‘What’s In It For Us’ tackles the death of DMX, police violence

This week, host Dr. Christina Greer talks rapper DMX, the macing of an Army officer during a traffic stop and the death of Daunte Wright at the hands of police

“A routine traffic stop can end in Black death,” says historian and writer Tanisha Ford.

This week on the What’s In It For Us podcast, host Dr. Christina Greer discusses the passing of hip-hop legend Earl Simmons, known by his stage name DMX, and the viral video of Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario getting maced during a traffic stop, and the death of Daunte Wright at the hands of police.

Joining Dr. Greer is Tanisha Ford, professor of history at Graduate Center CUNY. Tune in as we navigate tragedy and ask the always pertinent question: “What’s in it for us?”

“I can’t wait for someone to write scholarly work of the significance of Black Twitter,” says Dr. Greer.

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In this 2015 photo, DMX performs on Day One of the 2015 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival at The Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for Coachella)

DMX’s passing occurred on April 9, the same day as Prince Phillip‘s death, and the internet was an absolutely cathartic space. Dr. Greer notes that in so many ways, DMX touched so many people with his raw verses and depiction of his experiences with the American carceral state and addiction.

Many people know loved ones struggling with addiction and Ford notes that the “willful exploitation” of addiction within the music industry is particularly enraging. DMX fought so many to keep his agency as an artist. The music industry needs to take both accountability and responsibility with artists and their health, the hosts argue. 

“Having served our nation, this is the naked brutality [Black men] experience,” says Dr. Greer to Ford.

What appeared as a routine traffic stop became a moment of state violence for Afro-LatinX Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario. The Army officer survived the traffic stop and shared how immensely happy he feels to be alive to speak about his experience. Both Ford and Greer note that if it wasn’t on camera, the public would never know the anguish Nazario experienced.

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“A routine traffic stop can end in Black death,” says Ford. “Let’s be clear, tasers are weapons of terror for law enforcement. Even if this person believed they were reaching for a taser, they were reaching to inflict bodily harm.”

Ford adds that Black people disproportionately die when tasered by law enforcement.

“There’s so many cases we see with officers using a taser defense,” when allegedly accidentally killing Black and Brown people, the hosts say. Dr. Greer adds that “the state has made our mere presence a criminal act” and also uses it to “justify” Black people’s incarceration, if not “the execution of us in broad daylight.”

Stay tuned to What’s In It For Us, the funny, politically edgy Black commentary podcast. Now streaming on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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