Saturday, March 05, 2005

rashawn brazell

Young Gay Man Hacked Apart
Body parts in subway: Human arm, legs in bloody bag
Torso found in Brooklyn
Cops Identify
Body Parts Found In Subway Tunnel
Detectives Press Hunt for
Brutal Killer
Body parts cut with precision

They are mis-pronouncing your name
Mom told 'em about your girlfriends
But they called you flamboyant anyway
They even talked about how you loved Ashanti
They want to quote us, but we still on the low
You know how it is in the game
Shit, you got faggots everywhere
Writing poems and lighting candles and shit

But these reporters are mis-pronouncing your name
Calling you shit that Mom wouldn't even recognize
They call you Parts
They call you Victim
They call you Human remains
And it remains inhumane
But everybody know
If you were a "white aspiring actress"
Shit would be solved by now.

The media keeps cutting you up. Making you into so many things. Cautionary tale of the terrible terrible DL. The ills of the internet. The calamity of the chat line. The dangers of the tryst. They want you to warn us. To scare us. You work better than the new strain. You capture the young audience.

This shit hurts my heart and makes me dizzy. Makes me mad and makes me wonder. Why isn't Oprah talking about you? Where's the resounding moral outrage? Where the fuck is your ribbon?

It's hard living without you. Everyday, I read these sites and scan these papers. Each of them snapshot a black boy "handsome and well-liked" never making it to destination. You were always going somewhere. Made arrangements to meet a man and met your maker. Who are we to say too soon? Maybe God was saving you the pain of writing elegy to the next Rashawn Brazell. The next "ambitous young man" to go from best friend to body parts in the space of a weekend.

Shawn, Wish we could just fast-forward to when you become a banner at pride, an award at GMAD or a scholarship at Harvey Milk. 'Cause this shit hurts and you ain't here to help us laugh through it.


Blogger Liza Valentino said...

That is so sad. His family and friends need to really rally and make sure the authorities don't slack off on this case. It's a shame that even the police know that if he had been "an aspiring white model" there would be coverage galore and an extensive investigation to ensure justice.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention, I'll be keeping up with this story.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


We hear you and will not forget...

11:00 PM  
Blogger merv* said...

Thanks for that, Larry.

Rashawn was a sweet boy, and will be remembered by every single person who saw him smile as he sashayed down Christopher Street or Bedford Avenue.

I'm torn between anger at the media for not covering this. Or, when they do, turning it into some moralistic bullshit "in the wake" of SuperAids. To the rest of the world, Rashawn will be but a blip on their radar: only remembered amidst the fear and caution that surrounds our sexuality.

Truth is, we get killed every day. Under many circumstances. And, we only get a mention when it's relevant to some other agenda.

Unless we do it, there will not be any conversations about how to make our lives and bodies safer. And, real safety, not bullshit hate crimes laws that leave a slew of Black men wallowing in prison-- condemned by the same folks who would ignore Rashawn.

Tears well up in my eyes as I think about Rashawn, and the others. Our love for each other, our community, will be our never-ending song to them.

11:33 PM  
Blogger Larry D. Lyons II said...

my heart is all fucked up right now, yall. but i wonder...
if the body parts turned out to be those of donald trump, would the New York Post still refer to him as "CHOP UP VICTIM"?
If he were a heterosexual member of the white upper class, would Rashawn's story still be phrased so indelicately as "Hacked Apart"?

I am sickened by this whole ordeal. Physically shaken and sickened.

Rashawn is me.
I am Rashawn.

Please acknowledge that we are more that just some "chopped up" body parts that litter your subway. We are a life and a son and a friend and a lover. We may not have "risen to" the social heights at which the media moves from being blood-thirsy shock jocks to being empathetic and conscienciously respectful, but goddamnit we demand the cries for decency, visibility, and justice that would surely be afforded to our white, straight counterparts.

*sigh* i'm all fucked up yall, and i know i'm not the only one who's cried about this. at least i hope i'm not.

11:33 PM  
Blogger Frank León Roberts said...

this story is unbelievable. Rashawn was from, and was murdered in my neighborhood. I first heard about it weeks ago when getting out my subway stop in Bedstuvyesant (Nostrand Avenue). The first parts of Rashawn's body were found at the subway station I board each and every day.

He was a regular at "Langstons" the popular underground black gay hip hop spot around the corner from me. The club has recently been handing out flyers announcing and warning gay black men in the area about the incident.

