Wayne “Silk” Perry was considered one of the most notorious gangsters to run the streets of Washington, D.C. in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Ruthless, calculating and dangerous are just a few of the adjectives attached to his name. He was a professional head hunter and alleged killer until he became a Muslim and A Black Nationalist.
The Washington Post described Perry one of the District’s most heinous murderers. Jay-Z immortalized the gangster in rhyme in the song “Tom Ford”:
“This is my Wayne Perry flow/Y’all know nothing about Wayne Perry though.”
Perry was born in 1962 in Georgia. It didn’t take him long to get involved in the criminal world. In 2005, Perry told writer Seth Ferranti, who interviewed him for the book, “Street Legends, Vol. 1,” that he put his “first foot in the dirt in 1974,” when he was just 12 years old, Ozy reported. By 16, Perry said he was involved in illegal activities such as drug trafficking, violence and bank robberies.
By 1976, Perry told Ferranti he “was hustling on the street and gambling, using crooked dice and marked or cut cards.”
Perry acted as a hitman and bodyguard for Alberto “Alpo” Martinez, the Harlem drug lord who trafficked cocaine to Washington, according to law enforcement. Police said Perry killed witnesses, disloyal gang members and rival drug dealers.
“Wayne is viewed as someone who didn’t take anyone’s mess,” Tiffany Chiles, editor-in-chief of Don Diva magazine, told Ozy. “If you had Wayne on your side, he was a protector.”
Perry had the nickname “Silk” and also the “Michael Jordan of the murder game.” And it all had to do with how he conducted his criminal activity.
Perry’s murders “were so smooth that people would be left puzzled on how the person right in front of them got shot right in their head,” according to Gorilla Convict.
Perry was the bodyguard and enforcer to self-proclaimed Harlem drug lord Alberto “Alpo” Martinez, who became known for snitching. Perry was also a hitman for Martinez but when Martinez was arrested, he snitched on his right-hand man, Perry.
Martinez was killed in October 2021 in a drive-by shooting in Harlem after serving decades in prison for murder — and being in a witness protection program for testifying against his associates since 2015.
The walls were closing in on Perry in the 1990s and the FBI was watching at him. Martinez snitched on Perry. In 1993, Perry was arrested on first-degree murder and charged with 27 counts, accused of retaliating against a witness, kidnapping, robbery, conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. According to the indictment, Perry was the main orchestrator of and shooter in eight murders from 1989 to 1991.
“The names of Alpo and Wayne Perry will forever be linked because the betrayal that took place between them was just as renowned as the bond they once shared,” said Cavario H., author of “Raised by Wolves: Inside the Life & Mind of a Guerrilla Hustler,” in an Ozy interview. “Alpo’s gregarious character and storied charisma somehow circumvented the already-well-known shooter’s usually impenetrable veneer,” he explained, giving Martinez “a unique opportunity that few ever had: a chance to get rid of the boogeyman.”
While in prison, Perry converted to Islam. His name is now Nkosi Shaka Zulu-El. He also took on a Black nationalist stance.
In a “Letter to The Youth” written in 2013 for the youth of Washington, D.C., Perry talked of his faith and his hope for the youth.
“I find strength constantly in the adversity the hypocrites have imposed to enervate me mentally, physically, and spiritually. All praise is due to Allah and honors my prodigious ancestors from whom I sprung, whom Allah created to perfection. As one of my brothers (Opio) once said to me, ‘Adversity is nourishing food for those strong enough to digest it.’ To all of you perusing this who are oppressed, fighting adversity in whatever way it is attacking you, let that sagacious quote inspire you,” he wrote in the Newafrikan77 blog.
To the youth, he urged, “Never surrender Warriors and Warriorettes! NEVER! You are strong by nature and can digest any and all adversity and become nourished by it; For it is salutary for us.”
In the letter, he also called out his former gangster peers. “It takes less strength to act on impulses or desires than it does to negate the urge to act on them. I respect those who are courageous enough and strong enough NOT to do, knowing that they cannot truly handle the consequences for their actions their lower self avidly wants to commit, far more than I respect those who do the opposite, for latter are the cowards,” he wrote. “Alas, they’re also often the traducers and ignominious rats! e.g. Alpo, Rayful, Nicky Barnes, Sammy the Bull, to name a few.”
In a phone interview from prison with the King Earner YouTube channel on Aug. 23, 2018, Perry talked about how his viewpoint has changed since he found Allah and converted to Islam. The episode is entitled “Wayne Perry Speaks on Pleasing Allah and Uniting Based off #PureHonor and Talks About Saving Lives.”
“We don’t need nobody glorifying the game, we have enough fools doing that. We’re ain’t doing nothing but waging a genocide against ourselves…it pains my heart that we are so divided as a people,” Perry said.
The man who once took lives said his goal now is to save lives. “I want to save our people,” added Perry, who said he has been in isolation for “the last 20 years.”
On the 169th Episode Of FlipDaScript on the QuietRoom YouTube channel, hosts DJ G$money and Flip Da Script sat down in September 2020 with Sean Branch (aka Teflon Sean). Branch, who D.C. police described as “a murderous drug-gang enforcer,” was incarcerated with Perry. He talked about losing respect for Perry after catching him with another man.
When asked if Perry was gay, Branch answered, “Yeah, cause I seen it.”
He continued, “I put that on my dead son and this is a side of Wayne I lost respect for.”
He revealed a story of walking in Perry’s jail “room” and said he witnessed it firsthand. “When I asked (Perry) about it, he said say ‘Stay out of my business.’ I lost all respect for him,” Branch said.
In his letter to youth in his Newafrikan77 blog entry, Perry also wrote about honor and dishonor.
“Dishonor can be avoided most of the time if people stay true to who they know they are and stop doing things whose ramifications, they know they cannot handle! Killing, robbing, hustling, none of these actions validate bravery, manhood, honor or strength. Being true to your nature, knowing and adhering to self, resisting the urge to self-destruct, having the fortitude to surmount the urges of the lower self — these things are laudable and denote honor, strength, excellence of character, bravery, and manhood,” he wrote.
Perry is serving a life sentence in prison at the ADX Florence Supermax in Colorado. It is considered one of the harshest prisons in the country.
Photo: Wayne Perry photo from the book cover of “Washington DC Hitman Wayne ‘Silk’ Perry” by Seth Ferranti,
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