Fuck Dr. Dre, and fuck Straight Outta Compton, too. I never wanted to be a nigga with attitude or a nigga for life. But when I became one in 1991, it stole my childhood and made me uncomfortable being black forever.

NWAPoster

In 1989, I was 11-years-old and a top-performing student at Bunker Hill Elementary School.

During this era, Bunker Hill was being carefully positioned by DC Public Schools and the DC Government as a symbol of black excellence during a time when young blacks in the city were being ravaged by crack cocaine and gang warfare. I took the job seriously (yes, note the use of the term “job”), and when it came to winning spelling bees, garnering academic honors, and being chosen to sit and discuss local politics with Marion Barry over a school lunch as local TV cameras filmed the entire process, I absolutely had to be there; because I was proudly young, gifted, and black. Long before reading Stokely Carmichael’s Black Power in college and getting radicalized, I knew that I wanted to represent a future not just black youths, but black people in general could aspire to become.

By the fall of 1990, however, I had graduated from what-felt-like-99% black Bunker Hill and was attending, thanks to a scholarship from the Black Student Fund, the 99% white Georgetown Day School, which intriguingly was the first either public or private integrated school in Washington DC. And as a seventh grader in these new, unfamiliar surroundings, I began to feel like I had lost my purpose.

GDS was a great school, but it was a school where rising above my race wasn’t a requirement. Instead, they just wanted me to generally be a great student. On the surface, losing that pressure to perform should have created a space where I could become an even better pupil, but that just didn’t happen. Without my strong sense of identity to hold on to, everything else began to slip away too. Straight A’s became A’s and B’s, which at the end of 7th grade became B+’s and C+’s.

When July hit and I was headed to summer camp for a month, I was a 13-year old burnout thinking I had hit my peak as a person before I had even hit puberty.

You see, part of the package deal that came with the Black Student Fund scholarship was getting to attend summer camp at Camp Shohola for Boys in Greeley, Pennsylvania. Shohola was a great place and sure beat a violent urban summer, but it too was a place where I was left to float without an identity. Somehow, I had to attempt to find my best black self at a summer camp where the only “color war” that was happening involved playing an elaborate game of capture the flag with green and white banners.

My cabin mates were no help in my journey. They perceived that since I was black, I was already well-acquainted with N.W.A.’s unfiltered messages of black power though flagrant disregard for laws and violence, as they all were.

I wasn’t.

But I was definitely confused about many things in my life, wanting desperately to be anything besides who I felt like I was less than successful at being. So I listened.

With puberty already knocking as I listened to the album, it was the misogyny of it all that made the greatest impact. At 13, I was such a nerd and so focused on everything but successfully talking to girls that I honestly knew what to do better with Erect-a-Sets than with my own erections.

This album seemed to have answers…

“It’s the world’s biggest dick! It don’t matter just don’t bite it! She swallowed it!”

So went “She Swallowed It,” the song on N.W.A.’s Elif4zaggin that marks the first time I learned about what oral sex was.

There was “Automobile” as well, the sing-a-long date rape song that made “My Dingaling” — a song covered by Chuck Berry in 1972 that was my introduction to tongue-in-cheek songs about the joys of having women interacting with penises — sound like learning addition when calculus was on the chalkboard. Efil4Zaggin also includes an interlude entitled “To Kill a Hooker,” plus songs named “One Less Bitch” and “Findum, Fuckum & Flee.”

In hindsight, it was a terrifying sexual education that left indelible scarring on both my ability to socially interact with women and my racial identity.

However, in Cabin 12 circa 1991, N.W.A. were superheroes whose lyrics were anthemic statements. As a young black man surrounded by young white teens who had already swallowed the Alice in Wonderland-style red pill that was N.W.A.’s blatant misogyny lathered in strong racial content, I was trapped. I mean, did I just scream lyrics about coerced oral sex into the air and let my inherent blackness blend with them into a potent mass of black power sex machine meant to sexually bulldoze buses upon buses of flaxen-haired and similarly-pubescent teenage girls arriving at camp for our dance socials with our “sister camp” Camp Netimus for Girls? What was this tribal war chant I was led into screaming before being sent into some sort of ill-informed sexual battlefield?

No, this isn’t the moment in the story where we talk about a teenage girl being raped in the woods. However, I will discuss how disheartening it is to perceive yourself as part of a crew of super-awesome black dudes yelling about fucking girls (whether they wanted to be fucked or not), then coming home after a dance having fucked no girls at all.

When the black heroes I was trying to emulate were Malcolm and Martin, I had succeeded. But when they were “Eazy Muthafuckin’ E,” I felt like I had failed. Not that every white eye in that cabin expected me to succeed, but all I ever knew regarding race, excellence, and white people was to exceed their pre-existing expectations. Thus, given that my black penis had remained untouched and my sexual cherry remained un-popped, I had missed my chance to excel.

I don’t think I ever really quite recovered from N.W.A., the failure that was 7th grade, and the summer of 1991. I was an inhibited sexual mess for most of my teen years, with too many awkward interactions to mention.

Then there was college, where I feel fairly certain that one of the most important parts of my selection process was choosing a school that had a high percentage of white male students; ya know, the semi-adult version of my cabin-mates who’d get the chance to see what five years of psychosexual and racially stigmatized failure being allowed to grow unfettered had developed into. I definitely needed a great number of white women at the school too, who in my clearly quite afflicted mind were sexually uninhibited and had likely never seen a black person before. Deep down, I felt like college — more than any other place — would allow me the opportunity to make good on my N.W.A.-aided summer camp goals. Somewhere deep in my head, the song “Automobile” always seemed to be playing while interacting with girls on campus during freshman year:

You don’t have to front on me dear
So why don’t you just give that pussy here?
If you’d be good to me, oh, I’ll be good to you
And we’ll both ride home in my automobile

Unfortunately, I had no automobile, and yeah, the less I talk about the pussy I got freshman year, the better. The one time it did happen, I was definitely fucked because I was black, but I definitely wasn’t as cool, cocky, and composed as Eazy-E.

And still, at 37 years of age, “a bitch,” may still indeed be “a bitch.” I still count incredibly misogynistic music as a guilty pleasure. Old habits die last, and thus, even though I know better, there’s still this incredibly tiny part of me that still wants to live out horribly misogynistic lyrics in real life. It’s heartbreaking, but .000001% of me still wants to “findum, fuckum and flee,” get head in the “Automobile,” and yeah, on some level, might still laugh out loud at the notion that “a dead bitch can’t tell a nigga shit, [that’s] one less bitch you gotta worry about.”

In a manifestation of deep seeded white-hot white-girl lust that was lost in a pavilion at summer camp as a blue-eyed Becky in black jeans and white Keds busted a cap in my dreams of bad intentions for her body, one of my favorite songs in recent memory was “Decisions.”

It’s a razor-sharp dubstep anthem by loutish Israeli producer Borgore, who pairs with Miley Cyrus on the track. When Borgore’s voice growls the hook “bitches love cake,” I’m pretty much damned near beating my chest and rasping along with him. It’s at this moment when my black pride is found in a white man, and I want Miley Cyrus (or any alternative) to swallow my “world’s biggest dick.” It’s the manifestation of 25 years of feeling incredibly angst ridden about that time when I was amazing, black, and completely fell short of expectations. It’s pretty much the worst thing ever.

Fuck Dr. Dre, fuck F. Gary Gray and fuck Straight Outta Compton, too. N.W.A. stole my childhood, made me a nigga for life, and thus uncomfortable in being black forever.