What's even more disturbing about this incident is that most people have found out it through blogs, forwarded emails, and guerilla flyers rather than the local and national news. Rashawn's murder, like a host of recent acts of violence against queer people of color has received little to no attention in the majoritarian sphere. It's truly enraging.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Lene said...

This sickens me. I know for a fact that if this happened in Toronto, they would have a bit more compassion. We have a thriving and respectable TBGL community. Above all else, least of all sexual preference, this man is a HUMAN BEING. If we each a HUMAN BEING in such a callous manner, can we truly evolve. RIP Rashawn.. I pray your death will not be in vain.

1:23 AM  
Blogger merv* said...

Larry, I hear you. I'm just as fucked up, and after reading your post, I had to write it out.

I've been crying intermittently since I heard about this. I'm hurt and I'm scared and it's too many of us being murdered.

Of course the media is ignoring it. And if it was Donald Trump who got chopped up, they would probably black out the whole paper and just write RIP on the whole front page. Or some ridiculousness like that.

But, why are we surprised?

I know that we are reminded that the media does not give a shit about us, especially when we aren't buying into this bullshit, and I know that it hurts.

But, we've got to be present ya'll. We knew this would happen, in terms of coverage. And we have to honor him, and the others, here and elsewhere with our words and our love.

1:38 AM  
Blogger o said...

brotherman, thanks for sharing this.

Because to tell the truth, I would NOT have known.

As a member of the media, I shook my head in disgust when I read the tags... "chop-up victim".

*spits fire* HE HAS A NAME! He was a man!! This reminds me of eras gone by where Black men had to walk down the street, placards in hand, proclaiming 'I AM A MAN'.

Like we're friggin' dogs or whatnot.

I pray for the family. He was a son and a friend to others.

9:33 PM  
Blogger plotty said...

Never even heard about this. Thanks for sharing man. I am truly saddened by this. When will the struggle end? Makes me sick to my stomach.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Troy N. said...

I didn't know him yet his picture and everything I read about him is just like me. In fact he could've been me on any given day; haircut close, clothes neat, determined to get to where ever it was he was getting to, yep just like me. But he's gone and I'm so angry, hurt, shocked and held a prisoner of my own emotions on all of it and no one anywhere is doing anything about it, let alone talking about it.
Are we that low that our very lives mean nothing to no one including ourselves?
Rashawn Brazell I will never ever forget you for the very fact you lived is enough for me to care.
Any ralleys, marches or anything on this one any one might have please feel free to count me in and to contact me. Thank you.
What do you fellow readers, if anything, how do you define the word; BROTHER??
Larry, thank you for allowing me to post this and thanks for what you've written.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Butch Queen said...

my heart goes out to his friends and family...

4:31 PM  
Blogger Belle said...

Thanks for the information...I had no idea. What a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Rashawn's family and friends.

10:28 AM  
Blogger PRINCE CHARMING said...

sadly, I hadn't really heard anything about this either until I started blog hopping. I think it's pretty sad also that none of the "human" aspects of this young brother's life are mentioned...just body parts littering a subway as you said...that's the media though. What really kills me is that I hadn't seen one story in the news about it, but when a white sorority girl is missing for a few hours, suddenly the nation is in a nervous wreck. Sucks man. Thanks for sharing that with us who had no idea.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Dayrell said...

My heart goes out to Rashawn and his family. Definitely! I think everything you said was sooo right Larry. I to thank you for bringing this horrific incident to light. It's a shame that are world is STILL this damn corrupt. I'm angered by this as well.

May God bless his soul.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Ms. World said...

I`m speechless and sadden. My prayers are with this family. I also pray that our world realizes very soon that every human being that walks the earth is of value.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Lboogie said...

New York is home for me, thus I filter news stories from there on my msn home page . . . What got me about this was that the words "chop-up" and "hacked up" would have made me completely skip this story, but not many others and thats a sickening thought. I have never once heard anything about this - never seen this young man's face and most certainly have never heard his name.

Sadly it shows how far the media will go for ratings . . . chop-up and hacked-up will gain most people's attention - Rashawn Brazell, a young, gifted and kind african-american male who was murdered will NEVER get the attention it deserves. Fuck the fact that he was PERSON. Sometimes the world we live in never ceases to amaze or disgust me . . . I pray for his family - what must day to day living be for them as they listen to these words describe a person who meant so much to them . . .

10:00 PM  
Blogger Troy N. said...

Please attend our meeting regarding Rashawn Brazell's recent death and let's discuss what we should do further about to bring recognition and clear understanding to the one's we love and our own lives takes place tomorrow at Day O's Restaurant in New York City at 6p.m. Please be there.

