With love and respect for its author, Khary Kimani Turner— a consciousness-lifting poet in the true sense — I must dispute several points in his recent essay "2pacalypse now" (Metro Times, Aug. 1-7), which misleadingly depicted rapper Tupac Shakur as a martyr.
As hip-hop forefathers The Last Poets once said, martyrs die for a cause, "not because."
Shakur, despite his level of consciousness and direct association with revolutionaries, died because. The last year of his life and recording career did not reflect a warrior mentality; it reflected a mentality of conformism — conformism to the same forces of materialism, ego and violence that continue polluting hip hop.
It is dangerous and inappropriate to draw parallels between Shakur and Malcolm X (who resurrected black people, rather than influencing their deaths like the rapper, by association, influenced the deaths of an innocent child in Marin City, Calif., and the Notorious B.I.G. in LA) or Black Panther Fred Hampton (who used his youthful energy to promote unity, rather than to tear down others with venomous words). Shakur’s ongoing popularity with youth is because they suffer from the same lack of direction and turmoil he suffered. We must be careful whom we present to them as leaders. —Eddie B. Allen Jr., Detroit
A clean read
Hats off to Metro Times for the cover story on the Rouge River clean up ("Reviving the Rouge, Metro Times, Aug. 1-7). Who would have guessed Detroit was a national model of environmental policy and cooperation? Why is the Metro Times the only newspaper to cover this story? With metro Detroit and its governments practicing a scorched-earth policy as they consume land at an alarming rate with no planning or control, stories like this need to be covered in the mainstream media. People are starting to realize that they cannot escape pollution by moving farther out into the country. What many don't realize however, is that their need for sprawl is creating this pollution they detest. Those of you in the mainstream media, I know you read the Metro Times for story ideas. How about this one?
Metro Detroit will only tackle its pollution and livability problems when it confronts its sprawl-friendly government and adopts a real growth plan similar to Portland, Ore., or the state of Maryland. —Brian Vosburg, firstname.lastname@example.org, Detroit
Great article on the Rouge River cleanup. I have been involved in the Rouge River efforts for many years now and thank you for giving this article the front-page attention it deserves. You did a good job of presenting fair and accurate coverage on what can be a complex set of issues. —Gayle Sadler, Bloomfield Township
Kudos to Keith Schneider for his story of remediation of the Rouge River and apt attention to the good work of federal judge John Feikens. However, there is nothing happening in the Detroit River cleanup. It needs the same attention as the Hudson River. The figure of $52 billion given for modernizing the Detroit Waste Water Treatment Plant is 25 times higher than reality. The real cost could be much lower if the plant would follow sensible environmental policies such as using sewage sludge for fertilizer rather than burning it and polluting the air. —Saulius Simoliunas, Detroit
I am a weekly and faithful reader and always look forward to Liz Langley's column. They are always thoughtful and well-written. But her column "Swept by religion" (Metro Times, Aug. 1-7) was excellent. Her tongue-in-cheek attitude always hits the target. Thanks Liz. Keep up the good work. —Jack Summers, Detroit