Breaking down the “Darkside”
In the sports entertainment industry there are a 1,000 Jason (coontastic) Whitlock’s. But few have stood on their square and represented for the black and hip hop community like Robert “Scoop” Jackson. A rare chance meeting at Cleveland Hopkins airport gave me the opportunity to meet this sports journalism icon face to face. I’ve seen him on ESPN many of times spitting his vernacular to the masses about the intricacies of the NBA game. I was sitting at the bar at Michael Simons B-Spot restaurant (you know I had to try the Vegan burger.) I noticed the good brother sitting across from me. I introduced myself and did the modern day social media narcissistic thing and asked to take a selfie with him. We gave each other dap (the customary greeting of brotherhood) and parted ways!
This brother was so genuine; so upon my return home I did my research. My great love for reading led me to his book “The Darkside Chronicling The Young Black Experience!” Literally “Scoop” may be the Malcolm X of ESPN. This well written book of essays breaks down “white supremacist” society with Hip Hop fury! A chapter dedicated to Khalid Muhammed? Admiration for the NOI and Minister Farrakhan? Being critical of the Anti Defamation League? References to great books like Soul On Ice by Eldridge Cleaver and Isis Papers by Dr. Frances Cress-Welsing. Calling Amerikkka by it’s real name! Damn, who let this “negro” in the door? Talent did; his writing skills and critical thinking can’t be denied!
The Darkside includes articles that Scoop has written for Source Magazine and Slam Magazine. His breakdown of the Hip Hop movement is very poetic. Comparing the two sides of the coin. Gangster Rap or Conscious Edutainment. Niggas With Attitude or Public Enemy. Great interviews with Michael Jordan, Deion Sanders and Allen Iverson. Critical insights on how the sports entertainment industry is still a White Mans World. Black Athletes with white agents. Black Agents with Degrees: who have helped their clients attain the greatest contracts of their era. The way the Chicago Bulls shitted on Scottie Pippen (the most underrated NBA player of all time!)
The essays that touched me the most in “Darkside” are the personal stories. Scoop speaks of his upbringing In a fatherless home. While trying to navigate the streets. Were a bullet may come from your “brotha” or the boys in blue. Scoop recalls the tragic story of Chicago High School basketball phenom Ben Wilson. An intimate essay of a postcard sent from Scoop’s brother that solidifies their relationship. Scoops absent father who finally comes around to hold the newborn grandson. His experience at the Million Man March.
In so many ways I relate to this Book . Basketball, Hip Hop and Black Culture. The three loves of my life as a child. I was the bi-racial kid in the hood. White mother with a black father who bounced out the home. So I had basketball and “black” music. I was accepted in those places. I had skills on the court. I would shoot your lights out. Being short with European genetics assured myself that “White” Men Can’t Jump. So I stuck with the music side. I could sing and write lyrics…
Overall The Darkside was a great read. Scoop’s passion for his people and his brilliant social commentary kept me intrigued. His willingness to speak out against the System and its agents gets a warrior salute. His unwillingness to tame his tongue to sit at the “Man’s” table is evident. His words are powerful and his questioning of White Amerikkka has great intent. A great piece of literature to add to the shelf. So I just purchased another one of this great Black authors books: The last Black Mecca: Hip Hop!
Edwin Moses Jackson