Young Jamila grew up in a loving, middle class home. Her hardworking parents, the Davises, overcame the barriers of poverty and racism faced by African Americans in the segregated South. From the back wood shacks of the rural south, the Davises migrated north, making Jamaica Queens, New York their new home. They drove themselves relentlessly. By education and endless hard work, they attained their portion of the American dream.
Determined to afford their own children the opportunities they themselves never had, the Davises provided their children with a good life, hoping to guarantee their children’s success.
At first, it seemed as though the formula worked. Jamila became her parents’ ideal “star child.” At a young age she performed in dance recitals at Lincoln Center and toured the country in a leading role in an off- Broadway play. Throughout elementary and middle school she maintained straight A’s and was accepted to the acclaimed “Fame” High School of Performing Arts in New York City.
All was copacetic until high school years, when Jamila meets Craig. He was a 16 year old drug dealer from the Southside projects of Jamaica Queens. His street edge fascinated naive Jamila, and he quickly usurped Mrs. Davis’ position as role model and protector.
Jamila became mesmerized by the hustlers and life in the inner city ghetto. Her values quickly changed. She wanted independence, power and notoriety, and she chose life in the fast lane to claim them. With her brains and beauty, she rises to the top!
As this high school teen rebels, breaking loose from her parents’ tight reins, the Davises wage an “all-out” battle to save their only daughter who they love so desperately. But Jamila is in too deep! Poisoned by materialism and the drama of street life, she resists, and the Davis family is turned upside down!
This real-life story exemplifies the powerful societal influences that affect today’s youth, and the almost insurmountable challenges of the older generation who fight hard to protect them. This heartfelt story empowers both youth and adults to understand the tragic consequences of poor choices while instilling the ability to resist them.
When this good girl goes bad, it seems as if there is no turning back.
SHE’S ALL CAUGHT UP!
January 29, 1995
“Pull the car over now!” I heard blaring from a bullhorn as I was suddenly awakened from a deep sleep.
“Oh my goodness, Jamila, wake up!” Theresa shouted as she fiercely nudged me from the driver’s seat of her gray Mitsubishi Mirage.
“What in the world!” I shouted as we pulled over on Capital Boulevard and close to a dozen cop cars surrounded us.
“Oh, God, girl. We are in trouble. I’m so nervous,” Theresa whimpered in a panic as sweat began to pour down her jet-black petite face.
“Calm down, girl. Just act normal,” I instructed, trying hard to gather my composure. My heart pounded intensely as I watched the police gather through the rearview mirror. Two cops exited their vehicle.
“You don’t understand! I’ve got a ton of drugs in the trunk. Oh, man, Jamila, I think we are in big trouble,” Theresa ranted as the cops quickly approached us.
“Young ladies, step out of the car and show me some identification,” the tall, white cop said in a strong Southern drawl as he approached the driver’s door of the vehicle, with his hand tightly gripped on the gun in his holster.
We stepped out of the small, two-door car and fear engulfed me as I watched several other officers swarm our vehicle. It became apparent this was not a routine traffic stop.
“You can make this difficult, or it can be easy. Do you give us permission to search this vehicle, gal?” the officer asked Theresa sharply in his strong Southern accent.
“Well, um,” Theresa mumbled, clearly confused and frightened. “I don’t . . . um. Well, I guess so.”
That’s all the officers needed to hear. They had Theresa’s consent and began to ransack the car. After a brief search, the drugs that were hidden in the luggage in the trunk of the car were quickly apprehended.
Tears rolled down my eyes as Theresa and I were read our rights, handcuffed, and placed in the back of the police car. I was seventeen years old and under arrest!
My life flashed in front of me. What was I going to tell my parents? How could I ever explain this? I was supposed to be enjoying my freshman year at St. Augustine’s University. Instead, I sat in a tiny holding cell at the Wake County Jail in Raleigh, North Carolina.
I nervously stood silent as I was finally taken before a magistrate judge, who formally announced my charges and determined my bail.
“Jamila Davis,” the old white judge announced as he banged his gavel, “I hereby set your bail at two million dollars.”
Two million dollars! I thought in rage and disbelief.
I was escorted out of the small courtroom by the bailiff and sent back to the dark holding cell. I cried uncontrollably as the reality of the consequences of my lifestyle had suddenly crept up on me. I had no clue the power a few bad decisions could have. My life didn’t have to turn out this way. It was one poor choice that ultimately altered my entire destiny!
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