Campus Kings: 14yr old African American develop a new surgical technique to sew up hysterectomy patients

Campus Kings: 14yr old African American develop a new surgical technique to sew up hysterectomy patients

Boys II Men

A Jacksonville researcher has developed a way of sewing up patients after hysterectomies that stands to reduce the risk of complications and simplify the tricky procedure for less-seasoned surgeons.

Oh, and he’s 14 years old (Tony Hansberry II).

He says that his remarkable accomplishments are merely steps toward his ultimate goal of becoming a University of Florida-trained neurosurgeon.

“I just want to help people and be respected, knowing that I can save lives,” said Tony, the son of a registered nurse mom and an African Methodist Episcopal church pastor dad.

The seeds of his project were planted last summer during his internship at the University of Florida’s Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research, based at Shands Jacksonville.

To understand why a teenager would be a hospital intern, it’s important to know that Tony is a student down the street from Shands at Darnell-Cookman Middle/High School, a magnet school geared toward all things medical. (Students, for example, master suturing by the eighth grade.)

At the simulation center, where medical residents and nurses practice on dummies, the normally shy student warmed up to the center’s administrative director, Bruce Nappi. In turn, Nappi, a problem-solver with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology aeronautics degree, found someone willing to learn.

One day, an obstetrics and gynecology professor asked the pair to help him figure out why no one was using a handy device that looks like a dipstick with clamps at the end, called an endo stitch, for sewing up hysterectomy patients. In other procedures, it proved its worth for its ability to grip pieces of thread and maneuverability.

What Tony did next is so complicated that the professor who suggested the project has to resort to a metaphor to explain it: “Instead of buttoning your shirt side to side, what about doing it up and down?” Brent Seibel said.

Here’s the literal explanation: The problem was that the endo stitch couldn’t clamp down properly to close the tube where the patient’s uterus had been. Tony figured that by suturing the tube vertically instead of horizontally, it could be done. And he was right.

“It was truly independent that he figured it out,” Nappi said, adding that a representative for the device’s manufacturer told him that the endo stitch had never been used for that purpose.

Tony’s unpracticed hands were able to stitch three times faster with the endo stitch vs. the conventional needle driver. Further study may prove whether the same is true for more experienced surgeons, Seibel said.

In addition to cutting surgical time, the technique may help surgeons who don’t do many hysterectomies because it’s easier to use the endo stitch, he added.


Tony often speaks in the highly technical, dispassionate language of doctors. In that respect, he’s not the exception but the rule at Darnell-Cookman, said Angela TenBroeck, the school’s medical lead teacher. But he has surged ahead of others when it comes to surgical skills.

“I would put him up against a first-year med student,” she said. “He’s an outstanding young man, and I’m proud to have him representing us.”

Source: Rising Africa

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League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Nathan McCall

League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Nathan McCall

League Of Extraordinary Black Men

NathanMcCallInner City Blues, Twenty Years Later
by La Juana Green

Crime is increasing
Trigger happy policing
Panic is spreading
God Knows where we’re heading
It makes me wanna holler
Marvin Gaye – 1971


My introduction to the work of Nathan McCall came in the early 90s while I was a working with the NYC Department of Juvenile Justice.  I was teaching English to some of New York’s toughest and most dangerous kids whose crimes ranged from rape to murder.  Their troubled adolescence was only equaled by their backgrounds of nominal interest in school and education.  The challenge I faced was finding an access point to engage this young cohort.  A colleague recommended Makes Me Wanna Holler by Nathan McCall.  I read the book, immediately introduced it to my class, and quickly built a lesson plan around it.  It was very successful, particularly, since I taught young African-American males. The kids became actively engaged in McCall’s autobiography of a young black man’s coming of age in Portsmouth, Virginia.  They shared his pain of racism, incarceration and other struggles that young African-American males face.

McCall is a master at storytelling.  I met him in New York while he was promoting his book in 1994.  I later tried to reach him, with the possibility of him speaking to my class.  Claude Brown, who had written Manchild in the Promised Land, had been a previous guest in the facility.  Unfortunately, we were not able to make the class visit happen.

Placed against the current backdrops of unrest in Baltimore and Ferguson, Makes Me Wanna Holler is as thought provoking and insightful as the day it was written.  It elucidates the journey of a young black man’s ability to overcome incarceration through mentoring. The book goes on to become a New York Timesbestseller.

Nathan McCall is currently a senior lecturer in the African-American Studies Department at Emory University in Atlanta.

LG:  It has been over twenty years since you wrote Makes You Wanna Holler. Do you think things have changed for African-American men?
NM:  Clearly not.  If we take a look at police shootings in America, not much has changed with regards to how Black men are treated in this society.  It’s clear we are regarded as a target, it infuriates me.  The issue that is most prevalent in the so-called millennium is that shooting of Black men has replaced hanging.  In measuring the progress nothing much has changed and the push for public concerns is needed. Some people are upset that we are concerned, as if Black life doesn’t matter.  The issues that we are faced with are poverty, income gaps, health and education.  It’s like we are frozen in time.

LG:  Are you familiar with the memoir by Piri Thomas, Down These Mean Streets?
NM:  Yes, I read the book and loved it.


LG:  Do you see any parallel between your life as an African-American male and he being a Latino male?
NM:  Yes.  A very interesting parallel regarding the way we both grew up, perceiving that our lives and options in this world were very limited.  Perception is powerful.  Our perception impacted some of the bad choices we made as teenagers growing up.  Our perception about America was not inaccurate.

LG:  The title Makes Me Wanna Holler was taken from the Marvin Gaye song “Inner City Blues’.  Why was this title chosen?
NM:  “Makes Me Wanna Holler,” that song was one of the most powerful commentaries in America.  It came out when I was a teenager, so when I was working on the autobiography, I would listen, to jar my memory.  Music helps to stimulate the memory.  When I was working on the book I used music from a different time period to stimulate my memory.  It was recorded in the seventies and I wrote about it in the nineties and it is still the same.

LG:  In certain cultures young boys have rites of passage. Aborigines remove a tooth and cut off part of a finger.  Is there a rite of passage for young African-American boys today, and if not should there be?
NM:  Clearly, there are some informal rites of passage.  The problem is they are not healthy.  The rites of passages that are in place are guided by adults to make young people make their transition into manhood.  Jews have bar mitzvahs, which is a very important rite of passage.  Without those formal mechanisms young people will develop their own.  Young Black males, will define what manhood is.  When I was coming up, we had to know how to fight and how to deal with girls.  There was no formal mechanism in place, so we developed some very distorted notions about relationships.  Relationships were about conquest, not intimacy and clearly incarceration is a rite of passage for young Black men today.  I saw an older guy in the neighborhood who had just gotten out of prison and I looked at him with admiration.  I too, had a distorted thinking by the time I got to prison.  I expected to pass through that way.

LG: In the chapter titled, “Trains”, you and your buddies measured the Black woman’s beauty by her skin color.  Do you feel that this is still an issue with Black men?
NM:  We called it color struck.  I have friends who were color struck.  Color has never been an issue with me.  I can’t identify a pattern in my choice of women.  I teach a course on Black images in the media, and we deal with light skinned versus dark skinned.  I can’t recall who said it but it was said that “hurt people, hurt people.”  People who are damaged are more likely to hurt people.  Dark-skinned women clearly get victimized by men who don’t think they are attractive.  Light skinned women get victimized by the dark skinned women who resent that light skinned women are held up on a pedestal.  I have still have friends that are into the brown bag consciousness.

LG:  Also in the same chapter you say, “Using a member of the most vulnerable groups of human beings on the face of the earth-Black females.”  Why do you think Black females are so vulnerable, particularly to men of their own race?
NM:  Black people in general are subjected to oppression; then women are subjected to oppression.  Black women are subjected to oppression times two.  There is a huge burden that falls on Black women’s shoulders; they carry the burden and quite often don’t get credit for it.

LG:  In your chapter titled “Respect,” men of your generation would use their hands to get and demand respect if they felt they had been disrespected.  Are African-American men still fighting for respect?  What are the consequences for disrespect today on the streets?
NM:  Yes, a distorted sense of manhood is still the same with video images.  You can see young brothers are following some of the rules of the street.  It is unfortunate.  The result is a lot of wasted potential.  We used guns too, I carried a gun from the time I was a sophomore until I graduated.  They use guns to get respect, but these guns are more powerful than the ones we had.

LG:  Do you think young African-American men are angry?
NM:  Yeah, they are angry.  Understand, they are angry because they are functioning in a system that is stacked against us.  This is America, the rhetoric of America doesn’t match the realty and where Black men are concerned, it never has.

LG:  Do you have children?
NM:  Yes, I have two sons and a daughter.

LG:  How have you prepared your sons for the racism that exists against Black males?
NM:  Just by talking to them about what is. Not in a formal way but as I see it, and as they experience it.

LG:  Are there solutions?
NM:  That is a monumental question, because it is a monumental issue.  We can’t afford to keep waiting for white society to change it, it would be nice, but in the mean time we need to focus on what we can do to uplift ourselves. For example, voting doesn’t cost anything.  If we were to show up in big numbers we could turn the political system on its head just by voting.

La Juana  Green is a native of Washington D. C. She holds a B. A. degree in English Literature with a minor in education. She is a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia. Her screenplay Through the Looking Glass won an Honorable Mention and her other screenplay titled Roe was a finalist in the Fresh Pitch Contest. She has just completed a television pilot titled Unjust Justice.

Source: Mosaic Magazine

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Boys II Men: Autistic middle schooler builds robots, plays football despite doctors prognosis

Boys II Men: Autistic middle schooler builds robots, plays football despite doctors prognosis

Boys II Men

Julian Gibson has always been up for a challenge, so the robot competition he and his middle school classmates entered was just another hurdle for him.

After all, he had already jumped many more hurdles before that after being diagnosed with autism at age 4.

“This is kinda like a miracle for us,” Deante Gibson, Julian’s father, told Houston’s CW39. “When we were diagnosed, at 4 years old, the doctor told us that he would not be able to pursue higher education, wouldn`t be able to play sports.”

Now, Julian has had his first season on the football team and is taking a robotics course that uses computer-programmed LEGOs in its obstacle courses.

One of Julian’s favorite teachers, Djuana Bossette shares, “I took him with me, brought him to the room, took out a set of Legos and he said ‘ooh fun’ and we`ve been doing it ever since.”

Bosette believes that programs like the robotics class can help those like Julian.

“They use robotics … he can go anywhere he want to,” Bossette explains.

In the meantime, Julian continues to grow, and he wants to be “James Harden” when he grows up. Time will tell what the future holds for him, but because of supportive parents, kind teachers and good programs, Julian will be prepared to handle the next challenge life throws at him.

Source The Grio

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The Village: Inner-city youths beat odds in college program

The Village: Inner-city youths beat odds in college program

The Best Articles of TBMC

635648068022348924-BRIDGING-LOST-GAPS-MENTORING-LEADERSHIP-PROGRAM-1Kim Kozlowski, The Detroit News

Bryant George grew up in a neighborhood plagued by shootings, drug deals, vacant homes and widespread poverty.

It wasn’t until he was a senior at Northwestern High School in Detroit that George met a professional African-American man for the first time.

That man, Sid Taylor, offered him a chance to have a different life with a college scholarship, a computer and a mentor. Taylor encouraged him, and even scared him by telling him that black men have a 1-in-3 chance of going to prison.

George took Taylor, owner of an auto supply company, up on his offer. He graduated from college and has since devoted himself to helping young black men like him by replicating the program that changed his life while he was at Madonna University.

“College allowed me to grow spiritually, intellectually and personally,” said George, now 27 and working on his master’s degree at Madonna. “I had a chance to find myself, a real relationship with God and a chance to realize what I wanted to do with my life: to go back into my community and present myself as someone that a lot of young men, especially of color, don’t get a chance to see in the inner city of Detroit.”

George is among hundreds of young men who have benefited from the Real Life 101 Scholarship Fund — an organization that provides college scholarships of $1,000 annually, a laptop computer and personal mentors to inner-city African-American males.

Now in its 16th year, the program has invested $1.2 million in more than 500 scholarships and 2,000 computers to help young men get through college. So far, 65 have made it and graduated from places such as the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Howard University.

Though it started in Detroit, the program is now in 11 states and the District of Columbia and aspires to expand this year to every state in the nation.

The goal: to help young black men get an education, make a better life for themselves and avoid prison.

“These are lives we are saving,” said Taylor, 66, the owner of SET Enterprises Inc. in Warren. “Black men have a 1-in-3 chance of going to prison. That is phenomenal. We are building prisons and populating disproportionately with black males. How do we get around that? Invest in them up front.”

The program had its genesis when Taylor was 19 and a Marine serving in the Vietnam War. He and 18 fellow Marines were called in to rescue a helicopter that had been shot down, but were ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army.

Taylor prayed and promised God he would do something for society if he got out alive. Only he and seven others made it out.

Years passed. Taylor started his career at General Motors and did community service work in his free time. While serving on the board of Prison Fellowship Ministries in Detroit, he began visiting prisons to pray with inmates and was struck by how many young men were serving sentences of 15 years or more.


Front-end investment

As he talked with them and asked about their stories, he heard similar themes. That’s when the light bulb went off, giving him the idea that became Real Life 101.

“We’re investing in these young men on the front end, instead of the back end,” Taylor said.

He started the program in 2000 at Detroit’s Kettering High School, where his wife, Donna, attended. It has since grown to 18 schools in Detroit, and one each in Pontiac, Flint and Saginaw, plus the other states.

Among the graduates this year is Larry Harris Jr., who grew up on the south side of Chicago. He will earn a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and will continue his education, thanks to a fellowship with the U.S. State Department that will pay for his master’s degree at Cornell University, an Ivy League school in upstate New York.

Real Life 101 asks applicants to write an essay about how they are going to change the image of African-American men in America. While in college, Harris has been trying to do that through activities such as voter outreach on campus.

“To show them that we aren’t these stereotyped notions — one of the biggest one is black men are somehow inherently dangerous … that we don’t aspire to go to school, that we don’t care about our communities,” Harris said. “Those stereotypes are not true. … Black men are also American men. We bring a valuable piece to the table.”

Taylor retired from his company this year to work full-time on helping his board raise $1.5 million and expand the program by June 2017.

“The target population of young men in Detroit for Real Life 101 are those who do well in school but are not the top scholars and normally would not compete well for other scholarships,” said Carol Goss, former president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation and a recent fellow at Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative.

“They are the young men who live in poor neighborhoods and have very loose and complicated family systems of support,” she said. “Education is important, but there are many barriers for them. … Real Life 101 is one of those programs that I believe is really making a difference in the lives of African-American young men.”

One of the problems for young men of color in college is that they may be accepted and enroll, but not sustain their studies and graduate, Goss added.

“I have met several of these young men,” she said, “and when they tell their stories, it is clear they may not have been successful in college without the program.”

‘What are your goals?’

The program has 265 mentors, each paired with a scholarship recipient. They keep in touch with the students regularly and help them navigate whatever is thrown their way in college. Often, these mentors take the young men out for lunch, invite them over for holiday dinner and even take on the role of a surrogate parent.

Vanessa Stovall has been a mentor with the program since it began and mentored five students. She calls them regularly and sees how she can help.

“I often ask them, ‘What are your next steps, what are your goals?’ ” said Stovall, a Southfield resident. “I try to connect them with the right people if they need help.”

In June, the program’s annual gala will celebrate the men who have graduated. They will get a green business jacket to welcome them into the fraternity of Real Life 101, and be surrounded by program alumni.

Among them will be George, who’s replicating Real Life 101 at Madonna University with a campus program called Bridging Lost Gaps. Nearly 50 young African-American men from Detroit schools are enrolled there, and one will graduate this spring. George even landed a $150,000 grant from the McGregor Fund to develop and expand the program at Madonna.

His goal is to do for new students what Taylor did for him.

“I don’t know where I would be without him right now,” George said. “He saved my life. Without him, college would not have been a real reality. … I wouldn’t be who I am today.”

Supporting Real Life 101

The 16th annual Awards Gala Ceremony, open to the public, celebrates the graduates and supports the program.

When: 11:30 a.m. June 6

Where: MGM Grand Detroit Ballroom

Cost: $150/ticket

More info: Fundraising Form 2015-1.pdf

Source: Detroit News


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His Story: Mentoring College Men of Color|Three Strategies for Designing Successful Programs

His Story: Mentoring College Men of Color|Three Strategies for Designing Successful Programs

His Story

Teacher Sitting Outdoors Helping Male Student With WorkBy  Become a fan 

Associate Professor of Community College Leadership, San Diego State University


This post is co-authored with Frank Harris III @fharris3 Associate Professor of Postsecondary Education at San Diego State University.

In response to outcome disparities between underrepresented men of color and their peers, there has been an expansive increase in the number of programs serving men of color in colleges and universities. These programs have long employed mentoring as a primary ‘silver bullet’ for advancing the success of college men of color. In fact, a 2015 analysis by Levi Sebahar and Fnann Keflezighi of programs serving men of color in community colleges identified mentoring as the second most common intervention tool employed by these initiatives, with 65 percent of all programs using mentoring models.

While widely used, more often than not, mentoring programs are woefully ineffective in serving the needs of men of color. For instance, Shaun Harper, associate professor and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania conducted interviews with 219 Black men at 42 postsecondary institutions and found that “no participant attributed even a fraction of his college achievement to a [mentoring] program that systemically matched him with faculty, staff, or peers with whom he was to routinely meet.”

There are a number of reasons why mentoring programs fail to meet their desired ends. As adeptly argued by Andre Perry in The Hechinger Report, mentoring programs focus on addressing “personality mechanics” rather than addressing the need for “good schools, great teachers and professional opportunities.” Simply put, most mentoring programs are focused on ‘mending’ students rather than the systems and people who educate them. In addition, mentoring programs are very difficult to sustain over time, are expensive to operate using effective mentor models, and are often critiqued due to scalability challenges.

That being said, mentoring programs, when designed and executed correctly, can be a useful strategy for facilitating student success. Few (if any) could argue that they succeeded in their collegiate endeavors without receiving mentorship from others. With this in mind, we offer three recommendations for designing ‘effective’ mentoring programs.

