The Charles Hamilton Punch: A Bystander's Account

We were all witnesses to Charles Hamilton catching a right hook during a freestyle battle... with his girlfriend. The viral video lit up gossip blogs and hip-hop forums, as the Internets watched in astonishment. But there was someone closer to the bout than anyone else—and not the Panther clinging to Charles' forearm. It was Hood News VJ Claudie Jones, who'd moderated the entire ordeal. One year after the fray, Jones looks back on the incident that rocked Hamilton's cranium and career. —John Kennedy




VIBE: Where did the Charles Hamilton viral video take place?
Claudie Jones:
 That was out in Hollywood. We were going to [see] my homeboy perform at a club.   

Were you scheduled to interview Charles?
We went to the club to do some videography [for my boy]. [Charles and his girl, Briana] were in front of the club and I hollered at them, [but] they looked like they had some shit going on. Charles was laid back but Briana—she’s a real pitbull. She’s like, ‘Yo, get on this’ [and] made him do it. 

She made him get on the camera?
Yeah, she pretty much pulled him around [and] made him do the interview. 

You had the front-and-center view, just how hard did she hit him?
She fired on him. I was like, ‘Oh, shit!’ She really got him good. They was poking at each other [but] then she messed up when she tried to battle the kid. How you gon’ battle Charles Hamilton? Come on now. He really demolished her with those two little low-blow bars.


"She knocked the shit out of him, but I guess she knocked some sense back into him... If [domestic violence] broke Chris Brown’s career, this should make [Charles']."


What were your thoughts as she was spitting her poem?
I thought they were on drugs, dog. I’m thinking this is some Rihanna shit all over again. So I ain't know where they was at mentally. The shit was crazy. 

Could you tell her patience was running low?
Nah, it went from 0-60. Really, I was trying to get my mic, I didn’t want them to break my mic from fighting and shit. I’m out here hustling. I can’t get my mic broke. 

What happened off-camera, after the blow?
A lot of shit. [Laughs] Charles is a nut! He’s crazy, man. Actually, they’re both crazy. I instigated a little bit, but after it went that far, I broke it up. We both turned the camera off immediately and it just went down. I’m like, ‘Hey! Police are passing, we don’t need all that.' So my boy was close to pressing the delete button—I don’t like throwing people under the bus—[but] Charles said, 'Nah, keep it.' He wasn’t trippin. Homegirl punched him and he was calm.

He wasn’t hesitant at all about keeping it?
He was non-egotistic, like ‘Hey, it’s life, put it out there. I don’t give a damn.’

So they were still brawling?
They were about to fight. She was about to Rihanna him, but we broke it up. They was saying all kind of shit. I don’t really want to put their personal shit out there, but they was really going at it.

What were the following days like for you?
It blew up everywhere. My phone’s blowing up, we’re on every website and they’re making cartoons of it. It was overwhelming for me, but it was nothing compared to [what] Charles [experienced]. Everybody was taunting him. But I’m like, ‘Dude, you gotta take this and run with it.’ Briana’s parents were calling her like, ‘What the fuck?’ He could’ve easily whooped her ass. A lot of dudes were like, you should’ve [done that]. I think he’s a Buddhist or something. She punched him and it was like he didn’t react, it was just all peace. But it was getting to him, because everybody in the streets was fucking with him. By the time we went to the club together he was really ready to fight, but I’m like, ‘Nah, keep your cool and be that example. You don’t want to be like Chris Brown. His career sucks.’ 

Damn, so you went to the club right after that?
Yeah, two days later. We was back there chillin. Drake, Teyana Taylor, Tyga, all of Young Money was back there and that’s when we did the part two. 

The apology tape?
Yeah. Him and Briana hit me up to do an apology to clear the air. They were still dealing with each other after that night. They made up, kissed and went on. They just decided to let everybody know that they’re good folks. Drake was showing him love, everyone was showing him love. [But Charles] really should’ve been more vocal, it was a platform.

Do you think a Charles Hamilton comeback is likely?
Absolutely. Right now, every woman should support… just everybody with morals should support Charles Hamilton. I was really impressed. He didn’t react with emotion or nothing. She knocked the shit out of him, but I guess she knocked some sense back into him because right after that, he apologized. If this broke Chris Brown’s career, this should make [Charles']. He’s a good dude. I think he should be more vocal about not hitting women. He definitely still has a pedestal to be looked upon as an honorable guy.


