DSN Welcomes DJ Stephens

Please join Down South Noise in welcoming DJ Stephens to our team. DJ is a professional basketball player from Killeen,Texas. He played Division I basketball at The University of Memphis.Following a career in the NBA, DJ is currently playing basketball in France with Le Mans Sarthe.  As a contributor to Down South Noise, DJ will provide his fans with updates on his time overseas. We look forward to experiencing life through DJ’s perspective.  

Bigger Than a Boycott

“I think the Montgomery bus boycott initiated an era of self-determination” – Joseph Lowery


This is the first Sunday of the NFL season! Colin Kaepernick still is not on a roster. Unfortunately, I’m not surprised. Fighting for racial equality has never been good for employment opportunities in this country. Let’s just not kid ourselves. Also, whenever there’s been oppressive behavior against blacks, by whites, it’s always a few black men willing to stand in front of the bullet for the system in an attempt to calm his fellow, n-words. I could’ve used many other words but I wanted that to stick. Enter Ray Lewis and Jason Whitlock. One who is a beloved Hall of Fame Linebacker who just so happened to beat a double murder indictment and the other is just a “good ole boy” doing anything to self-degrade in the interest of favor. I’m not going to spend too much time on either, but this is 2017. We’re seeing what we’ve seen for years. You can stand up for everything but black people. Even black people will condemn you for standing up for black people.


For those of you somehow living in an alternate universe, I would not be doing my due diligence if I did not let you know who Colin Kaepernick is and what he’s doing. Colin is the former Super Bowl playing Quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. The first quarterback to take the team to the Super Bowl in over a decade since Steve Young took them. With so much police brutality and police killing unarmed black men in the media over the last few years, and the subsequent refusal by so many state governments to hold them accountable via indictment at the very least, Colin felt compelled to do something. He enacted on a silent protest when he would kneel during the National Anthem before NFL games to raise awareness. Once it finally was noticed, weeks later, it caught like a wildfire. Over a year later, here we are, 5 years removed from taking the 49ers to the Super Bowl against Ray Lewis’s Baltimore Ravens, and Kaepernick can’t find a job. Could it be football reasons? To put it simply, NO! Colin isn’t the Muhammad Ali of quarterbacks, skill wise, but there’s 32 teams in the NFL. Each team carries three quarterbacks per roster, there’s not 96 quarterbacks in the league better than Colin Kaepernick. Frankly, there’s not 20 quarterbacks in the league better than him, and that’s not excusing his football limitations.


BOYCOTT. I’m not boycotting the NFL season. Not because I love it so much, I simply don’t love it enough. I’m not going to join a brigade of people, some more dedicated than others, boycotting just to say I did it. I’m a football fan, I’m a Dallas Cowboy fan, but I don’t watch it nearly enough. It doesn’t mean what the NBA does to me. However, I’m not going to try to diminish the people who are actively boycotting are doing. I support them in full tow. What we have to understand is there’s multiple ways to support Colin. More importantly, there’s multiple ways to support the cause he’s fighting for. This is just not my way. I don’t think we should look down on anyone who doesn’t. Of course, social media will be loud in its attacks of those who didn’t (behind aliases so their job won’t see their tweets, nonetheless) but let’s focus on what’s important. It is beautiful to watch black people organize towards something though, I must say. Let’s just not stop there. Let’s look for how to continue the conversation and continue to apply the pressure. Let’s respectfully agree and disagree while we continue to search for as many avenues as possible to affect change. Hopefully, this isn’t the end of his career, but either way, thank you Colin. We could not really imagine or fathom the sacrifice you’re making and how that is affecting you. But despite the critics and naysayers, even from our own people, know that you’re appreciated by people who understand your mission. Job Well Done!


True Empowerment: What White People Know & Black People Forgot 

“If the truth is told, the youth can grow” – Nasir Jones



To say race relations in America is bad right now would be an understatement. However, to act like it’s worse than ever is a severe overstatement. A lot of times we get caught up in our own realities. Truth be told, race relations suck in America right now because we have people inciting the last breed of White America that still wants to hold on to the supremacy their ancestors raped, enslaved, abused and pillaged for. On the other hand, you have a Black defiant generation determined to be heard and respected like their ancestors never were. Social media balances the playing field because it’s hard to control what’s being said (and heard) when everyone has access to this thing of ours. Somedays I’m enlightened and proud and inspired, other days I’m exhausted, disappointed, and discouraged. It’s par for the course. What I do know, after sifting through the carnage is, what is missing for US, Black America, is foundational structure. We rarely FOCUS on that, so let’s try to for a minute.


