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Poetry: Anedge Hirak Dwight Johnson (also known as D. Black)

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Dwight “D. Black” Johnson died on Tuesday, August 14th of complications surrounding heart disease. Survived by two children, a wife, a brother and a sister, he … you know what? Screw the prelude, here’s all I need to say about him.

Dwight "D. Black" Johnson, 1959-2012

The hereafter went and got a little bit smoother ...

Twenty million
oppressive ultraviolet hammers
falling on your back.

Ain’t easy bein’ cool under summer heat.

Refrigerators asking for ice water.
Everyday challenges of
blacktop battlefields
hamstrings half-steppers
so frequently,
ain’t worth remembering names.

Dwight motherf***in’ Johnson, now,
Mister D. Black,
he could side step with supernovas,
cut heat in half with one breath.
Fresher than condensation
on grandma’s glass of sippin’ tea,
he was old school
like a diamond in the back,
with a sunroof off.
We’re diggin’ a scene
that’ll miss his lean, ooh ooh …

Pick up your pens,
D. Black 101.
Please make no mistake,
if you’re hittin’ southside streets
or talking LA legacies,
yo ass needs to know about Dee Black up in here.
The Dee Black I knew,
spun around two axes
like twenty inch rims
on a deuce and a quarter.

D. Black was about these kids.
From ones he sired,
to helping orphans in need,
his sunglasses always saw tomorrow.
G’on and call Caltech or MIT,
find yourself a math whiz
wielding a super computer,
maybe they can help calculate
how many smiles he planted,
how many futures he improved.
Blazed a trail for me,
showed balance of art and responsibility,
giving back while getting yours,
all with perfectly pressed creases
and a brim free of dust or imperfection.
Example of one
who gave so much
to those who had less
will carry on, like his daughter
helping her little brother
with his tie on prom night.

He’ll be there,
even if y’all can’t see him.

Second thing,
maybe even what people knew more than anything else
was that D. Black was cool.
An ineffable sense of certainty
about who he was,
this implacable inner tranquility
exuding style and confidence
like long shoes he favored
or a Corniche rollin’ out of the car wash.
Whether Inglewood or Hollywood,
with ballers or busters,
you could find him at epicenter of everything,
posted up with something to sip
cooler than mornings in Anchorage.
Cutty mack, he’d say,
what Steve Harvey dreams about being,
never needing jewel studded showiness
of shuck and jive men on music videos.
Kept credibility in the hood
and respectibility for the northsiders,
incorporating young man slang
with old brother strut,
perfect synchronicity of swagger and class.
Everything he did spun out of that cool,
from poetry that gave Shakespeare some pimpin’
to shootin’ the sh** under street lights
to remembering that every goodbye ain’t gone.

We know he’s not gone.
Every time we brush that dirt of our shoulders,
he’s there with a smirk and an “mmph.”
Each shiny pair of gators
carries his blessing,
and every dude who ever steps smooth to a sister,
whether he’s trying to get with her or not,
has a hint of D. Black,
ready to fold her up
and put her in his pocket.
Leimert Park sidewalks embedded with his footsteps,
grafitti that won’t wash off,
you can’t paint over,
he’s here,
and we’re here,
and he wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’m not here to mourn.
This life is hard,
and D. Black had weight on his shoulders, too.
No, I’m here in gratitude,
wearing my nicest shoes,
giving my freshest respects.
We learned from each other,
we grew together in fellowship with words.
I miss him, sure,
I’m sorry he won’t see me side eyin’ his boy
when he’s checkin’ my daughter in a few years
but knowing he’s free from suffering,
ask me if I’m sweatin’ under sadness.
I’ll just smile, and say,
“nay … err …”

In the words of our people,
anedge hirak Dwight Johnson,
and thank you.

“His Sunglasses Always Saw Tomorrow”
For Dwight Johnson
By Hannibal Tabu

We’ve got to take care of ourselves, yo.

Watching (Hulu): The Booth At The End, “A New Reality

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