by Twan Goddi
As the music is turned up, sounds of Curtis Mayfield blaring, a little child running wild, scenes of the movie “Super Fly” flash through my mind as I envision Keith “Kilo G” Perry with a suit coat on, head full of rollers, platforms, addicted to the fast life of the Black Frisco streets, reciting lines from the latest blaxploitation films at women. He dubbed himself “Whoreson” after one of Donald Goines’ novels.
Kilo’s street life was intercepted and advanced by the juvenile courts when he was arrested for stealing purses, which landed him in YGC (Youth Guidance Center). He was later sent to Log Cabin Ranch and continued dabbling on the wrong path until he met fatherhood.
Keith struggled with fatherhood after overhearing that his stepfather, a longshoreman who was teaching Keith about being a man, wasn’t his father. He rebelled every chance he could get. It was that night Kilo ran away after an incident with his parents.
He was too stubborn to follow the rules, and it led to a long, cold, hard road to the military, which he couldn’t conform to, then the prison system, where he educated himself, reading books by authors like Gordon Graham, Frantz Fanon, W.E.B. DuBois and Claude Levi-Strauss, to name a few, where he was able to redefine his philosophies and create the identity he would crusade on his road to redemption.
He became a community member working with longtime SF community legends Jesse James and Arthur Hopkins to provide youth jobs and summer work for Blacks in the city.
As life changes, so does one’s perspective on how they see the world. Producing a son who could endure the same path his father walked on scared Kilo, so he began mentoring and teaching at-risk youth who were choosing the wrong route.
In the late ‘80s, Kilo recreated himself as a martial arts enthusiast. He began teaching self-defense for children in the Geneva Towers and Sunnydale housing areas of Visitacion Valley, a community on the southeast side of “Black Frisco,” some of the grimiest poverty stricken areas full of welfare recipients and drug infested homes.
Those children crying out for survival from these broken homes instantly flocked to Kilo’s classes. He was dubbed “The Ninja” for all his martial art moves.
He also professed to be a barber. For all the long hours and karate and haircuts, he gained a loyal following of children from broken homes and parents who supported him for all the giving back he did. As the crack infested ‘80s were rising, all type of family issues were running wild in homes. The drugs came in, took over and Kilo felt the same game he was fascinated about growing up was taking his friends and family like casualties, leaving the children abandoned and displaced while the parents used drugs and went to prison.
Kilo, dressed in all black ninja suit, nunchucks, ninja stars and a sword, became the superhero that the inner city needed. He grabbed them children and wrapped endless love around them, opened up his home for haircuts, martial arts, and a candy house that sold food and candy.
These children were instantly gratified, given hope, job skills, life skills, self-defense and a meal every day. Children were taught entrepreneurial skills by being allowed to run the candy house, counting money and stacking inventory and preparing the treats.
He would allow some of the boys to cut hair and take his most prized possession, Twan Goddi, outside and explore the community. Kilo and his Kung Fu crew of children were dedicated to the daily regimen of working out in the courtyard with two 20-story buildings lingering in the skyline, the Geneva Towers backdrop.
With kicks and sticks swinging, as children spar with each other, drugs parading in the streets, this euphoria of positivity didn’t last, as Kilo was arrested on violations of weapons for having real nunchucks and fighting officers. He was incarcerated, I returned home to my mother and that was the last we saw of the ninja of the late 1980s.
Kilo returned to society eager to repair his broken relationships with his children and family. He had more children at the time, remarried and tried to pick himself up and stay productive for his family, washing windows, cars, working on cars, cutting hair and doing a little airbrushing to make ends meet.
This was a slower pace to the street life that called him early on. He tried to stay on the good path only to land back in jail, therefore splitting his family up a third time, causing him to lose everything. This is the early to mid-1990s.
With no family, nowhere to stay and a release to be with his 12-year-old son, we stayed in homeless shelters, slept in cars and at different friends’ and family’s houses while he tried to get it together. He was later stopped for driving on a suspended license with a warrant and didn’t want to leave his family, caught police off of him to only be roughed up worse. He just wanted to look me in the face and say sorry.
My father seemed like he had the worst luck of all. He was a magnet for misconduct from the police departments of amerikkka. His rap sheet and criminal record spelled code red for officers to bring force once they ran his name!
He was defiant and rebellious for all the right reasons as he took a stance against the brutality and cruel punishment his people were suffering in Black Frisco. He started commanding attention for righteousness and asking for human and civil rights for people of the low-income, poverty stricken streets of Black Frisco.
Fast forward to early 2000s, Kilo, off parole for the first time, enters the Bayview Barber College of Black Frisco to cut hair and obtain his barber’s license, a lifelong dream to become certified and recognized for all his works for his people. He was later denied his license due to his criminal past and child support issues.
He kept cutting hair but wasn’t able to establish himself as a top barber in the shops but was promoted to place a barber shop in the Sunnydale housing projects, where once again Kilo would become the magnet to the mischievous street children in the community. Already there 20 years before, he knew most of these children’s parents and relatives, so the connections were instantly reconnected.
Kilo received an article in the SF Bay Guardian and an award from the mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, for his civil contributions to the community by providing a safe business in the middle of a violent, bullet-flying area on the borderline of Sunnydale housing projects. It was there he counseled young men and women of crime with his jail stories and countless encounters with law enforcement.
He was cherished, respected and celebrated under the TURF program and Kim Mitchell. He expanded and became a barber and video director, making music and providing service as an extended hand of Mike Brown’s Inner City Youth program. For starving artists, he created “Cameras Not Guns.”
After witnessing the deaths of so many Black youth of San Francisco, Kilo felt the need to offer his services to the children more frequently. Kilo worked for no particular agency. He made his income off donations and most times did things for free for the at-risk families he served.
Most times he’d be cutting long hours for little to no pay, but the haircuts were needed and appreciated. Families of the housing complexes had issues having multiple children with only enough money for one real cut but would get all three so that all the children had smiles on their faces.
He would give all his time to making things right in other people’s lives, which sometimes would put a damper on things he needed to do for his own children, who were often left out the shuffle as he provided endless services for others.
Kilo had a big family full of extended relatives who all had children so he felt obligated to raise the children of the village, who looked up to him. He provided his knowledge, his lifetime of experiences with dealing with the law, surviving the streets, dealing with women. He became the hood therapist for all walks of life.
Kilo would be seen with his Camera Not Guns crew filming all over Black Frisco. Whether it was a protest against police brutality or a lack of community opportunities, he used his voice, his intellect, his video resources, his time to create a viral platform against the demoralizing and victimizing of Black Frisco by its oppressors.
Kilo G wasn’t always a model citizen. He faced real life hardships of being locked out for his past convictions and child support issues. He managed to maintain his day to day operations by part time barbering and being the videographer and photographer for community businesses and residents.
He was a devoted father, but at his age of 62, he was raising full time by himself an 8-year-old from birth in the city of San Francisco. He would be walking with a stroller, struggling to provide a life for him and his son.
He entered BAYCAT (Bayview Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology), a community multimedia center for technology in the Bayview-Potrero neighborhoods. There he mastered Final Cut Pro and Camera Works and later had a movie made about his life titled “The Grind,” starring his two sons, Antoine and Angel Perry, where the story of fatherhood meets the harsh drastic pull of the streets.
Kilo advocated and utilized his revolutionary skills with his Cameras Not Guns organization. He ran with his son Antoine to catapult his own series of stories from an article written by award winning journalist A.C. Thompson, “Kilo’s Comeback,” for the San Francisco Bay Guardian series Forgotten City.
Kilo was happy to be a servant for God’s people to bring so much joy to the local artists by recording them a video, to film the little girl’s birthday and make them a YouTube video, placing them on social media. He documented all the Late Night Peace Hoops basketball program of San Francisco with Commissioner Shawn Richard, which made Kilo the highest requested local videographer from around the way, because you knew he brought good work, good attitude, some war stories and a bunch of expertise to the project.
Kilo spent the last three years developing children through sports at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, where he became Coach K. His son Angel attended the school. He worked with all the children who wanted to play ball; he never turned down anybody. He spent countless hours religiously coaching morning and after school for free.
The children memorialized him with letters and cards full of artwork that would have made Kilo very proud to receive. He had just been awarded by the school during Black History Month for his lifetime achievement and his dedication to the children of Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy Student Athlete Program.
Kilo G – Oct. 13, 1954, to March 30, 2017 – and his great works have come to an end this year. He leaves a huge legacy for his family, relatives and friends to cherish his memory. You can view his works on RapStatus and Cameras NOT Guns.
Kilo posted to Facebook daily. His last Facebook quote: “My greater power keeps me focused on being the better person.” Here are a few excerpts from countless words of love:
Jameel Patterson: Kilo was the essence of the city and he was my teacher.
Villy Wang of BAYCAT: Love and grind was mirrored in his eyes with the heart and soul of humanity.
Dimple Williams: A real father, friend, master of so many trades, instructor, lover of his people, dedicated and faithful in everything.
Kevin Robinson: Courageous leader of the community who taught young and old never to fold to oppression.
Demetria Williams: Loving father who loved his children and devoted time and energy to our youth in the community.
Lisa Renee: The anatomy of a man who God created in warrior’s clothing.
George Williams: Evolved over the years from a kid who was tough in the streets to a man concerned about his community.
Glen Castro: I’m in tears, brother Twan, just knowing how his inner strength and mental toughness allowed your dad to endure throughout his life. Many families and entire communities he’s impacted and protected through his advocacy for civil rights and justice for all. I will always remember my brother, mentor, friend, your Angel father, Coach K, Kilo. Your spirit is untouchable, Twan. You will continue to find relentless strength spiritually through your dad. Your dad went home to our Heavenly Father with no more worries or pain ever. A true teacher … Ninja … street soldier … GENERAL!
Self-made mogul Antoine ‘Goddi’ Perry has been making moves in the entertainment industry for over a decade. He has created a platform, “The Independent Hustle,” a viral media marketing DVD highlighting the latest sensations in the industry. RapStatus is the go-to viral media marketing service and an established brand that specializes in advertising, marketing, promotions and events. Goddi grew up in the industry and is set to release a plethora of music, fashion and films in 2017. The new film directed and edited by Goddi and Kilo G is titled “BanglifeBidness: Red and Blue Makes Green,” a Southern California-based film making Goddi complete on his “California Hustle,” doing “The Independent Hustle” for the Bay Area and “BangLifebidness” for Los Angeles. Look for more products and services from RapStatus on the websites Rapstatus.com, Banglifebidness.com and www.youtube.com/rapstatus. Goddi can be reached at Info@rapstatus.com. Be sure to read a previous story about Kilo, “Kenneth Harding police murder aftermath: Victory for Kilo G.”