This current generation of millennials is, arguably, the most “woke” group of African Americans since the conscious Hip Hop Era of the late 80’s and some would say, with their skills at social media, since the Black Power Era.   Since the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012, there has been an awakening of the masses and the high-profile police involved shootings of Michael Brown, Sandra Bland and many others have fast tracked us on the road to the revolution that Malcolm X talked about 50 years ago.

But as in science, for every action there is an opposite reaction. So, for everything that wakes us up, there is always something to put us back to sleep.

Drug use has always been glorified in Hip Hop to a certain degree. After all, when the early rappers said “ski” they weren’t talkin’ about a vacation in Aspen. But this new generation is on a whole ‘notha level.


Thanks to mainstream Hip Hop, getting high off of prescription medicines seems to be just what the doctor ordered. The past decade has seen a rapid increase of rappers being self-medicated via prescription drugs. You can hardly listen to the radio without hearing artists like Future rappin’ about pills like they just raided Grandma’s medicine cabinet.

Much of this madness originally came out of the Dirty South as rappers from Texas to Tennessee bragged about “sippin’ on that Sizzurp” aka Lean and some have died from takin’ too many sips of that ‘Purple Drank.’ For the less hip, Lean is a deadly combination of soft drink, Kool Aid, codeine, cough medicine, Jolly Ranchers and anything else somebody feels like throwin’ in a cup.

Now enter something called “Legal Lean.”

Either some mad scientist or some hipster with a determined idea and too much time on his hands has come up with a way to   push that potion in the ‘hood, legally, by substituting codeine with natural stuff. The ingredients are different but the effects are supposed to be the same.

Now, while Legal Lean may be available near some college campuses so some wealthy White coeds can vicariously live out their Lil Wayne fantasies, most of the stores that sell this are in the ‘hood.

Of course, the makers of Legal Lean think they are providing a service by giving cough syrup junkies an alternative.   To hear them tell it, Legal Lean is to Purple Drank what Methadone is to Heroin.

After all it is 100% natural. But so are psychedelic mushrooms and if you really want to get funky with it, cocaine contains a 100% natural ingredient, as well.

So, once again the Black community is under a biochemical attack at a time when we need to be in our collective best state of mind to survive the Trump Era.

Fortunately, some groups around the country are not giving up the ‘hood without a fight.

In Wisconsin, the Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee have staged successful campaigns against stores selling Legal Lean

Also, in Durham N.C., activists have started Operation #LeanBack to have the product permanently shut down, nationwide.

Every community activist should be fighting to get Lean up outta here, whether legal or illegal.

As always, you are gonna have some to defend destruction to the grave. But those of us who aren’t “gone off that Lean” have a responsibility to raise our voices in protest.

As Kendrick Lamar said on “Be Humble:”

“I let my soul speak, you let the meds talk…”

Min. Paul Scott is founder of the Black Messiah Movement. He can be reached at [email protected]   or follow him on Twitter @truthminista