No Loose Ends

No Loose Ends
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What’s in a name?

My mother named me Ramsey Francis Venner after my father so she attached the sexy double I (or II) Roman numerals to give my dad his props. My dad’s Columbian pedigree or Spanish influences got my family to calling me “Papi” or Poppy because black folks change names just because. You know the drill, Tracy becomes Tracee or Tracie, Jason turns into Jaycen or Jaison, or sometimes we combine two or three names to make one. True story, I met a chick named De-la-shante and this chick named her baby Omarkavius. My people, my people.

The point is we identify by the titles our parents assign us at birth, and just as quick as we can take on nicknames or AKA’s for any number of reasons. Most out of love, or because they sound cute. Some out of hate, like my girl Nonosika that we called “Sneeze”. Some out of necessity, I’ve watched the Lifetime movies, sometimes shit gets real in a bad way. But I think something is lost in nicknames when our given names are what’s real.

With my Columbian roots I think I felt being anonymous was something that was bred in me. I blame movies like Scarface and the manhunt of Pablo Escobar. In 35 years I’ve racked up quite a few A.K.A’s…. Poppy, Francisco, Cisco, Zilla, Big Soop but underneath them all I’ve always been Ramsey. When I accepted awards, Ramsey. When my mother or women friends got pissed and started yelling I was RAMSEY!!!! Or sometimes Ramsey Francis. OUCH; Jobs, Ramsey; School, Ramsey. Everything real, Ramsey.

As life took this turn towards trouble, and I become familiar with lawyers and the judicial system, I was addressed as Ramsey and when it got bad only by my last name and an ID number. What I’ve noticed is, everything real and lasting, good or terrible in my life, has cut through all the cute and endearing that the various nick names conveyed. When it got real, credit score, medical records and even No Loose Ends, good or bad, the nick names and identities associated with them were worthless.

The music, rappin, trappin, club romances and one week stands, real and fake highs, fantasies and flights of grandiosity are all gone like the clownish way I behaved when I introduced myself with a stutter or stammer when it came to the name I referred to myself as.

I had to realize I am a grown man that no longer needs to hide behind an AKA. I have a ton of faults that I am happy to be working on, and I have done many things that I am extremely proud of. But that realization came with embracing the fact that who I am will never change no matter how I introduce myself and what I do, my actions, are who I am.

From birth to bad credit, outlaw, beast, father, new life, unsecured credit cards, and No Loose Ends, I am now and will always be Deloris & Ramsey Sr.’s only boy, Ramsey F. Venner II.

R. Venner

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fire in Ferguson

I had originally planned this post to be about the depth of seriousness of a name and how we identify ourselves. But there are far bigger issues going on in the world as I write. Even from this over censored, extra regulated, high wall and higher fenced-in sorrow factory, I hear and see the world is riddled with turmoil. There is usually always trouble and discord overseas, those folks have been locked into wars and struggle for centuries. They are not at issue we got bigger problems.

My heart is disturbed this morning as the images from Ferguson, MO are plastered across the screen on all the national networks. The stories are conflicting about why the young brother Mike Brown got gunned down in the street by the white cop Darren Wilson, but the face is that it happened and no amount of schmoosing is calming the tide of unrest and dissatisfaction of an injured and fed up people.

The images and snapshots of state and local police in riot gear, fringe tear gas canisters and flash grenades at American citizens and protesting youth makes me wonder what is the world gonna be like when I come home. What will be left if it’s already burning to the ground?

Vigilante-ism and movies like the Purge aren’t the answer, but when it comes down to it what other choice does the poor and pushed out majority have? Killing and incarcerating young black men with impunity may have gone on for a while prior to this incident but those atrocities can no longer happen in silence. Ferguson you have more than the National Guards at your borders, you have the eyes and ears of the world trained on you. I pray that the black leadership that shows up at all the camera clicks takes this opportunity to not only soak up donations for their private foundations, but that they use this enormous spotlight and bull horn to show the people the power they possess. And to harvest the energy and emotion of this unrest and channel it towards sustained efforts to improve not only their/our conditions but our methods and dealings on a daily.

Let’s not let this tragedy be in vain. The immediate problem appears to be black and white but the underlying problem is the division between the have and have nots. They feel we are worthless and thus expendable, but a national movement will make it crystal clear what our true value is. Keep fighting until they recognize and deliver justice. Fear not when your cause is righteous. 

R. Venner