Until a few days ago, 30-year-old Jeremy Meeks was a convicted felon living in Stockton and depending on who you believe, was either a man trying to turn his life around or one of the city’s most violent criminals.

Though the truth may be somewhere in the middle, Meeks has become an example of the worst consequences of our social media-obsessed society. By Friday, his anonymity was destroyed forever when his mug shot went viral, generating worldwide coverage. Why? Because Meeks is a handsome, tall, slim, tatted, blue-eyed biracial Black man with chiseled cheekbones that took one of the most photogenic non-celebrity mug shots in history.

Since then, his family, including his wife, his mother, his brother, his children and everyone associated with him has been put under a microscope while his character, sexuality, criminal history and violent tendencies have been commented on and judged by total strangers.

The attention inspired not just several memes which Photoshopped him into designer ads, but a vicious backlash towards women who liked or commented on his photo, and social media dissertations on the prison-industrial complex, Black people and colorism and speculation that his white wife is a gun moll who’s down for her thug life man either because of, or in spite of, the fact that he’s Black.

As everyone picks apart his life on social media, including those who believe this is a chance at redemption given his previously undiscovered model potential, Meeks remains in a Stockton jail with bail set at a million dollars while the Internet and the world moves onto The Next Hot Internet Sensation, whatever that turns out to be. Unfortunately, as Meeks himself has said in a jailhouse interview, the attention he never solicited and isn’t in a position to take advantage of, doesn’t help him at all.

Meeks’ 15 minutes of fame angered many men who were apparently unaware that they can be just as objectified as most women are used to being on a regular basis. Through the same social media outlets that made Meeks a sensation, these men sniped at women, calling those who said Meeks was “hot” lonely and desperate THOTS who would do anything for a pretty man. We’re sure those women actually exist, since there are several notorious cases of convicted felons with wives, girlfriends and pen pals. But we don’t have the time here to fully explore that pathology.

We’ll go on a limb an say that many women simply took a look at a hot dude in a mug shot and joked about the possibilities of hooking up with him and then went right on with their real lives.

In other words, Meeks experienced what any good-looking woman with attractive Instagram pics deals with every single day. Yes, men, women objectify you, with the same thirst that you do for any hot celebrity chick or Instagram or Tumblr celebrity. Sorry to disappoint you.

As for those who believe admiring the genetic gifts of a convicted felon glorifies thug life – if you‘ve ever watched The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, or any number of other TV shows and movies that deal with anti-heros, crime, criminal activity or murder and violence, then you’ve done the same.

As far as Blacks and colorism – we can’t say that it doesn’t exist. But isn’t the reverse true as well – that light-skinned, biracial Black people often deal with the most sickening assumptions heaped on them by those who automatically deem them stuck-up, conceited, or snobbish, while questioning their Blackness simply by virtue of skin color? We daresay Meeks is proof that being light-skinned and cute doesn’t keep you from being caught up.

Meeks is jailed on weapons charges and has been accused of other crimes. He has not been convicted. His criminal history notwithstanding, he deserves the due process any other person accused of a crime should get. Given his alleged status as a gunrunner, you’d think there would be profit enough for him to get a pricey lawyer, yet he has a public defender and his mother has started a GoFundMe account to help pay his bail.

I can’t possibly argue Meeks’ innocence or guilt and am not trying to. That will happen at his trial, long after most folks have forgotten about him. The sad part is, as many people have pointed out, he’s just a very good-looking example of a multitude of Black men who face incarceration, probation, overcharging, detention, false arrest, imprisonment and racial profiling all across America. That some posters took time away from Meeks’ admittedly mesmerizing baby blues to recognize his possible plight as part of the laughable pattern of criminal injustice perpetuated on Black men is the valuable part of this story.

Meeks may indeed be deserving of all this karma because he’s a violent felon who should be off the streets. Or he could be, like many young Black men, someone who faced limited choices and made all the wrong ones. Either way, he deserves his day in court and his life, regardless of how pretty he is, handed back to him, instead of becoming the latest fodder our social media entertainment.

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22 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Thug Passion – Let’s Give Jeremy Meeks His Life Back

  1. seriously on said:

    BTW, Tonya your article is so ridiculous and ill-formed it is laughable that you are still writing for BAW…”Give him his life back”..He has been in and out of jail and gang related…So jail is part of his life thus far…I am sure those guns was headed to an inner city closeby…It is good to have him and those guns off the street….not a difficult choice Tanya..Him in jail or on our streets selling guns, killing people…I say let’s keep him in jail for as long as we can. And all the pathetic loser women such as yourself can write and send him money..