Mentoring Programs Should be Inquiry-Driven

Mentoring is a tool that can enable educators to meet the needs of the students they serve. However, mentoring program objectives are often loosely defined. Educators should be clear as to what objectives the mentoring relationship is designed to achieve. Too often, mentoring programs merely link men of color with mentors who are to spend time with one another with an unspecified purpose. Before beginning a mentoring relationship, students’ should be assessed to determine the factors that influence their academic success. The assessment can take the form of a survey, interviews, focus-groups, written feedback, or analyses of students’ academic records, which will enable program leaders to determine the primary challenges facing students. Based on this feedback, mentoring should be viewed as the medium by which identified challenges are addressed. For example, during a survey, it may be revealed that self-confidence, awareness of campus resources, and lack of clarity around goals are common challenges faced by men of color. Armed with this information, the mentor intervention should focus explicitly on building confidence, introducing students to campus resources, and engaging students’ in introspection and exploration about potential major and career goals. Using this approach, mentors are not merely mentoring for the sake of ‘mentoring’, but mentoring with a clear objective in mind. While inquiry must occur to determine the focus of the mentor engagement, inquiry should also take place throughout the program to determine the effectiveness of the intervention.

Mentoring Programs Should be Activity-Based

Typically, mentoring programs are structured to provide “once a week” meetings between mentors and protégés to discuss how the protégé is doing. These meetings can become stale, static, and one-sided. Instead of this model, mentoring should be organized around targeted activities. Specifically, mentors and protégés should meet to accomplish tasks that will lead to tangible products that are produced from the mentoring experience. For example, the Minority Male Community College Collaborative operates a research-based mentoring program. Each protégé is linked with a mentor (an advanced student under the guidance of a faculty member) who coaches them on how to design a study, collect data, analyze data, and write up a research report. Students then co-present their research and co-publish their results with their mentors. This mentor model is effective because the products (i.e., conducting, presenting, and publishing research) are the focus on the mentor-protégé relationship. There are many other examples of activities to organize mentor models around. Service learning projects, planning an event series, internships, externships, creative projects, and other high impact practices all serve as apt activities for promising mentor-protégé models.

Mentoring Programs Should Employ an Organic Approach to Matching

One common strategy employed by mentor program leaders is to link mentor faculty, staff, administrators, or students with protégés based on same race and/or gender affiliation and superficial similarities. Almost entirely, protégés’ are matched with mentors with little to no input in who they want to be mentored by. This formal matching process can produce mentor-protégé pairs that have little in common and/or lack a full commitment to one another. For example, a question often posed is whether women should be permitted to mentor male students of color. Well, some men of color may be more open to mentoring relationships with women than they are with men, particularly if they have had poor relationships with their fathers and other male figures while having closer relationships with mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. Similarly, some men may prefer to be mentored by a man as the relationship may allow for ‘different’ types of conversations than may be had with women. Either way, who college men of color want to be mentored by should not be assumed. Organic matching is a clear and suitable alternative to the formal matching approach. In organic matching, mentors and protégés are allowed to self-select who they want to be paired with. Using this approach, program leaders can provide participants with several opportunities to meet mentors in group settings to allow for one-on-one engagement to jointly determine fit. Over the course of a few matching events, mentors and protégés can identify and rank order who they want to work with and be paired accordingly.

These represent some of our suggestions for mentoring programs. Please tell us your ideas about how to effectively design and implement mentoring programs. 

Source: Huffington Post

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Book of the Week | Black Boys: Our Hidden Treasure

Book of the Week | Black Boys: Our Hidden Treasure

Book Of The Week


Overview: Do you know what’s inside your treasure chest? What you become is determined by what’s inside of you! Understanding what’s inside of you will allow you to unlock your hidden treasure. Today, believe that you are great, and your future is full of promise. Your hidden treasure is waiting to be exposed.

Authors: Leslie LewisTy LewisMarcus Williams (Illustrator)

You can purchase it via our website or
It is also available via ebook:


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His Story: Multiplication

His Story: Multiplication

His Story

“The Broccoli Series” is Broccoli City’s section for short, opinionated documentaries, produced by Think Broccoli LLC. These mini – documentaries cover environmental justice and food justice issues in California. These mini films are set to encourage, educate and empower people to take action towards these issues.

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The Village: Our Lives Matter PSA

The Village: Our Lives Matter PSA

Positive Black Male News

JUST US PROJECT Presents “OUR LIVES MATTER” PSA directed by Kiri Laurelle Davis

Many of today’s young men of color are aware that they are targets and could have easily been in the shoes of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown or the many others whose lives were unjustly cut short. How many unarmed youth of color have to die before this is seen, not as an isolated incident, but as a national crisis?

The “Our Lives Matters” project was inspired by the extrajudicial killings of minorities, particularly boys of color who are targeted on a daily basis. Fear of these young men continues to be seen as justification for the use of deadly force. This video project was created to provide a voice for these young men, as they demonstrate what it feels like to wear a target. Filmed this past September, in Harlem, NYC, over 30 African-American and Latino boys, ages 3 to 17 joined together to boldly question and take a stand against racial targeting. youth,

This PSA video is a creative collaboration between the non-profit organization Rootstrong and twenty-five year old award-winning filmmaker, Kiri Laurelle Davis, best known for her short film ‘A Girl Like Me’ featuring the Kenneth Clark “doll test” that garnered national attention.

For more information on this project and ways to support it please visit- and FOLLOW @JustUsProject for new videos and related stories.

Our Lives Matter PSA Crew:

Executive Prod./Director… Kiri Laurelle Davis
Associate Producer…Jennifer Mears
Director of Photography…Mike Tyner
1st AD…Jamal Hodge
2nd AD…Emely Chacon Martinez
Production Coordinator …Nirvana Shaw
Asst. Production Coordinator…Stéphanie Mellissima
1st AC…James Mckenzie
2nd AC…Jameel Timberlake
Key PA…Rob Peterson
Sound… Joseph A. Eulo
Set Photographer…Mario Herring
Editor…Mike Tyner
Asst. Editors…Kiri Laurelle & Matthew Que-Chin
Composer…E. Kovacs
Graphic/Logo Designer…Jada Prather
Volunteers…Kendall Franklin, Crystal L, Sekou Writes, Brittney Oliver,
Ursula Davis, Dejah Lynch, Christina Muhammad, Carletta Goldston.

*Sponsored* by Rootstrong
“Our Lives Matter” PSA
Copyright © 2014 Just Us Project

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His Story: ‘The New Status Quo: Just Don’t Call Me Mister’

His Story: ‘The New Status Quo: Just Don’t Call Me Mister’

His Story

1418d0dI always answer the question, “Who are you?” with “Hello, I’m John P. Turner, a Social Entrepreneur who is creating business solutions to address social problems.” As a young Black man I’m offended when people call me “Mister,” which is often hyphenated as “Mr.” in print, rather than addressing me by how I label myself. Historically, Black men and Black boys have had their dignity diminished by way of being referred to as the “n-word” and “boy.” Historically, Black men and Black boys have not been taken seriously as being intellectually or socially competitive by the general public, in comparison to their counterparts with similar education levels and socioeconomic statuses. Also, my generation of Black men and Black boys, which includes anyone who is thirty-four years old and younger in 2014, isn’t taken seriously as being social change agents. Similarly, people who don’t care about the social plight of Black men and Black boys today are oblivious of my generation’s efforts to effect social equity.

What more should Black men and Black boys be doing to end institutional racism? Why are people only criticizing Black men and Black boys without offering their suggestions as to how we can better make a positive social impact? Why hasn’t my generation of Black men and Black boys been mentored by seasoned social activists to effect the social change they wish to see? Why don’t people take my generation as seriously as they did the young people during the Civil Rights Movement? These are the questions swarming my mind when people call me “Mr.”, instead of how I present myself to the world, as a Social Entrepreneur who is effecting social change. Given these points, the new status quo is that Black men and Black boys are not recognized for their social advocacy efforts and the important community work that they do.

Surely, people describe and define themselves by their title(s) – so that others understand who they are and what they do. So there’s more to a title than just its name. More specifically, titles have the ability to reflect Black men’s and Black boys’ efforts to end social injustice, generational poverty, and community violence. When I walk into any room wherein professionals are present, be they academicians or community organizers, I am questioned about who I am for either one of two reasons: 1) someone doubts that I deserve to be there or 2) someone wants to know what makes me an exception to their general assumptions about young Black men and Black boys. White people used to refer to Black men and Black boys as the “n-word” and later as “boy” to discredit their dignity. Similarly, “Mr.” is used today by some people as the modern evolution of this thought process for the same purpose.

Consider two examples, one is related to President Barack Obama and the other one is a hypothetical example. I cringe at the covert disrespect of people referring to President Barack Obama as “Mr. Obama” instead of “President Obama” as his predecessors were referenced. President Obama’s qualifications and abilities are still questioned and disrespected in a way that is different from his predecessors based on his race. For example, Clint Eastwood joked about President Obama as he spoke to an invisible chair at the 2012 Republican National Convention. In 1952, Ralph Ellison wrote about the social and intellectual challenges of African Americans in his book called Invisible Man. Similarly, President Obama was ridiculed by Clint Eastwood as being invisible, which begs the question, “What qualifies him to be our President?” I guess that being an author, a Harvard-trained Lawyer, as well as a former Senator isn’t enough since he’s not a White man. Indeed, being an influential Black person with a college degree is atypical to some people’s perceptions about Black people. As a second example, some Black men who should be referred to as say “Dr.” are called “Mr..” Now one might give someone the benefit of doubt by concluding, “Well s/he didn’t know.” To which I would respond, “Well how come s/he didn’t ask about who you are first?”

Being called “Mr.” instead of “leader,” “visionary,” or “change agent,” because someone doesn’t view Black men and Black boys as such, will always feel like an insult, a grievance that readily provokes disputation. Being called “Mr.” will always make Black men and Black boys feel less important when their counterparts are referred to as “Activist,” “Philanthropist,” and “Social Entrepreneur,” among other titles. Today, Black men and Black boys are still negatively represented in media as being hypersexualized, violent, and irresponsible. As a result, people of all races don’t care about Black men and Black boys today, just like White people didn’t care about them during the hangings by lynch mobs during the Jim Crow era of the 1960s. Today, people should be boycotting the music artists, business owners, and thought leaders who are not using their influence to end social injustice. To illustrate my point, actor Boris Kodjoe is quoted for once saying, “When you have a platform it’s not a privilege, it’s a responsibility.” Undoubtedly, people with influence should be held accountable for using their social influence to advocate for social changes that will benefit their stakeholders. While there is some social unrest today about the killings of Black men and Black boys by the police, the general public disregards this public health issue as not being their personal problem. Case in point, several murderers have not been charged with and incarcerated for their crime of killing Black men and Black boys- all because people don’t care. While my claims may be dismissed, denying the existence of overt and covert diabolicalness is a conspiracy in itself.

On the other hand, social activists who started their advocacy efforts during the 1960s, or Black men and Black boys who were born around the time of the Civil Rights Movement, feel that my generation is not advocating for social justice. To support their argument, they usually reference the hypersexualization of music videos and the disproportionate number of Black men and Black boys who experience their first-time arrest before reaching the age of twenty-five. However, I completely disagree with the sentiment that my generation is not advocating for social equity. If nothing more, these negative examples support why Black men and Black boys should be mentored. Furthermore, as an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., I can attest to maintaining excellence in scholarship and service to the community. Of course, my fraternity Brothers and I are not reinforcing the negative stereotypes of Black men and Black boys; we are trying to change negativity into positivity through our service to the community. Additionally, I can name at least thirty Black men who are also younger than thirty and are doing big things to benefit the social plight of Black men and Black boys. At 25, people tell me that I am very mature for my age because of my commitment to helping others. However, I simply view my social responsibility to helping others as the standard for Black men and Black boys.

For many reasons, people often refer Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as the epitome of “what [Black men and Black boys] should be doing.” However, social problems do not look the same today as they did during earlier decades. For example, racism is no longer politically correct with the advent of new laws meant to lessen the effects of the historical significance of race in the U.S.. For this reason, people’s prejudices, or stereotypical assumptions, about each other are expressed privately more often now than before civil rights laws were enacted. Since the way that U.S. social problems look has changed, the efforts of Black men and Black boys to address them look differently as well. More specifically, the U.S. socio-political circumstances have changed since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The social activism of Black men and Black boys today occurs through illustrations on social media platforms and the provision of social services, in addition to traditional social protests. Therefore, there’s no lack of social activism in my generation, it’s that Black men and Black boys aren’t given credit for what they do. For example, I participated in a nonviolent social protest on Tuesday, November 25, 2014. I walked two miles with over 200 people, most of whom were college students under the age of twenty-five years old down the middle of a busy street in Philadelphia, PA. Five helicopters circled us overhead and there were about 50 police officers in the area who were blocking off streets and ensuring our safety while protesting peacefully. However, this social protest was not shown on any local or national news reports. While we didn’t do this for a pat on the back, this example serves as just one of many numerous ways that Black men and Black boys are advocating for social change. With this in mind, people should call my generation of Black men and Black boys social change agents or social activists because of our social advocacy efforts.

In conclusion, it’s important that people be addressed by how they present themselves professionally. There are no second chances at a first impression, so Black men and Black boys must take advantage of every opportunity to educate people. The media gets an overwhelming number of opportunities to serve as the library for people’s negative attitudes towards Black men and Black boys. Therefore, Black men and Black boys have a social responsibility to debunk stereotypes through their conversations and social action. In order for Black men and Black boys to be taken seriously, they must acknowledge the new status quo and overwhelm people with positives examples of their thinking and behavior, so that we aren’t just called “Mr.”

About the Author:  John P. Turner is the founder of WeDoBigThings, a benefit corporation that is based on the for-profit corporate philosophy of using strategic planning and program evaluations to benefit low-income communities. Founded in 2011, WeDoBigThings provides medical and counseling services, career day events, and fundraising initiatives for youth. Due to his advocacy efforts in the non-profit sector, Mr. Turner is often sought to speak on diverse topics ranging from mental illness and violence prevention to corporate turnarounds and branding. Furthermore, Mr. Turner is currently a Contributing Writer at SEE Change Magazine and has written for the Men With Locs blog, among other publications. In recognition of his community service, Mr. Turner has been featured by the OIC of America and the Rutgers University School of Social Work, the Philadelphia Tribune newspaper, as well as by the Young Men’s Perspective (YMP) and the Young Black Experience (YBE) Magazines, as well as other key media outlets. As a Social Entrepreneur, Mr. Turner’s career passion is to present sustainable solutions to social problems through news commentaries, talk show interviews, research publications, and grassroots campaigns.

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His Story: Ferguson Is Everywhere For Brown Boys

His Story: Ferguson Is Everywhere For Brown Boys

His Story

“So, I got stopped by a cop today.”

I heard these words from my teenaged son, Anthony, one humid night in August 2011, words a mother never wants to hear. These words echoed in my head the night prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced the grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. I did not have the strength to watch the grand jury decision. I could sense in my bones what the outcome would be and I knew my reaction would leave me tired and weary. So, I logged on to Twitter and let the tweets unfold in front of me.

I could not help but think about my son as I watched tweet after tweet flood my timeline. My son, Anthony, is about Michael Brown’s height and weight. He also started college in August, just like Michael was supposed to start the Monday after he was killed. Anthony played football at Hillhouse High School and is a musician, studying to be a music teacher. Anthony has also had a run-in with police.

It was just after Hurricane Irene and Anthony and I were staying at a hotel in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. The town was completely out of power. I worked long hours at 211 but felt relieved knowing my son was right next door if he needed me.

Anthony, stuck in the room with no power and a restless dog, decided to venture out to the only place in Rocky Hill that had power, the Stop & Shop. He put one ear bud in his ear, put his hands in his pockets and headed up the hill to the grocery store. He crossed Silas Deane Highway fairly quickly, since there was not anyone driving in the aftermath of the hurricane. He was the only person out walking in the street.

A police car pulled up next to him and an officer rolled down his window. He asked Anthony where he was from and where he was going.  Anthony told him he was going to Stop & Shop and that he was from New Haven but staying in town at a hotel with me because I worked at 211 and needed to get to work. The officer asked Anthony how much money he had on him. Anthony told him: seven dollars. The officer asked what Anthony planned on buying with just seven dollars and Anthony said, “I’m going to buy a Lunchable.” The officer let out a surprised laugh and told Anthony to be safe, then drove off. Anthony went on his way and enjoyed his snack.

When I got off my long shift that night, Anthony was in the lobby waiting to tell me this story. At first I laughed, because leave it to my 15-year old giant football player to walk up a hill for a Lunchable after a hurricane. But then, I gathered my senses and the  anger and worry was there. I can certainly understand the intent behind the stop, the need of an officer to make sure people are safe on his beat. But asking questions about the amount of money he had and what he planned on doing with the money crossed a line I am not comfortable with at all.

I thought about all the things that could have gone wrong. My eyes burned. The fear that gnawed at me his entire life sprouted arms and legs, climbed my spine and settled itself right on my shoulder. All parents worry about their children; it can’t be helped. But the burdens brought on by institutional racism only multiple the worry for the parents of beautiful, brown children.

These feelings necessitated  that I use the event as a  “teachable moment” to reiterate how he should properly respond to law enforcement, how he was in charge of keeping himself safe in these situations, how this would not be the last time he got questioned about where he was from and where he was going. I told him I wished it wasn’t going to be so hard for him, a beautiful, kind, intelligent brown boy.

There are so many similarities between Anthony and Michael Brown; it’s absolutely astounding how alike they are. Their body structure. Their walk. Anthony is Michael Brown. I have fits of worry so intense I cannot breathe sometimes. All I can do is exhale, send him out with wisdom, common sense and love and pray it is enough armour to bring him home safely.

About Tonya Wiley: Writer, trainer and consultant Tonya Wiley taps into her inner Wonder Woman by fighting for health equity for all. Find her on Twitter nerding out on pop culture and engaging in varied conversations. Learn more about Tonya here.


Originally posted on

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Book of the Week | Justice While Black: Helping African-American Families Navigate and Survive the Criminal Justice System by Robbin Shipp

Book of the Week | Justice While Black: Helping African-American Families Navigate and Survive the Criminal Justice System by Robbin Shipp

Book Of The Week

JusticeWhileBlack_cvrJustice While Black is a must-read for every young black male in America—and for everyone else who cares about their survival and well-being. This is a first-of-its-kind essential guide for African-American families about how to understand the criminal justice system, and about why that system continues to see black men as targets—and as dollar signs.