I don’t want to cast aspersions on all white people in America but if I offend you, I meant to (Word to Mysonne). I hate hate hate the wide casted net that since the beginning of time has painted all black people to be the same.


“Us black kids, born with birth defects, we hyperactive

Mentally sex craved, dysfunctional, they describe us

They liars, (at) the end of the day,

We’re f*****g survivors” –Nas; “Triple Beam Dreams”



So, I can’t do that to white people here. Not because I don’t want to hurt feelings or I fear backlash, I just know there are some genuinely good people of all races and creed, including white people. Personally, I know and love many white people that have been nothing but amazing parts of my life. However, I know white people teach their children, fundamentally, things that white supremacists have worked tirelessly to erase from the priorities of Black America. 3 guiding principles than trickle down into the very mindset and functionality of a successful community, especially in a capitalist society. Those 3 principles are Ownership, Partnership, and Scholarship!!! Most middle class or higher white kids grow up KNOWING they’re automatically expected to marry, buy a home/land, and graduate from college. You set the standards for your kids early and, more times than not, they’ll hover around them.


I can’t just put all the blame on others because at some point we should’ve (and we have to now) police ourselves. To our misfortune, every huge leader of people that was uncompromising in their walk to lead us, got a bullet in the head or was exiled. I’m aware that we had great men and women that tried to get this message out in other ways but we needed a sincere “next (wo)man up” mentality. That’s enough backstory though, let’s discuss.


40 Acres and a Mule. I’m not a fan of the idea of reparations. I know blood was shed for that land and that mule but I just feel like at this point we’re crying over spilled milk. No offense. However, there’s significance in why that was the payoff. 40 ACRES and A MULE. It’s about ownership and self-sufficiency. This country celebrates pilgrims every year who pillaged land from people who were here first because land is of supreme value. A mule represents farming and making your own food. Feeding yourself and feeding your family. These two things would have changed the landscape, pun intended, of what black America looks like. That is the biggest difference between blacks and almost every other sub-culture of America. Jewish people have their “Jew town” (China town, Little Italy, etc.) everywhere because they OWN that land. When capitalists want a piece of land they’ll bribe whole communities out of their homes because it’s that important. But we are conditioned to own things that depreciate. We’ll buy all the cars and clothes in the world and never buy acres of land that cost less. Cars and clothes that depreciate greatly when you take the sticker off of them. When we become late teens or early 20’s we rush to move out of parents’ homes because of defiance and ego. We want to say “look how well I’m doing”, and a lot of times, we’re moving out only to live paycheck to paycheck or worse. White kids will stay home until they can AFFORD homes or until they’ve proven to have the wherewithal to sustain the property they’ll inherit… or until they’re married.


Situationships. We gave a cool name to not committing to each other. I’m guilty of it too. I’m pushing 30 with no wife. I’m not saying chase the clock, but the end goal has to be real. I once said in front of my son’s mom and the rest of my family “I’M NEVER GETTING MARRIED! FOR WHAT??”. Ignorance is bliss. I wasn’t ready for that conversation so nothing anybody said at the time was going to get thru to me. My own arrogance and ignorance did not even let it register that I was embarrassing her in that moment. Unintentionally, but embarrassment nonetheless. I came from a divorced family. By this time my mom and dad were practically best friends. They had shown me that, whether they were together or not, they could have a good relationship for their kids. A very important thing if circumstances required it, but I interpreted that wrong. Wrong in the sense that it didn’t mean I should not be prioritizing making my family work and making sure that we built a stable unit, instead that this should be the worst-case scenario. I couldn’t understand how family structure and marriage is the foundation to continued success. How marriage is a barrier of entry economically, outside of love, that stabilizes finances. When you’re married, you get to be on shared medical insurance, car insurance, shared investments and retirements. You are also splitting expenses that one single person would normally have to pay with one income. No matter how you breakdown who pays what, there’s two incomes. That’s not a coincidence. There’s a reason why there was a “No man in the house” mandate for women to receive welfare. Break up the structure and keep the remains on welfare. Divide and conquer, a fundamental strategy of war. There’s roles to a household. None more important than the other because in true PARTNERSHIP all parties involved carry their weight. But the attack on the black family was direct and effective. 30 years later, the results are women demanding their independence to be proclaimed and championed, mass incarceration, the lowest group married, the highest group divorced. There’s no independence in the marriage. There’s no independence in partnership. Our women are strong and smart and fully capable of carrying their own, but that’s not what we should be pushing. Our men thinking, they just have to “get money” or be womanizers or being serial daters isn’t what we should be pushing. Taking care of your family, as a man and head of the household, is about more than keeping the lights on and food on the table, you also have to take care the hearts and minds of your wife and your kids. Your kids will watch how mommy and daddy take care of each other in a sincere way, kids understand way more than we give them credit for, and how they are made to take care of each other as siblings. Everyone needs a “fun” stage but at a certain stage we have to focus on the priorities. The selfishness inherited by this miseducation also bleeds into business where everybody wants to be “the man”. You ultimately learn how to work with others at home first, so if partnership is not in that fabric, it’s hard to fully embrace it going forward. We have this competition to prove we can do it better or faster than each other or without each other. That crabs in the barrel mentality didn’t come from the “it takes a village” upbringing. They broke the community down because that’s where all the strength came from. The Civil Rights Movement wouldn’t have been successful without the unity.


