Monday, March 23, 2015



                                                              LENNON LACY

By Cash Michaels

            There are new questions being raised publicly in the August 2014 hanging death of Lennon Lacy, a 17-year-old Bladenboro teenager, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues its probe into the matter.
            Did a white male that Lacy was in a fight with months earlier for allegedly stealing Lennon’s phone followthrough with his alleged threat to “kill and hang” Lacy?
            That person reportedly was released from jail three weeks before Lacy’s death.
            Was Lacy targeted because he was in an interracial relationship with a 31-year-old white divorcee’ who had reportedly was also seeing other men?
Those questions were posed by the ESPN investigative series “Outside the Lines” (OTL) in a half-hour segment which aired nationally Sunday morning. While the FBI remains tight-lipped about what its investigation has determined so far, the new questions and revelations deepen the mystery surrounding the death of the promising young athlete in the small Bladen County town of less than 2000, where only 20 percent of the population is black.
            Lennon Lacy was a linebacker for West Bladenboro High School’s football team. The season home opening game was Friday, August 29 – the very day that Lacy’s body was found hanging from a  swingset in a predominately white trailer park.
A week later, the medical examiner’s report cited “suicide” as the cause of death. SBI and Bladenboro police believed that Lennon hung himself because he was depressed over the recent death of a relative.
            But Claudia Lacy vehemently disagreed, saying her son may have been naturally saddened, but not depressed to the point of suicide. Besides, he was excited about appearing in his school’s home opening football game , and had been busily preparing for it.
            He would not have killed himself given those circumstances, she maintained.
            As has been reported before, when Lennon’s body was found hanging from the swingset, the white sneakers with no laces on his feet were not his, evidenced by the fact that they were two sizes too small. The brand new Air Jordan sneakers he had on the day before were missing.
            Also, Lennon Lacy stood five feet, nine inches tall, but the top bar of the swingset in the mobile home trailer park where he was found was seven feet off the ground. Authorities as of yet have not explained how he could have hung himself  with two belts (that were not his, says his mother) without stepping up onto something to do it, something that was not there when he was discovered the morning of August 29th.
            More troubling, local authorities did not want an autopsy to be performed, and no crime scene pictures were taken because the police photographer was off on another assignment.
            As far as Claudia Lacy was concerned, state and local authorities were “too quick” to label her son’s death a suicide, and as far as she’s concerned, a thorough investigation into all aspects of the case had not been done.
            One of those aspects involves Michelle Brimhall, the 32-year-old white mother who Lennon had been dating, to the chagrin of his family, and apparently other people in the small town.
As recently as Tuesday of this week, Brimhall had a giant picture of Lennon Lacy headlining her Facebook page, which lists her as being from Bement, Illinois, currently attending Bladen Community College, living in Bladenboro and having one daughter who apparently still lives in Bement.
            “Outside the Lines” asked Brimhall if Lennon’s death had anything to do with the fact that they were dating.
            “I don’t believe so,” she replied. Brimhall acknowledged that Lennon’s family “didn’t approve”, but they didn’t try to stop the relationship.
            Months earlier, Brimhall was forced to move from the white couple’s house she had been staying at since she had moved to Bladenboro because they didn’t approve of her dating the black teenager, the ESPN program alleged. She got her own apartment in the same complex where Lennon’s family lived.
            A neighbor in that complex named Whitney Michael told OTL that she saw “a steady stream of traffic pull up to Michelle Brimhall’s door. “You know, in and out, different guys, different vehicles, back and forth at her house,” the woman said, adding that she “put two and two together.”
            When asked if Lennon Lacy “had put two and two together” about what was going on at Michelle Brimhall’s apartment, Whitney Michael told OTL he did “…in a way…but he was in denial.”
            It would be later, Michael continued, that Lennon became upset when told that Brimhall had been allegedly …”sleeping around with other guys that he did not know about…multiple guys, like different partners. He was hurt by it. That was his girlfriend.”
            OTL reported that shortly after midnight, the night before Lennon Lacy died, Whitney Michael said she and Lennon saw a car pull up to Brimhall’s apartment, with her and a black getting out and walking inside.
            “He was like, “Oh wow, really?” she recalled.
            Michelle Brimhall told OTL that she was seeing lacy “exclusively” at that point, so she was not romantically involved with the black man she was with. She did confirm that Lennon was “in some ways” jealous. But Brimhall dismissed that he had reason to be because, she said, she got along better with men than with women…and Lennon knew this.”
            Brimhall denied that Lacy came to her home after midnight to confront her about the black man she had brought with her.
            When asked, Brimhall said she did not think that Lennon Lacy committed suicide. “Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe he came across someone doing something,” she added when asked what did she think happened to him.
            Whitney Michael believes, as does Claudia Lacy, that Lennon was killed.
            But if it was a murder, then who did it?
            “I have no idea,” Ms. Lacy told OTL, I have no idea.”
            The NC NAACP has spearheaded the cause to have the Lennon Lacy case fully investigated, citing inconsistencies in the coroner’s report, and lapses in proper police investigatory procedures in the case in what they call “a rush to judgment.”
            "There are deep questions and deep concerns about this case," says Rev. William Barber, NCNAACP president.
            Wednesday evening, the civil rights organization held the third community mass meeting on the case in Bladenboro, in an effort to encourage those with pertinent information to step forward and assist the FBI in its probe.

