Kareem Williams found himself getting a lot of attention this week. You see, the Philly native (who now lives in Phoenix) released a rap song about Jodi Arias, the sexpot convicted of brutally killing her boyfriend Travis Alexander.
Upon seeing this news — buoyed by some Twitter energy directed at the Arias case — I dropped “Lefty” a line and we caught up for a quick phone interview this week. The song — “Jodi Ann Arias” — appears at the bottom of the post.
We talked about what Jodz‘s really like and the blowback he received from this musical foray, among other topics.
Tell me about your Philly ties.
I was raised at 5th and Washington, the Southwark projects. Went to George Washington Elementary and Bok for high school. I moved out here four, five years ago. Just wanted a change.
So, what drew you to attend the trial, and how often were you there?
I went to the Arias retrial every chance I got. What drew me to it was that I wanted to get an interview with Jodi. I was looking to interview a death row inmate. What I did was, since I thought she was already on death row, I sent a request in.
I had an idea, and pitched to her. She said she liked it and said we’d talk about it after the retrial. I didn’t realize she was in Arizona. I should’ve known since I was writing to an Arizona address.
So, I started going and I noticed that all the media sat on the Travis Alexander side. I always taught that media was supposed to be fair and unbiased. Well, I got a lot of backlash from that because I’m a blogger and say what’s on my mind.
They weren’t fair and unbiased. They hugged Jodi’s mom. I heard reporters saying they hope Jodi gets the death penalty. This is not right.
The backlash came from what lynch mob that was doing it. This is unfair and biased. It’s really not how its’s supposed to be. HLN was covering it 24 hours a day, just slamming her. There is no way the jury not watching this. It was crazy.
At least Nasty Nancy Grace wasn’t there when I was.
I was basically banned from everything. Nobody’s going to talk to me because I’m black, outspoken and a Jodi supporter. They’d tweet about what I had on in the courtroom and when I’d step to ‘em about — you know how we do in Philly — they pretended they didn’t know what I was talking about.
I’ve seen you described as a “fanatical supporter” of Jodi. Is that the case?
How am I a fanatical supporter when I’m not saying she’s innocent? When does second degree manslaughter, like I say in the song, equal ‘she’s innocent’? It doesn’t.
[One witness] said she had PTSD. There were text messages showing Travis Alexander being verbally abusive, and that’s domestic violence. Society thinks domestic violence is smacking a chick, but it’s more than that. The Alexander family are victims, too.
Have you interacted with her at all?.
We write back and forth. She’s seen me in courtroom, since I stuck out like a sore thumb. She knows the song exists.
She knows everything that goes on involving her name. She pays attention to everything.
I mailed her the lyrics the week before I dropped the record.
The song brought to me by a woman named Pandora. She said it would be nice if you can write a something for Jodi. I listened and went to go to court and get involved. Once.
What sparked the song? I felt like I had something to say. I told Pandora I was going to do it. I told her to tell Jodi I was going to make it happen.
Waiting until the end gave me enough clarity of what I wanted to say. You had lawyers dissing her after the verdict and reporters, Troy Hayden, releasing her singing Madonna even though she asked him not to.
Once I started writing about it, she put up a letter saying she didn’t give consent, so I wrote to her making sure it was ok, and she said it was.
She’s like any other chick: Calm, cool, collected ,down to earth. You would think she’ s murderer, but at the end of day, anybody is capable of it.
Was it the media as a whole or just the Nancy Graces (and Haydens) of the world that irked you?
I felt like one reporter did a fair job reporting, Michael Kiefer of the Arizona Republic. He was the only one. Nasty Nancy Grace is what I like to call her, and Dr. Drew were unfair and biased.
Tell me about the blowback.
It was really, really heavy. Really, really, really crazy. I was getting attacked by media. I’ll send you a tweet from one of the reporters.
What do you say to folks who were interested in the case only because they thought Jodi is hot?
People are gonna like what they like. Some are attacted to her because she looks hot. And, she’s not a bad looking girl at all. All the crazy sex stuff she was getting into, and they were getting into at the trial, probably drew a bunch of attention too.
Did you expect all this attention?
Yeah, I expected backlash, but I’ve been getting slammed for the longest. Ever since I came to the court, I’ve been getting slammed. They don’t like me. Why? Because I’m black, opinionated and I’m a Jodi supporter.
Talk about the idea to donate to appeal fund.
I just wanted to figure out a way I could help her. The song’s about her. Who am I to just take all the money from that? It’s Jodi’s story. She’s the reason for this, so she needs to be compensated in some way for it.
[HLN host] Jane Velez Mitchell wrote about book about Jodi and didn’t share a dime. She should be ashamed of herself. So disgusting. Don’t take advantage of people like that.
Did I miss anything you wanted to add?
Well, we’re planning an event here: Chef Shannon and Chef Lefty’s cook-off to feed the homeless. It’ll be at the end of next month. We’re looking at sponsors now.
Also, please tell people buy the single, since a portion of proceeds are going to Jodi. It’s on Amazon and iTunes. The name of the song is “Jodi Ann Arias.”