The ink of a scholar is worth more than the blood of a martyr. My most annoying debate these days is with my fellow black people about the importance of college. Currently as it stands, I don’t have a college degree. I have a pretty good job making pretty good money. That’s the primary argument people make for why we don’t need college. I disagree. The second argument is “college just puts you in debt and you’re not even guaranteed to get a job using your degree”. That, I agree with, but I still don’t agree that it’s enough to not go to college. This game is economics. College is another barrier of entry. They could definitely replace Trigonometry in high school with accounting. They could definitely replace Chemistry with money management. They could put an emphasis on taxes, investing, and saving on the high school level. All of which would better prepare kids for everyday life than the classes that still currently stand as an archaic curriculum. But they won’t. You know why they won’t? Because that information is too valuable to give away for free in the interest of capitalism. Plus, if you give too many people these tools with no barriers, you can’t have a class system, you can’t have separatist politics, and you can’t have Public Relations manipulation of the people. All of which are also staples of this country. Slaves were prohibited and even killed for learning to read. The poor and disenfranchised (minority) communities spend more money on security than education. They build more prisons while they close more schools. 35 plus kids stuffed into classes with less desks and even less suitable books. This is no coincidence. Scholarship, the ideal, isn’t a free ride to college. Scholarship is an achievement of higher learning. To have learned beyond what is required because you were invested in more. Immigrants come here and almost across the board outrank and outwork us in education because we’ve been pacified into believing we can make it without it. Which, technically, we can. We get a few examples of it and decide “I’ll just do what ______ did”. But for Africans who migrate here, for example, their kids come here with the bar set at doctors, lawyers and engineers. They’re not under this guise of just getting by or just making a certain amount. They come here for the opportunity of prestigious education and economics available to us that aren’t readily available everywhere else. They look at us like we’re lazy and ungrateful. I can’t disagree. We let the success of few trick us to believing we didn’t have to feed our own minds. It’s about more than just what job you get out of college. School isn’t just about what you learn, it’s a function of your ability to learn, to think, to discipline yourself, and your resilience in the face of adversity. Every other race largely prioritizes it. Most of our kids want to rappers or athletes. It’s nothing wrong with those professions but to understand supply vs demand is to know there’s a few thousands of those positions profiting vs a few billion people alive. Prepare for life not for entertainment. With knowledge comes understanding that a good life doesn’t only have to be a millionaire’s life. We can invest in careers that feed our passion and our families enough that don’t all afford Bentleys. If we stabilize our own community we won’t have to ASK for equality. We won’t have to ASK for them to give us opportunities economically. They will ASK us to work with {them}then we have to meet on equal terms. This game is economics. Nobody will give you what they don’t have to. We can’t expect anything until we understand leverage and value. How we spend and where we spend is the bottom line, and both are a function of how we think and how we train each other.



“1st in Science, 1st in Technology, wealthiest country on Earth, most powerful country on Earth is 26th in Education. So, you have all been taken and you don’t even realize that you have been dumbed to the point where you are like sheep” –Minister Louis Farrakhan

-Travis Cochran 




DSN Style: LaLa Anthony

LaLa launched her exclusive clothing collection at Lord and Taylor! The sizes range from 0-24. In the LaLa Anthony brand you can go “from day… to play.. to slay”. The items are really reasonable and it’s cute!! Congrats LaLa!