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.

Recent Favorites

Turning 39 - One Last Go-Around in My 30s

I turn 39 today, and everything I read in regards to such a "milestone" is that it's dealing with the anxiety of turning 40. The big 4-0!  Yet, I sit here punching the keys completely unaware of fears, trepidations, and emotions towards the future. Instead, I find myself immersed in the present - in exactly that, 39. I also find myself slightly looking back on the road to get here - my final year in my 30s.  I look back on my thoughts on turning 30 ( Praying on a Cool Thirty ) and, ironically, I very much vibe and can feel the essence of where I was at the time. At the time, turning thirty meant a whoooooooooooole sort of different expectations and responsibilities. I am in that same place - a center of gratitude for the journey. My 30s have been a ride.  For me, I became a father, and I lost my father. I lost one of my best friends, yet, I gained another in my son - and then a second one just recently. I finished coursework on my second Masters degree, and I also watch

Quick Ponder: Health, Happiness, and Tina Turner

Moving into  this phase of  health, my family's happiness,  and that Tina Turner "Proud Mary" transition-dancing kind of joy.

Trump Conviction: Hard to Describe This Time in History

You just have to shake your head at the reality of the situation.  A former President of the United States was just convicted - on several counts - of a crime.  It's the kind of thing, even in a post-Trump Presidency, where even strange things seem normalized, going too far is desensitized, and you ultimately laugh hysterically at the uber strangeness to suppress the sadness, that even this - THIS! - is still attention-grabbing.  It's no secret if you follow this site - I'm no Trump supporter. I understand why voters elected him in 2016 and struggle to understand why so many stay with him through it all for a 2024 campaign.  We've reach a new level where American voters will outright neglect crimes, and vote to elect a convicted felon as President of the United States. It's quite hard to describe this time in history.  Yet, here we are.  Several other quick thoughts:  I still wonder whether Trump wins or loses, how does the Republican party move on after Trump? I do