I was listening to Tupac’s Me Against the World and the song “Young Niggaz” came on the shuffle. At the beginning of the song he says I want to dedicate this to Robert “Yummy” Sandiford. I was suddenly shot into a time machine to the time period when “Yummy” as people called him because of his affinity for cookies was roaming the Chicago streets. Oh you may not remember who Yummy Sandiford is or don’t remember him I guess this post will give you some insight and put his young life into perspective.
Yummy Sandiford is the epitome of the American ghetto defining a child’s psyche. Yummy was a certified gangsta and affiliate of the Black Disciples, a notorious game on the South Side of Chicago. By the age of 11 Yummy had been involved in everything from armed robbery to car jacking. Yummy also allegedly was tied more than 21 different felonious activities and was a sort of squire for the gang. In late August of 1994 Yummy would go a criminal rampage that would change his life.
Yummy one day would shoot Kianta Britten (age 14) because he wouldn’t claim the right set. Kiante would ultimately be partially paralyzed for life. Then later on that day Yummy would shoot at a group of boys playing football who he allegedly believed were rival gang members. In doing this Yummy hit some of the boys and a stray bullet would hit Shavon Deani in head killing her instantly. Yummy would go on the run for the next few days under the protection of the Black Disciples until he was found five days later shot 4 times execution style by the same gang members he was affiliated with. The gang members (young themselves) killed Yummy because they thought he would snitch on the gang and implicate them in all the crimes he committed. ( Check out more on this story)
This story always hit home to me for two reasons. The first reason was that Yummy and I were around the same age and walk some of the ghetto streets and the second reason was because that summer I was robbed for the only pair of Air Jordan’s I have ever owned (I have yet to buy another pair since this incident) on a CTA bus. The jacking and the fact that Yummy was around the same age of me really hit home. Being jacked for the Jordan’s was one of the first times at a young age that I began to realize how precious life is. Yeah it was embarrassing walking home in my socks, but I knew I had to be more than those boys that jacked me.
Yummy was just like many ghetto youth but he had so much going against him that most of us couldn’t even image. Yummy’s mom was a prostitute and crack addict while his father was in jail in Wisconsin on a gun charge. He was the true notion of being a product of the ghetto. He was influenced and bred by boys who weren’t much older than him. Many of the this young boys were exposed to the same upbringing as Yummy. A classic tale of the blind leading the blind. It is no wonder that Yummy was conditioned to be an energized gang banger.
Tupac was so saddened by the death and conditions of Yummy that he wrote the preciously mentioned “Young Niggaz” and “Shorty Wanna Be a Thug” off the “All Eyez on Me” album. Tupac even had a picture of Yummy to be prominently displayed behind him during his legendary interview from jail. There was even an episode of Fox’s cop drama “New York Undercover” that used the story of Yummy as a backdrop for a fictional episode. The idea of a kid like Yummy Sandiford living his life in the way of a Rwandan child soldier is a social problem we had to think about in 1994 and still do in 2011. Yummy did some horrible things in his life but it makes one want to question the notion that many of us neglect to realize that many of our ghettos are like small war-torn countries? Is there a chase for the American Dream and “happiness” at all costs? We can say it can be attributed to Yummy not having a father in his life but doesn’t the community hold some responsibility to the production of Yummys across the country?
September 1 was the death of one Robert “Yummy” Sandiford. Some may contend that he was a sociopath destined to be a killer and menace to society. I always want to remember that Yummy could have been any of the black young boys in the ghetto if it weren’t for some of the opportunities and people in my life. I had somewhat forgotten the story of Yummy but I will never forget again because it makes me realize how blessed I am and thankful for the opportunities and role models I have had around me.
Make sure you check out this week’s episode of the “Straight Outta Lo Cash” Radio Show. This week’s show “Somethin’ Wicked This Way Come” with guest Tef Poe. You can also subscribe to the show on I-Tunes or listen on your Android, I-Phone, or I-Pad with Stitcher Radio.