|Rapper Turns Prison Sentence Into Impetus for Activism|
|By Imani Jackson -- Black College Wire|
New Orleans native Walterr "Trifelon" Johnson's tale features chapters of familial crime, a fatherless household, prison and ultimately the desire to overcome trying circumstances with civic engagement and rap music.
Legal run-ins were commonplace, he says.
"Everybody that I looked up to went through the same thing … It wasn't supposed to be like that."
He says he grew up without a childhood largely because of a dysfunctional relationship with his mother, a drug user, who birthed him as a teenager.
" People looked at me like her younger brother… [She] wasn't strong enough to overcome her condition."
He went from catching animals as an adolescent to immersion in street culture to provide for his family.
"I tried to grab something easier," he says. "It was hard … I was one of the first grabbed by the streets … I went through every typical thing Black kids down here went through."
He was convicted at 17. While serving his sentence, he began to change. Because of life lessons he would not alter his past.
"I did what I did. I don't regret nothin' I ever did … I actually set out to be different," he says.
He plans to attack the school system, stand on his newfound convictions and counteract mainstream rap music, which he dubs "poison."
"That's how it was written."
Imani Jackson writes for The Gramblinite, the Grambling State University student newspaper, which originally published this article.
|Posted Mar. 21, 2010|
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