The book provides practical, straightforward advice on how to deal with specific legal situations: the threat of arrest, being arrested, being in custody, preparing for and undergoing a trial, and navigating the appeals and parole process. The primary goal of this book is to become a primer for African Americans on how to avoid becoming ensnared in the criminal justice system.

While the precarious safely of black males has received renewed interest in the past year because of the deaths of teenagers Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, the fact is that this group has always been under threat from the armed guardians of the white social order. The tactics have been modernized, but the impact is still devastating—we are witnessing an epic criminalization of the African-American community at levels never before seen since the end of slavery.

To purchase the book Click Here

About the Author: Robbin Shipp, Esq., is an attorney in Decatur, Georgia. She lives in Atlanta with her daughter. Nick Chiles has won more than a dozen major journalism awards, including a Pulitzer Prize as a newspaper reporter in New York City. He is the author or co-author of 12 books, including two New York Times bestsellers, one co-written with Rev. Al Sharpton and one with gospel superstar Kirk Franklin. He lives in Atlanta.

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His Story: 3 Benefits of a National Conversation about Black Males and Police Power

His Story: 3 Benefits of a National Conversation about Black Males and Police Power

His Story

police-abuse-of-powerToo many Black male lives are being lost at the hands of White police officers abusing their power.  The lives of Black boys and men matter.  Their lives matter enough to have a serious national discourse about how their lives are increasingly threatened by abused police power.  Democrats, Republicans and Independents must genuinely participate in this national conversation.  Police officers are charged with the noble responsibility of protecting and serving the American people—not doing unlawful harm to them.  Black boys and men are Americans and deserve the same equal and quality protection and service that every American has a right to enjoy.  Many White police officers, however, haven’t gotten the memo about their responsibility to apply justice equally and fairly among all Americans, including Black boys and men.  Clear thinking Americans must call for a national discourse to take place about abused police power and its impact on Black boys and men.  What follows is a list of three of many benefits of having a national discourse about the problems with many police officers abusing their power when interacting with Black boys and men.

1. Increase Confidence in Police Officers in Minority Communities

If more confidence in police officers is to emerge from minority communities across the nation, then an authentic national discourse about police abuse of power must take place.  Many racial and ethnic minorities want the nation to hear their voices about how they lack faith in numerous White police officers’ willingness to serve and protect them.  Many minorities posit that police officers are out for their destruction.  This hostility that exists between many in minority communities and the police can only be positively addressed by having a genuine national discourse about it, and then implementing policies at the local, state, and federal levels to respond to credible problems.

2. Dramatically Reduce the Number of Senseless Police Killings of Black Males

Again, the lives of Black boys and men matter.  Too many Black boys and men are being murdered by police officers because they’re being unfairly targeted by many White police officers.  If America doesn’t get serious about police officers’ unjustified killings of Black males, then this country is headed down a terrible and bloody road to race wars between Whites and Blacks, leading to unnecessary losses of precious lives.  A national discourse about these senseless murders of Black boys and men can lead to important solutions about how better to prevent and fight against these injustices.

3. Help to Improve Racial Divides between Blacks and Whites Caused by Police

Unfortunately, unnecessary walls are erected between numerous Blacks and Whites because of intentionally nefarious actions of White police officers against Black boys and men.  We shouldn’t allow the racism of many police officers to divide those of us who aren’t racists.  A national conversation about police abuse of power engenders an opportunity to separate the racists from the non-racists.


In America, we continue to avoid having the important discourses we need to have as a nation.  It seems that vital conversations needing to take place at the local, state, and federal levels aren’t happening because countless individuals lack the courage to engage in these difficult conversations.  The American people will grow more divided by avoiding essential race matters.  We don’t magically become more united by abandoning discussions about race—we continue to grow farther apart by neglecting frank discourses about race.

Let’s have an honest national conversation about police abuse of power when interacting with Black boys and men.  Our country will be better for having this conversation.

About the Author:  Antonio Maurice Daniels, a Ph.D. student and Research Associate in Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My dominant research interests are the academic achievement of Black male students throughout the educational pipeline and ecological sustainability in higher and postsecondary education.

Revolutionary Paideia is a cultural commentary blog offering daily pieces on many diverse topics, including education, sports, personal development, black culture, popular culture, and current events. You can have all daily pieces from Revolutionary Paideia arrive in your email inbox daily by subscribing to the site (the location is on the left side of the homepage). Follow me on Twitter here: Also, follow Revolutionary Paideia on Facebook here: Revolutionary Paideia.

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His Story: Don’t Give Up on Your Mentees

His Story: Don’t Give Up on Your Mentees

His Story

mentoringEffective mentors never give up on their mentees.  Your mentees may make mistake after mistake, but they still need great mentors in their lives to continue to encourage them to do better.  We all have made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes.  Your punishment for your mentee, therefore, shouldn’t be to abandon him or her.  Too many phony mentors stop mentoring their mentees when the mentees aren’t performing well.  Many of these phony mentors simply desire to brag about what they’ve done for their mentees, so when the mentees are struggling to progress, this prevents them from engaging in vain self-promotion.  Your mentee should never have to wander around and search for a new mentor, and/or seek the guidance of another mentor simply because you don’t feel like being bothered with him or her any longer.

Authentic and effective mentors never make mentoring about them—they always make it about those they mentor.

To be an effective mentor, you have to have a true love for helping people.  The person you’re mentoring needs your help and love.  When you’re a selfish mentor, you lack the love necessary to be useful not only to your mentee but also to yourself.  True mentors don’t engage in self-aggrandizement; they aren’t vain people. You have some pathetic mentors who don’t want their mentees to have achievements greater than their own.

Mentoring is serious business.  If you’re not truly interested in helping people to progress in their various endeavors, then stop calling yourself a “mentor” and stop pretending like you’re so serious about mentoring. You need to recognize when you shouldn’t be mentoring anyone; you’re the one who needs to be mentored.

No one said mentoring is easy.  You’re going to experience some challenges and problems while mentoring. Those challenges and problems shouldn’t cause you to become a coward and run away from them and your mentees. Those problems and challenges should come to make you an even more effective mentor by you learning to tackle them boldly and directly.  Too many of our vulnerable young people are being lost because mentors are giving up on them.  Many mentors often give up on these young people simply because they sometimes didn’t do what the mentors told them to do.  Well, how many times did your mother and/or father tell you to do something and you didn’t do it? Exactly. Did your mother and/or father give up on you?  Why give up on your mentees then?

Your mentee shouldn’t feel more comfortable talking to another mentor and seeking the guidance of another mentor more than you.  When this happens, you’ve done some things that have made your mentee lack confidence in you.  One of the ways you can cause your mentee to lack confidence in you is to avoid him or her.  Constantly letting the mentee’s calls get answered by voicemail is a sure way to evince your disinterest. Stop avoiding his or her calls and be honest with him or her about how you’re feeling. Communicate your displeasures with him or her.  Don’t be afraid to demand him or her to do better than he or she is currently doing.  If you’re going to be an effective mentor, then you have to be willing to have frank discourses with your mentees.  Although the conversations may be unpleasant at first, they will learn how beneficial it is for you to be open and candid with them.

If your mentee seems to change his or her mind frequently about career goals, don’t become frustrated with him or her.  View this as an opportunity to assist them in becoming more focused and committed to specific career aspirations.  Working in collaboration with your mentee, devise a plan to aid him or her in accomplishing career aspirations.  He or she will have some specific things to work towards and focus on, diminishing those proclivities to shift frequently from one desired career to another.  If you give your mentee time to talk to you, you may discover that it’s really not changes in career goals he or she really has but simply a longing to have someone listen to him or her.  To be an effective mentor, you have to recognize when your mentee simply needs to talk to someone, and the successful mentor makes himself available to listen.

When another mentor has to devote a significant amount of more time to your mentee than you spend with him or her, you’re simply a pathetic mentor.  What you need to do is go back and sincerely assess whether you were committed to being a mentor in the first place.  Don’t let your failure to be there for your mentee result in him or her becoming a victim of depression, which can lead him or her to committing suicide.  Do you really want that on your conscious?

Your mentee needs you.  Don’t give up on him or her.

About the Author:  Antonio Maurice Daniels, a Ph.D. student and Research Associate in Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My dominant research interests are the academic achievement of Black male students throughout the educational pipeline and ecological sustainability in higher and postsecondary education.

Revolutionary Paideia is a cultural commentary blog offering daily pieces on many diverse topics, including education, sports, personal development, black culture, popular culture, and current events. You can have all daily pieces from Revolutionary Paideia arrive in your email inbox daily by subscribing to the site (the location is on the left side of the homepage). Follow me on Twitter here: Also, follow Revolutionary Paideia on Facebook here: Revolutionary Paideia.

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Positive Black Male News: Chuck D gives high school dropouts tough love on ‘Dream School’

Positive Black Male News: Chuck D gives high school dropouts tough love on ‘Dream School’

Positive Black Male News

Article by: by 

Chuck D, co-founder and leader of the legendary rap group Public Enemy, rapper 50 Cent, and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver have teamed up to executive produce season 2 of a reality TV series all about second chances, Dream School.

The show, which debuts on SundanceTV Wednesday at 10/9c, follows a group troubled teens in a high school where the teachers are celebrities, including 50 Cent, Chuck D, Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, lawyer and rights activist Gloria Allred and more.

“My goal is the tell them that they can accent on their positive, because the obstacles are obvious… You can leave a lasting sting or a lasting impression,” Chuck D said in an exclusive Dream School clip provided to theGrio. “Coming in and speaking to these students, you gotta be sharp, you gotta be quick, and when it’s time to talk, you better nail it.”

According to SundanceTV, the stakes are high for season 2 of Dream School: “The faculty is famous. The kids are dropouts. Will they succeed and change the course of these kids’ lives? Or will they get schooled by a group of students who are unimpressed and unwilling to follow even basic school rules?”

Follow ‘Dream School’ on Twitter @DreamSchool.

Follow’s Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon on Twitter @WitherspoonC.

Source The Grio

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Positive Black Male News: Morehouse Researchers Create Analytics Tool To Reduce Black Youth Incarceration

Positive Black Male News: Morehouse Researchers Create Analytics Tool To Reduce Black Youth Incarceration

Campus Kings

Celebration2013-web-301-600x400Faculty and student researchers at Morehouse College are measuring juvenile detention reform programs nationwide to quickly analyze and list sites with the highest success rate of keeping Black youth out of prison.

Their work is the result of a new data analytics program created in the Morehouse Computing Research Center Lab, which uses visualization technology to graph and highlight statistics produced by more than 200 juvenile detention and youth facilities around the country.

The program allows for legal, social work and legislative officials to see programs with high success rates in changing the lives of at-risk Black youth.

“The tool works by creating dynamic graphs and charts based on data collected by juvenile detention centers across the nation,” said Kinnis Gosha, assistant professor of computer science and director of the Morehouse Computer Research Center Lab. “Now sites are able to look at years’ work of data to see what initiatives and reforms are working and which ones are not. It was developed in my research lab using JavaScript, MySQL and CanvasJS languages. There is no tool like this in the nation.”

Source: HBCU Digest

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Boys II Men: Harlem teen cashes in with ‘Sneaker Pawn’

Boys II Men: Harlem teen cashes in with ‘Sneaker Pawn’

Boys II Men

by Todd Simley

While most teenagers are enjoying the summer break, 16-year-old Chase Reed is working hard at his New York City business, “Sneaker Pawn.”

The two-month-old shop, located on 120th Street and Lenox Avenue, deals exclusively in sneakers, allowing those looking for quick cash to pawn their kicks.

Chase and his father, Troy Reed, created the business after Chase on several occasions asked to borrow money from his dad just days after they stood in long lines together to get the latest, limited edition sneakers.

“What I would tell him is, ‘listen gimme a pair of those sneakers I just bought you and I’m gonna hold them and you have a week or two weeks to pay me back my money,’” says Troy.

They did this a couple times, and Troy recalls his son saying to him, “You know, Dad, you basically making me pawn you my sneakers.” That statement started the wheels turning, and Sneaker Pawn was born.

When customers come in looking to pawn their sneakers, the shop places a value on them, and a deal is negotiated.

“You have 90 days to come back and get your sneaker,” says Chase. “Of course, if you don’t want your sneaker, you just sell it.”

If customers want their sneakers back, they pay the same price they pawned them for plus the monthly $20 storage fee.

The shop also buys, sells, customizes and refurbishes sneakers.

But when it comes to pawns and purchases for the shop, Chase and Rahsaan Capers, the resident sneaker experts, are only looking for “high-end” kicks that are well kept and hard to find.

“First, I’m looking for the kind of sneaker it is. If it’s a Jordan, Foamposite, or something rare I haven’t seen before,” says Capers. “We look for the wear and tear of it. If it’s heel burn … sock burn.”

And this keen eye for what’s hot and what’s not is a valuable commodity in the resale market.

“I bought a pair for $30 dollars and sold them for $300,” says Chase. “This is the Lebron 10. This is the crown jewels. These are worth $1,200.”

Sneaker analyst Matt Powell of SportsOneSource says the resale market was roughly one-percent of the $22 billion sneaker industry in the U.S. last year.

“The resale market, meaning the after-market sale in the U.S., is about $200 million at retail,” says Powell.

Though it’s only a small percentage of this larger market, when translated to dollars, it could mean big profits for a small business owner.

Chase, meanwhile, is already thinking big, looking to build his brand overseas.

“We would like to go out to other countries and expand over there, such as France,” says the soon-to-be 11th grader. “We have customers calling from Germany … Australia. We definitely have a market waiting for us outside the country.”

But for now, Chase and his dad are taking the sneaker game by storm right from their Harlem neighborhood.

Source: The Grio

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Positive Black Male News: A 13-year-old mother, a murdered father and a scholarship to Yale

Positive Black Male News: A 13-year-old mother, a murdered father and a scholarship to Yale

Boys II Men

-14ead52d78e48c6eBy: By Danielle Dreilinger, | The Times-Picayune

Leonard Galmon’s favorite artwork from his senior year, his first and only year at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, was on display this spring at the Contemporary Arts Center. The three-dimensional painting-collage shows a young man in a gray hoodie, his shoulders hunched, looking back at the viewer. On the ground behind him is a gun. The young man’s shadow stretches over it.

To the artist, it’s a simple exhortation: Walk away from trouble.

If Leonard, 17, had grown up in different circumstances, there are things that would have come to him as a matter of course. Enough food for the whole family, all month long. A good school. An art class with proper supplies. For most of his life, he had none of these things. What he had was a family that loved him, a library, a school, an art class. He made the most of them, until he at last saw a way to something more.

Leonard Galmon — artist, oldest of six children, son of a 13-year-old girl and a murdered drug dealer, veteran of one of the worst schools in New Orleans — is going to Yale.

When he wrote his college essay, “We were told to think about stability and instability.” Leonard said. “I got to thinking about my life. It hasn’t ever been stable.”

He doesn’t remember his father, Leonard Morgan. Though “he wasn’t exactly a model citizen,” as Leonard puts it — he sold drugs — he was liked by everyone except Leonard’s great-grandmother. She wanted to have him arrested when Morgan, 19, got her very young granddaughter, Wanda, pregnant. Like his son, Morgan was quiet but smiled a lot. He would watch the boy while Wanda was at high school. When Leonard was 4, his father was killed on the streets of the Magnolia public housing development, on a bright, sunny day with hundreds of people around.

When speaking of those days, Leonard unconsciously slips into the second person.

You always ran out of food stamps before the end of the month. Sometimes you came home to find the electricity turned off. Sometimes you bunked with friends and family. You never had any money of your own. If you found a $20 on the street, you brought it right home for the family.

As the oldest child, Leonard cooked and helped with homework, filling, in a child’s way, the role of the head of the household. “Life wasn’t easy, but I always knew at least one other kid, someone else, who had it worse,” he said. “I don’t want people feeling sorry for me.”

Occasionally he wondered whether stealing or dealing might make sense. The drug dealers were surrogate fathers in a way, maintainers of order and community. They’d tell your mom if you misbehaved and give you a dollar to get something at the store.

“Your parents always told you it was a bad thing — don’t do this, don’t do that — but sometimes your parents were the people doing these things,” Leonard said. “It felt very normal. Now, I know that’s not normal.”

His uncle, Alfred Galmon, remembers standing, one nephew in either arm — Leonard, 4, and Joseph, 2 — holding them up to see their father’s casket. Galmon knew he’d have to be their father figure now.

It didn’t work out that way. Galmon said he made mistakes for many years, chose the wrong route. Leonard said that for most of his life, his uncle wasn’t the best role model.

But he did teach Leonard how to draw.

For 9-year-old Leonard, Hurricane Katrina was an adventure: leaving their building when it started to shake, the sight of the building afterwards with its wall ripped off, the night they slept on the Claiborne Avenue bridge, the walk across to the West Bank pushing the youngest, a newborn, in a shopping basket.

Then it was a blessing. “I know Katrina was, like, a really bad thing. But it opened my eyes to a lot of stuff. I realized the world was much bigger than New Orleans,” he said.

In Houston, the young black ex-pat from New Orleans made his first non-black friend, a Hispanic boy. He began reading three or four books a week; the family called him Novelhead. He started to think about his future. “I became very optimistic. I believe people can do whatever they want. I always knew I was going to do something. I just never knew what.”

The promise of urban education is that a good school can change the trajectory of a child’s life. Professional educators, say reformers, can provide the crucial assistance for students who want to go far beyond what their parents accomplished, students whose parents desperately want them to go to college but sometimes haven’t been able to help with their homework for years. Reformers hope a good school can create a road map to reach dreams, like the ones Leonard was beginning to have.

Leonard came back to New Orleans and enrolled in one of the worst schools in the city.

To Leonard’s understanding, the family returned to town a few weeks after classes began for his freshman year. Many schools were full. Walter L. Cohen High still had room, however, and it was right down the street from their home. It also gave students only a 38 percent chance of graduating in four years. The only city school with a lower grade on the state’s report card had closed over the summer.

“It wasn’t a good school at all. My first day there was, like, a riot,” he said. Sometimes there was no permanent teacher, just a succession of substitutes. Sometimes he had to teach himself the material. There were no advanced classes. Cohen High got smaller each year as the state Recovery School District moved towards closing it, and remained an F school.

As if to add insult to injury, in 2012 a new charter school opened upstairs: Cohen College Prep. Its staff painted the dingy walls a clean, bright white and plastered them with college pennants.

