In Should there be a question why there is a human trafficking problem in the Town? Oakland has long glorified the movie “The Mack” as our local introduction into the Blaxploitation era and Hollywood culture, and we recently got a mayor-sanctioned street called Too Short Way right next to Fremont High School in a city that also commonly celebrates and routinely gives community/youth center awards to rapper Mistah F.A.B., whose first hit album was titled “Son of a Pimp.”
In the last three months, there have been at least 10 incidents in Oakland of Black males kidnapping or attempting to kidnap Black girls and women to force them into prostitution. The Black communities in Oakland are on high alert in defense of our girls and women, who are being preyed on by these predators.
“There is a real and understandable sense of fear among our Black girls. In some instances, they are prisoners in their own homes when they can’t secure rides outside of public transportation, because many of these kidnappings occur when they are en route to school, work etc. Black girls and women also justifiably feel as this is just another instance of us being the least protected and cared for in this society,” said Selena Wilson, the CEO and executive director of the East Oakland Youth Development Center.
Oakland is a town that has described its street culture in the ironic way of being half revolutionary and half pimp, which seems like an unlivable contradiction on paper. The lives that are lived in Oakland tell a different story.
The Town is still filled with the remnants of old factories and warehouses in this post industrial era and also in the post-crack era. Most of these decaying buildings have turned into fire-trap communes for white youth and artists like the infamous Ghostship commune that burned to the ground on Dec. 2, 2016, in East Oakland, or these buildings were turned into marijuana grows in an emerging cannabis industry where, even locally, Black people en masse have been locked out of the so-called Green Rush for the last 27 years since Prop 215 first got on the ballot.
So local ghetto Black victims of capitalism’s post-crack and de-industrialization era for the most part have been reduced to “niggaz slanging ‘d’ (drugs) and hoes selling pussy meat (prostituting),” as the great Oakland revolutionary rapper Askari X once gave his analysis in an unreleased song, titled “Hide Tonight 2.”
“I believe people’s ideas and feelings about Black women and girls are deeply rooted into the ideas and feelings that were born during slavery – ideas that say things like Black women and girls have an insatiable appetite for sex, or that we’re innately wicked or immoral,” explained Nola Kesia Brantley, the CEO of Nola Brantley Speaks.
“These were all ideas that were born during slavery that live into today that make it easy for people to see Black girls and women being harmed and do nothing about it. I believe we have all become very complacent – including Black people – about harm done to Black women and girls.
“I also believe that human trafficking, and the fact that we have Black women and girls starting at young ages all the way up to grown women on the street in broad daylight being commercially sexually exploited seven days a week, makes it much more unsafe for Black women and girls in our city. On any given Friday night, I could find girls as young as 14, 15 or 16 on the track in underwear, bras and high heels being exploited,” said Nola Brantley.
“DLo he don’t give a fuck about no hoe,
He’ll snatch your hoe and take her to the hoe stroll
DLo you already know tho, don’t give a fuck about a nigga or hoe tho”
– from the song “No Hoe” by D Lo
“No Hoe” by DLo is one of the most celebrated songs coming out of Oakland since the turn of the millennium. Black culture, Hip Hop culture and our political education as a community has to be examined and altered if we want a healthier society in Oakland in the future.
“The kidnapping and exploitation that these girls experience deeply traumatizes them, and it can take years and decades for them to fully recover. It impacts the way they relate to themselves, to others and the world; how they engage in relationships, their ability to trust, their ability to have healthy intimacy, and the list goes on,” said Nola Kesia Brantley, the CEO of Nola Brantley Speaks.
Men and women, adults and youth, the streets, clergy, political, non-profit, community, social, and student organizations need to get involved in coming up with solutions to this kidnapping, pimping and prostitution epidemic in our community.
“There have been a series of community meetings on this state of emergency – one of the outcomes being a comprehensive safety guide. With that said, we recognize we need to do more,” lamented the EOYDC’s Selena Wilson.
“We began doing concentrated outreach around this effort about a week ago. We will be at the Malcolm X Jazz Festival on Saturday, and we’ll plan another special outreach for next week. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org,” said Nola Brantley.
JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, is also the editor in chief of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. He teaches the Community Journalism class twice a week at the San Francisco Bay View newspaper office.