You ever have one of those moments where you’re not really surprised but you still end up disappointed? That was me after finding out that the owner of Uniontown Bar & Grill, Natasha Dasher, was (allegedly) pushing more weight than Rick Ross.
What? I watched The Wire. A lot.
Seriously though, it kind of hurts my feelings even though I’m not entirely sure why. If I had to venture a guess on my therapist’s couch, I’d say it’s because I got that feeling again of , “there’s always got to be something…”
To be clear, I don’t know Ms. Dasher at all (or if she did anything of which she's being accused). Never met the woman. And I don’t even judge her for her alleged wrongdoings.
It sounds like she may have made some bad decisions and she has to live with them, not me. But it’s just another one of those moments where you know outsiders will look in with some sort of self-righteous indignation that justifies to them why we get sold short so often. Even when we’re doing right we’re doing wrong. And in this this instance there’s no defense.
Again, no surprise. Drugs and black people go back like afro-picks and The Dells. Some of the connection is self-created, some of it by outside forces.
But you kind of hope that at some point, when folks get the chance to break from that mold and do something positive - as Ms. Dasher was doing - they’d let it go. But we get stories time and time again about people in our community that can’t seem to let “wrong” go. Straight and narrow is just “too much like right.”
Think about athletes. Delonte West is a multi-millionaire (out-of-work) NBA player who decided he wanted to be the Terminator for a day. Rae Carruth murdered his girlfriend and put her in the trunk of a car. Marion Barry couldn’t put the crack down. Even Martin Luther King, Jr. was a known philanderer.
Michael Vick was out killing dogs for fun. Granted, everybody has vices. And doing dumb stuff knows no race. But it’s like we mitigate all of the positive energy we put into the atmosphere by making sure that at some point, we balance it out with negative stupidity.
Maybe we are too religious. Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 is all about balance. There’s a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to be born and a time to die, etc.
Ms. Dasher felt like there was a time to sell coke, and a time to sell Coke. I don’t know. And yes that was a bad joke. But we take that balancing the universe thing a little bit too far sometimes.
I know there are times when we get in over our heads. Look, I’m a black man. I’ve got a family full of individuals, some alive and some dead, who went too far to ever turn back.
But they also never fully turned the corner and tried to operate in “normal” society. And maybe there are a lot more Stringer Bell-types out there than not. But damn, at some point you would think, for your family, you’d let it go. Everybody gets caught. Very few people die happy and of old age in the drug game.
And very few make it all the way to the top completely unscathed. And very few open up a restaurant in a community that sorely needs them; a bright spot in a community that sometimes feels forgotten by the rest of the Washington community.
When that happens you can’t help but want to see the person who does succeed. Even though I don’t live in Anacostia, I felt a certain pride in the knowledge of a place that could rival anything on U Street or H Street existing and doing well.
It’s proof that it just takes somebody to believe and take a shot in a place where nobody else thinks one is worth taking. That’s all. Belief can take you a long way.
And then the reality check hits.
But it’s just another one of those moments where you know outsiders will look in with some sort of self-righteous indignation that justifies to them why we get sold short so often. Even when we’re doing right we’re doing wrong. And what’s worse is that there’s nothing to defend.
I hope the establishment manages to stay open despite their issue. Though, I know for a fact that you can’t have a liquor license if you’re in jail. And if she’s the sole-proprietor, well, that takes care of that. Be clear, she’s going to jail.
I read in an article that she was negotiating with authorities. Of course she is; as soon as the feds showed up she gave up the driver from Texas who brought the kilos. But you can’t be holding that much cash AND that many bricks and NOT do time.
When I hear stories about successful people getting caught up in stupid stuff I always wonder about the moments right before they realize they’re about to get caught. Were they happy times? Was the day filled with normal errand running?
Hopefully she had a coke and a smile because those days are long gone. Hopefully we aren’t saying the same of Uniontown Bar & Grill.
And yes that was a bad pun. Thank you and good night.