Watch Almonte open up about how getting robbed inspired his film ‘The Initiate’ in his new documentary series, the nexus.
Almonte describes nexus as ‘a dark yet tranquil realm where the creator is free’ to tell their story in whatever way they please. Getting robbed with a deadly weapon at just 15 years old inspired him to make his first film, My Way. At first glance, pieces like My Way and Harlem Round Midnight seem to glorify violence as a staple of hood culture. But art is often a reclamation of autonomy for artists that grow up in the hood. Gangster rap songs like F*ck the Police by NWA was frowned upon for their braggadocios lyrics about selling drugs and intra-community violence. However, rappers use artistic platforms like hip hop to highlight these true stories that otherwise go untold. Art is the language of the underprivileged. It’s the medium of understanding that bottom-feeders utilize to get attention when they are misunderstood.
Getting robbed– along with other forms of Black intra-community violence– is usually only brought to America’s attention when trying to detract attention from causes like #BlackLivesMatter. And when it is addressed, it is to silence the very people that are damaged by ‘Black on Black’ crime. It is never discussed with the nuances of the sociological conditioning that catalyzes poverty-based crime and afflicts the mental health of inner-city youth. Black on Black crime is only brought up as a checkmate against those that complain about police occupation in the hood. Conservatives scoff with tropes like, ‘You never complain when a Black thug kills a Black person in the hood! What about Chicago? What about Detroit? Why is no one talking about that?’ But actually. We are.
We seek to address the problem at its core. Police occupation and hyper-surveillance is capitalism’s poor attempt at solving the symptom of a greater disease.
The truth is, your accusation of a double standard is bogus. Apolitical nonsense. Comparing Black on Black crime to Police violence is a false equivalency. When Jamal kills Tyrone, we don’t say the victim had it coming. Jamal doesn’t get paid leave. Jamal doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt. We don’t pay Jamal’s salary. Jamal did not betray the commitment of protecting and serving the people. We pay Officer Bobby to bounty hunt Black people and collect state revenue for petty, victimless crimes like selling loose cigarettes and hopping the train.
Getting robbed, jumped, or killed in the hood is a fear that we are very vocal about.
You just don’t care to listen. So we turn to the arts like music and film. Because maybe if we call it entertainment, it will be far enough from reality for you to digest.