Downstairs at Leonard’s school, Cohen High, some of the teachers were good. “Obviously I learned at the school because I didn’t just become smart this year,” Leonard said. But “I probably could have been way smarter if I had gone to a real high school. That school didn’t feel real. We played around a lot.”

Nonetheless, he stayed. Maybe he needed some stability after those unstable years and the Katrina disruption. He’d become shy. He stayed even though the family moved farther away to the 9th Ward, a one-hour, 45-minute commute.

He thought about applying to NOCCA at the end of freshman year, for writing, but found he’d missed the deadline. Instead of going to NOCCA for his sophomore year, he joined the Cohen High art class.

It took place in a cinderblock room cluttered with desks, with one window and one easel that the teacher brought from home. Only five or six kids wanted to take the class. There weren’t a lot of assignments. It wasn’t a very serious endeavor.

The teacher gave Leonard paint. He picked up a brush. The world unfolded before his eyes. His first painting was chosen for a Contemporary Arts Center youth exhibit.

During the summer after his sophomore year, he sat in his new room at home — the first he’d ever had to himself, after living seven people in a shotgun — and drew faces over and over.

All the upheaval in New Orleans public education since Katrina — the state takeover of 80 percent of the city’s schools, the extensive school closures that rend holes in a neighborhood and in people’s memories, the charters that come and go, the long bus rides — has a goal: a better future for the children. Leonard would certainly have graduated from Cohen and probably gone to some college or another. But the new system is supposed to provide more. It’s supposed to grasp the Leonards of the world like an arrow in a bow, to point them at their target, to pull back and let fly.

At the last possible moment, in junior year, Leonard identified his target. Cohen High “was comfortable. But college — I needed to go to college,” he said, and “I knew I would need a lot of help.” Of his three art-class friends, all seniors, one was going to Southern University in Baton Rouge, one possibly to Delgado Community College, the third to work.

Leonard decided to switch schools, twice over. He applied to NOCCA’s half-day art program for his senior year. And though some of his Cohen High classmates felt animosity toward Cohen College Prep, the charter they thought was squeezing them out, Leonard thought the newer school would split the difference: a strong college focus, but in the same building. He thought it would be a way to change without changing too much.

Everything changed.

The Cohen College Prep counselors had him apply to top schools, schools he’d never imagined: Wesleyan, Brown. Yale chose him, and he chose Yale. “That’s crazy. I was in denial — I couldn’t believe it at first,” he said. Above that, he was one of only 26 of 5,500 applicants to win a Ron Brown Scholarship, which provides extra money plus support to keep promising future black leaders on track.

Leonard isn’t really sure why all these good things came to him. Sure, he had the highest ACT score of any student in either Cohen High or Cohen College Prep: a 28 out of 36 maximum, putting him in the 90th percentile. “I worked hard. I never feel like I work as hard as other people, though,” he said. “I’ve never considered myself an over-achiever.”

Sitting on the floor of a storage closet at NOCCA, he paged through some of the pieces he made this year. His descriptions are peppered with the word “first”: his first screenprint, his first time painting in oils, his first sculpture, first photography class, first woodcut. The first day of class, he swallowed hard and pinned up his work to be critiqued, certain he wasn’t very good.

There’s a picture he made this spring of his neighborhood, a piece he singed around the edges, juxtaposing disaster and recovery. He regrets he didn’t make it as elaborate as he envisioned, but at the time he had to visit Yale and Tufts. There are still lifes from the levee where he went on a class field trip.

There are assignments he took literally, like the one to make a self-portrait of himself without a head. In that work, Leonard sits in his favorite armchair, wearing his favorite black Converse high-top sneakers, surrounded by stacks of his favorite books (lots of Stephen King) plus some books he hasn’t read yet but wants to — and no head. Several classmates had more creative interpretations of the assignment, he said.

Now he’s trying to convey messages with his work. Was it successful, the piece on layers of transparent plastic, with a United States flag and a politician smirking and extending his hand? Even with the hoodie-and-gun piece, one viewer thought the man had shot someone and dropped the gun.

If they don’t work, that’s OK. “I can always appreciate that I tried it. I can learn from my mistakes,” Leonard said. “I don’t know what I can or can’t do.”

His NOCCA classmates motivated him. Some of them have found their creative voice, he said, but he hasn’t. When he compares his work to theirs, “I’m good, but I’m not the best. I like that. I like still having a way to go.”

But there is a throughline Leonard doesn’t see in his work: the extraordinary faces, the skin mottled in red paint, greens, blues, unlikely elements carefully put together to seem not only natural but inevitable.

He said he already knew how to make art. He just needed to be shown how. All he needed were the ideas, the techniques, the tools, opportunity, guidance.

At the NOCCA year-end art show, almost everyone shows off their own pictures to their family. Leonard pointed out his new friends’ work. He moved easily in the halls, in the beautiful, professional environment — soaring ceilings, skylights, windows, printing equipment, tall sturdy easels — and the multiracial crowd, many members wearing uniforms from the region’s most elite public and private schools. It was easier to make friends at NOCCA, Leonard said, because he could always go up and start a conversation with anyone about art.

Leonard’s artwork is filled with his siblings. They sometimes fall asleep in his room. In one piece, a younger boy hunches over his Christmas scooter, scowling. His sister sleeps, sucking her thumb. His youngest sibling’s stuffed tiger sits on a chair. Timothy daydreams under a tree. Joseph walks away from a gun.

His family knows he’s going somewhere they can’t really imagine. “I’m 38, and I’ve never been around nobody who went to no Yale,” said Galmon, the uncle, shaking his head. “Never thought I’d see that … Yale. That four-letter word means a lot.”

He’s walking away. But they don’t see it as Leonard leaving them behind. He’s their surrogate dad, their role model, their pride.

“As long as I’m standing, I’m going to push him, because his success is my success, too,” Galmon said. He wishes Leonard’s father “were still here to see this. This would have been the ultimate happiness for him.”

Leonard thinks about his father a lot. As he takes his next steps to Connecticut, to art and to whatever comes beyond the target, his father’s story is never far, always there to consider at a quiet moment.

He said, “I’m just wondering about what kind of man I will be.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the brother depicted in the artwork of a boy daydreaming under a tree.


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Positive Black Male News: 14-year-old saves elderly man, dog from Fairfield fire  Read more

Positive Black Male News: 14-year-old saves elderly man, dog from Fairfield fire Read more

Boys II Men


FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KCRA) —A 14-year-old boy smelled smoke while inside a Fairfield apartment and immediately jumped into action — saving an elderly man and a dog from the fire, officials said Monday.

Just before 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Latrell McCockran was at his friend’s apartment at 1990 Grande Circle when the four-alarm apartment blaze broke out, according to the Fairfield Fire Department.

Watch report: 14-year-old boy smelled smoke, jumped into action

A smoky smell hit Latrell first, so he grabbed one of the fire extinguishers.

The teen then spotted an elderly, disabled man struggling to get out of a smoke-filled apartment unit. So Latrell went inside and helped the man escape.

“I ran from up here (on the second floor),” he told KCRA 3 on Monday, recalling the weekend blaze. “I kicked that fire extinguisher in. I saw the old guy stumbling, so I picked him up and took him down there, to where the other guys were. I gave him water and a chair.”

The man told Latrell that his dog remained in the unit, and there might be children trapped inside the building, as well. So Latrell went back in with his father.

“I went back where the dog was – back into the room where the furniture was,” Latrell said. “I opened the door and the dog came out.”

The 14-year-old then went back a third time to make sure absolutely everyone had escaped.

“I tied my shirt around my mouth and got on the floor, because you couldn’t see nothing at the top,” Latrell said. “So, I got down on the ground and called out about five or six times — nobody answered.”

When asked whether he ever felt scared, Latrell said fear is just a state of mind.

“It’s not right to sit there and watch someone die,” he said. “That would sit on me for the rest of my life and I can’t do that.”

Latrell suffered minor injuries and smoke inhalation — and was taken to a hospital by his mother, fire officials said.

Latrell’s brother also helped get people out of the building. No one else was found to be inside the complex.

KCRA 3′s Claire Doan contributed to this report.

Source: Read more and Watch Video:

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Boys II Men: North Carolina teen accepted into 7 Ivy League schools

Boys II Men: North Carolina teen accepted into 7 Ivy League schools

Boys II Men

By: Janae Frazier

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Thousands of students apply to Ivy League schools, but very few are accepted. Wilmington native Patrick Peoples has the distinct honor of getting into seven of them.

Peoples is a senior at the Lyceum Academy of New Hanover High School and said he is thrilled to have been accepted to Princeton University, Yale University, Columbia University, Brown University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.

“No one ever expects to get in,” Peoples admitted.

With acceptance rates as low as six percent, just getting into one Ivy League is a huge accomplishment.

“I just wanted to apply,” Peoples explained. “Maybe I’ll get into one, maybe just maybe.”

Patrick’s AP English teacher Catherine Edmonds says Peoples has earned his spot.

“He’s personable, he’s responsible, he has a complete and utter interest of what happens in the world, and he’s bound to make changes,” Edmonds said.

Change is what Peoples hopes to achieve with a degree in public policy and economics.

“I have a big passion for social justice,” Peoples said. “So when I see things that can be fixed or when I see people that don’t have the opportunity that I’ve had, it really makes me want to go up as far as I can and reach back and help people.”

Peoples is also editor in chief of his yearbook and heavily involved in Boy Scouts, student government and the Young Democrats.

In addition to the Ivy league schools, Peoples was also accepted to Duke University, Davidson College, the University of Chicago and was one of two New Hanover High School students to receive the Morehead-Cain Scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Peoples is finishing up his college visits and will have to decide where he will study by May 1.

Source: Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.


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Boys II Men: Illinois’ Central High School Black Males create video “Suit & Tie in the 217″

Boys II Men: Illinois’ Central High School Black Males create video “Suit & Tie in the 217″

Boys II Men

A Counter-Narrative on Black Male Students: At Central High School’s Black History Month Celebration, the Central and Centennial High School African-American Clubs released a joint video countering the negative images of young African-American males in the media. The students affirmed the following in a video highlighting the successes of young black males within the District:
• We are not gangsters and thugs.
• We are employees and volunteers.
• We are scholars.
• We are athletes.
“The negative stories told daily in the media and in our culture about our young African-American men tend to ignore their successes and don’t tell the full story about how young Black men are becoming leaders within our community schools,” said Central School Social Worker and African-American Club Sponsors Tiffany Gholson and Barbara Cook, who worked with the students on this effort. “In this video, our students reclaim the narrative of who they are and inspire other students to follow in their footsteps.” In our assembly, we addressed the State of the Youth and highlighted what Black students have overcome from a historical perspective. The assembly also highlighted how overcoming those obstacles has helped make America stronger and urged students of all backgrounds to carry the torch for future generations.
*Video Production by Sam Ambler of Ambler Video
*Champaign Central High School & Centennial High School African-American Clubs
*Inspired by the men of Alpha Phi Alpha–Tau Chapter
*Music “Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake

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His Story: Raise Him Up: A Single Mother’s Guide to Raising a Successful Black Man: A Review

His Story: Raise Him Up: A Single Mother’s Guide to Raising a Successful Black Man: A Review

Book Of The Week

raise-him-upIn Raise Him Up: A Single Mother’s Guide to Raising a Successful Black Man (2013), Stephanie Perry Moore offers the reader some personal insights about the struggles single black women face rearing successful black boys who develop into men.  Extensive research has empirically proven that black male students academically lag behind all of their peers throughout every level of education.  The narratives of single black women who rear black boys receive limited focus in the professional literature.  This book, therefore, provides a needed account of the challenges and problems encountered by single black women rearing black boys, especially their efforts to rear successful black boys who evolve into successful black men.  Moore contends that using spiritual instruction and guidance available in the bible is essential to producing successful black boys and men.  The author relies heavily on the Book of Acts to support her suggestions and arguments.  She gives the reader prayers they can use in their work with their black male child.  One chapter is devoted to rearing a successful black male student-athlete.

While the book offers important practical challenges and problems encountered by single black mothers rearing black boys, Moore made a poor strategic choice of employing the Book of Acts as her primary source for biblical support for the things she suggested and asserted.  The biblical support is simply forced throughout the work.  The chapter on rearing a successful black male student-athlete appears tacked on and lacks adequate coverage.  The chapter on rearing a successful black male student-athlete would have been better as a separate, standalone project.

Overall, the book leaves much more to be desired.  This book is a classic case of a good idea not executed well.  During the review process of this book, someone should have made a compelling case to Moore to buttress her biblical support for her arguments and advice by choosing more relevant scriptures to enhance her arguments and advice.  Although there are some nice qualities about the book, I cannot highly recommend the book because of its many failures.

BookLook Bloggers gave me a complimentary copy of the book to compose a professional review of it.

About the Author: Antonio Maurice Daniels is a Ph.D. student and Research Associate in Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His dominant research interests are the academic achievement of Black male students throughout the educational pipeline, especially Black male college student-athletes, and ecological sustainability in higher and postsecondary education. This is a cultural commentary blog offering frequently published pieces on many diverse topics, including education, sports, literature, film, music, black culture, popular culture, self-help, and etc. He has published widely in academic publications and popular online publications, including Soul Train,Mused MagazineHealthy Black Men MagazineThe Black Man CanThe ExaminerFor The Masses and Up 4 Discussion.

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Boys II Men

By: Chip Johnson

When Akintunde Ahmad walked into the library at Oakland Technical High School to talk to Yale University recruiters making their annual East Bay stop in January, some of the other student hopefuls turned and stared.

With dreadlocks draping his shoulders, and his 6-foot-1 frame in the sweatpants and T-shirt he had thrown on after baseball practice, it sure may have seemed like this guy was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But ‘Tunde, as he is called by friends and family, was right where he was supposed to be.

The 17-year-old Oak Tech senior received an acceptance letter from Yale last week to prove it. He also has offers from Brown, Columbia, Northwestern, the University of Southern California, UCLA, Howard, Chapman, Cal Poly and Cal State East Bay, and has been waitlisted by UC Berkeley and Georgetown.

“People looking at me funny is so common that it doesn’t stick out for me anymore,” says Akintunde, who has a 5.0 GPA and scored 2100 (out of 2400) on the SAT. “It’s something that I’ve gotten used to.”

Young and strong, athletic and African American, ‘Tunde describes himself like “any other street dude on 98th Avenue,” the neighborhood where he grew up and lives. Perhaps that’s why he has often been overlooked and underestimated – and left alone to quietly go about his business.

“I’ll leave this school and there will be teachers who never knew I was one of the people on the honor roll,” he said.

He’s met private-school students who’ve suggested that his achievements are the result of easy classes and a low bar for academics at public schools. He doesn’t need to defend his GPA, or his appearance on the honor roll for every semester that he’s been in high school. Instead he prefers comparing SAT and AP scores, and that usually shuts them up.

‘No private tutors’

“Oakland public schools all the way through,” he says, jokingly pounding a fist to his breast. “No private tutors or private schools. This is strictly OUSD.”

He’s one of six children raised by his parents, Zarina and Mubarak Ahmad, who are, dare I say it, a stereotypical American family. ‘Tunde’s mother, Zarina, is an educator who began her career as an Oakland schoolteacher. She is now the principal at Piedmont Avenue Elementary School. His father, Mubarak, has worked as a mechanic at AC Transitfor 20 years.

The family practices the Rastafari religion – and it’s why ‘Tunde wears dreads. He’s never had a haircut in his life, Mubarak Ahmad said. The family has worked hard to raise all their children right, instill in them good values and encourage them to steer clear of trouble.

Like many responsible parents, they are willing to work for however long it takes, sacrifice everything, to ensure their kids can enjoy a better life than they have.

With ‘Tunde, encouragement wasn’t necessary, because he did things without being asked, on his own initiative – a trait he has always had.

“I’ve never tried to cross any boundaries or anything like that,” ‘Tunde said. “I’m just good at following directions, and no good ever comes from challenging a Parental Unit.”

Despite their best efforts, ‘Tunde’s parents were not able to steer their older son, Azeem, away from the dangers awaiting a young African American man on the streets of Oakland.

Father’s advice

“I’ve always told my boys that it’s very easy to get into trouble, but very hard to get out of it,” Mubarak Ahmad said.

Mubarak Ahmad worried about Azeem. And silently, so did ‘Tunde.

Mubarak warned Azeem that a person he was hanging out with would one day get him caught up in trouble, and sadly, he was right.

In 2012, Azeem was caught carrying guns to be used in an Oakland stash house robbery that turned out to be a federal sting operation. He was convicted on conspiracy charges and shipped off to a federal prison in March 2013, sentenced to 41 months.

“We got the same mother, the same father, just a different path,” ‘Tunde said. “I feel like it’s a setback for him, but sometimes it takes that kind of shock to grab your attention.”

‘Tunde’s got an old man’s brain working in a young man’s body, and while he may sound bookish, he’s anything but one-dimensional.

He’s a student-athlete who played basketball for three years – until deciding to focus solely on baseball this year. He was the MVP of the Oakland Athletic League baseball in 2013, hitting around .500 with 15 or so stolen bases. He expects to play baseball where ever he goes to college next fall.

He’s a member of the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra, and plays trumpet, French horn and the djembe – a West African drum.

628x471His work ethic is as much a part of him as an extremity, and his commitment to his time-management regimen may have saved his life.

In January 2013, two months before his brother was incarcerated, ‘Tunde declined an invitation from Azeem to hang out at a friend’s house because he had an essay due for school. At that house, five people were shot, including his brother, who suffered two gunshot wounds.

“There’s plenty of people I know who have been killed,” he said. “I could write a list starting in elementary school of all the people we grew up with who have been killed.”

“I could have easily been caught up in that life. You don’t have to be a bad person to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Fortunately, ‘Tunde has so far shown impeccable timing, both on the baseball field and in the classroom.

Besides playing some baseball, he plans to go into pre-med or pre-law.

“That’s what I’m thinking, but I’m still undecided,” he said.

Chip Johnson is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. His columns run Tuesday and Friday. E-mail: Twitter: @chjohnson

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Positive Black Male News: Long Island Teen Accepted to All 8 Ivy League Schools

Positive Black Male News: Long Island Teen Accepted to All 8 Ivy League Schools

Boys II Men

teen-8-ivysA Long Island high school senior who is the first-generation son of immigrants accomplished a feat few other students have even attempted — getting accepted to all eight Ivy League schools.

Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania all sent acceptance letters to 17-year-old Kwasi Enin’s home in Shirley.

“The yesses kept coming,” Enin, a William Floyd High School student who wants to be a physician, told Newsday. He said he couldn’t believe it.

Neither could Nancy Winkler, a guidance counselor at Enin’s school.

“It’s a big deal when we have students apply to one or two Ivies,” Winkler told USA Today. “To get into one or two is huge. This is extraordinary.”

Few students even apply to all eight ultra-selective universities, college counselors told USA Today, because each school looks for different qualities in their freshman classes. Each college accepts fewer than 15 percent of applicants.

Enin, a first-generation American whose parents emigrated from Ghana, scored 2,250 out of 2,400 on the SAT, according to USA Today. That places him in the 99th percentile for all students taking the exam.

Enin told USA Today he got the idea to apply to all eight Ivy League schools in 10th or 11th grade and said each of them had qualities he liked. He also was accepted at Duke and three State University of New York campuses.

He says he hasn’t made a decision on which school to attend, but says his preference is Yale.

Source: Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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His Story: The Definition of a Black Man (Spoken Word)

His Story: The Definition of a Black Man (Spoken Word)

His Story

Despite all of the recent controversies and all of the images circulating through the media portraying the black man as a threat to society, this video was composed to shine light on the aspects a black man the media fails to shine light on. The true Definition of a Black Man is not the images conveyed in today’s music videos. It’s not the images we see plastered on T.V. screens that fills the world’s eyes with negativity. It is time for the world to experience what the Definition of a Black Man really is. It’s time to shine the light on the image that was fought for. In the past if you were black, you did not have a voice. You were not recognized as a man. If you were black, you could not drink from the same fountain, sit in the same seats, you were considered less than human and not worthy of the lifestyle offered to others in society. Today that image still lives on in the mind of those not willing to see the Black Man for what he really is, A MAN… with dreams, goals, ambition and the heart of gold. This video was created to not only shine light on a new image in the media, but to redefine the TRUE Definition of a Black Man.

Poem written by: Ryan Carson (twitter: @sebastiancarson)
Filmed/Edited by: Andrew Brown (twitter: @Drewski5000)
Thug Black Man: Tilmon Keaton (twitter: @tilmonkeaton)
White Man: Gil Costello
Cinematography/Colorist: Jairus Burks (twitter: @dopbatman0078)
Lighting: Davion Baxter
Audio: Ryan Rehnborg

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League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Raymond Roy-Pace

League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Raymond Roy-Pace

League Of Extraordinary Black Men

The pressures of life will attempt to challenge the existence of your being, define yourself to withstand the pressure. ~ Raymond Roy-Pace

The pressures of life will attempt to challenge the existence of your being, define yourself to withstand the pressure. ~ Raymond Roy-Pace

TheBlackManCan has made its way to Philadelphia, PA to bring you another Black Man making positive and remarkable contributions in the city of brotherly love. We proudly present educator and servant leader Raymond Roy-Pace Founder and Executive Director of BeU365. Raymond sits down with TheBlackManCan to discuss being a scholar-athlete, lifting as you climb, pursuing advanced degrees and advice for young men of today.

TheBlackManCan: Raymond, can you share a little about your childhood and how it shaped you into the man you are today?

RP: I grew up in an impoverished urban community in Philadelphia, PA. I spent time living with my mother and grandmother as a child.  My neighborhood was plagued with the same issues of drugs, violence and lack of resources that most urban communities are faced with. Firsthand experience with some of these issues in my own home weaved a tough skin and an unrelenting will to become better than the world I was so familiar with. I would not be the man I am today without the unwavering support I received from my grandmother and my other family members.  My uncles each stepped in at pivotal times in my development not only to help usher me in to manhood but to broaden my horizons and expose me to a world unlike my own.

TheBlackManCan: You are the perfect example of what it means to be a scholar-athlete. How do we get more young men to realize what it means and the importance of being a scholar–athlete?

RP: To get students to understand what it means to be a scholar athlete we need to give them some of those who exemplify those qualities.  Myron Rolle was a Rhodes Scholar and aspiring neurosurgeon. He spent time in the NFL but eventually choose to practice medicine.  Maurice Bennett was a 4 year Academic and Football All American that passed over the NFL because he would become more profitable working on Wall Street.  I provided these examples because these men created options for themselves.  I am an academic and scholar athlete sidelined after a subdural hematoma (bleeding in the head).  I was successful in the completion of two degrees, successful in developing my own youth development program and while also educating others in the classroom.  1 million children playing football, approximately 250 of them will make a NFL team each year. In other sports these numbers may vary but not too far off.  The world of athletics has its own fan club.  The same way we glorify the kid who made the buzzer beater shot in a game, we have to do the same with every positive note a teacher’s sends home and every A or B on a report card so our kids can began to see value in hard work and excelling in the classroom.

TheBlackManCan: You spent time as a case manager focusing on truancy. Can you tell is the three major issues behind truancy and what steps need to be taken to overcome them?

RP: The most consistent issues I saw facing students involved in truancy where the low expectations for students either imposed in them by the family or school.  For some of the families it was hard to see value in education if they did not have it. Poor coping skills within the families in dealing with life’s issues and the lack of positive role models were also a contributing factor.  So many students are experiencing “life” but they do not have the support system within the homes or schools to keep them encouraged.  It is hard to open up to people when they do not feel they understand them.

Your education does not stop when the school bell rings, keep a book handy and unlock the mysteries of life.  ~Raymond Roy-Pace

Your education does not stop when the school bell rings, keep a book handy and unlock the mysteries of life. ~Raymond Roy-Pace

TheBlackManCan: How important is it to lift as you climb? How has this ideology helped you in life?

RP: I have been fortunate in my life to have incredible mentors take chances on me when I had nothing to offer but a will to work.  It would be robbery if I did not do the same for others.  We are more successful when we employ others to exercise their gifts because they then become resources.

TheBlackManCan: As a 5th grade teacher can you share with us what parents should be doing in the home to make sure their child arrives on grade level?

RP: Research indicates one of the number one indicators of student academic success is their reading ability.  It is important for families to establish a reading schedule within their homes.  Just spending 15-30 minutes a day reading or being read to would expand students’ imaginations, open their eyes to the world around them and ultimately prepare them for school. Parents should also talk to children their children because encourages them to communicate what they feel and helps them to understand why which could ultimately have a great impact on classroom and peer behavior.

TheBlackManCan: Tell us more about BeU365. What is the meaning behind the name and the mission and vision?

RP: BeU365 is a self-developed program that aspires to inspire youth through creative education, mentorship and real world experiences.  The vision came from the idea of wanting to encourage young people to be who they truly are and not conform to the expectations of society. The three pillars of the program consist of creative education, mentorship and real world experiences, all of which are geared towards various aspects of helping to create positive and independent thinking. Creative education incorporates a project learning based curriculum designed to strengthen basic math skills but from a real life perspective and the facilitation workshops. Mentorship encompasses one-on-one mentorship, the speaker series, and mentoring curriculum.  The real world experiences that are still in development focus on getting middle school students out of the classroom and into internships to apply what they are learning.

Wherever you find yourself in life it is not by mistake.  There is a lesson to be learned in preparation for your greater.  ~ Raymond Roy-Pace

Wherever you find yourself in life it is not by mistake. There is a lesson to be learned in preparation for your greater. ~ Raymond Roy-Pace

TheBlackManCan: You recently obtained a Master’s degree. What did you pursue it and why is it important to show young people that they should pursue more than just a bachelor’s degree?

RP: Yes! Ma’ma I made it! (laughs)  I completed my Master of Arts and Teaching from Cheyney University in December 2012 after several conversations with my mentor Howard Jean about my career endeavors. He encouraged me to consider it if I planned to make a long lasting impact in the world of education.   The journey of completing my masters was invaluable because I was able to share it with my students.  Particularly in our urban communities, higher education is a mystery because they have so few examples of people that have obtained degrees.  Our world is changing and the status quo is unacceptable, that is to say if ever it was acceptable.  The jobs of old are no longer available and to be a part of the decision making process may also mean having those credentials.

TheBlackManCanWhere do you see yourself and your endeavors in the next five years?

RP: In the next five years I see myself back in education administration as a school leader.  When I resigned from running the operations of Birney Prep Academy, it was to gain the practical experience that will ultimately help me become an informed school founder.  There is a lot of politics that go into running schools and having my own school I believe I can limit some of that.

Young people are looking for someone to aspire to be and we must be the ones willing to be the example. ~Raymond Roy-Pace

Young people are looking for someone to aspire to be and we must be the ones willing to be the example. ~Raymond Roy-Pace

TheBlackManCan: Why is it important for Black Boys and Men to see positive images of themselves?

RP: We aspire to be what we see.  There cannot be an expectation of young black boys to gravitate towards becoming something they cannot identify with. There are very prominent youth and men of color making a positive impact in the world however it is not exactly breaking news at ten. Young people are looking for someone to aspire to be and we must be the ones willing to be the example.

TheBlackManCan: What words of advice do you have for young black males of today?

RP: To my young black brothers understand that your life is purposed. You have gifts and talents that the world awaits to unwrap. Wherever you find yourself in life it is not by mistake.  There is a lesson to be learned in preparation for your greater.  Spend time talking to those that have experienced more of life than you, there you will find wisdom.  Your education does not stop when the school bell rings, keep a book handy and unlock the mysteries of life.  Know who you are and whose you are.  The pressures of life will attempt to challenge the existence of your being, define yourself to withstand the pressure.

Check out Raymond website here–>

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His Story | My Brothers Keeper : The Urgency of Now

His Story | My Brothers Keeper : The Urgency of Now

His Story

Last Thursday, President Obama and other leaders from the business and civil society announced My Brother’s Keeper, a new initiative that will take a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to build ladders of opportunity and unlock the full potential of boys and young men of color. Living Cities is a member of the Executive Alliance of philanthropic leaders that is supporting this, and here’s why:

Fierce Urgency of Now. Martin Luther King used these words 50 years ago but they have never been more appropriate, “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.” In fact, America is at a crossroads. In less than 20 years, we will be a nation whose population will be majority people of color. If we continue to educate, employ and build wealth for boys and young men of color, for example, at the same rate we’ve been doing for the last 40 years, we will have a majority population that is very different than the one we have now. It will be less educated (whites have 40-50% more post-high school degrees than Blacks and Latinos), less wealthy (the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of African-American households and 18 times that of Hispanic households.) and even less free (the African-American prison population is the highest of any demographic – 38 percent of state and federal inmates or more than 3 times the total number of people incarcerated in 1963 — despite the fact that African-Americans only make up 14 percent of the US population).These statistics are not worthy of the leader of the free world; and this is not the country we want. Without an urgency of now to tackle the broken systems that almost everyone agrees are not achieving the results we want, we won’t see progress in 20 years at the rates required to secure the future.

Perfect Messenger. Whatever you think of the President’s performance or politics, he is the perfect messenger for this work. He speaks eloquently and authentically of his experiences growing up as a young person of color in this country and the day to day challenges he faced in doing so at home, in the classroom, even on the street:

“I didn’t have a dad in the house…and I was angry about it, even though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time. I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn’t always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short.”

When done right, the White House bully pulpit is incredibly effective in raising awareness and moving a national consciousness. Think about the nation’s embrace of getting a man to the moon in a decade in the 1960s or cutting obesity by 40% as the First Lady has been so effective at doing. Marrying this unique messenger with this important message is exactly what is needed to mobilize our nation with urgency.

Shrink to Fit. Because the challenge of unlocking opportunity for young boys and men of color is so great, it is not very hard for any civil society organizations, public or private, to contribute –to shrink the problem to fit their capabilities. This means taking on a piece of the problem while holding the broader vision for change. For example, Living Cities expects to bring what we have learned over the past six years, through Strive Together and The Integration Initiative, about how cross-sectoral leaders can come together in new ways to move the needle on issues such as education (Cincinnati), jobs (Baltimore), and equitable transit-oriented development (Twin Cites). We also are also looking inward, asking ourselves as an organization that is focused on fighting inequality and creating lasting systems change to improve the lives of low-income people, what should a focus on urgently changing the trajectory of boys and men of color mean to the way we function and the work we do? We are exploring how to embed a racial equity and inclusion lens across our entire portfolio in intentional and meaningful ways.

The goal is clear, but not the path. We all not only have a role in charting the course but a huge stake in its success.

- See more at:

About the Author: Mr. Hecht was appointed President & CEO of Living Cities in July, 2007. Since that time, the organization has adopted a broad, integrative agenda that harnesses the collective knowledge of its 22 member foundations and financial institutions to benefit low income people and the cities where they live. Living Cities deploys a unique blend of more than $140 million in grants, loans and influence to re-engineer obsolete public systems and connect low-income people and underinvested places to opportunity. – See more at:

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Positive Black Male News: NJ Teen rewarded after paying for items at store with no clerk

Positive Black Male News: NJ Teen rewarded after paying for items at store with no clerk

Campus Kings – -

These football players scored a touchdown without setting foot on the field.

Four members of the William Paterson University football team in New Jersey each scored $50 gift cards after surveillance cameras captured them at a Wayne store paying for batteries and sunglasses, even though no employees were around.

Buddy’s Small Lots was actually closed Sunday night. But the lock malfunctioned and the lights were on, making it appear as though it was open.

Buddy’s management got a call from police that there had been a break-in, but upon arrival, nothing was missing from the store, News 12 New Jersey reported.

Cameras showed the men calling an audible, shouting out for a clerk. Two can be seen depositing cash on the counter, one waving bills in the direction of a camera.

“Not only did they leave money on the counter, they counted out the change,” store operations manager Marci Lederman told News 12 New Jersey.

Lederman went to the university personally to present the players with the gift cards and to thank them.

“I didn’t think it was going to blow up to be this big,” one of the players, Kell’e Gallimore, said.

His teammate, Thomas James, told the station that not everyone is a thief.

“You can’t judge people by the way they look,” he said.

The security issue at the store has since been fixed.

Source: The Associated Press  and contributed to this report.

Read more:
Follow us: @myfoxmemphis on Twitter | fox13news.myfoxmemphis on Facebook

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Positive Black Male News: Jahmir Wallace: What we can learn from 10-year-old, born without arms, who plays trumpet with his feet

Positive Black Male News: Jahmir Wallace: What we can learn from 10-year-old, born without arms, who plays trumpet with his feet

Positive Black Male News

jahmir-wallaceSome might think it’s amazing that 10-year-old Jahmir Wallace can already play two musical instruments at his age. What is even more exceptional is that the Green Street Elementary School student has accomplished these feats despite being born with no arms.

The young man, who also plays the guitar, decided to take on the trumpet just four months ago. He is already playing in his Phillipsburg, NJ school band.

Jahmir’s story is so inspirational, it has been picked up from outlets ranging from The Huffington Post to the Daily Mail.

Through his uncle Ryan Wallace, Jahmir told theGrio he is happy that his story is so inspirational to others, and is grateful and humbled by the attention. Jahmir was too busy doing his schoolwork to chat with theGrio on the phone during business hours, but wants people to know that he is happy that his experiences can help others muster the strength to undertake difficult tasks, no matter what their challenges may be.

A boy supported by teachers to grow

Jahmir Wallace was encouraged to learn the trumpet by his music teacher Desiree Kratzer. School administrators also worked with a local music store to create a stand empowering the youth to play the trumpet with his toes. That was all he needed.

“I kind of felt excited,” Wallace told WFMZ-TV. “I kind of felt like, oh man this is kind of comfortable, and it kind of felt like this might be the one for me.”

The young man shared words of encouragement for anyone who may be thinking about exploring an instrument.

“Anybody out there that would like to try an instrument, go ahead and try it,” Wallace said. “You never know, if you like it, you like it, if you don’t, you don’t. Keep on trying.”

What we can learn from Jahmir’s example

Jahmir Wallace’s story is a wonderful example of what can happen when families, school leadership, and teachers are able to work together harmoniously to encourage a student’s innate personality.

“Children are strongly influenced by the multiple environments in which they are placed: in the home, at school, in peer relationships,” Asha Tarry, licensed mental health specialist, told theGrio. “Therefore, it’s critical to support and nurture the emotional and social development of children in a variety of ways.”

Tarry praised the ways his parents and teachers encouraged Wallace to reach for new goals, and helped him expand his capabilities in a way that will likely build self esteem.

“In this story, this young man was born with a physical disability that left him impaired,” the owner ofBehavioral Health Consulting Services, LMSW, PLLC, elaborated. “However, his parents obviously have not allowed the impairment to narrow the focus of how he views himself in the world. The role of the adults is to foster realistic and reasonable pathways to allowing children to flourish, which this young man is doing. The way children feel about themselves begins with the way adults treat them, foremost.”

A school’s success is a model for all

By encouraging Wallace to be as independent as possible, while assisting him where needed, Green Street Elementary School properly matched Wallace’s level of growth by refusing to simplify, or eliminate, an activity that might have seemed impossible to him.

“The role of the school is to expand and compliment the parents’ earlier training of him as being an able-bodied person,” Tarry said. “Building self-esteem is continuous, and is important, in the ongoing development of the mind for all kids throughout childhood.”

At a time when public schools are often in the news for failing students — particularly young black men, who often face an achievement gap that begins early in their education — it is refreshing to see evidence of a place where all students are encouraged to thrive.

Jahmir Wallace’s confident exploration of his interests in such an environment will hopefully encourage more schools, parent and individuals to overcome their apparent limitations.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter @lexisb

Source: The Grio

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His Story: Cuz he’s Black by Javon Johnson

His Story: Cuz he’s Black by Javon Johnson

His Story

BUY “cuz he’s black” and more work by Javon and other viral poets in VIRAL, an eBook anthology by Button Poetry:…

Like Javon on facebook:

Performing during semifinals of the 2013 National Poetry Slam for Da Poetry Lounge. DPL took second place in the tournament.

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His Story: Paying it Forward: I’m Still a Mentee but now I Mentor

His Story: Paying it Forward: I’m Still a Mentee but now I Mentor

His Story

2-R-Williams-Speaks-to-SchoolRashaun Williams didn’t realize he was being mentored until he began to see the role he played in other young people’s lives.



