Now it’s going on 10 years that the greatest show ever ended. I think the world has gone to shit since “The Wire” ended though. So I’m gonna write about it to keep it alive. Today we talk about the great Avon Barksdale. The original King and honestly he still was the king when the show ended if you really think about it.
Here is what you can learn from Avon Barksdale.
This could be seen as a detriment to Avon’s business and the way he handles it but I think it’s my favorite quality about him. He’s real big on family and taking care of family. D’Angelo was a pure fuck up and was not built for the game at all. If Marlo was D’Angelo’s uncle then D’Angelo would’ve been dead a long fucking time ago. Marlo is sociopathic so it wouldn’t have made a difference to him. Avon had a soft spot for D’Angelo. Despite countless mistakes from his nephew he let it slide. When D'Angelo was talking to the cops in a scene from Season 1 and he's explaining how deep his family is in the drug game and the streets itself it shows you how respected the Barksdale name was and how they all stuck together as a family. It's literally generations of gangsta shit with this family.
Avon’s sister disowned him and Avon still sent her the 100K he finessed out of Marlo. It shows that Avon loves his people and he’s not just about himself. He loves his family deeply. Take care of ya fam, fam. Nobody wins when the family feuds.
RESPECT THE GAME YOU PLAY
Avon had a code. He followed rules. He respected the game he was in. He knew the consequences that came with it and that never bothered him. When Marlo told him “The game is the game” and Avon replied “Always” you saw at that moment that Avon had no regrets of the position he was in at that moment. Him and Marlo had an understanding and a respect of this twisted fraternity they were in called the streets. In season 2 you could see the difference between him and Stringer and how wide the gap was between the two were because it came down to one respected the game and the other one didn't. Stringer tried to manipulate the game and bring business tactics into the streets which was smart but it couldn't solve everything and once it surpassed it and went into the street shit Stringer fucked up over and over again. Avon wasn't like that. He respected the game. The codes. He was an O.G. Avon never violated street protocol. Regardless of what game you play in life you have to respect it.
UNLIKELY RIGHT HAND
Avon and Stringer are polar opposites. Besides growing up together and money I don’t see what else they had in common. Stringer Bell was a square nigga in the street world and Marlo knew it instantly when he met Stringer and in his world Stringer would be useless but in Avon’s world where he owned real estate Stringer was the perfect right hand. Stringer’s obsession with economics and business was perfect for Avon to clean dirty money and one day go legit and that was the only conflict between the two. The conflict between the two were Avon didn’t care about going legit and leaving the game. Avon wanted to play forever. Stringer wanted to get out the game and run legal businesses. When Avon is at his best it’s because he has a critical thinker that’s his right hand. Avon could’ve judged Stringer and not brought him into the organization as his right hand man because Stringer wasn’t the prototypical street nigga. Stringer was a shrewd business man that picked up gems about the game from hanging with Avon. Avon molded him for the game and gave him a position. The only reason why they didn’t work was because they had their sights on two totally different end games. Stringer craved legitimacy and he didn’t care if he was called pussy for leaving the game to achieve it. Avon cared about reputation and how it would look if his name was tarnished for giving up his power to go legit in the middle of a war with Marlo. In the end it worked out for Avon. I’ll get to that later but for the times it was going good. Stringer was a unlikely right hand Avon needed. Just because someone isn’t like you doesn’t mean you can’t succeed together.
REMEMBER WHAT MADE YOU
Avon is a Westside Baltimore nigga and he won’t ever change. He could’ve expanded business but he loved Baltimore so much. It’s the city that made him and it’s something he couldn’t shake if he tried. That Baltimore pride is such a likable quality of his personality. Remember where you from. Whether it's good or bad it made you who you are.
EVERYTHING BUILT ON YOUR WORD
Avon had juice and the reason he had juice was years of standing on his word. When Brother Mouzone visited Avon in the barbershop he said Avon had a connect in New York forever just off his word alone. You don’t obtain that randomly. That’s years of Avon standing on his word. He had respect in Baltimore because when he said something was gonna be done it was done. Your word and name is vital in the profession Avon was in. Avon’s entire empire was built on his word.
KNOW WHO YOU ARE
Remember when Stringer made one of his countless attempts to get Avon to not be a street nigga. Mainly because Stringer ain’t want no smoke and viewed the war as senseless. The idea was great. Let the money work for you and not worry about cops and stick up kids. Just live peacefully and rich. Avon wasn’t trying to hear that shit at all. He told Stringer straight up “I ain’t no suit wearing business man like you. I’m just a gangsta I suppose. And I want my corners.” Avon knew his strengths and weaknesses and being a businessman just wasn’t a strength of his. He just a gangsta and all he knows is gangsta shit. Self awareness is how you sustain in anything you pursue. Avon knew who he was.
THE KING STAY THE KING
In the end. Avon was still the King. He lost the war because he went to prison. His organization was weakened by the cops. The top hitters were locked up or dead and it wasn’t from this war. He could’ve had Marlo killed by Slim Charles if the police wouldn’t have came. He was the gatekeeper of Marlo reaching the connect and Marlo had to do what he asked in order to get in with The Greeks. Avon’s name still held weight on the streets even though he was in prison. Marlo had the crown for maybe a a week or 2 at best. Avon held that shit for bout a decade. Remember the last scene with Marlo where the niggas he fought on the corner didn’t know who he was after everything was gone. Those same dudes probably knew who Avon Barksdale was though. Avon had damn near all of Baltimore locked up in just real estate properties. He ran the towers and the pit. Marlo just had corners. Avon now runs the prison so his name still remains alive. D’Angelo was right. “The King Stay The King.”