It's a need to come together, right now. To show them that there are many of us. Many who care and want change for the better.
We need to demand that the New York City police place a high priority on this case and the one last year in the same area where a black gay man was found with his throat slashed and tie to his bed.
We need to call the media out on their lack of coverage.
We need to make people accountable and we need to be accountable to and for ourselves.
Just as if this was some white female coed in Minnesota, or a young pregnant white woman in California, or a teenage white girl in Utah.


All interested parties should meet Thursday nigh, March 10th at Day O's Resturant in the West Village in New York City located at 103 Greenwich Street at 6:00pm.

I hope you can make it.

Rashawn Brazell was recently murdered and dismembered while on his way to meet up with someone here in New York City.

9:49 AM  
Blogger obifromsouthlondon said...

That is some b.s. 5-0 need to do something positive for once and stop this shit. No one deserves a fate like that.

RIP Rashawn
RIP Big LRIP Biggie (died today 8 years ago)
RIP Tupac

... and to everyone who has passed away unfairly.

11:44 AM  
Blogger The Brutha Code said...

wow.... what kind of world are we living in....

11:55 AM  
Blogger Urban Sista said...

Puts things in perspective, doesn't it? While we can sit at the front of the bus, be anything we want to be or live where we want to live, truly, we still have to fight for respect.

RIP Rashawn.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Urban Sista said...

Puts things in perspective, doesn't it? While we can sit at the front of the bus, be anything we want to be or live where we want to live, truly, we still have to fight for respect.

RIP Rashawn.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Mshairi said...

I read about Rashawn on Kui's blog. I wrote a poem and lit a candle

3:16 PM  
Blogger Bridging The Dock said...

Word hasn't spread at all in the Houston area either. I hadn't heard anything and I'm very disappointed because you'd think that PEOPLE would be better.
It was hard to read the articles about him because they were written so distastefully and uninformatively. I'm a journalist and I can tell you that the writers should be ashamed of themselves. The "facts" they're choosing to write about can't even hold a candel to Rashawn's integrity and his family looked to the media to get that point across, but lucked out to find journalists in search of pay checks and the next "big story."
I'd like to hear more about Rashawn, but I can't see me reading those articles to do that. Would you mind writing more?

12:36 PM  
Blogger virtuousone said...

My prayers go out to the family anf friends of Rashawn. I, like many others have not heard about this horrific tragedy. It really makes you think what seperates some humans from that of beasts? I am going to my best to get to word out and make more people aware of whats going on.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Speedy aka Security said...

Thank you for sharing this. Chicago has not heard about this and one way or another I will make sure that someone reads this. A life is a life, whether black, white, chinese, gay, straight, boy or girl. And when another takes a life that person or persons should rot in hell. A protest needs to be lodged against everyone who wrote about the HACKED UP BOY instead of Rahshawn. I don't care what he supposedly did to deserve this because in my mind there is nothing that he could have done that would allow him to be degraded in life and death this way. Rayshawn and his family are in my prayers. I hope that when he gets to where he is going he looks back and see's that he has touched the lives of those he did not know and realize that his life was not in vain.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Moonraysunshine said...

I was on my girls blog and liked a comment and ended up another blogspot and was scrolling thru it and saw a post that had a link and here i am reading, for the first time of Rashawn. I am saddened that by his story but maddened by the lack of attention that such a heinous crime mandates. Do they care about he,he, she or me? No, they care about money and money comes with the "media seeded" stories and sadly enough we "the majority" represented in minority and even further distanced as minorities truly are skipped as worthy of recognition unless we qualify and fulfill their needs. Rashawn, may God rest your soul in peace and if not in this life, then the life hereafter may you get the justice you deserved.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


All I have to say is that. I am going to make sure that this becomes a bigger story! I am not going to just sit here and let this be just blogs. I am going to contact every staff writer I know here in Philly and let them know..."Look, yall qucik to cover some bull shit about a damn 50 pound lobster dying but soon as a minority is brutally murdered to the point of want want to turn your noses up and no one wants to write...People are going to know about this TODAY! (3.25.2005)

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Gerard in Brooklyn said...