Throughout my years in school, I was on the debate team, which taught me how to analyze multiple perspectives while staying neutral. Student council, which prepared me to speak for multiple voices equally. The drum squad, which showed me teams are only as strong as the weakest player, and track and field, which taught me that if the mind has the endurance to prevail, the body will only follow. However, after witnessing first-hand how poverty placed people in despair, degradation, and destitution, I felt as though the work I did in my free time made no real contribution to the world. I wanted to be a part of something greater than myself so desperately, so I took what I learned through my experiences in school and began a life of service to community. I started a volunteer community group called Phresh Philly, which promotes sustainability through social entrepreneurship and high school activism.

In 2008, while learning entrepreneurship at the Enterprise Center, I met Russell Hicks. We only really spoke to one another in passing, but the one time we did have a conversation, I learned that social entrepreneurship was my calling. Russell explained that his life was devoted to starting businesses that “do good” for the community. Although I wasn’t sure what that really meant at the time, it sounded perfect for me! After graduating the program, I didn’t see Russell again until 2011. By this time, I had given up all my extracurricular activities to focus on serving my community. Russell and I began attending town hall meetings at City Hall, where Russell knew EVERYONE in the room—and I mean everyone—but still made an effort to connect with me.

When he asked me: “What you been up too?” I proudly replied: “I am President of Phresh Philadelphia, a volunteer organization focused on community development, empowerment, and cleanups!” That moment felt great. Being able to tell Russell Hicks that I, Rashaun Williams, became a social entrepreneur like him—priceless.  He responded by saying:  “Well we need to do some work together brotha!” I went home that night, forgetting all about the town hall meeting, all I could think about was how humbled I was to have the opportunity to work with Russell Hicks. I could tell he was genuine in his statement and time proved it. From then on, Russell and I worked with community organizations and CDCs, organized clean ups in North Philadelphia and began mentoring youth throughout the city. Through his guidance and belief in me, I was given the power to empower others, and I knew this was my calling.


Through a series of community empowerment events that Russell and I had planned together, I met Christopher Norris, CEO, Techbook Online Corporation, and we too began to build a solid relationship of service and commitment to community. Chris knew the city like the back of his hand, and whenever something was happening on the streets we were there. I learned more than I can put in words, but during my moments of reflection I put the lessons to practice in order to make my organization better. I shifted my focus on sporadically creating events around Philadelphia to focusing on academia, technology, business development, and environmental studies.

After spending years watching leaders, doers, directors, entrepreneurs, teachers and mentors do what they do best, it was time for me to take my service to community to the next level. I didn’t know it, but Chris was cultivating my growth as a social entrepreneur, sharpening my mind and allowing me to discover how this city operated in and out. It wasn’t long before I received a phone call from Chris, saying: “You’re applying for the BMe Challenge, and you’re gonna win!” I wasn’t sure if he was just looking to build my confidence or if he really believed I could win, but I applied and after months of working through the process, I became the youngest BMe Leader in Philly.

Chris and I eventually became business partners. We’re the Program Directors for TechKnoweldge G!™  a S.T.E.A.M powered edutainment campaign that informs the public of sustainability practices and engages schools and communities in sustainable project based learning activities. Our bond both as business partners and brothers grew as we continued to innovate, collaborate, and build on existing ideas. I had finally had a business partners who had more thoughts than me at a single time —that made business fun. Together, just like Russell and I had done in the past, we developed out-of-school time programs, mentored youth, and improved our business models together. It never occurred to me that I had surrounded myself with so many black males that were older, wiser and more accomplished than me, until my peers in school acknowledged changes in my behavior; a deep maturation that gave me an “old soul,” they said. I then began to ask myself: why so many people focused their energy on my success? Out of all the experienced, knowledgeable, and well established entrepreneurs in the world, why work with me? I was slightly confused, very humbled, but most importantly, I was afraid. My youth and inexperience could be the detrimental, and I didn’t want my weaknesses to inhibit anyone’s success. But Chris help me realize that mentorship is about seeing one’s potential, and creating an environment for which that potential can flourish.


Mentors direct their mentees from point A to point B, and in between that time, mentors nurture independence so their mentees will be able and ready to go from point B to C on their own. Mentors place mirrors in front of mentees, allowing them to chisel their own imperfections; the chiseling starts when mentees are ready to grow. Mentors can’t make mentees travel down a road of success; they can only show them the way. As my mentors and I travel, synergy grows and brotherhood strengthens. I didn’t realize Russell Hicks and Chris Norris were mentoring me until I began to see how I played a role in other young people’s lives.

Now I am a mentor to many youth between the ages of 14 and 18, and I’m realizing that patience, understanding, humility, and wisdom are the foundation to effectively reaching others. I see the same passion for action in my mentees, and I understand how inertia antagonizes them to do more, give more, and be greater. I pay it forward by remembering that I was – and still am – a ball of energy without clear direction, but I’m not be alone. I am better off because these two mentors entered my life and now I am working to do the same for others. There’s potential in everyone, but sometimes only YOU can bring out one’s best self.

Happy National Mentoring Month! Celebrate by becoming a mentor today!

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m DJ Reezey® & that’s the DJ’s drop!™

2013 BMe Leader Rashuan Williams is the Founder/Executive Director of Phresh Philly and the Director of Youth & Millennial Iniaitives, Techbook Online Corporation. 

Source: TBO Inc®

Twitter: @therealTBOInc

Facebook: /therealTBOInc

©2013 All Rights Reserved.

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His Story: The Truth About Black Male Mentors

His Story: The Truth About Black Male Mentors

His Story

1-Alex-Peay-BMeBMe Leader Alex Peay sets the record straight: “Black men mentor everyday.”

It was just the other day when I received the shock of my life. I was talking with my mentor, Trabian Shorters, CEO, BMe, about National Mentoring Month and he informed me that there isn’t much data available on black male mentors. Doing what any millennial will do in today’s hyper-connected society, I pulled out my phone and googled it.

READ: New Year to Bring New Network, Narratives for Inspired Black Men

Across my phone’s screen quickly appeared headlines that I knew weren’t true: “Black Men Do Not Mentor” and “Communities in Horrid Conditions Due to Lack of Black Male Mentors,” were just some of the false narratives available for public consumption. Thinking about the countless hours my team of black male mentors put into building our peer-to-peer mentoring organization, Rising Sons, I said to myself: how can they say that when we are doing the work, everyday?

READ: Paying it Forward: I’m Still a Mentee but now I Mentor.

The more I thought about that lie, the more frustrated I became. My truth is, I spend my days helping to grow a network of inspired black men, many of whom spend their personal funds to operate mentoring programs for black boys. The public is spinning the wrong narrative; its not that black men don’t mentor, it’s that there’s a lack of support, funding and visible celebration for those that do.



Growing up I was blessed to have a positive black male figure in my life. His name was Uncle Kenny; he was the ideal figure of a mentor. Uncle Kenny—or “Uncdad,” as I liked to call him—ran his own mentoring program for black boys in Queens, New York, called The Chosen Few.

It reminded me of a fraternity for boys. I remember vividly there was a choir of boys who would use their voices to empower themselves and inspire the community.  My uncle Kenny taught me how to properly knot a tie and even how to give a firm handshake. During the summer of 2006, before going into my sophomore year at college, “Uncdad” passed away.

READ: How A Young Father’s Death Made me a Mentor

By winter of 2006 I started Rising Sons; but without my “Uncdad” around—and not being on good terms with my father—I had no black men I could turn to, or so I thought. Rising Sons became the mentorship I desired. We were a discussion group of majority black and Latino male students who got together and talked about our lives and communities. Since we came from different cultures and backgrounds we learned from each other. We built a community where we could support each other personally and professionally.

READ: You Don’t Have to be Perfect to be a Mentor

I’m proud to say the tradition we created still lives on today, as we help each other scale the work that we do for the community. I, in addition to the others black male mentor I’m associated with, have sacrificed so much to do this work.  So it hurts to only see news about black men destroying our communities. It hurts so bad to get rejected for funding when you KNOW your program is good enough. It hurts when you have to spend your last couple of dollars to make sure your mentee gets home or eats, but we do it.

We can choose to waste our time complaining about those black men who don’t mentor or serve the community, or we can step up and support the ones that do. We all identify with the large brand name mentoring organizations, but a number of them don’t engage black men. In closing, I would like to thank BMe (Black Male Engagement) for saying yes to me when everyone else said no. A BMe Community Impact Grant  was the first real funding Rising Sons ever received and it gave us the encouragement to believe that anything is possible.  BMe views black men the way societies should see black men: as assets to the community. As a BMe Leader and one of more than 3,000 inspired black men from across the country, I support black male mentors and I hope that all of you will, too.

Happy National Mentoring Month! Celebrate by becoming a mentor today!

2012 BMe Leader Alex Peay is the Founder of Rising Sons and an inaugural member of the Philly Roots Fellows.

**Editors note: Christopher “Flood The Drummer” Norris has curated all of these stories from the mentors in his community for a special a series on mentoring. after the series is complete all of the essays will be made into a book by TechbookOnline.

Alex Peay


About the Author: A Philly Drummer playing a Global Beat, Christopher A. Norris is an award-winning journalist, online content producer and professional drummer endorsed by TRX Cymbals. An American businessman, Norris currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Techbook Online Corporation, overseeing a strategic initiative of mobilizing local, regional, national and global communities by encouraging the production, safeguarding and dissemination of diversified contents in the media and global information networks.

Source: TBO Inc®

Twitter: @therealTBOInc

Facebook: /therealTBOInc

©2014 All Rights Reserved.

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His Story: Black Male Mentors Share, Inspire, Empower

His Story: Black Male Mentors Share, Inspire, Empower

His Story

At an event showcasing recipients of the Philly Roots Fellowship, a program supported by the Open Society Foundations that equips mentors with the tools they need to help young African-American men succeed, five powerful black male mentors sat center stage.

But it was 19-year-old Rashaun Williams who moderated the conversation among more than 60 black boys. They talked about being on the giving and receiving ends of mentoring and the importance of knowledge transfer between generations to ignite “phresh perspectives.”

The event, which celebrated National Mentoring Month, was co-organized by Techbook Online, a millennial-led news organization headquartered in Philadelphia designed to make the world aware of untold stories, and Sankofa Freedom Academy, a charter high school in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.

The group of teenagers hung onto Williams’s every word. They were enjoying themselves, and the positive energy in the room allowed for an open discussion.

When Williams, the youngest BMe Leader in Philadelphia, revealed he was still a teenager himself, the young men reacted with “Yoooo, he a young bull, that’s wassup,” and “Nineteen? I didn’t know you could do stuff like this at nineteen, wow.” BMe is a network of black men committed to making all communities stronger. It is backed by a partnership of foundations including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the Heinz Endowment.

Williams, who is also a popular DJ, told the young men that he did not realize he was being mentored until he saw the impact he was having on other young people’s lives.  “An idol is someone you look up to; a mentor is someone who looks back,” he said.

Williams then asked the boys, “What is manhood?” and “What is black manhood?”

One after another of the students popped up and gave their definitions.

“Manhood is when you do things for people but you think of others instead of yourself,” said one student.

“Black manhood is working together—having a collective responsibility,” answered another.

One student said, “Black manhood is defying the odds of what people expect you to do.”

“I think manhood is a state of mind of maturity,” said another. “I think with manhood you have to be willing to sacrifice and have priorities. Everything you do should have a purpose, because your actions don’t just affect you but everyone around you.”

Williams asked, “How does society view black manhood?”

A young man wearing a black hoodie stood up and said, “Across the world, we are portrayed as violent, disrespectful to our women, and that we don’t take care of our children. But we know that’s not true. Society is real biased, and it’s harsh on us.”

We have it within our power as a society to topple barriers to equal opportunity for everyone, including African-American men and boys, who often face steep obstacles and inaccurate depictions in the media, which can affect self-perceptions and lead to diminished self-esteem.

Despite the word on the street, African-American men and boys are not problems that need to be solved—they’re assets. Every day they’re working to build strong communities.

About the Author: A Philly Drummer playing a Global Beat, Christopher A. Norris is an award-winning journalist, online content producer and professional drummer endorsed by TRX Cymbals. An American businessman, Norris currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Techbook Online Corporation, overseeing a strategic initiative of mobilizing local, regional, national and global communities by encouraging the production, safeguarding and dissemination of diversified contents in the media and global information networks.

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His Story: Things Black Men and Boys Say

His Story: Things Black Men and Boys Say

His Story

Continuing the celebration of National Mentoring Month, 2014 Echoing Green Search Partner, Techbook Online – in addition to collecting stories from black male mentors – co-organized a conversation between black male mentors and black teenage boys. 

The important dimensions of black males’ lives, such as manhood, brotherhood, masculinity and community, were just a handful of topics discussed last Friday at Sankofa Freedom Academy, located in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.

In a room full of more than fifty black teenage boys, a group of inspired black men – led by B.O.L.D member Rashaun Williams, the youngest BMe Leader in Philly – engaged the youth in a conversation that aimed to foster not only an interest in being mentored or becoming an mentor, but to encourage knowledge transfers between generations that ignite “phresh perspectives.”


In a room full of more than fifty black teenage boys, a group of inspired black men – led by B.O.L.D member Rashaun Williams, the youngest BMe Leader in Philly – engaged the youth in a conversation that aimed to foster not only an interest in being mentored or becoming an mentor, but to encourage knowledge transfers between generations that ignite “phresh perspectives.”

BMe Leader Rashaun “DJ Reezey®” Williams asks: “What is manhood?”


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Continuing the celebration of National Mentoring Month, 2014 Echoing Green Search Partner, Techbook Online – in addition to collecting stories from black male mentors – co-organized a conversation between black male mentors and black teenage boys.

(Black Male Mentors Take Center Stage to Share, Inspire and Empower: From L to R: Philly Roots Fellows: Rueben Jones, Eric Worley, Joshua Rivers and Jeff Jones.)

The important dimensions of black males’ lives, such as manhood, brotherhood, masculinity and community, were just a handful of topics discussed last Friday at Sankofa Freedom Academy, located in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.


In a room full of more than fifty black teenage boys, a group of inspired black men – led by B.O.L.D member Rashaun Williams, the youngest BMe Leader in Philly – engaged the youth in a conversation that aimed to foster not only an interest in being mentored or becoming an mentor, but to encourage knowledge transfers between generations that ignite “phresh perspectives.”

BMe Leader Rashaun “DJ Reezey®” Williams asks: “What is manhood?”

BMe Leader Rueben Jones, Founder of Frontline Dads, Fires up The Student Body When He Talks about the Perception of Black Males:


Philly Roots Fellow Joshua Rivers, Founder of FOCUSED International, Surprises The Group of Boys With His Introduction.

Many of the students in attendance had never been exposed to this level of discourse with inspired black men. They not only showed their appreciation by being attentive and fully engaged, but they asked for more opportunities to connect and share with black male mentors.

In a room full of more than fifty black teenage boys, a group of inspired black men – led by B.O.L.D member Rashaun Williams, the youngest BMe Leader in Philly – engaged the youth in a conversation that aimed to foster not only an interest in being mentored or becoming an mentor, but to encourage knowledge transfers between generations that ignite “phresh perspectives.”


What those young black teenager boys saw last Friday is something I’m privileged to witness almost every day – black men working together to build strong communities.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™

About the Author: A Philly Drummer playing a Global Beat, Christopher A. Norris is an award-winning journalist, online content producer and professional drummer endorsed by TRX Cymbals. An American businessman, Norris currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Techbook Online Corporation, overseeing a strategic initiative of mobilizing local, regional, national and global communities by encouraging the production, safeguarding and dissemination of diversified contents in the media and global information networks.

Source: Huffington Post


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Boys II Men: Verdi Degbey

Boys II Men: Verdi Degbey

Boys II Men

Meet Verdi Degbey Sophomore at Williston Northhampton School as he performs his spoken word Oreo!!

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Positive Black Male News: At Detroit’s Downtown Boxing Gym, kids find athletic and academic success

Positive Black Male News: At Detroit’s Downtown Boxing Gym, kids find athletic and academic success

Positive Black Male News

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


By Craig Stanley, NBC News

DETROIT, Mich. — On a cold December day in East Detroit, a dozen kids form a human assembly line stretching across the parking lot of the Downtown Boxing Gym.

With strong arms, the kids grab and push boxes of food from the delivery truck.

“The kids don’t go without a meal,” Coach Khali Sweeney told NBC News. “Forgotten Harvest, the local food bank, they’ll bring food here for ‘em, so we have food for the kids to eat healthy.”

According to a 2010 report, more than half of the city’s households with children under 18 receive food assistance from the state.

But that food is just one of the reasons the kids depend on this gym, which is the only building left standing on its city block.

To learn more about the Downtown Boxing Gym, please click here to visit their website. 

It is surrounded by a handful of vacant lots and remnants of abandoned buildings, where the kids sometimes run laps at night.

“It’s not, like, really safe for us to go out there and train,” 19-year-old boxer Anthony Flagg Jr. said.  “But we do it anyway. They say boxing, you’re risking your life.”

For these kids, there are risks both in and out of the ring.

Across train tracks, less than a mile away from the gym, there’s a scene of a different kind: a new Whole Foods grocery– a sign of new life for the struggling city.

“I appreciate and applaud all the efforts goin’ into [...] buildin’ the city,” Sweeney said. “But the residents themselves, they’re not gonna see that for a long time, and they’re still suffering. So places like this is a good place for kids to go. ”

We first profiled the Downtown Boxing Gym back in March of 2013. The gym, a grassroots effort to keep kids off the streets, had no heat, and was beyond capacity. Since the story aired, the gym has received an outpouring of support from their community and from viewers across the nation.

“A lot of doors opened up for us,” Sweeney said. “There was a lot of people working behind the scenes, but a lot more people reached out to us.”

Sweeney, who still goes to pick up students for practice, now uses donated Zipcars to get around the city. Rides are not limited to and from the gym; the students’ parents can call for help as necessary.

“They are my family, all of ‘em,” Sweeney said. “I wouldn’t drive across the planet, you know, if they wasn’t.”

Inside of the gym, a new ring stands, complete with a life-sized wall decal of Sweeney and the boxers. A few feet away from the ring, the tutoring area boasts new furniture, fresh paint, and updated computers.

Teach for America Detroit started a partnership with the gym, assigning seven teachers to work alongside the gym’s pre-existing tutors to help strengthen the gym’s academic program.

“Seeing kids using boxing to give them more confidence and focus on their self-esteem, I think education can be used the same way,” Teach For America Detroit community coordinator Lauren Coleman said. “Our goal is to provide students with at least an hour a day [of] tutoring and prep, and also … college and career readiness.”

