Typically malt liquor beverages have a higher percentage of alcohol content, it is sold in larger containers and has a lower price per volume than the average beer. Compared to a standard drink, the typical malt liquor beverage is off the scale. The average malt liquor beer can average 80% more alcohol content than the usual 12 ounce beer. Because malt liquor represents a quick and cheap alcohol buzz, the beverages have been Traditionally aimed at low income African American communities.”

Last year while watching the NBA playoffs a commercial came on which featured Sean Combs and Ciroc Vodka and a chill went up my spine. The commercial took me back to a pivotal moment in my life, a single moment in time that lasted for many years, I can remember that day as if it was yesterday, it was the summer of 1982. I will always remember the particulars of that day, for it was the first of many long nights. My friends mom was hosting that years neighborhood house party, so all the kids spent the night over his house while our parents enjoyed each other’s company. In the days forgotten kids knew their place, we played upstairs, and the grown folks played downstairs. Back then there was no time-out, if we desired to do something that we knew our parents would not agree with we had to decide whether it was worth it or not, but in most cases the act did not warrant the ass whooping that was sure to come. Well I must of thought it was worth it on that particular night, because I decided to sneak downstairs to the world down below. I stealthily crept down the long staircase with one hand on the bannister and the other covering my mouth, I inched closer and closer, every step calculated, their laughter becoming more audible the closer I approached. As I came upon the door I noticed that it was ajar, so I decided to take a peek. As I slowly put my head inside of the room I was in a state of awe, there was music playing, there was dancing, there was laughter, there was drinking, and there were board games being played. After contemplating whether the crime was worth the punishment that was sure to come, I made the decision to sneak in. While crawling on all fours looking for sanctuary behind the bar I noticed that all eyes were on the fight, so I slid behind the bar unseen. While behind the bar I noticed a large crack, so I used it as a peep hole to watch the fight for a few minutes. I was unable to watch the fight for long, for the possibility of sounding the alarm was getting to be a bit much, I was ready to return to the world above, and honestly, I could not wait to tell the other kids about the world that I found down below. While thinking of a way to escape the world below without being seen a commercial came on. In this commercial there was a handsome man that resembled my father, he looked sophisticated, confident, and refined, he then held up a can of Colt 45 Malt Liquor and proceeded to speak in a smooth, deliberate, and seducing voice:

“Don’t let the smooth taste fool you.”

The crowd went crazy, I overheard one woman say: “Damn that Billy Dee is fine, I’ll have his baby today!” It wasn’t just the women, I was also seduced by his alluring salesmanship. I did not know it at the time, but it was all staged, his beautiful smile, his white teeth, his permed wavy hair, and his dapperness was nothing more than a strategical tactic, an act or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end, such as keeping the American Black Male in a state of decay by peddling bottles of self-imprisonment. For all you young readers, Billy Dee Williams is a famous American Black male actor, voice over artist, and pitchman. His most famous pitch was for the National Brewing Company, which in 1963 introduced Colt 45 Malt Liquor, the label was designed with a kicking horse, a reference to its extra kick compared to its competing white brands. As I was preparing to make my escape to the world above I noticed a see-through mini refrigerator filled with cans of Colt 45 Malt Liquor, the white and gold cans glowed like a found hidden treasure, I took two cans and pushed the rest to the front, I then made my way to the door which was still ajar. Well I was back in the world above, but I was different, I was the man. I told my friends about my adventure, they were all entranced as I described the world below in graphic detail. The look that they gave me was the same look that those from down below gave Billy Dee, so I reached back outside of the doorway and pulled out a can of Colt 45 Malt Liquor, I then proceeded to say in a smooth, deliberate, and seducing voice:

“Don’t let the smooth taste fool you.”

I did not take my own advice, I let the smooth taste fool me, I did not stop drinking that mental and physical self imprisonment until 2010, twenty-seven years later. Food for thought. Two kids that I introduced to Billy Dee Williams that night has since passed on, one from cirrhosis of the liver and the other while driving drunk. In retrospect, I know that I was not the cause of their deaths, but one does wonder from time to time, what if I never met Billy Dee Williams that night?

Just say no……



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