Silent Screams

Hope Elle

A junkie walking through the twilight,
I’m on my way home,
I left three days ago,
But no one seems to know, I’m gone.
Home is where the hatred is,
Home is filled with pain,
And it might not be such a bad idea,
If I never, never went home again.

~ Gil Scott Heron


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The open lyrics of this beautifully written and haunting melodious song was originally recorded by Gil Scott-Heron in 1971. The song depicts the journey of a heroin addict’s, inability to permanently halt usage. It’s a relevant, timeless classic to a continuous struggle in American culture.  In 2016, experts claim to have seen a spike in overdose deaths across the U.S. due to an incline in over-the-counter painkillers and heroin.  Additionally,  heaviest inclines seems to be within the Appalachian and Southwest portions of the United States.

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The increase of heroin deaths are starkly similar to that of HIV peak levels, according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention.   In 2014, the death tolls reached a new peak, 47,055 people; the equivalent of approximately 125 people  every day.

What used to be an urban problem with HIV diagnosed through intravenous heroin usage, has now become a problem in all areas. But now an epidemic in rural areas as well.

Home is where I live inside my white powder dreams,
Home was once an empty vacuum that’s filled now with my silent screams,
Home is where the needle marks,try to heal my broken heart,
And it might not be such a bad idea if I never,
If I never went home again


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The song,“Home Is Where The Hatred Is,” which reflects heroin addiction, was initially sung by Gil Scott-Heron, for his 1971 album, Pieces of a Man. However, it was Esther Phillips version, on her album, From A Whisper To A Scream, that made the song a major hit.



Stand as far away from me as you can, and ask me why
Hang on to your rosary beads
Close your eyes to watch me die,
You keep saying, kick it, quit it, kick it, quit it
Lawd, but did you ever try,
To turn your sick soul inside out,
So that the world, so that the world
Can watch you die…
~ Esther Phillips

The poignant lyrics and equally powerful vocals could be inductive, of Esther Phillips own heroin addiction. Which, unfortunately would lead to her own demise and untimely death on August 7, 1984.  Esther Phillips died from kidney and liver failure from years of previous heroin abuse. Born Esther Mae Jones, she leaves her legacy embodiment of timeless and highly regarded music; for generations to explore.




White Blood, Black Power

Hope Elle

Remember, the BET Awards shown live on that infamous Sunday back in June 2016? And that Grey’s Anatomy heartthrob’s poignantly and powerfully versed speech? C’mon, the one that sparked an avalanche of controversy and shady backlash! Or the other controversy dominating sports headlines, you know the West coast NFL quarterback who won’t stand for the National Anthem, due to current conditions in our country? Yes, these two bold men have something in common, beyond blasting the inequalities and racial strife between Blacks and Whites. They are the biracial uprising against the blatant disregard for human life of minorities. And the downright oppressive mentality of the privileged thumbing their noses at the lower class society’s seemingly irrelevant existence.

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Jesse Williams, a double major in African American Studies and Film/Media from Temple University, followed the path his parents took, teaching in the public school system. He started as a substitute teacher before going full-time finding it a rewarding experience, but exhausting, he told Parade Magazine. He taught high school history in Philadelphia, and witnessed first hand, the extreme high levels of poverty, inequality and injustice influencing his activism and political platform. Thus, using his celebrity status to bring attention to his activism. So the Chicago native’s eloquently and passionately spoken words; reminiscent of actor/activist, Harry Belafonte, whom he’s often compared to, came as no surprise to many at the BET Awards. It should also be mentioned that Williams was front and center during the 2014 Ferguson protests against then Officer Darren Wilson fatally shooting unarmed Michael Brown, Jr.

Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand during the National Anthem ignited controversy, but on a much different level.

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Colin Kaepernick, a Milwaukee native spawned controversy and food for thought back in August, with his refusal to stand during the National Anthem. Clearly, his attitude is reflective of a Credence Clearwater Revival song titled “Fortunate One”. Where the lyrics state… 


“Some folks are born made to wave flag, ooh they’re red, white, blue. When the band plays “hail to the chief”, ooh they point the cannon at you Lord. It ain’t me, it ain’t me I ain’t no senator’s son son. It ain’t me, it ain’t me I ain’t no fortunate one”

Just as this song’s blatant honesty caused controversy back in the 60’s, the lyrics compliment eerily Colin Kaepernick’s reasoning for not honoring the flag. Kaepernick, a NFL Quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, stated during a Preseason post-game interview…

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”

Their activism and political awareness of a hypocritical society is fascinating; considering both of these men are the product of interracial relationships and marriages. Many Black and White celebrities alike, are not really speaking out about the current conditions of our society per se. Perhaps, due to their belief of losing endorsements and fans. We’ll never truly know what lies underneath high society; until it hits too close too home. But for these celebrities, they will not rest until there is change. And will not be silent, until they are heard.

Pseudo Ravishment

Hope Elle

Does anyone have idea, how many women falsely accuse men of sexual assault or rape? Or the percentage of false cases reported? Likely not, because it would appear the accusations are either unproven or more importantly never truly focused on. Let’s begin with the legal definition of rape. According to, generally refers to…

“Non-Consensual sexual intercourse that is committed by physical force, threat of injury or other duress. However, common law defines rape, as unlawful intercourse by a man against a woman who is not his wife by force or threat and against her will.”

There is absolutely no doubt, that rape is a serious heinous crime and violation against any woman. However, what punishment should be handed to a woman who falsely accuses a man of rape? Should she be given the same time to serve in prison, if he had been convicted?

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If one scans the internet to search for statistics, regarding false allegations of rape, you maybe surprised at the low number of 8%. Interestingly enough, those numbers are likely to be higher for various reasons, including law enforcement not reporting the facts of false rape. There is also the possibility that the percentage of reporting could spark outrage against the women making false reports. Thus making it more difficult for true victims to step forward. It’s bad enough that true victims suffered through medical examinations, the swabbing, receiving updates to rule out contracting sexually transmitted diseases, courtroom trials and possible disappointing outcomes or maybe victorious justice. On the other hand, what about the lives that are destroyed when the victim is a man. And he was lied on and demoralized and dehumanized by Women’s Rights Group and the like, not knowing the full story; or the circumstances surrounding the allegations.

Prime example, the Brian Banks Rape Case; Banks’ promising NFL career was immediately sidelined when the allegations of rape landed him in prison for five years. The verdict was overturned exonerating him, when an audio tape of the alleged victim and her mother confessing to framing Banks surfaced. Apparently, they did it for money, and initially it worked and they received over a 1 million dollars. However, all monies had to be paid back, once the allegations were proven false. Another similar case involving false allegations was the Duke LaCrosse players case. Unfortunately, just going to show these allegations can go through the system. And ultimately leading to convictions and damaged lives.

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Of course, if a woman is truly raped and it’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, then by all means; seek justice and prosecute to the full extent of the law. On the hand, if the allegations are false, then punishment should be the same for the accuser, as it would be for the defendant had he actually been convicted. No women’s rights group should have so much power; that the victim is sheltered and protected, even after it’s discovered she bared false witness.