Another major change is on the horizon: The gym has raised more than $175,000 in donations toward a new facility that Sweeney hopes will be able to accommodate some of the gym’s more than 150 kids that remain on the waiting list.

“That’s one of the things we can’t afford to do, just keep kids waitin’ around,” Sweeney said. “If they’re just sitting around, I mean, nobody’s helping them at that point, you know?”

Today, that help also comes in the form of mentoring and improved self-esteem.

“I think I’m turning into a role model,” Flagg said. “It makes me feel good on the inside, that kids be askin’ me for help with their homework and for advice. I never thought I’d be givin’ anybody advice.”

“You know, boxing is a male-dominated thing,” said boxer Christal Berry, 15. “I think it gives me a lot of power, because I feel really good, I feel strong.”

Parent club leader Sheba McKinney, whose daughter and son visit DBG every weekday, said the gym gives her peace of mind.

“It gives [the kids] an outlet of something to do, so they’re not just out in the streets,” she said. “This gives them something to work hard for.”

Sweeney and the kids have also found appreciation and recognition within their community. The Detroit Pistons recently invited every kid and volunteer to a basketball game, after which they received a monetary donation from the Meijer store for winter coats.

Despite the positive changes over the past year for the gym, Sweeney says there’s much more to be done—and a much larger need to fill.

“Right now, the kids need it more than ever,” Sweeney said. “Detroit is still a rough place, you know. With all the progress that we’re makin’, we can’t forget the fact that a lot of people are still suffering.”

Jessica Hauser, the gym’s executive director, believes the gym’s growth and progress thus far is proving to be a good lesson for the boxers.

“It’s okay to struggle,” she said. “It’s okay as long as you’re working towards your dream and that you can make it happen … And I think that’s what the [new gym] will show them.  That hard work does pay off.”

Source: NBC Nightly News

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His Story: Putting the ‘Man’ in Mandela: A Tribute (1918-2013)

His Story: Putting the ‘Man’ in Mandela: A Tribute (1918-2013)

His Story

No slight to women in the anti-apartheid movement, but one of the more interesting aspects of Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary legacy is that he helped found the Bantu Men’s Social Centre at 26 years old. Note the word “men” is key. Mandela knew that transformation in a society is facilitated by strong MEN at the helm. He started that in 1944.

Now 70 years later America’s men could use that splash of cold water on the state of its manhood these days. We aren’t talking chest thumpers and designer gear name-dropping idiots. We are talking about male revolutionaries in the home. The fathers, the workers, the men who see so much injustice that they are compelled to come together, as Mandela and the Bantu Club did and DO SOMETHING.

And like all men, Mandela had his faults – he had quite a few wives. He had quite a few questionable violent tactics after seeking nonviolent solutions. But like all men, he became his most gracious, most wonderful, MOST powerful self after suffering enduring circumstances and breaking through the other side of his lengthy Robben Island imprisonment as an all true man. The arc of Mandela’s life is a testament to all people, but specifically to all men that the Revolution requires an EVOLUTION of one’s soul after trial, error and hardship.

In short and to put it more direct and bluntly, we men must stay in the fight. No matter if that fight is grandiose or mundane. No job? Don’t leave your family. Fight. Acquire skills. Get better. Fight. Don’t feel respected? Fight. Get stronger. Be better prepared. Be an honest person and EARN that respect. FIGHT!

Mandela wasn’t a perfect leader. He wasn’t even a perfect man. But he learned. Adapted. Was broken down only to come back stronger. Better. WISER.

mandelaThe world doesn’t need more Nelson Mandelas. As my father said to my mom when he named his sons, “We don’t need another me. There is only one me. Let these boys be whoever THEY are.”

The Old Man, as he so often did, got it right. Men must stake their claim to the world and carve out their own identity. If we don’t we perish in ineptitude. We don’t need another man like Mandela.

The world needs more men, period.

God bless you, Madiba. Indulge in that great Travelers’ Rest. Your Revolution is over.

For a world littered with countless broken men, our Revolution is just beginning.

About the Author: J. Shawn Durham I’m a writer/journalist/social critic who mines topics that challenge the conventional wisdom of the Zeitgeist. I’m a vet of newspapers – The Durham Herald-Sun (N.C.) and The Athens Banner-Herald (Ga.) – magazines and blogs. My career has spanned two decades and I have penned numerous works that probe politics, sports and yes, even the war between the sexes. My debut novel, “The Broke Brothers’ Revolution”(The BBR for short, and is currently being taught in Marriage & Family Therapy course as well as a Human Sexuality class at Georgia Southern University), is a provocative, refreshingly honest, male-centric look at how both men and women woefully play the expectations game when it comes to sex and courtship. But what begins as a satirical take on the standard “he said/she said” fare pivots into a meaningful treatise on the current state of manhood in the 21st century and blah, blah, blah. To be blunt with you, I’m just tired of our men being feckless, spineless wimps. Fellas, put down the lattes and, for God’s sake, BUTCH UP! So read my blog, Tweet me up @TheBrokeBrosRev and drop me a line.

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Positive Black Male News: 6 year-old studies Philosophy, Math, and History at Oxford

Positive Black Male News: 6 year-old studies Philosophy, Math, and History at Oxford

Positive Black Male News

By Taki S. Raton


For those of you who may have taken a breath upon reading this headline, please be mindful that this feature is reflective of what has become a common norm for African American and global youth profiles in this particular Courier series.

He is young, gifted & Black. Joshua Bedford is now the youngest student to study at the University of Oxford. At the age of 6 in 2011, he earned over five Distinction Certificates in philosophy, mathematics and history.

As cited by his father, Knox Daniel in a contributing article on “10 Extraordinary Child Prodigies” in a January 11, 2012 posting of ODDEE, Joshua earned five distinctions at the Oxford, England campus and had additionally completed a master-class Research Project in Historical Enquiry on the Great Plague of 1665, earning him yet another Distinction.

Scoring mostly 95 to 100 percent on all of his assignments, Daniel reveals that Joshua ranked 4th place out of 24 “able and high-performing students” who were all older than him ranging in age from 8 to 12.

He learned to read fluently at the age of 2 and four years later began reading at the level of a 16 year-old.

A native of Tottenham in the London borough of Haringey, our talented prodigy has also studied Japanese and Chinese Mandarin since the age of three.

According to Jaber Mohamed in his May 20, 2013 Haringey Independent posting, Joshua could understand the alphabet and point to different colors on a chart when he was ten months old.

His father Daniel said he first noticed his son was “clever” when he was sitting on his lap while on the computer.

“I started telling him what the letters on the keyboard were and I realized that he was remembering and could understand,” reveals Daniel in the Haringey writing.

“So if I told him to point to a letter, he could do it so we moved on to colors,” he adds.

His father says that Joshua taught himself to touchtype on a computer before he had the motor skills to write using a pencil.

Britain’s November 23, 2011 article shares that by the time he was three, he could name most of the cars on the road and correctly recall the country in which they were made.

“The key is you can never really start too early and we just discovered that he was really interested in all sorts of things,” says Daniel.

His father additionally shares in Stormfront that Joshua can ask “loads of questions all day long” about fairly complex matters that a child, understandably, would normally never think about.

“One morning, he got up and said, ‘Dad, I would really like to evaluate the properties of God’.” Yet another challenging inquiry poised to his father: “Is infi nity an odd or an even number?” Of course his father, in his words, “had no idea.”

In 2011, Daniel was keenly aware that his son needed to be intellectually challenged, so he wrote to Oxford to see if the university would admit him in a philosophy course for gifted children between the ages of eight and 13.

Oxford agreed to admit Joshua, thereby making him the youngest student ever to be accepted in the Online Learning Platform for Gifted Children.

As described in a September 11, 2011 VOICE posting, this online learning program is a master class designed to help children develop stronger critical and creative thinking, reasoning, and logic aptitude and further cultivates the opportunity for enrolled pupils to sharpen their debating skills.

Regarding his competence in debate, Daniel is cited in VOICE stating that his son has argued his case in typed assignments on such philosophical treatments as Plato’s “The Myth of the Cave.” In mathematics, Joshua earned a Certificate of Achievement for solving 9,000 math problems on IXL, the online primary mathematics program.

On top of being the youngest person to study at Oxford, Joshua also became the youngest to get all distinctions in a course for gifted children.

“I feel happy for my courses because I get a prize,” he is quoted in VOICE.

“I want to be a surgeon. I want to complete my studies and go to level five and later go to Oxford University full time,” he visions.

Level five, according to the published posting, is an accelerated math program for children ages 11 and older.

Daniel further submits that Joshua is already practicing simulations of surgical operations on his laptop.

As commented in VOICE: “He reads advance books on the body.

He learns all the different organs and what they do. He can name every part of the brain using the technical terms in Latin.

He’s also good at Japanese.

I buy the programs for him.

Basically, he’s self taught. He goes to Japanese restaurants and he orders in Japanese.

I feel proud of him,” says his father.

In his spare time, Joshua designs Power-Point presentations on human anatomy and has often been invited for speaking engagements at adult fund raising events.

And despite his achievements, “he is a well adjusted normal six-year-old who likes to play and have fun with other children.”

The Daniel’s family no longer notices that their son, now 8 years-old, is different.

“Most of the time, I don’t notice his intelligence because he is just Joshua to us.”

He adds in Stormfront that his son’s fascination with science cast no surprise “that his favorite program on TV is not a cartoon, like other children his age, but the weather report.”

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Book of the Week: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

Book of the Week: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

Book Of The Week


Two kids with the same name, liv ing in the same city. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, dec o rated com bat vet eran, White House Fel low, and busi ness leader. The other is serv ing a life sen tence in prison for felony mur der. Here is the story of two boys and the jour ney of a generation.

In Decem ber 2000, the Bal ti more Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local stu dent who had just received a Rhodes Schol ar ship. The same paper also ran a series of arti cles about four young men who had allegedly killed a police offi cer in a spec tac u larly botched armed rob bery. The police were still hunt ing for two of the sus pects who had gone on the lam, a pair of broth ers. One was named Wes Moore.

Wes just couldn’t shake off the unset tling coin ci dence, or the inkling that the two shared much more than space in the same news pa per. After fol low ing the story of the rob bery, the man hunt, and the trial to its con clu sion, he wrote a let ter to the other Wes, now a con victed mur derer serv ing a life sen tence with out the pos si bil ity of parole. His let ter ten ta tively asked the ques­tions that had been haunt ing him: Who are you? How did this happen?

That let ter led to a cor re spon dence and rela tion ship that has lasted for sev eral years. Over dozens of let ters and prison vis its, Wes dis cov ered that the other Wes had a life not unlike his own: Both had grown up in sim i lar neigh bor hoods and had dif fi­cult child hoods, both were father less; they’d hung out on sim i lar cor ners with sim i lar crews, and both had run into trou ble with the police. At each stage of their young lives they had come across sim i lar moments of deci sion, yet their choices and the peo ple in their lives would lead them to aston ish ingly dif fer ent destinies.

Told in alter nat ing dra matic nar ra tives that take read ers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of sur pris ing redemp tion,The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a gen er a tion of boys try ing to find their way in a chal leng ing and at times, hos­tile world.

Purchase The Other Wes Moore Now Click Here!!

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Positive Black Male News: Young N.J. athlete Quai Jefferson juggles football and caring for his sick mom

Positive Black Male News: Young N.J. athlete Quai Jefferson juggles football and caring for his sick mom

Boys II Men

Quai Jefferson is a 17 year old starting wide receiver for St. Joseph of Montvale, the number one ranked team in the state. He’s blessed with all the markings of a star athlete who has a bright future. But when school and football end each day, he faces a very different reality. Quai is the primary healthcare provider for his mother who is sick with multiple sclerosis. He has always been the man of the house because his father was in and out of his life. It has always been Quai and his mom. The responsibility of her care, falls mostly on him. Quai shops, cleans, handles bills and cooks as well. All this, while still maintaining his rigorous school and football schedule. But now, Quai is about to open a new chapter in his life. He will begin college next fall raising the concern of what will happen with his mom. (Video by Andre Malok/The Star-Ledger)

Click Here to read story.

Source: The Star Ledger

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TheBlackManCan Institute- Baltimore Video Recap

TheBlackManCan Institute- Baltimore Video Recap


TheBlackManCan travels to Baltimore, MD! TheBlackManCan Institute designed to uplift, empower, educate, motivate young men of color. The purpose of TheBlackManCan Institute is to provide comfort and support for boys of color. Boys of Color attending TheBlackManCan Institute can be assured that their cultural needs will be addressed and they will be free to express themselves while fostering brotherhood. Learn more at

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TheBlackManCan Institute-Hartford Video Recap

TheBlackManCan Institute-Hartford Video Recap


TheBlackManCan Institute touches on several key elements: Entrepreneurship, History Chasing Dreams, Financial Literacy, Style & Fashion, Leadership, Academic Excellence, and Hip-Hop. Our success is measured by the number of students able to walk away with more knowledge, resources, practical guidance, and a useful network to navigate their paths to achieve their goals. The Black Man Can Institute is a deliberate step forward in creating a roadmap to success for young men of color.

The Black Man Can prides itself on leading the way for our current and upcoming generations of intellectuals and leaders. We understand that we are examples and must also create outlets for learning and opportunities. The Black Man Can Institute is one way to achieve these goals. The institute is a one-day series of workshops that focus on different ways to uplift, empower, and inspire young men of color. Learn More at

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Positive Black Male News: JetBlue pilot inspires young aviator

Positive Black Male News: JetBlue pilot inspires young aviator

Positive Black Male News

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Captain Eric Scott is a pilot for JetBlue airlines and his job has inspired a young black boy who has dreamed of a career in aviation.

Scott first met with the inquisitive boy nearly 10 years ago, when 5-year-old Elijah Hedrington first became interested in becoming a pilot.

Now the two have reconnected and Hedrington is currently enrolled as a sophomore at New York’s Bronx Aerospace High School. Scott has also eagerly agreed to serve as his mentor.

“The first time I saw him he became my role model,” Hedrington said. “A black man, being a pilot, a job I wanted to do.”

Watch the full video clip above.

Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works

Source: The Grio

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His Story: Black on Black Crime: #LightSkin Vs #DarkSkin

His Story: Black on Black Crime: #LightSkin Vs #DarkSkin

His Story

History has taught Black America many things but the most relevant and detrimental is the impact of psychological enslavement. The idea of being oppressed without an individual laying hands on you is what keeps Black America in the state of status quo self- hate. I wrote a piece on Black on Black crime and I asked how do we end this epidemic and I received great responses. Recently, I overheard a conversation about Light Skin vs. Dark skin. This has become popular in recent times due to videos on Vine and other media outlets. The basis of the conversation is centered on people light skin being viewed as a blessing and dark skin is a basically a curse. Numerous thoughts ran through my head, like should I take out my belt? But that would probably result in me being forcefully put on the other side of my desk at my job as a federal case manager. The next two thoughts that popped into my head were: (1) when did black people become the slave masters that oppress other blacks and (2) Did the theory of the curse of Ham come back into the forefront? Black on Black crime has moved beyond the violence, which is still a crucial issue, to the psychological aspect. We are keeping an outdated ideology alive every time we hashtag our skin color. #Teamlightskin vs. #Teamdarkskin is what psychological enslavement looks like in the age of vining and self-hating.

The idea of slaves out-numbering slave masters on a plantation but refusing to over take and free themselves by any means necessary always startled me when I was learning about slavery, but it was not until I learned the psychological aspect of making a slave that things became clear. People commonly attach the making of a slave to Willy Lynch, but we now know that he was a fictional character. The means of breaking down an individual remains true. Make them hate themselves more than we ever could is the means of breaking down an individual. As I sat and listened to this conversation I was not only frustrated by the hierarchy that black people and society as a whole placed on the color of ones skin but how it has created a generation of youth that are only concerned with the look of the world and not the seeds that grew into racism. As I watch Vine videos it puts into perspective the value we place on our own history. We were enslaved because of the color of our skin and our unfamiliarity with the cultural norms the original colonies established.

The violence is not brutal but viral and spreading like wild fire. Malcolm X warned our grandparents about our inability to love ourselves more than we love the people who are perpetuating the crimes against us. This is the outcome of the second-class citizenship that we accepted.  This is the outcome of allowing our history to be taught to us through the eyes of racists. This is the outcome of wanting a desegregated lunch counter and not our own diner. This is the outcome of allowing corporate to steal hip- hop and this is the outcome of not having a strong family structure. Light skin vs. Dark skin has to stop because we are continuing to preserve an ideology that said everything darker than white skin is evil. So before you watch the next Vine, Worldstarhiphop, etc. video just remember that blacks both #lightskin and #darkskin were all strung up the same tree.

About the Author:

Mr. Sharif Rasheed graduated from Wright State University with a degree in Sociology. He is the youngest person to be honored with the university program’s ‘Outstanding

Alumni Award.’ He periodically goes back to lecture to students about  psychological slavery, the black male image and the effects of hip-hop on today’s society.

Mr. Rasheed has a background working with troubled youth and drug addicts. He has worked with both male and female juveniles. He uses his experiences to enhance his writing today. He has been featured on sites like ‘Urban Media Today,’ ‘Pittsburgh Urban Media,’ ‘The Soul Pitt,’ and an original piece was also published in ‘LA RAW’ Magazine.

He is also locally involved with his community in the city of Pittsburgh. In 2012, he held a ‘Black Dolls Rock’ toy drive that donated black dolls to young girls whose parents are incarcerated. He also previously held a ‘Save the Youth’ rally that attracted media attention and was seen on the local news.

Mr. Rasheed’s thinking comes from a very relatable place that reminds you of the power we all hold within ourselves. His passion extends from personal experience and his heart is all from his mother, who he gives his greatest accolades to.

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His Story: Being a Young Black Man in America

His Story: Being a Young Black Man in America

His Story

1Hood Media participants explore what it means to be a young Black man in America.

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Book of the Week: Khalil’s Way by David Miller

Book of the Week: Khalil’s Way by David Miller

Book Of The Week


An exciting illustrated children’s novel by author David Miller highlights the journey of Khalil Joseph an 11 year old boy growing up in a tough New Orleans community after Hurricane Katrina. Khalil’s journey shows how a young boy who is gifted in math and chess but struggles with being diagnosed ADHD, asthma, numerous food allergies and growing up with a single mother struggle to deal with being bullied every day in school. Khalil’s Way is funny yet serious journey that encourages children to make making healthy decisions. Khalil like so many children is bullied every day in school. When you finish reading Khalil’s Way, you may be surprised at how the skinny kid with glasses was able to win over his bully, and deal with his own disappointment of growing up without his father. Khalil’s Way is illustrated by award winning artist Jerry Craft.

