Saturday, April 25, 2009

Remembering the 442nd

I was undeservedly privileged back in 2006 to meet a man who fought in the 442nd Infantry Regiment during World War II. The man I met, whose name escapes me now, literally fought fascists in Italy while his family was being held by the United States government in internment camps. The 442nd was an all Asian-American regiment which fought in the European theater of the War in battles in Italy, France and Germany. This video, which shows the awarding of the Distinguished Service Cross to the family of Sgt. Masuda of the 442nd was a great and totally unexpected find. I hope you enjoy it.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More on Tyrone Love

There's an aspect of Tyrone Love's murder that has been in the back of my mind for days:

According to an eyewitness, Love was walking alone in the 2600 block of East Cherry Street just before 2 a.m. when a man pulled up in a car, jumped out, ran toward Love and shot him several times.

Some acquaintances suggested that Love’s death might be connected with an ongoing investigation into the fatal, gang-related shooting at Vito’s Madison Grill in November. Police would not confirm whether Love was linked to it.

But one law enforcement source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described a small circle of men who promote parties, attend clubs and may know gang members — at least peripherally.

It seems like it was Tyrone's involvement with music promotion that got him shot.

The one thing that struck me when I talked with Tyrone was how nice and decent he was. I'm not saying that just because he's gone now and it's the polite thing to say. He really was a nice guy. The Central District and Capitol Hill isn't a hotbed for nice people so you tend to notice whenever decency rears its head.

I remember once talking to him about family, and I told him that one of my family members had moved south and had the same significant other for several years. Tyrone asked me if she was happy. That may not seem like much, but in retrospect it was really sweet. It wasn't something a gangbanger would ask. Tyrone was not a gangbanger, and that's what makes his death all the more tragic.

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Northwest Concert Promoter Murdered

Out of high school, I worked briefly for a hip-hop magazine put out by the music promotion company One of the concert promoters I knew there was murdered recently:

In a neighborhood that had seemingly grown immune to news of violence and death, the fatal shooting of a popular, young music promoter earlier this week apparently has galvanized the community.

The death of Tyrone Love, 26, who was by all accounts one of the good guys, has sparked a rally, two vigils, a benefit concert set for Monday night, and renewed discussion among community leaders about how to reduce violence among youths.

A co-founder of a local music-promotion company named Vibrant Entertainment 206, Love worked during the day at the YMCA where he ran programs for at-risk youth.

This came as a surprise to me not just because I knew him but also because the community had become rather gentrified over the years, with nightclubs and malt liquor stores being replaced by Safeways, Trader Joe's and Starbucks. I'd hoped we'd been through the worst of it already.

I want to add that the murder of Tyrone was not necessarily caused by hip-hop. Reports show that the motive is unclear. Since rappers and others in the hip-hop community have been caught up in gang violence for decades, it'd be easy to say than this nice guy fell victim to the music that he (and I) helped promote. However, the hood is the hood and violence happens for no reason sometimes (like the Capitol Hill rave massacre that happened three years ago).

Whatever the motive, it's still depressing. I remember talking to Tyrone about soul music at Seattle Central Community College and him telling me about working at the YMCA. I hope that the children he helped will be inspired to do the same kind of work.

Rest in peace.

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