Crack Parents of the 70s, Crack Babies of the 80s & Club Kids Now

By admin


After Vietnam, many black soldiers came home addicted to heroin and alcohol, a habit which many of them formed in the jungle just to keep them sane during the 24 hour gun battles. This became big business for the neighborhood drug dealer yet reeked havoc and was the beginning of a crisis for many of our communities around the country. The days of Black Panther Black Power were out of the window. Many black folks traded in that powerful Afro for a relaxer, a la Superfly or The Mac. Couple this with the social welfare programs that dictated the more children you had, the more money you could get from the government, as long as the mother remained single with no man living in the home and yes social workers made surprise visits to ensure the men stayed away. It was the beginning of a recipe for the crack boom of the 80s. Misguided fatherless children under the care of welfare mothers with no education trained each other in street survival tactics.


Crack was the new thing at the time and many young black men were becoming millionaires, getting their communities, girlfriends and neighbors hooked. The newborn 80s babies would often have to be raised by grandma while momma battled her crack habit and daddy was still MIA. As artists like LL Cool J, Public Enemy & Eric B. & Rakim combined with Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign railed against drug abuse, their message seemed to fall on deaf ears, seeing as though her husband Pres. Ronald Reagan was rumored to be the one who opened the hood to crack and many of those artists were financially backed by the biggest dope dealers in the hood.


The children of the 90s were children and grandchildren of the 70s welfare queens and crack 80s babies. While the grandmothers were becoming the matriarchs trying to hold the family together, and the mothers were battling their own demons, the internet and technology exploded, becoming the guide for the kids. Children literally sat in front of TV all day, and their attitudes, fashion, and goals were shaped by popular culture. Couple this with a shift in drugs from crack to pills (exstacy, speed & prescription), and you have an oversexualized self-centered generation X.


Now Generation X has grown up and they are mothers and fathers who because of their understanding of hip-hop and “young culture,” live a sort of eternal childhood. Many mothers party with their daughters and keep up with all the new ghetto dances and because they are the self-centered generation, it is still all about them and rarely their children. However, despite these challenges, we do see black fathers making a comeback and picking up the slack a little more than generations past. Because of technology, our attention spans are shorter so the music has become faster with more of a robotic sound (autotune), It seems as though many children now are quick to put members of the older generation in their place, not being afraid to call them old, wrong and stupid to their face. I wonder what type of parents our children will become?

Filed in: Commentary • Tuesday, May 26th, 2009


By Alexander Crigler on July 21st, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Fest, our children will not be “children” anymore. children have always wanted to get older become adults and things that were taboo like calling them old, wrong and stupid to their face will be so common in society that the line between child and adult could possibly be once they reach the double digits. as we speak my sister and niece are in the other room arguing. My niece is 5. I was one of those kids who sat in front of the TV all day so what you mentioned i can attest to, being born in 87. I can say that people only care when its entertaining, that’s why there are no comments except mine

Che meet Check! I’m Cheqwon88, a graphic designer with similar concerns about the future of our youth. I’m 43 and not getting younger. I ask myself what will be your legacy? I see you have a more than capable graphics guy… I ask that you think of me when you consider expanding your brand. I have a unique viewpoint and clean graphics. instagram: @cheqwon88 or Facebook: Andre Parnell Naptown native

Love love this post. Where can I find more? Let’s make a difference guys… @Alexander @Che


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Che Smith is a revolutionary artist, writer, and activist. Popularly known as Rhymefest, the South Side Chicago native has been a trailblazer in music, television, and politics.