; however, if you truly believe in yourself, and give yourself a chance and work long and hard at something you enjoy, you can do anything you put your mind to.

I can name a billionaire rapper and 10 more who are close to it, but not a single billionaire drug dealer outside of Mexico or Columbia, so think about that the next time before you go make a drug deal.

Pan African Film Festival Closes Out with Man in 3B, Celebrity After Party

By Naomi K. Bonman

It’s always an exciting affair to have the pleasure of covering one of the largest and long standing film festivals within the Black community. On Sunday, February 15, the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) closed out an amazing two weeks of panels, international films, and workshops with the highly anticipated film, The Man in 3B, based off of the book by world renowned Black author, Carl Webber. The premiere of the film took place at Rave Cinemas 15 located at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles. It was preceded with a red carpet and followed by an exclusive after party.

The film is directed by Trey Haley; produced by Princess Monique, ND Brown, Veronica Nichols, Tracey Moore, Jeffery Dumpson, and Walter Nixon; and the film features an array of incredibly talented actors which include Lamman Rucker, Christian Keyes, DB Woodside, Brely Evans, Kellita Smith, Nefessa Williams, Billie Dee Williams, Jackee Harry, Marla Gibbs, Robert Ri’chard, Anthony Montgomery, and Olivia Longott.

Man in 3B is a romantic thriller following the story of Daryl Graham (Lamman Rucker) who just moved into a Jamaica, Queens apartment building, and his neighbors, female and male alike, can’t stop talking about him. From his extreme attractiveness to his undeniable swag, Daryl is the man every woman wants to be with and every man wants to be.

After the screening there was a Q&A session with the cast and crew. During the session each actor gave a few pointers, tips, and advice to those who want to break into the industry. Some of them were to “continue working hard, network at film festivals such as PAFF, and to be a pleasant spirit because no one wants to work with an individual who becomes a headache.” They also mentioned how each of them started with several littles roles which then opened the door for their big break. So as long as you keep working hard and NETWORK, NETWORK, and NETWORK with the right individuals, your goals and dreams will unlock.

The production crew has been blessed to receive several offers regarding distribution and screening of the film for the future. Be sure to keep an eye out for the film to hit your local theater and/or department store. Please visit www.tridestined.com for updates regarding the film.

Photos by John A. Castro & Naomi K. Bonman

Verizon Wireless Partners with Harlem’s Fashion Row Making a Splash in Los Angeles with its First-Ever West Coast Event

(Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage)

(Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage)

Four talented and diverse fashion designers showcased their collections to a select group of celebrities and influencers during Grammy weekend

LOS ANGELES, CA- Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) presented Style Beat, its first-ever West Coast event during Grammy Awards weekend in Los Angeles.  The glamorous daytime affair took place on Friday, February 6th at a luxurious Beverly Hills estate.  HFR is a unique movement founded to increase diversity in fashion by producing events to educate, stimulate, and advance opportunities for emerging designers of color.  Collections by four talented and diverse fashion designers were showcased to a select group of 250 tastemakers.  The featured designers were the legendary L.A.-based designer Kevan Hall, custom menswear designer Waraire Boswell, and emerging designers, Joseph Bethune and “Project Runway” finalist Kimberly Goldson.

As a partner, Verizon Wireless was able to help HFR’s Founder and CEO Brandice Henderson- Daniel pursue her passion through technology and bring Style Beat to life, which was co-hosted by actress/entrepreneur/model/TV personality Vanessa Simmons (styled by Shop Le Look) and recording artist/actor Quincy.  Attendees were able to take part in Verizon’s 360 Glam Cam to share their fashion and style. There was also a special one-on-one conversation with Kevan Hall discussing his career and influences.  The event culminated with the poolside runway fashion show featuring designs by Hall, Boswell, Bethune and Goldson.  Celebrity and influencer guests included Vanessa Williams, Tamala Jones, Melissa De Sousa, Michael Jai White, Gillian Waters, Cedric Sanders, Gloria Govan, Laura Govan, AJ Johnson, VaShawn Mitchell, Malina Moye, Kwame Boateng, Kofi Siriboe, Davidson Frere, V Bozeman, Kay Cola, Ugo Mozie, Daver Campbell and Harriette Cole, among others.  Guests were treated to a complimentary beauty bar, gifting, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and much more.

“Style Beat could not have happened without the generous support from Prudential and Verizon Wireless.  Because of them, we were able to show four incredible designers, all of whom I’m thankful for their participation.  I am still blown away by the amazing welcome we received in Los Angeles and we look forward to presenting more events here in the near future,” said Brandice Henderson-Daniel, Founder/CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row.

About Harlem’s Fashion Row 

Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) is an influential arts and entertainment organization that engages audiences and aligns brand partners with emerging multicultural designers.  HFR’s mission is to discover and showcase rising talent of color through a platform of national events and customized multi-platform programs.  HFR has gained corporate support from companies such as AOL, Target Stores, Iman Cosmetics, Smartwater, Dark & Lovely, and BET. Harlem’s Fashion Row has also been covered by Women’s Wear Daily, NY Daily News, Fashionista, New York Time Out, and Jones Magazine, as well as, “That’s So New York”, The Cut, NY Racked, Black Enterprise, and Centric.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network.  As the largest wireless company in the U.S., Verizon Wireless serves 108.2 million retail customers, including 102.1 million retail postpaid customers.  Verizon Wireless is wholly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ).  For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com.  For the latest news and updates about Verizon Wireless, visit our News Center at http://www.verizonwireless.com/news or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/VZWNews.