Thursday, May 7, 2009
R.I.P. Frank Melton
Sad news out of Jackson, Mississippi. Controversial Mayor Frank Melton passed away just past midnight. He died two days after losing a re-election bid...that also came a week before his second federal trial. Yes, you read that correctly.
Some of you may not even know who the hell Frank Melton was, but once you do some research on him, you're going to ask yourself how you never heard of him. At least that's how I felt up until this time last year.I interviewed Melton for Ozone's Drug Issue last year. Why am I interviewing the Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi for Ozone's Drug Issue? Easy. Because a lot of the people in the town thought that Frank was the biggest drug dealer in the state. I got tipped to the story by Julia and another cat in Jackson will will remain nameless (for his own protection). Dude was telling me about how Melton would go around shutting down trap houses of dealers that HE didn't get along with. The ones that he was cool with though, they was aight. And when I say shut down...I don't mean send cops to, I mean he would show up with his own goon squad, sledge hammers in tow and just start tearing shit up.
Melton's drug ties ran deep as he once was the head of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. Before that he owned a TV station (yes, dude was sitting on millions) and used to have a show called The Bottom Line where he would call out drug dealers, by name and by location telling them that he was coming to get them. He also used his money and influence to purchase billboard space and plaster drug dealers faces on them, telling people to call the number provided if they saw them in the streets doing anything shady.
As far as the "Real Hip Hop Mayor?" sub-title I used for the story, I didn't just do that because of the "street" and "drug" ties. He was actually down for the local Hip Hop community in some respects. He employed rappers like Kamakaze (David Banner's partner in Crooked Lettaz) on his staff to actually handle budgets for community improvement. Now, from what I heard, Melton didn't deliver on EVERY promise he delivered the Hip Hop community, but I still think that's somewhat commendable. Especially since all of these other "Hip Hop Mayors" don't do nothing but call on rappers for some face time at rallies when its campaign time.
This was easily one of the best stories I've ever put together. Not just saying that because I wrote it, but because the story was interesting as hell. It really felt like I was on some CNN shit for a minute. Interviewing anonymous sources, dealers who felt Frank's wrath, and then to talk to Frank himself was the icing on the cake. Its really one of those things where you'd have to read the story for yourself instead just get briefed on it. So, I scanned and uploaded the article for you to read and share. Like I said, once you read it, you're gonna be like "damn, how did I not hear of this guy?"
Though he may not not have been the most perfect person, or liked person...R.I.P. to Mr. Frank Melton.
Baptized In Dirty Water: The Real Hip Hop Mayor?
by Maurice G. Garland (Ozone Magazine, March 2008)