Rakim Washington was a character that most readers took a liking to at the beginning of the series. In a way, this was intentional when I was writing his character because I wanted him to be the perfect balance between Jay and Kane. On one side, he was the good guy who was in college (Rakim attended Brookstone University with Carmen) and wanted to go to medical school and on the other; he was the guy who ran the streets to provide for himself financially.
Rakim became dependent on the drug game after his parents were killed in a car accident, which was caused by a tornado three years prior to the start of the novel. He, along with his fraternal twin brother, Malik, were barely out of high school when they linked up with Jay and joined the Santiago cartel. Although Rakim was a drug dealer, he was not as deep in the game as his brother. Rakim’s passion was education and selling drugs was merely a way for him to fund his dream.
In addition to being a college student, Rakim was looking to pledge the fictional Theta Beta Psi Fraternity. In an earlier post of Behind the Book, I discussed my reasoning behind having him join a fictional fraternity versus an organization that was part of the Divine Nine (see Behind the Book: Brookstone University). If you’ve read Diamonds in the Rough, then you are well aware that Rakim never completed his pledge process due to unfortunate events.
Rakim’s demise was the main turning point in the story. It is the dividing line between the “good Carmen,” and the “bad Carmen.” I honestly believe that if Rakim was still living that Carmen wouldn’t have done half of the things that she did. His passing left her without a confidante and made her more susceptible to temptation and greed.
What do you think? If Rakim had of lived, would Carmen have gotten into that much devilment? Feel free to share your thoughts!
Tidbits on Rakim
-Although he and Malik would be confused for identical twins, they are actually fraternal because Rakim has a mole on his face. This is used to distinguish between the two.
-He was a Biology major at Brookstone University
-He once claimed to work at the pharmacy at Kroger to hide his true occupation
-He dated Carmen’s best friend, Monifah, which he kept a secret for the majority of the book
-In his honor, Carmen named her second biological son (Malachi is adopted) after him. Her son’s full name is Rakim Antonio Kane.