My wounded souls,
Our brother will not rest until WE do ALL we can to bring closure and peace to all of us who hurt. I attended the TownHall Meeting on Monday to see what progress has been made. I was very dissapointed at the turnout of the community as well as to the fact that things seem to be stalemate. I was even more disgusted that the Crime Stoppers reward is still set at the minimum of $2,000. This can be raised at the discretion of Mayor Bloomberg. So I ask all who read and hurt and are angry at the blatent racism of this system to email:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

DEMAND HE RAISE THE REWARD TO AT LEST $10,000 AND MEET WITH OUR COMUNITY, Gay, Black, Straight, HUMAN , to discuss a plan of action. Council Woman Leticia James will schedule a meet at City Hall. WE NEED TO TAKE OVER CITY HALL AND DEMAND A FULL THROTTLE EFFORT TO APREHEND THE MURDERER(S).
Let us turn anger, and pain into something POSITIVE and SHOW LOVE TO ONE ANOTHER in this difficult time.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would urge all to attend the Mayoral Forum at the LGBT Community Center. This will take place on MOnday April 11 from 7-9 PM. more info at

This is a real opportunity to let politicians know that we demand that Rashawn's murder must be solved. Let them know that if they are for human rights they have to be for ALL Human's Rights.

12:31 AM  
Blogger Niko said...

It has been years since ive known you and damm all the things u promised me.. was just something i wont ever forget. U still owe me one man... through those times that u let me believe in myself and the days wen i cried u were always there for me. I still didnt repay you back.. ya ass needs to come back u hear me. Even in spirit.. a guardian angel.. u still havent forfilled your promises. But now that i have faced reality.. u are always in the center of my heart. Moan and cry wont bring you back but prey're will send you back to us. Your peace is in heaven now.. one day we'll meet again. U kno ill always b there wen u need me and with your birthday just passed.. ur one step better than all else. BE strong and brave... im counting to see you again.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Coral said...

Thank you for sharing Rashawn's story. This is the first time I'm hearing about Rashawn. It is disgusting how the media portrays "victims" as if they weren't somebodys friend or family member. They have absolutely no respect. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Rashawn Brazell.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today my 4 year old nephew asked my how to spell my name. I spelled it for him and he typed it into Google search my name is RaShawn i'm a female. When typing in RaShawn it pulled something up.It was Rashawn Brazell's story. I am a lesbian but i am a person before anything and for someone to talk about him being body parts and not who he was a person hurts me. I didn't know him and i probably wouldn't very meet him but the point is we are people too. My heart goes out to his family and may god keep them close to him. We had never heard this story but i thank god for computers.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Marely said...

I watched "America's Most Wanted" last night and that's how I found out about Rashawn and what happened to him. I couldn't get it out of my mind.
It's hard to find words that could express the feeling of impotence and sadness that this story has caused me.
My sincerest sympathy to his mother, family and friends.
I will definitely keep updated on this story, hoping and praying that they catch the beast that have done this to Rashawn very soon!

2:20 PM  
Blogger Thik4Sho said...

Hello! I was watching American Most Wanted last evening and John Walsh profiled the Rashawn Brazell story. I was deeply saddened to hear how this young man suffered a brutal and unjustifiable death. I have been a black gay male for 35 yrs. and I understand the day to day struggles that gay men are often confronted with. Please my gay brothers and sisters - exercise extreme caution when meeting strangers from chatlines and other internet venues. I pray that whomever has information about Rashawn or the person who is responsible for his death will come forward and do the right thing. I love you all, so be careful and lets pray for one another.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a young black woman and I am pissed off over the fact that the media isn't doing a damn thing to cover the story of Rashawn Brazell. The way that I had found out about this story is by watching (AMW). It seems that the media only gives a damn about missing white people not us black people. So I hope the Brazell family will keep doing what they are doing to put light on this sad story.
This story should be on CNN news eveyday until someone comes up and say they were there when happen or that they know the persons or peron who did this to such nice person!


12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I orginally heard of Rashawn's story on AMW last year and then again tonight (12/9/06). I was both captivated and appauled at this gruesome act of inhumanity. I will continue to keep this family in my prayers and hope that God allows us to bring the person(s) responsible for this action to justice.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am lost for words. My prayers go out to the family and friends. Whoever did this may God be with you. Justice will come soon.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i lived two blocks away from the nostrand ave. stop in bed-stuy on the morning the first of rashawn's remains were found. i have not heard a thing about this sad and senseless crime until two years later as i accidentally stumbled on an article online. i had a deep and profound sadness standing there on that chilled february morning air at that blockaded nostrand ave stop knowing some faceless and anonymous body had been discovered just 10 meters below my feet. i didn't know any details of the case other than that i had to walk one station over to make it to class that day. but two years later to stumble on an article about this incident and it makes my heart. for this young man and the lives that were affected. to rashawn and his family, you remain in our hearts and pray that justice will prevail in brooklyn.

12:12 AM  

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