“Harlem’s Sweetheart” Busted for Crack Gang Begins Serving 90-day Sentence

by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World

Harlem’s 17-year-old Afrika Owes,  named “Harlem’s sweetheart” by her mother, was arrested February 16th for her involvement with a violent crack gang called “137th Street Crew.” According to reports from NYDailyNews.com, “Owes spent two months in jail before the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church posted $25,000 bail.”

Although Owes will not be privileged to escape punishment, she has received an unusual “gift” from the Manhattan courts. Expected to plead guilty to conspiracy and weaponry charges at her July 7th court hearing, she already started her 90 days in Rikers Island prison on Tuesday. The latter is to allow her to be out of jail early in the school year. Perhaps this is the result of her church’s prayers.

Owes was known in her church for her talent in poetry and singing in the choir. It is believed that she got involved in the gang because of her boyfriend, and her church, friends, and family just hope Afrika will be able to recover her life from her bad decisions. Rev. Calvin Butts, pastor of Abyssinian, says, “I’m very, very thankful for this outcome. You can’t ask for anything better than that … Hopefully, she has learned already and can get on with her life.”

Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.


6 responses to ““Harlem’s Sweetheart” Busted for Crack Gang Begins Serving 90-day Sentence

  1. I prayed for Africa when I first read of her story. I pray that she can put this behind her and move on with life. My heart also goes out to those who have not been as fortunate as Ms. Owes has been as it relates to the support of the church and community.

  2. Why is she Harlem’s little princess? Where is the mother that stated that she was a princess, the last time I checked Princess’ mothers didn’t allow them to hang out with thugs.

  3. without knowing the details I am going to suggest that we look at the music she has proably been listening to and the people she ran with, I sense that somewhere in her thinking she has become conditioned to think the thug life is the life for young black youth and unfortunately some of the hip hop music has a very strong negative influence on our youth. I agree Dr. Boyce the rap music has gone too far and it is making the negative and unappealing attiudes and behaviors appear to be the right path and hard work, discipline and self respect unaccepatable. It is time for us to police our own communities and stand up to the corporations that promote such negatitivty, death and destruction to our youth, The church should not have needed to be praying for her not to have a harsher sentence, I submit that if she would have not been influenced by the negative and deceptive information spewed from many of today’s rappers and musicians they likely would have been praying for her college scholarships and future endeavors. I hope she becomes a spokesman for choosing God instead of the deceptions of Satan. Yes I do believe that Satan is in much of the music and celebrities our youth listen to today.

  4. mw – Before you blame the parent (STOP)!! There are plenty of GREAT parents who have had children to disregard the the morals & values that were instilled in them. This young lady made a CHOICE and it’s unfortunate it wasn’t a GREAT one! Her Mother was speaking GREATNESS into her daughter’s life by calling her a Princess. We need to learn to stop judging and start praying for each other.

  5. . . .but where were the prayers, before, when she sang in the church choir. And a name “Afrika”? ? ? . What do we say the see a Chinese called “Asia”, of an Arab with the name “Mid-East”.

    I hope African -Americans start to look and get involved in matters in other parts of the world than to “quench” in the cupboard of your American Dream’s Isolation! . . .

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