By Cash Michaels

            NC BLACK FILM FESTIVAL AND BURGAW – Lots of excitement this weekend as the 2015 NC Black Film Festival begins tonite in Wilmington, with our film, “Pardons of Innocence: the Wilmington Ten” being screened this Saturday, March 28th, 1:15 p.m. at the Community Arts Center, 120 South 2nd Street in downtown Wilmington. I do not know if there is a charge involved, so go to for more information.
            If that’s too early for you, you can always travel just 30 minutes down I-40 from Wilmington to Exit 398 to get to Burgaw, and the Pender County Courthouse to see the film in the very courtroom where the Wilmington Ten were originally falsely convicted in Oct. 1972. This special screening is sponsored by the Pender Arts Council and scheduled for 6:30 p.m.. It’s free to the public.
            And all of this is just one week before the one year anniversary of the April 5, 2014 premiere of the film at UNC – Wilmington, where over 500 people attended.
            So big doings this weekend.
TO BE ALMOST BLACK AND FAMOUS – In every community there is a generational divide between the old folks who remember quite well how things used to be, and the young folks, who take pride in shouting to the mountaintops how things aren’t that way anymore, and they are different now, and even better.
            Take for instance the use of the n-word (no need to spell it out here since you know what I’m talking about). We “old timers”  know the dirty, hateful, blood-drenched history of the derogatory term used to castigate black people since the time of slavery. It was a word that whites used objectify us as “less than” human, and they used it either behind our backs, or to our faces  to express their imagined superiority over black people.
            Indeed, they passed laws based on the word to separate and segregate the races, and used the word in a desperate attempt to deprive us of our humanity.
            So we old-timers who remember of our history, or in many cases actually lived through it via the civil rights movement, know the ugly and tragic history of the word well, and have made it quite clear that the n-word has no place in modern society.
            Too bad our young people didn’t get the memo.
            Thanks to gangsta rap music, the n-word, and variations thereof, is back bigger and better than ever. Oh yes, some whites still use the word, and when they are caught doing so, society makes it a point to lower the boom on them, as in what happened to the SAE fraternity at the University of Oklahoma a few weeks ago when that bus video made the rounds of white OU students singing an old frat song that not only had them using the n-word, but also referred to black people as “hanging from a tree.”
            The OU president immediately expelled the two students seen leading the song on the video, and we’re told that there are more sanctions against other students to come.
            But now, as a result, we have folks asking the relevant question, “Why are white kids being punished for using the n-word, but black kids, and specifically black rappers, not? Indeed it is quite well known that a good deal of the market for gangsta rap music are white kids (according to some ignorant conservatives like MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Scarborough, that’s the only reason why white kids do use the n-word in the first place).
            But more importantly, when black rappers are asked why they employ the ugly term in their ….shall we say “music”….they claim that they’re using it as a term of endearment towards one an their followers.
            Now to be honest, there’s currency to that idea. Back in the day, when someone wanted to make note that someone black seemed to have lost all of their common senses, they would say, “That (n-word) is crazy.” Or is a black woman wanted to express a real intimate passion for her boyfriend, she would say, “ I love my (n-word).”
            But those uses were kept inhouse. Today, gangsta rappers are using the term with abandon in their songs, and black celebrities feel that they are entitled to use if, when and how that they want.
            That brings us the next issue – black celebrities who think they have arrived and can now define a “new reality” for the black community.
            They are called “The new blacks,” but thus far, they are attracting a lot of criticism.
            Take actor Terrence Howard, star of the new super hit Fox TV series “Empire.” He says he wants the n-word used more often in the show when it starts its second season. His co-star, Taraji Henson, and the show’s creator, Lee Daniels, strongly disagree, saying that the show is successful without employing such an ugly term.
            But Howard says he has no problem with the word, even when his white friends call him that….in a loving way, of course.
            Needless to say, black Twitter has been overflowing with folks asking Terrence Howard if he has lost his mind.
            The same with Academy Award winning rapper/actor Common, who just took home a gold statuette for his co-writing the hit song, “Glory” with John Legend for the film, “Selma.”   
            Recently during a televised appearance, Common told an interviewer that race relations would be just dandy if black people would just hold out their hands to whites and say, “All is forgiven.” In other words, the onus is on black people alone to fix the race problem in America.
            Black Twitter didn’t like that.
            Nor did Black Twitter care for comic actress Raven Symone not only declaring that she is not an African-American, but also defending a Latino TV host for saying that First Lady Michelle Obama looks like she could be a cast member in “The Planet of the Apes.” Symone added that she knew folks who look just like animals.
            I get it. With the election, and then re-election of a black president, and inter-racial dating and marriage off the charts like never before, folks feel that this is indeed a post-racial period in American history.
            But then the young people are hit smack, dab right in the face with an old reality – racism is still here, and those who practice it are more desperate than ever because they see their world changing slowly but surely.
            Folks want to see their black celebrities use their influence and visibility to bring attention to reality in an effort to inspire folks to do something about it. But instead, when they see black celebrities try to run away from the realities of the community, they become angered because they then see these celebrities who look like them as sell-outs who have forgotten from where they came from.
            Actually, this is nothing new. But it’s sad every time it happens.
            Hopefully, our celebrities will realize that the struggle continues…with or without them.
            “SLEEPY HOLLOW” RENEWED FOR A THIRD SEASON – Last week my daughter KaLa and I received some great news. One of our favorite TV shows, “Sleepy Hollow” starring Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie (who I share a Jan. 3rd birthday with) has been renewed by Fox for a third season.
            Loosely based on the old Washington Irving novel, “Sleepy Hollow” follows the exploits of a present-day small-town sheriff’s detective who joins forces with a 230 year-old British soldier to stave off Armageddon, and the end of the world.
            Crazy, yes, and yet both Beharie and Mison have a great chemistry that made the story an instant hit when it premiered in 2013.
            If you’ve been following the story at all, you know that ‘Sleepy Hollow,” which filmed it’s first two seasons in Wilmington, had a lackluster second season ratings-wise after knocking down the door its first season. After losing 40 percent of its audience last season, there was a strong sense that it might not see a third. Indeed, it’s season-ending episode felt like the show was saying goodbye for good.
            But with a new showrunner, meaning a fresh direction in plots and scripts, the show has a new chance to get back to its roots and thrill audiences again.
            It’s one of the few TV shows my daughter and I make sure we watch together (the other is “The Flash). So we’re both very pleased that “Sleepy Hollow” has been renewed, and look forward to the new season when it returns in the fall.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (
           Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.




