They Look Just Like Us!

The other day I woke up to a text from Freelance that said “Lets get people talking about this.” She included a link to a Daily News article as well as a Sandra Rose post about a Lesbian Couple allegedly Murdered In Port Bolivar Texas. I laid in my bed and read the horrifying details of this murder and couldn’t help but to relate the story back to a personal tragedy in 2003, the death of my music managers sister and her girlfriend, Shani Baraka and Rayshon Holmes. Shani and Ray were killed by Shani’s older sisters husband who hated Shani for being Wanda’s sister, and he hated Shani and Rayshon for being two women in love, for being lesbians. It also made me think about the tragic murder of Sakia Gunn who was returning with four friends from a party in Manhattan and was fatally stabbed at a bus stop in my hometown of Newark NJ during a scuffle with two men who were making advances at the young girls.

When Freelance hit me the information on the murders of Britney Cosby, and Crystal Jackson were vague. Pretty much all authorities knew were that the girls had been found behind a dumpster in Port Bolivar Texas after returning from a trip to Mardi Gras. They had no leads on the killer or what led up to the incident. I’ve been following this story and as it unravels it becomes more and more heartbreaking and for so many reasons. Free was 100% right, we do need to get people talking about this. Come to find out James Cosby, Britney father, is the PRIME suspect, police found pools of blood and fingerprints on evidence at his home. WTF? I reached out to YLR affiliate Co-Chese who said : “I think this is so fucked! I wanted to know what would make him kill his own daughter, then I read that he used the Quaran/Islam and his indoctrinated beliefs to murder her and her girl. Its just another piece of evidence that religious beliefs cause more hate and violence than love and peace. No disrespect to people and what they believe in …its just my thoughts.” DEEP!


Chese’s thoughts made me dig deeper, seems like a few hours before his arrest, James Cosby (the father) had attended a vigil Wednesday evening in Houston for the women. After the vigil, sheriff’s office investigators went to Cosby’s home and interviewed him. During the interview, investigators became suspicious of Cosby and things they saw at the home. After obtaining a search warrant, officials found ‘blood and other evidence’ at the home. Detectives are still searching for the slain couple’s silver 2006 Kia Sorrento, which they suspect may have been used by the killer to transport the women’s bodies to the dump site. According to a police report, officers inspecting Cosby’s home seized a hammer and noticed a missing window shutter. A similar shutter was found covered in blood and bearing James Cosby’s fingerprints next to the women’s bodies.

Community activist Quanell X described the grisly scene inside James Cosby’s blood-spattered home. ‘Blood was all on the walls, all on the speakers — on the sofa. Mr. X, the family’s spokesman, also claimed that he found writings condemning homosexuality as a sin on Cosby’s Koran. Crystal Jackson’s father, Reverend Ivan Jackson, told the news channel that he too did not agree with his daughter’s sexual orientation, but loved her as much as his other children. Cosby, who has a long criminal history, had been released from prison about five months ago on sex offender charges. Ain’t that some shit.

Statistically speaking, hate crimes against lesbians of color are less likely to be covered by major media outlets even when the crime is murder and is provoked by our sexuality. Sakia’s (aggressive black women) murder generated only 21 stories as opposed to the 659 generated by Matthew’s (gay white male). That is a staggering difference of 638 stories or 30 times more…

WE DESERVE JUSTICE. WE are the only ones that can bring awareness to these types of crimes. WE are RESPONSIBLE for educating people about our LIFESTYLE and clarifying our REAL LIVES vs. media portrayal of the LGBT community. This story touches on issues of RACE, RELIGION, SEXUALITY, POLITICS, INJUSTICE, and the list goes on. No offense to my fellow media colleagues but as I scroll my social media timelines I see promotions for parties, web series, prides, etc… Why aren’t we talking about this? Why aren’t we encouraging our people to be involved and be aware of what’s going on with US? Why aren’t we using our “STAR POWER” to spread news pertinent to what feels like our survival? Britney, Crystal, Sakiya, Shani, and Rayshon look JUST LIKE US! We have to get the people evolved and talking.

In respectful memory of ALL slain members of our LGBTQ community, I will continue to research and share stories around these types of hate crimes and injustices. in the meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this quote…..

“The roots of sexism and homophobia are found in the same economic and political institutions that serve as the foundation of racism in this country.” -Professor Angela Y. Davis (Women, Culture and Politics)


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