  2. seriously on said:

    Tonya please…The fact that you are writing a article on this piece of crap is ridiculous and the only women that like such a guy is because they are pieces of crap too. Why should you or any other person who is decent care if this fool is being harassed in jail? What about his gang crips, they have harassed, sold drugs, killed innocent men, women and child in their crossfires, ruined our communities…Not to mention that black dot on near his eye means he has killed someone. Yet, you felt the need to write an article on him getting his life back to more killings, drugs, drivebys etc…I say to him shoot Tonya and the other dumb azz women who defend him first…That way the innocent and decent folks can get away…And we got enough losers in our race anyways..

  3. Carla Johnson on said:

    That was a very well written article. It’s a shame and a blessing for this man that if he should get out of trouble will have an opportunity to change his circumstances. I’m wishing him and his family the best!

  4. With exception to the typos in this article, I would say, ‘well said’. This young man is very handsome and sexy, but that does not negate the wrongs he may well have done. Until his trial, he is supposedly ‘innocent until proven guilty’. We do know that this is a sham, however at this point he is considered innocent. I agree that most of us ogled for a moment and went on with our lives, not wishing him any more than what’s deserving for his own actions lead by his own choices. I, personally, wish him well and am sorry for the scrutiny that his family has had to endure because of his mishaps.

  5. Tracey on said:

    The best thing would be to pay him absolutely no attention at all. I won’t beyond this comment. Too many men doing right to give this one any notice.

  6. To the author of this article: Tonya I have raised eyebrows with the title of your article. He’s an alleged criminal…..so why would/should he want “his life back?” If anything he should be moving as far away from it as possible.

  7. Guest1 on said:

    I don’t think anyone is dismissing this guy’s criminal history. But there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that this guy is attractive on the surface. If he was on the cover of GQ instead of making his modeling debut in a mug shot, the conversation would be totally different.

  8. Sharon on said:

    I really don’t get all of the “buzz” over this guy. Who are these women acting all giddy over this dude? Years ago when I was in college, there was a particular fraternity on campus (Kappas) that was full of very attractive men. Now that I think of it, they had the women all “aroused” as well. Many of them were far more handsome than this guy. Women in the dorms jokingly called them “pretty boys” since most were good looking and well-dressed. I still have an old photo album from college and my girlfriends always comment on them when viewing it. Like “OMG, who’s this guy? WOW !!! ” Honestly, this guy would look quite average next to most of them. In fact, whenever I see a handsome Black man, I wonder if he’s a Kappa. Just a reflection of my own college experience……that’s all.

    • msyellarose on said:

      Glad I”m not the only one who just could not understand any of this hoop de doo. A pretty face doesn’t make up for ugly antics.

  9. Dean on said:

    The article referred to “light-skinned, biracial Black people”. If you are light-skinned, you may be black as blacks–even in the Motherland of Africa–come in all shades and colors. But if you’re biracial, then you are not black. You’re biracial, mixed or mulatto but not black–just like President Obama. To suggest otherwise is racist and cooning.

    • Garry on said:

      No Dean, your last statement is racist and “cooning”. Because non black people look at ANYONE from Wesley Snipes to Journee Smollet as black, and they have the same prejudices against ALL of us. Some of them may be more willing to give a lighter skinned person more trust and leeway, but when the excrement hits the fan, you get lumped in with their prejudices once again.

      it’s that separation that YOU have bought into, still lingering from the brainwashing doled out from the slave masters that keeps us ALL down. If you TRULY believe what you are saying you are no better than the racist white establishment that has historically pit us against each other to maintain our perceptions of identity and worth.

      • Speak on it Garry. Break it down for them. What is “cooning” suppose to mean, and what does it have to do with us??

    • Sorry Dean….but you sound like you are stuck in the 40s, 50s, or 60s. Who uses the term “cooning” in 2014?! At least use a relative term. Believe me…..young people don’t relate to that term. Move forward…..NOT backwards

      • amber on said:

        “Cooning” is still used just like all words are old and used by people of different demogracfics of the United states.

      • Don’t be silly. Young people know what a coon is. They know what cooning is. They know what coonery is.

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