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Steve Stephens, Toxic Femininity and the #JoyLaneMassacre

Internets, When I saw the video of Steve Stephens popping a cap in Robert Godwin, Sr.'s ass, at Easte

Life in a Shanty Town

April 21 · Issue #1 · View online
The hip-hop newsletter that's not afraid to ask the tough questions

When I saw the video of Steve Stephens popping a cap in Robert Godwin, Sr.’s ass, at Easter dinner, half drunk on Charles Shaw, my mind raced with fear … that someone might suggest that Joy Lane actually should try to call Stephens. This, of course, was my primary concern.
I understand that people’s lives were at risk, but what if Joy Lane didn’t want to talk on the phone? What if her elbow was in no condition to hold a phone up to the side of her face?
In a video that was streamed live on Facebook, Stephens rolled up on a random elderly guy, Godwin, got out of the car, asked the guy to say the name Joy Lane, and then shot him. Stephens explained that Lane was the reason he was going around killing people, because she wouldn’t return his calls. He claimed to have already killed 13 people, in what he was calling the #JoyLane Massacre.
Godwin’s death seemed to resonate with white people on Twitter on a level exceeding what you’d expect for a black, male murder victim, possibly because his grinning mug, in the few photos that surfaced, looked like it belonged on the side of a box of instant rice, or a bottle of barbecue sauce. Somehow, there were already multiple tribute paintings of Godwin in circulation the same afternoon he died. This could become a thing, like the cult of impressionable, female Tumblr youth who worship at the altar of James Holmes, the kid who shot up that Batman movie.
At least half of the photos of Stephens people have been able to dig up, it would seem, are of him striking the Omega Psi Phi “Que Dog” pose. I’m surprised, and also kinda disappointed, that this hasn’t become an Internets trend à la planking or the mannequin challenge. Not only does it look stupid, regardless of who does it (please don’t beat me up as if I were a pledge), but it could have led to further discussion of cultural appropriation, which is usually popping this time of year anyway, thanks to Coachella.
The police didn’t seem nearly as interested in trying to catch Stephens, maybe because the crime took place on a Sunday, not to mention a holiday, but also because the only confirmed victim was an older black guy. Godwin was 74 years old. Statistically, he could have dropped dead at any minute anyway. What was he doing wandering the streets of the Cleveland ghetto? Initial reports said he was coming home from Easter dinner with his family, which didn’t make a whole lotta sense to me, given the time. Later, I heard he was out collecting cans.
Someone with a burner phone who occasionally sends me info about conspiracy theories claims that this was a false flag event, possibly perpetrated by President Trump. But I knew this shit was real when I heard that Stephens got caught because he went to a McDonald’s in Pennsylvania to order some Chicken McNuggets and fries and couldn’t get out of there in time because it was taking them too long to make his fries. Only a true black man would risk it all for some Chicken McNuggets. Brothers of a certain age will recall that Ol’ Dirty Bastard was arrested at a McDonald’s in Philly after performing—as a fugitive—at the release party for the W.
And of course there was all manner of virtue signaling, think pieces and what have you, including the suggestion that the #JoyLaneMassacre was part of an ongoing trend of black men killing black women.
After Charlamagne Tha God caught flak for thinking about having Tomi Lahren on the Breakfast Club, he let two black feminists come on and claim that black men are the number one cause of death for black women. That isn’t any more true now than it was then, but it feels more true, which is all that really matters. In addition to the #JoyLaneMassacre, in the past few weeks we’ve had that guy who shot his wife and a random special-needs kid at a school in San Bernardino, and an incident here in the STL, in which a nutty white chick shot her black husband in the head, set the house on fire and drove her van into a lake, with a baby in it. (Amazingly, the baby survived.) At this point, if you were to try to argue that black men aren’t the number one cause of death for black women, you’d only have facts on your side.
Lost in any number of BS think pieces about toxic masculinity is the fact that a black guy (Godwin) was the victim here. No black women were harmed in the making of these lulz. If Steve Stephens hated women, how come he didn’t find a female victim? If anything, his problem was that he loved women too much. I’d even go so far as to call this an example of toxic femininity, if that’s a thing, possibly brought on by lack of a strong male influence in his upbringing.
Other signs that Stephens was toxically feminine:
1) He got with a woman who had kids by another guy.
2) He was so adamant about having a conversation about the state of their relationship.
3) He was a social worker.
4) He drove a white Ford Fusion.
5) He was fiscally irresponsible.
Based on what little I’ve been able to gather about their relationship, it seems that Joy Lane may have dropped Steve Stephens like a bad habit because he went broke, because he had a gambling problem.
In a Facebook post before the #JoyLaneMassacre, Stephens complained that he’d lost all his money gambling. After he died, Ebony (which is all over this) pulled up records from when he was evicted from two apartments this year alone, filed for bankruptcy and was sued for running up $35,000 on a credit card. There’s also security footage of him gambling at a casino in West Virginia two days before the Joy Lane Massacre. He had on the same clothes he had on in the Facebook video, which is just trifling.
In a text message sent to CBS News, Lane, surprisingly, had nothing but good things to say about Stephens. She said that he’d been very good to her kids. I took this to mean that he spent money on them. If that’s true, he’s a better man than I am. Well, aside from randomly killing the elderly.
Take it easy on yourself,
Bol Byron Crawford: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Books
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