Written by Y-Lii
Last week MusicXclusives had the opportunity to speak with Jasmine Jones, the daughter of the late James Cedric Hayden, also known as ‘Dirt Bike James’. In a Q&A session curated by On-Air Correspondent Silva, Jasmine Jones was given the space and opportunity to clear her father’s name for once and for all.
Silva: James Cedric Hayden, also known to some as Dirt Bike James, or “The General”, but to you, Dad. Who was your father as a person, a biker and a parent?
Jasmine: As a person, he was very very caring and wanted to take care of everybody and make sure everyone was straight. As a biker I can describe him as passionate as he was released from prison he didn’t run straight to his family they had a bike waiting for him to get right on. As a parent, [we] were more like brothers and sisters. But if something serious happened he puts his dad hat on very quickly. In my eyes, he was like a Teen Parent being that he did so much time in prison parenting was very new for him.
Silva: What was it like growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, we hear about it all the time but what was it like for your father?
Jasmine: If he spoke to me about his past before prison while I was a child he would just tell me how he was the best dirt biker in Harlem. All he spoke to me about when I was a little girl was bikes and sports.
Silva: What are some things that were important to James? (Values, Morals, People)
Jasmine: Family and loyalty were the most important things to my dad besides bikes lol.
Silva: At some point in time, during the 90s, your father was arrested? If you can, what happened?
Jasmine: To summarize he controlled drug operations in NYC in and in different cities then someone snitched on his activities and he would later go to prison. I was only 1 year old when he went to prison.
Silva: Lil Kim, Snoop Dogg, and Martha Stewart are a few people who are obviously well known, who were arrested and did not incriminate anyone along with themselves. What exactly is “snitching” and how is it viewed in your culture or community?
Jasmine: Snitching is when you turn informant on your friends or business partners when things get heated and the law gets involved. It’s viewed as a SIN in our community. Everyone has a mind of their own. If you decide to commit a crime and unfortunately get caught, you have to take responsibility for your actions that you were originally aware of. To snitch on a friend or business partner just to relieve stress off of you or your jail sentence is the lowest thing you can do to someone. It’s going against the code that’s mentally signed for once a person commits a crime.
Silva: Was your father a snitch? What do you think he would say if his name and snitching were in the same sentence?
Jasmine: My father NEVER snitched on anybody. My father would be very upset if his name was associated with anything or ANYONE who picked the FEDS over their friends or business partners. He would come down from heaven and kill us all if his legacy was played with. His word and HONOR is what kept him strong while doing all that time. He also always told me he never snitched because of me he wouldn’t want me to grow up as the “Snitch Daughter” and he wanted people to respect and protect me while he was away in jail. If my dad had snitched I wouldn’t receive the respect and love I receive from Harlem before he passed and especially now that he’s gone.
Silva: Your father, James, was sentenced to almost 50 years of federal jail time, he only served 19 of those years? Why was your father released early?
Jasmine: Thanks to our FOREVER President Barack Obama my dad was able to come home earlier. Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 into law that dramatically reduced a 100-to-1 sentencing disparity between powder and cocaine, which disproportionately affected minorities. His administration also advocated for, and the U.S. Sentencing Commission approved the retroactive application of these sentencing guidelines which became effective 2011.
REMEMBERING A HARLEM LEGEND
Silva: What are some things that you learned and admired about your father?
Jasmine: I can go on and on but one of the things I deeply admired about my dad is that he always KEPT HIS WORD. Doesn’t matter what it is! If he says he’s gonna do something he won’t stop until it’s done!
Silva: What was Dirt Bike James’s relationship with Harlem? What was his effect on the community overall?
Jasmine: Harlem loved Dirtbike James. The Westside of Harlem and of course his home the Eastside of Harlem all loved and respected my dad because in the 80’s he was known for being great on the dirtbikes. When he came home and everyone in my generation learned his story. He did all that time and kept his mouth shut, old Harlem and new Harlem loved him and respected him even more. Everyone refers to my dad as ‘Unk’. He took care of everyone like he was their uncle.
Silva: If there was one thing about your father that he wanted people to remember about him, what would it be?
Jasmine: DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR!