Michael Taylor, a New Orleans teen who received a videotaped beating from his uncle for his ties to gangs, died on December 7 after being shot multiple times.

Black America Web reports:

In the YouTube video, posted in January, Taylor’s uncle ordered him to disavow any ties to gangs, announced that the family “don’t come from that sh–,” and then proceeded to take off his belt and spank Taylor in full view of the laptop camera. Rappers Lil Wayne and Birdman spoofed the video, as did another video site called StuntKidzTV. 

The video sparked controversy over parenting practices in a debate between calls for the return to old-school discipline and the idea that violence begets violence and that the humiliation of the video in particular might drive the young man deeper into rebellion. Taylor’s mother, Kimberley Ward, says that she kept a strict eye on her son and believes that it was his association with his friends that caused his death.

Taylor’s mother told the Times-Picayune that her son was mild-mannered, but had begun hanging out with tough guys, telling her that he did it for protection to avoid problems with other students. She cited a couple of incidents that she said might have led someone to come after her son, but in each case, Ward maintained her son had been the victim of a misunderstanding or was targeted because of his connection to others who may have instigated a dispute. 

There are currently no suspects in Michael Taylor’s murder.

Read more at Black America Web.

Do you think the violent atmosphere demonstrated in the video lead to this young man’s death? Or could even more corporal punishment have saved his life? 


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  • Some one shot this kid, him being punished or not getting enough punishment had nothing to do with it. This was a very shallow look at a deep problem.

    • forrealdoh

      This was a very shallow look at a deep problem. <———-AGREED

    • Isis

      Totally agree

    • Stella

      Thank you! I was reading this piece and thinking the same thing. The young man was beaten by his uncle (I don’t see that as discipline) and his death by violence has nothing to do with each other.

  • Oh God this is so sad. No more corpal punishment would not prevented this. Moving him out of hood may have saved life.

    • CUchica

      while it is true that the hood is no place to ideally raise a child, saying so assumes that people, when given the option choose to start families in the hood. i think it is pretty safe to say that the vast majority of people who live in the hood live there because of a financial inability to live elsewhere. corporal punishment was certainly not the best way to prevent someone from associating with gang members. but perhaps if we as a community made more noise about the lack of services and centers for the youth in our neighborhoods, especially the poorer ones, perhaps we would have fewer gang problems. seems to me a lot of gang issues stem from being young and angry and having no appropriate outlet for that anger