Black Voices – Rich Wilson

On Tuesday June 2nd, I, like many others, posted a black square to my Instagram with the #BlackOutTuesday hashtag. Almost immediately I realized that this was not nearly doing enough and that if I truly feel Black Lives Matter then I have to do something more. I figure something I do have is my modest platform here at DC Heavy Metal. With that in mind I started reaching out to some of my black friends to ask them if they’d like to make a guest post on DCHM. I told them they can write something, make a video or audio recording, share links, literature, whatever. The subject matter of each post is entirely up to them, it does not have to be related to metal or even the DMV area. This is the third of this series of posts I’m calling Black Voices and I hope you take the time to listen to them. You can find all the posts in this series using the Black Voices tag here.

For this post I reached out to Rich Wilson, the vocalist of local metal band One Slack Mind. He decided to share this very personal post about how police violence has affected his family. I think it is important to be reminded that the people affected by police violence aren’t just in distant cities but also live here in our community, going to metal shows with us and even taking the stage too. Please note that you can also read the full transcription below the video.

First of all, Chris, I would like to say thank you for doing this. It was a great idea and… respect.

I was planning on doing probably three or four stories but I decided to narrow it down to one. I feel like a lot of black families have a story or an event or some sort of huge event that’s happened in the family history that informs how they feel and perceive race, the police, race relations, etcetera, so here’s mine.

When I was about four years old I remember that my parents, we were living in Brooklyn, and my parents said to me, “we’re going to be moving to your grandparents’ house,” my dad’s parents, [my] grandmother and grandfather, “to help out your grandmother” but I never knew what they meant. I didn’t ask. I didn’t think to ask and I just knew that she needed help somehow so we were moving there. So we moved in there and I remember that being enjoyable. She gave me piano lessons and I remember I used to get up early in the morning and see my grandfather off to work and all that. So I found out, maybe six years ago, five years ago, that the reason she needed help is because my dad’s older brother, my dad’s the youngest, he had a brother, Linwood, who was three years older, and he has an older brother than that, Clarence. I found out the reason that she needed help was because she was distraught, she was inconsolable regarding her middle son, Linwood, being killed by the police. And in July of 1972, ’73, something in there, and so I knew that my uncle had been killed by the police and that there was some sort of a, something foul went down and it wasn’t justified but I didn’t really know, I still don’t know that much about it but, I had my kids interview my mom and that, a lot of details came out then and I found out that he was shot in the temple at point blank range and that he had powder burns on his face and this only happened maybe a block or two away from my grandmother’s house. So she had to go out of her way to avoid, it was July, and his blood was all over the sidewalk. My dad told me that it went to a grand jury but nothing ever came of it regarding… I mean as you can imagine that happens a lot. Nowadays I can’t imagine how often it, you know nothing ever came of a improper shooting in the early 70’s.

A memory that I had while thinking about all of this for this video, a memory I hadn’t had in 30 years, was that, I used to wake up I think when I was living there or I could come there during the summers also and I would hear my grandmother talking loudly to somebody and I would think, “oh I wonder who is here” or what have you, and I’m creeping down the steps trying to find, figure out who she’s talking to and she was praying. But it was a, almost like a Old Testament, God why have you forsaken me and taken my son, type of like wailing type of situation and this is something that I would, this happened many times when I was younger and I totally did not remember this until I started thinking about the whole incident. I talked to my dad about it today and he told me that, I guess as he’s going through different things, he found my uncle’s resume that he was preparing. He had graduated college and he was home and he was either going to get a job, he’d also been accepted into graduate school as well. So that was all going on and then he was snuffed out.

Anyway they say [to] say their names. His name was Linwood Wilson.

Linwood Wilson

2 Comments

  1. Wow. This was such an insightful read and interview!

  2. You speak of the all-to-common anguish that Mothers, Fathers, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, Aunts, Uncles, and through sketchy memory, the unborn posterity, must bear when outside-neighborhood individuals comprise a militaristic occupying force that condones test-lying, bullying, sadistic, homicidal, victim-blaming behavior. Particularly when one is killed under highly suspicious circumstances, how would anyone like being a target of such an institution? Regardless of it being all-too-common, it never has and never will be accepted..


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