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Shaka Senghor (Episode 112)

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New York Times best-selling author Shaka Senghor joined DJ Vlad to speak about coming of age in Detroit at the height of the crack epidemic. Shaka describes how he got caught up in street culture and how the influx of crack cocaine devastated beautiful Detroit communities and changed sexual politics. On getting robbed at 14 and shot three years later, Senghor says, “Acting tough is a mask to hide the fear that you could die at any moment over something that doesn’t amount to anything.”

Shaka received 17 to 40 years for shooting and killing someone when he was just 19. Senghor explained that he convinced himself that he would be doing the full 40 years, so he started rebelling to the full extent, which landed him a combined seven years in solitary confinement.

During the conversation, Senghor opened up about the hardships in prison, including the “feces wars,” being left out in the freezing cold for hours, and prisoners injuring themselves to go to the hospital for a chance at human contact. Listen to the full interview above.

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