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Barack Obama Discusses Racism And Police Reform During Virtual Town Hall

Former President Barack Obama joined local and national leaders for a digital town hall on Wednesday (June 3). The 90-minute event put on by the Obama Foundation's My Brother's Keeper Alliance was centered around “reimagining policing in the wake of continued violence.”

“Let me start by just acknowledging that we have seen, in the last few months, the kinds of epic changes and events in our country that are as profound as anything that I’ve seen in my life,” said Obama. “Although all of us have been feeling pain and certain disruption, some folks have been feeling it more than others. Most of all the pain that’s been experienced by the families [of] George [Floyd], Breonna [Taylor], Ahmaud [Arbury], Tony [McDade], Sean [Reade], and too many others to mention.”

To the families directly affected by racial violence and police brutality Obama added, “Please know that Michelle and I, and the nation grieve with you, hold you in our prayers. We're committed to the fight of creating a more just nation in the memory of your sons and daughters.”

The ex-commander in chief went on to speak about institutional racism, and what he believes to be the bright side to the recent tragedies, namely in that young people have been galvanized and mobilized into taking action. “Historically so much of the progress that we’ve made in our society [have] been because of young people. Dr. King was a young man, Ceasar Chavez was a young man, Malcolm X was a young man. The leaders of the feminist movement, union movements, the environmentalist movements, and the movement to make sure that the LGBTQ community had a voice, were young people.”

Obama also addressed the “young men and women of color” around the country, who have witnessed too much violence and death. “I want you to know that you matter. I want you to know that your lives matter. That your dreams matter.”

Other town hall participants included, activist and writer Brittany Packnett Cunningham, former Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and Playon Patrick, Ohio State University student and MBK Youth leader for the city of Columbus.

Additional town hall participants included, activist and writer Brittany Packnett Cunningham, former Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and Playon Patrick, Ohio State University student and MBK Youth leader for the city of Columbus.

Watch the full event below.

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Derek Chauvin Faces Upgraded Charge In George Floyd’s Murder, Three Other Cops Charged

Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin  now faces unintentional second-degree murder for killing George Floyd, Minneapolis Attorney General Keith Ellison announced on Wednesday (June 3). The upgraded charge was revealed along with charges against three more former MPD officers involved in Floyd's murder.

“Today I filed an amended complaint that charges Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with murder in the second degree. I believe the evidence available to us now supports the stronger charge of second degree murder,” Ellison said during a news conference.

Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kuen, are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony, as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence.

“This is absolutely a team effort,” added Ellison. “We are working collectively on this case with one goal: justice for George Floyd.”

Minnesota classifies second-degree murder as “intentional” and “unintentional.” A second-degree murder conviction carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.

Chauvin, the officer filmed with his knee in Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes, was originally charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. An independent autopsy determined that Floyd died from “asphyxia due to neck and back compression.”

The other three officers are in “the process” of being taken into custody and could face up to 40 years on the first count and 10 years on the second count, if convicted.

Despite cell phone footage and witnesses, Ellison acknowledged the uphill battle of convicting police officers. “Winning a conviction will be hard. It’s not because we doubt our resources or abilities but history does show that there are challenges.”

Former police officer Mohamed Noor is the first and only cop in Minnesota's history to be convicted of murder for killing a civilian on the job.

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Black Out Tuesday: A Letter From VIBE

These unprecedented times are insightful, intense, infuriating, and inspiring. As Black editors, writers, and creatives, we have the privilege of telling our stories from those within the entertainment industry and to those who consume the Black art that has influenced generations.

Since before the days of Rodney King, this is nothing new. We’ve been here before, one too many times in Black history. Yet, we’ll continue to tell our often overlooked and untold stories within Black culture through the lens of facts and feelings. Although we’ve always made this our mission for nearly three decades, we’ll continue to stand in the fact that Black Lives Matter.

Today, we join #TheShowMustBePaused movement in honor of the one too many sisters and brothers lost to police brutality and systemic racism. Our support includes ceasing the production of content for #BlackOutTuesday. Please take a moment to practice self-care, and find ways to lend your voice and power to make “justice for all” ring true.

Registering to vote is a start. ✊🏾✊🏿✊🏽✊🏼

#BlackOutTuesday. #TheShowMustBePaused.

— Vibe Magazine (@VibeMagazine) June 2, 2020

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