Skip to main content

How the Chips Fall: The Tale of Two Young American Lives

Following what has been a media circus regarding the Eliot Spitzer scandal, the whirlwind that was the media, seemed to have eased up on its proverbial "full-court press" on Ashley Alexandra Dupre. For now, that is.

After all, Dupre's story, which is tailored for a future New York Times best seller, is one that follows a troubled, lost and aspiring singer that gave new meaning to "do whatever it takes", and her journey to super stardom. The catch - besides her two downloaded songs, her dream of becoming a singer hasn't become reality, but the one of being rich and famous have surpassed her imagination.

Dupre, the young 22 year old that has captured the interest of America with her pictures, stories and aspirations, has become a house hold name by way of drugs, prostitution and the moral failure and fall of another individual. Her journey of choices, anchored by raw motivation from the heart, led her down a path that reaped short rewards. It was a mere shortcut for cash to someday help support her dream and efforts to be a famous and wealthy singer. Instead, Dupre is preparing to cash in on millions not because of where her heart is, but because of a lifestyle in which most end up dead.

One the other hand, there is the subdued story of Jamiel Andre Shaw Jr. A young seventeen year old that excelled in his studies, and had a God-given gift of performing on a football field. Shaw, along with his father Jamiel Sr., lived in Crenshaw, California. Jamiel Jr.'s mother, Anita Shaw, is a United States solider serving her second tour of duty in the war on terrorism in Iraq.

Jamiel Jr. had huge aspirations and dreams to become a sports agent. Football was that vehicle that would someday help him realize that dream as well as making it out of his neighborhood in Crenshaw. Described as, "not only an outstanding athlete, but a great person" by his football coach, Jamiel Jr. stayed on the straight and narrow road of working hard in school and football, staying true to the pact between him and his dad.

Jamiel Sr. stated, "I would tell him, I'm going to get you to 18. And if you do what you are supposed to do, you'll get to college."

Jamiel Sr. continued, "He was almost there."

Jamiel Jr. was gunned down outside of his home by two gang members in an attack that was unprovoked.

According to the Associate Press, Jamiel was all-city first team selection last season after he rushed for 1,052 yards, averaging more than 14 yards per carry, and scored 10 touchdowns. He also ran track.

Jamiel Jr. was being mulled by Stanford and Rutgers universities.

It's a tragedy too surreal, too reminiscent of Boyz N' The Hood.

Another promising individual dead. Another dream no longer alive.

It's the tale of two young lives in America.

Most say it is just how the chips fall.

Is it? Or is it how we stack the deck?

It's a question worth asking. To save our ourselves. To save a life. And to save a dream.

Recently Read Posts

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 6/19/22

3 Up 1. Father's Day and Juneteenth - A combined weekend of all-sort of celebrations, reflections, and appreciation. Sending gratitude and good vibes to all fathers, substitute fathers, step-in fathers, mentors, and figures who have helped shape the lives of many.  Also, take some time to reflect and think through the reflective day that is Juneteenth - new to so many - of the horrific start to our country's existence, and the freedom that came after a century of captivity.  2. Ashley Adirika - This is a dope story. It's the kind of story that is amazing and quite frankly, inspirational. Adirika, a Florida teen, graduates high school with offers from all Ivy schools and many more top institutions in the country. If that wasn't enough, Ashley also started her own non-profit organization to help mentorship for young women.  Unbelievably amazing.  3. Steph Curry - My dude was cooking! Steph continues to be one of my favorite athletes, and such a joy to watch. I was there

Dope Sports Threats - Nike City Connect Series (Milwaukee Brewers)

Before we dive into the Milwaukee Brewers Nike City Connect uniforms, I want to give some major props to the Brewers organization for handling the Lorenzo Cain situation . Allowing Cain to remain with the team long enough to reach the 10-year milestone, despite a subpar performance and every intention to designate him for assignment, is classy.  Of course, that 10 years (and 5 years with the same team) gives Cain added incentives to his pension as a Major League player. The Brewers didn't have to do that. Classy stuff.  As for these new threads, it's tough for Nike to surpass the aesthetics of the Brewers' current everyday design. The pinstripes, the combination of blue and yellow, the arc of the font across the chest - all of it just feels like the very best of old-school-baseball-in modern-age-aesthetics. And yes, there is the beautiful, amazing, fantastic logo that sits atop the hat is a baseball glove, wrapped with the secret message of "MB" (Milwaukee Br...yo

Grappling w/ School Safety Updates

I never once thought this would be a part of my experience as a parent. I've grappled with future conversations, thought about how I'll help my multi-racial son through the world that will surely be complex in how it views him, and yes, brace myself for those conversations - you know the ones. Those conversations that my parents had with me, a child of color, in disarming my presence in specific spaces.  Never did I expect to find myself grappling with the reality of the new topic for that awkward sit down to make the first imprint on life memories - son, here is what you need to do if there is a mass school shooting ... I have made no secret here on this site - my upbringing was not pure, was not clean. Not me per se, but I was certainly exposed to my fair share of violence, drugs, and various matters that desensitized and jaded how exposed my experiences really were. My academic environment - specifically high school - was a challenge. Underfunded, overcrowded, excessive v

Dear Son, First Swell of Pride

--- 3 Years, 9 Months --- Dear Son,  It's been a while since I've dropped a note to you - actually I haven't done so since your last birthday. The last nine months since then have been trying, tremendous, and of course, VERY interesting. We've been able to witness your personality come to be, your talents begin to blossom, and overall, you begin to establish yourself very early in this world.  After all, COVID continues and really has been a dominant presence in your life. While masks as of this writing are no longer required in school, over the past few months your mother and I have had you home again, a lot - much like the start of the pandemic - after variants of COVID closed your school repeatedly (and frequently), and for a brief moment had society on edge.  Regardless, we made it. And during those stints of 8 days, 10 days, or whatever the state mandate was at the time for the latest recent closure, I learned not how much you missed school, but truly, how much you