Wake County’s 86it Anti-Litter Campaign is seeking volunteers to help pick up litter during the Spring Litter Cleanup Event on Saturday, March 28, 2015, in Southeast Raleigh. Volunteers of all ages are welcome to participate, including students looking to receive community service hours for school. Volunteers will meet at Sgt. Courtney T. Johnson Community Center, located at 1801 Proctor Street in Raleigh, between 9a.m. and 10a.m. Event coordinators will provide volunteers with litter grabbers, gloves and bags. Groups of volunteers will be shuttled to nearby areas to pick up litter. Litter will be cleaned up along Cross Link, Creech, Sanderford and Rock Quarry Roads. All volunteers will receive a free 86it t-shirt for participating. Volunteers must sign a liability waiver and participants under 18 must have the waiver signed by a parent or guardian. Register to volunteer at

      Three construction workers were killed Monday when a scaffold malfunctioned and fell to the ground on the 500 block of Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. Witnesses say the platform at the 11-story, $54 million Charter Square building gave way. Officials say a full investigation is underway to determine what the cause of the accident was.

        After three months of steady decline, the unemployment rate in January edged up to 4.9 percent, according to adjusted figures from the state Division of Employment Security. The December 2014 figure was 4.6 percent. Analysts are not too alarmed, however, saying that as long as the rate remains below 5 percent, the job market is improving.


            [RALEIGH] It looks like NC Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata is going back to his old habits. Recently he was criticized for not being in the state to coordinate snow removal during the recent storms because he was in Chicago promoting a new book. Last week Tata, a retire US Army brigadier general, appeared on Fox News to criticize Pres. Obama’s nuclear negotiations with Iran. When a Democratic activist tweeted that Tata should have made the appearance, the NC DOT secretary tweeted back, calling him a “radical left pol hack.” Tata used to appear frequently on Fox News to criticize Obama prior to coming to North Carolina to run the Wake County schools in 2010.

            [RALEIGH] The Republican majority in NC Senate passed a measure recently changing the voting districts of both the Wake County Commission Board and the Greensboro City Council. Democrats say the measure is purely political to ensure that Republicans dominate both boards in future elections. The members of the Wake Commission Board – which became all Democrats when four Republicans were swept out last November – now wants to study the county’s voting districts before the state House ratifies the measure. The board is forming a citizens committee from across the county to gain feedback on how well all parts of the county are represented.  The measure, if no passed by the House, would change the Wake Board from seven members to nine, diluting the number of members elected from in an around Raleigh.

            [RALEIGH] Under a new Senate bill introduced last week, parents in North Carolina could no longer claim a religious exemption from having their child vaccinated against diseases. The bill comes amid reports children throughout the nation coming down with various contagious infections like influenza. Critics say the state has no business overruling the religious objections of parents to vaccinations. Supporters say not making vaccinations mandatory puts all children at risk.

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