A Black Lives Matter activist was arrested and accused of trafficking a 17-year-old girl for prostitution. Online records show that Charles Wade, 33, was arrested on April 25 in Maryland. He was held on seven counts relating to human trafficking and prostitution. Wade was bailed out shortly after his arrest, according to a statement he released on May 18. He’s active in the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement and the co-founder of protest group Help or Hush.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Wade Told Cops He Thought the Girl Was 20 However She Says When She Told Him She Was 17, He Didn’t Care
Online records show that Wade, a resident of Bowie, Maryland, is due back in court in relation to the charges on June 3. He’s being charged in Prince George’s County. He released a statement on his arrest on May 18, nearly 3 weeks after the incident occurred. Wade explains that he had been contacted by the girl in question with her saying she needed shelter. She claimed to be 20, according to Wade. He says that he placed her in a hotel using reward points.
According to the charging documents, the girl referred to Wade as her “manager” to an undercover officer. She added that she told Wade she was only 17, he responded, “you only have 5 months left until you’re 18 so I’m not worried.”
Wade says that he was “arrested as I was walking to a store on about a half dozen charges related to her activities and arrest.” He says that he thought the girl had “kicked” her drug habit, something which along with her age, was also a lie. While he was at the store, Wade says that the girl was arrested and accused of prostitution. He says in conclusion that he released the statement to counteract Internet trolls and “I am confident that I will be cleared of the charges I am currently facing.”
After his arrest, Wade’s name became a national trending topic on Twitter.
2. The Ad That an Undercover Cop Responded to Said, ‘Thick & Juicy in All the Right Places’
The ad that the undercover cop responded to was posted to the Washington D.C. section of the website Backpage. It reads, “Holla at me. Quick stay specials tonight and tomorrow. Independent. Fun and sexy. Text me to set up an appointment.”
The documents in the case say that a cop texted the number attached to the ad to set up an appointment at a Howard Johnson motel in College Park, Maryland. Those documents say that it was Wade who would respond to johns, according to the girl. One text that the cop received read, “Okay your not a cop or pimp right?” To which the officer responded, “Hell no, I just like nice boobs.” The cop went to her room, where she answered the door wearing only a towel, and after a brief discussion, the officer made the arrests. Vice officers saw Wade watch the undercover cop go into the room, according to the charging documents.
3. He Was Voted Number 40 on the Root’s 100 for 2015 List of Influential African-Americans Alongside LeBron James, Steph Curry, Serena Williams & Shonda Rhimes
On the website for Help or Hush, the charity is described in part:
#OperationHelporHush is a new spin on old-school organizing. #OperationHelporHush grew organically on Twitter in the midst of the events occurring in Ferguson, MO following the death of Mike Brown. Twitter activists are responsible for the incredible coverage and attention in Ferguson and have shown the power and potential of social media to impact social change.
In 2015, Wade was voted number 40 on the Root’s 100 for 2015 list. Also appearing on the list were LeBron James, Steph Curry, Key & Peele & Serena Williams. He’s described as a “community organizer” in his listing. His full bio reads:
After the Michael Brown travesty last summer, he co-founded Operation Help or Hush, an organization about pragmatic action above all else, that is—“Help, or hush.” At its core, OHOH is about supporting activists, and it ingeniously fed 3,000 protesters with food trucks in New York City last year, and created online gift registries for supplies from diapers to cutlery during the first months of unrest in Ferguson, Mo.
Since then, the outfit has executed Ferguson Alternative Spring Break, a community-service project for hundreds of college students; created a transitional housing program for protesters; and implemented #FreedomSummer2015, a free community-lunch program for low-income children in Ferguson, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif.
Wade has over 20,000 followers on Twitter.
4. Prior to Getting Involved in the Protest Movement, Wade Worked as a Stylist
The Washington Post reported in November 2014 that Wade got involved in the protest movement after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August of that year. At the time, he was working as a stylist in Austin. He began by raising money to feed the protesters in the St. Louis suburb.
The Post’s feature notes that Wade “had not been particularly active in social causes before Ferguson” as he worked in the fashion industry. He told the newspaper, “At a certain point, this problem will get worse if I don’t step in and do something.” Wade also said that he was living Ferguson hosting dinners for protesters and had celebrity support from singer Estelle and Glee’s Ambery Riley.
In January 2015, Wade was featured on the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thanks to activities in Ferguson.
5. He Was Referred to as Solange Knowles’ ‘Pushy Publicist’ in 2011 by the New York Post
The New York Post referred to Wade as Solange Knowles’ “pushy publicist” in a 2011 article. The piece referred to an instance where Wade allegedly told Today co-host Hoda Kotb that she couldn’t talk to Beyonce’s sister. The Post adds that Wade called their story “absolutely false.” He talked about working with Solange in an interview with BET in 2011 saying:
Working with Solange is just like playing dress-up with your cool girlfriend. She has such distinct taste and an eye for color, pattern and texture play. And not to mention her body is sort of sick with those long legs. Solange has a really clear idea as to what works for her and what she does and doesn’t like and also what’s really event-appropriate.
Such clear vision really helps her own her looks. Most people see her as this crazy fashion risk-taker, which she is to a degree, but she has a very cerebral process and incorporates so much inspiration from her life, passions and travels. Her style is very personal, not “quirky.”