A year ago, a publisher suggested I pen a memoir of my time spent with Trick Daddy, co-authoring his autobiography, "Magic City: Trials of a Native Son."
I turned it down.
I told him I won't be a part of what I call the marketing of gangsterism, profiting from the pain of people in the inner-city whose despair now seems to inspire headlines in America's media houses.
It's also the reason why Schoolboy Q told me during our NiteCap interview he doesn't make music videos in his neighborhood.
"I didn't wanna put that image out there, because my homies are still in the streets. They're still gang banging. An enemy gang banger can identify can see my video and identify them, " says the Compton emcee. "I'm in Miami right now. They gotta live with that."
Schoolboy says the only time he put his Crip crew in a video was in "Break the Bank", a decision he says he regrets to this day.
Most recently, I saw news outlets run a headline of Trick Daddy's now infamous mug shot.
Ironically, while promoting Trick's very positive memoir, most of these news outlets were contacted.
Now a rapper who established media considers irrelevant is fodder for news headlines?
When my Ivy-league educated media peers, had all but forgotten about me, Trick and his fellow ex-con cohorts gave me the rights to their story.
I didn't know it then, but they freely gave me the authentic gangsta story now capturing the imagination of pop culture.
But back then, I found myself in Trick's studio, contemplating how in the hell did I arrive here, sometimes indulging in the vices they used to quiet the demons who haunt a criminal past ; mines from betrayal at the hands of corporate America.
After all, Peter Bailey was the epitome of the American dream.
I was the prodigious journalist with a distinct Caribbean accent who sky-rocketing from the Village Voice after college to landing at Newsweek then Time magazine and finally the Miami Herald.
Ironically, during that time I had dubbed myself an urban Houdini for miraculously escaping my St. Thomas upbringing to a Time magazine office, expense account and all.
By twenty-three I had published articles in both Time and Newsweek, breaking to lunch on Sushi, fumbling with chop sticks to impress society friends as fraudulent as me.
My Harlem Senegalese hole in the wall off 116th is where I could really lick my chops.
However, in the summer of 08' I was the fading star in the NABJ galaxy, an organization more pre-occupied with playing politics with white media recruiters than actually fostering the careers of young journalists of color.
I had recently got into an argument with a Miami Herald security guard. Somehow, he chose to continuously harass me for my Employee ID even though that year I won best education coverage in Florida.
Accompanied by white colleagues whom he didn't stop; I yelled something to the effect of, "I don't see you stopping these white women!"
He complained to management and me, the award-winning writer was scolded for appearing threatening
The jig was up. That inner thug
reflecting the friends I grew up with cabs to the surface or was I just tired of the dog and pony show that's come to characterize current media?
Trick and my cousin Lion, understanding my journalism career was on the rocks gave me the story that has come to define my career thus far.
They didn't do me that favor to network or advance on the career ladder.
Lion - now incarcerated once again for transgressions from the gangsta lifestyle he calls hell, described heavenly by hipster writers and blogs in flowery prose - followed the street code.
When your homie needs help, you come through no questions asked.
Trick and Lion never asked me to sign a confidentially agreement, because I didn't earn their trust by trying to be down like so many entertainment journalists.
And I'll take to the grave those experiences shared between homies, before exploiting their pain for profit.
The only favor they asked of me was that; "I give the kids the truth so they don't make the mistakese we did."
Now that's G, as in Generous.