Click here to Purchase!

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The Village: Beyond the Bricks

The Village: Beyond the Bricks

The Village


The Beyond the Bricks Project (BTBP) is a media and international community engagement initiative to encourage and promote community based solutions to increase educational and social outcomes for school age Black males. The BTBP takes a grassroots approach to improving those outcomes by engaging community members including the young men themselves, educators, civic leaders, and other stakeholders to craft solutions to the challenges the young men face in their schools, neighborhoods, and cities. Importantly, we encourage the young men to examine their roles as leaders and community citizens.

The BTBP believes that taking an asset-based attitude that seeks to build on young Black males’ strengths, both individually and collectively, helps to prepare them to be leaders in advancing themselves, each other, and their communities. To that end, the project aims to create a national network of communities, organizations and foundations, universities, industries and individuals who are committed to shifting the trajectory of all our young people towards success and community advocacy.

We work towards establishing partnerships throughout the country and the world to encourage communities to address not only the educational and social inequities that contribute to failure, but also to look at the change that’s necessary within communities so that everyone is accountable and takes responsibility for the success of our children.

We at the BTBP operate from the standpoint that we all–both individually and as members of various institutions and communities–must be accountable for how we recognize, invest in, support and structure the removal of barriers for all our children, and our Black male youth in particular. When we carefully attend to and provide a holistic network of support for our Black male youth, we are connecting to the ideals that have framed our nation–that when we view all of our children as untapped resources and sources of greatness, we are encouraging them to dare to expand the spectrum of who they are and be better positioned to be leaders in their lives, their communities and the world.

There are 3 overarching objectives for the BTBP as a social change project:
1) Help refocus the agenda away from merely identifying the problems among Black male youth to promoting and encouraging schools and communities to work together on solutions to educating and supporting these young men
2) Increase positive community engagement in the everyday lives of Black male youth
3) Encourage the development of youth achievement, leadership and activism through emphasizing community citizenship


The BTBP is organized into 4 project streams to address our 3 overarching objectives for this work. The 4 project streams are the following:

Media and Film Productions and Screenings
Out of School Programming
BTBP Focused Research and Research based Publications
Direct Community Outreach

Visit Beyond the Bricks Now Click Here.

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Campus Kings: Anthony Bell

Campus Kings: Anthony Bell

Campus Kings

Meet 18-year-old Anthony Bell Freshmen at UCLA

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, much has been said about, and to, young Black men. At College Bound Brotherhood, we wanted to hear from young Black men themselves.

Over the month of August, we will be sharing powerful responses by young men like Anthony as part of the “Our Lives Matter: College Bound Brothers Speak” video series.

Join the conversation at #‎OurLivesMatter.

Twitter: @collegeboundbro

Full series:

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Positive Black Male News: 10 Black child geniuses you should know

Positive Black Male News: 10 Black child geniuses you should know

Positive Black Male News

by Amir Shaw

If you only watched the evening news or depended on pop culture to paint a picture of young Blacks, you would probably think that the majority of Black youngsters were only ambitious about sports and music – or caught up in crime and debauchery.

However, the face of Black success isn’t limited to the fields that are occupied by Jay-Z, Beyonce and LeBron James. There are a multitude of young Blacks who are achieving at a high level in science, math, classical music, chess and other knowledge-based areas and preparing to change society.


Stephen R. Stafford II

Stephen R. Stafford II

Stephen entered Morehouse College at the age of 11 and picked up three majors. Now 16, he is currently studying computer science and mathematics. He will likely graduate at 17.



Mabou Loiseau

Mabou Loiseau

By the age of 7, Loiseau spoke French, Creole, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic and Russian. She also plays the harp, clarinet, violin, drums, guitar and piano.



Andrew Koonce

Andrew Koonce

Andrew is a master violinist based out of Atlanta. He was named concertmaster of the Georgia Music Association’s All-State Middle School Orchestra. The title goes to the most skilled musician in the section.



Autum Ashante

Autum Ashante

Raised by a single father, Autum was ridiculed by highly regarded conservatives at the age of 7 for writing a poem that highlighted the travesty of slavery. Autum never wavered and mastered languages such as Arabic, Swahili and Spanish. She scored 149 on the standard IQ test. At age 13, she was accepted into the University of Connecticut.



Imafidon family

Imafidon family

The Imafidon family is known as the smartest family in the U.K. The youngest siblings, Peter and Paula, made history by becoming the youngest students to enroll in secondary school. Their older sister, Anne-Marie, was the youngest student to pass A-level computing at the age of 13.



Rochelle Ballantyne

Rochelle Ballantyne

At 17, Rochelle Ballantyne is one of the top chess players in the world. She is currently on the verge of becoming the first Black American female to earn the title of chess master.



Ginger Howard

Ginger Howard

Ginger Howard is the youngest Black American woman to become a pro golfer. Howard is competing to become the fifth Black American woman to join the LPGA Tour.



Tony Hansberry II

Tony Hansberry II

Tony used failure as inspiration. After he didn’t place in the eighth grade science fair, Tony interned at Shands Hospital and developed a method of reducing the amount of time it takes to perform hysterectomies and potentially reducing the risk of complications after the procedure. He was honored for his contributions.



Chelsea Dock

Chelsea Dock

Chelsea has been an accomplished pianist since the age of 5. Now 13, Chelsea has performed at Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Steinway Hall. She’s also an artist and straight A student.



Daquan Chisholm

Daquan Chisholm

Daquan created a walkie-talkie, bulletproof helmet at the age of 12. He’s currently working with Johns Hopkins University to gather funding to patent the idea.

Amir Shaw is a filmmaker and music and sports director for Rolling Out magazine. Follow him on Twitter @arshaw. This story first appeared in Rolling Out.


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His Story: When Schools Ain’t Enough for Black Boys

His Story: When Schools Ain’t Enough for Black Boys

His Story

In this lyrically infused talk, Crystal Belle challenges listeners to reconsider issues related to freedom and education. Drawing upon personal experience, Belle compares the success of an African-American female to the experiences of African-American males undergoing a series of trials and tribulations, both attending an inner-city public school system and coexisting within the same home environment. Belle is an educator, freelance writer, and poet and is currently a Doctoral student of English Education at Teachers College.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.*

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Positive Black Male News: 17-Year-Old Graduates From Florida Atlantic University

Positive Black Male News: 17-Year-Old Graduates From Florida Atlantic University

Positive Black Male News

By NewsOne Staff

While most 17-year-olds are contemplating which college they plan on attending next fall, James Martinis thinking about where he wants to attend graduate school.

WSVN-TV 7 reports that Martin, of Marimar, Fla., just received his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) during a ceremony Tuesday. The baby-faced teen was by far the youngest graduate in his class of 1000 other students; he was also one of the most accomplished, finishing with a 3.9 GPA.

“James Martin, Suma Cum Laude,” said announcer at the the ceremony. That he is so young is a fact that does not elude the young scholar.

“It’s funny, because I have a really young face, so they all knew this kid doesn’t belong here,” Martin said. “They end up seeing you almost as a peer because you study like they do, you work like they do and at the same time, you’re interacting.”While Martin is clearly a super-talented young man, his mother, who home-schooled him as a child, admits that her son was not always so studious. “His early years, he tended to be a little lazy,” said Joan Martin. “He daydreamed a lot and then, about 12 or 13, he started getting really serious.”

Martin was so serious that his improved habits landed him on FAU’s campus at 14-years-old. It was a successful journey that didn’t go without its challenging moments, however. “It’s been some nights, man,” he said. “It’s been some nights where I’m just like, ‘Ugh!’”

While Martin is not sure of what his next steps will be, he does eventually want to pursue higher education.

“In a couple years, hopefully, I’ll be on my way to getting a PhD, and so that would be a tremendous blessing,” he said. “In another eight years, I’ll be a professor somewhere.”

Congratulations to another fine young man doing great things!

Source: NewsOne

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Positive Black Male News: Young African-American Males Culminate FAMU’s Summer Program Especially Tailored for Them

Positive Black Male News: Young African-American Males Culminate FAMU’s Summer Program Especially Tailored for Them

Positive Black Male News

famuThe Florida A&M University (FAMU) Black Male College Explorers Program will host its end of the yearbanquet on Thursday, July 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the university’s Grand Ballroom.
More than 50 young African-American males participated in the FAMU Black Male College Explorers Program this summer.  This program provided six weeks of highly concentrateddevelopmental experiences, which includes weekly seminars, workshops and motivational trips.
FAMU alumnus Edward G. Tolliver, who is the director of FAMU’s Black Male College Explorers Program, expressed his thoughts about the program.
“We know that this program works and has worked for so many years,” said Tolliver, who has been a part of the program for the past six years. “Replication is a must. It isreally gratifying to see what happens here. It makes you really proud of the fact that FAMU is partaking in the future of the next generation and future generations. It is moving.”
The objective of the Black Male College Explorers Program is designed as an at-risk prevention/intervention program specifically to prevent black males from dropping out ofhigh school; facilitate their admission to college; and significantly increase their chances of earning a college of degree. Middle and high schools from Tallahassee and major cities all over Florida are participating in the program.
Participating schools are asked to identify at-risk males enrolled in grades 7 through 11.
Participants in this year’s program were from Florida cities Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach. One student came from as far as Connecticut.”
“We are excited in terms of the diversity,” Tolliver said. “We had three Latino participants from Hillsborough County this summer.”
One of the highlights from this summer’s program was a trip to Washington DC, where the youth had the opportunity to participate in a symposia onblack males at the National Press Club.
The group also traveled to Atlanta, Ga. for a three-day motivational field trip, which included stops at the Georgia Aquarium, Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site,Six Flags White Water Park and church service at Ebenezer Baptist Church. During the service, the137 participants from the FAMU, Bethune-Cookman University, Florida Memorial University, and Edward Waters College Black Male College Explorers Programs were allin attendance.
“I hope we did a good job in elevating consciousness of the trials that young men of color face from nativity to maturity from our trips,” Tolliver said. “Moreover, by advancingthis type of responsiveness, we may have added to guiding principles and systems that can improve these boys’ academic and survival prospects, for their improvement and that of our Sunshine State.”
For more information on the Black Explorers Male Program, contact Edward Tolliver at (850) 561-2407.
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His Story: The Black Male Body: Dead on Arrival (Fruitvale Station & Trayvon Martin)

His Story: The Black Male Body: Dead on Arrival (Fruitvale Station & Trayvon Martin)

His Story


With Zimmerman found not guilty, and Director Ryan Coogler recapping Oscar Grant’s last days on the big screen, the reoccurring injustices to the Black Male Body are painfully evident.

By Tinsel & Tine Blog Contributor: Christopher “Flood the Drummer”® Norris

While the “Not Guilty” verdict is saturating headlines from print to post, it’s not the only tragic story of an unarmed black male being crucified by an overzealous, gun-wielding “authority figure.” Millennial Movie Maker Ryan Coogler, 26, has bought his award-winning story Fruitvale Station, of a 22-year-old Bay Area resident Oscar Grant to the big screen. Produced by Forest Whitaker and starring Academy Award winner Olivia Spencer as Oscar’s mom, the 90 minute feature film pulls and tugs at already broken hearts, reminding us all that Lady Liberty never gave birth to a black baby.

photo2“A lot of times people who don’t regularly interact with males of color – particularly black males –don’t look at us as full human beings; they dehumanize us on arrival. White people in particular will look at someone like Oscar Grant or Trayvon Martin and automatically think: he’s a thug, a criminal, anything but human. Seeing us as less than human empowers them to do things to our bodies – take our lives – in a way that they would never want done to them,” says Director Ryan Coogler, a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. (See more Tinsel & Tine Interview with filmmaker Ryan Coogler).

“Lady Liberty is now blind, deaf and dumb,” remarks Rashuan Williams, 19, while reading a poem off his smartphone at the Trayvon Martin Brotherly Love Vigil. Held this past Sunday in response to Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict, more than 800 people convened in Philadelphia’s iconic Love Park – the site of a March 2012’s event bearing same name – to grieve with the Martin family and make a visual statement to the state of Florida.

“Freedom ain’t free for a black man,” continues Williams, wearing a hoodie and holding a can of Arizona ice tea. “The thirteenth amendment makes freedom free only behind bars at six feet beneath our feet. Manslaughter can be only considered manslaughter if you’re killing a man. So the current comprise is to equate the black man to 3/5 of the human, 3/5 of the man.”


Pouring out a bottle of Tropicana Orange juice and calling names out like Oscar Grant, Emmit Till and Trayvon Martin, activist Manwell Glenn called for an indefinite boycott of the state of Florida, including its crown jewels – oranges and Mickey mouse.“This is the last time we’ll ever drink a god damn thing from Florida,” he exclaims. “Florida you are dead to us! We can go to Disneyland instead of DisneyWorld.”


“The system can’t fail those it wasn’t meant to protect,” reads a sign held by a protester.“I felt like Trayvon Martin was part of my family. I’m heartbroken and completely disgusted by the system. If I had any faith in the system, it’s completely gone now,” states a protester during the open mic portion of the hour long event.

As the sun went down on Love Park more than 500 people stood; passing the microphone; sharing stories. The world today took notice. While the law views black male bodies as disposable, people across the country view them as assets. People across the country have embraced black male bodies they’ve never met. If you ask those people the value of the black male body, they’ll more than likely respond priceless.Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™

Twitter: @therealTBOInc
Facebook: /therealTBOInc

About the Author:  Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris:

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Christopher Norris is an award-winning journalist and online content producer whose works can be seen on and Comcast’s Xfinity OnDemand. In 2013 Christopher Norris was recognized as a BMe Leadership Award Winner (Knight Foundation), Philly DoGooder “Emerging Leader” (Here’s My Chance) and “Brother of the Year” (Brothers’ Network). Norris currently serves as the CEO of Techbook Online Corporation, an integrated marketing and news organization he founded in 2009.
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His Story: A Poem for Trayvon: Rainbows and Rope Burns

His Story: A Poem for Trayvon: Rainbows and Rope Burns

His Story


At the end of some rainbows lay Olympic size pools of blood from a body that once was… breathing. In search of  a pot of gold, or hell maybe just tryna get home. Cause Skittles commercials ain’t supposed to end this way, cause drowning at the end of the rainbow isn’t the way Trayvon wanted to end this day. Trayvon wanted to get his cousin some Skittles. Not boycotting for Civil Rights or protesting some capitalistic sin. And the only thing Trayvon was occupying was his skin. He just wanted to get his cousin some Skittles. But as a young black man Trayvon’s body was inherently political. Because the rope burns around our necks are residual. Because our skin, the vault that houses the narrative of our collective souls has a memory that is impenetrable. So as Trayvon lay there, drowning in a pool of blood, I can’t help but thinking the experience was unforgettable, because his blood had been there before. Whether from the extended branch of a tree, or from the metallic bumper of an SUV, his blood had been there before. Whether from the asphalt of a New York street, or the fields of the Confederate elite, his blood had been there before.

At the end of some rainbows lay Olympic size pools of blood, from a body that once was… breathing. And on this day that rainbow gave Trayvon rope burns. Because his Skittles were Emmett’s whistle, and therefore Zimmerman considered that rope earned. Earned not by reading Pedagogy of The Oppresed, earned not by looking deeper into the incomplete Autobiography of Malcolm X, earned not by sitting in a seat when being told to move, earned not by staging a revolt against being owned and abused. Earned because Trayvon wanted to get his cousin some Skittles. You see when you’re black being political ain’t got shit to do with being “political,” cause our politics ain’t just personal; it’s residual! And the process of rainbows closing in on us is continual.

So as you sit there doubting whether or not rainbows can give a person rope burns, you may want to pause and ask Trayvon’s mom what her son earned? You may want to ask her what was her sons favorite color? Ask her if he’d earned the chance to one day find a lover. Ask her if he’d earned the chance to bring his family wealth. Ask her if he’d earned the right to live, so that he could protest about himself or so that he could care less. You see the freedom to be indifferent is what we’re gonna lose next. What is a family to do, when they are told the reason their son died is cause he looks like you?! Because his soul was housed in skin that was home to flowing narratives that had been there before. The gunman who took his life is still on the streets… don’t think I need to say much more. I just want Trayvon’s family to know that we care. And that even though his physical body may be gone his narrative is here… and there. We carry him with us each day not just in our thoughts at day or night, his story courses through our bodies, and therefore his story gives us life. Our blood has been there before.

At the end of some rainbows lay Olympic size pools of blood from a body that once was… breathing. The lynch mobs never disappeared they just got licensed handguns and badges. And as they try to wipe us out, there’s one thing that they haven’t accounted for, and that’s our spirit of always fighting back… Our blood has been here before. Taste the rainbow.

chrisrobertsAbout the Author: Chris Roberts is a Poet. Scholar. Activist. B.A. Maryland ’11/M.A. SF State ’13/Incoming PhD student, Temple University. Write 2 free. Speak 2 hear. Listen 2 liberate. Elevator of Thought · Check out his blog

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His Story: Why Fruitvale Station is a Game Changer for Young Black Men

His Story: Why Fruitvale Station is a Game Changer for Young Black Men

His Story


I was blessed to attend the Oakland premiere of Fruitvale Station and as a person who does most of my work around race and specifically how Black men are portrayed in the mainstream media. This movie is a Game Changer! If the jury of the Zimmerman trial saw this film, George Zimmerman would immediately be found guilty.

What’s so great about the movie is the masterful way in which writer/director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan, both of whom should as least be nominated for Oscars, show Oscar Grant as a complete human being. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he was a good person with a huge heart, and definitely did not deserve to die like he did.

Even though I wrote a song about Oscar Grant, and his murder by BART Police Office Johannes Mehserle, I feel like I didn’t know him as a person nor his spirit, until I saw this film. Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan, and Producer Forest Whitaker essentially immortalize Oscar Grant, creating a living memorial of the last 24 hours of his life. Although I had never met Oscar Grant personally, after watching FruitvaleStation, I feel like I did.

The humanizing of Oscar Grant makes the ending of the film that much more powerful and heart wrenching. No longer is he just some nameless/faceless “criminal” who was justifiably killed by the police. Anybody who watches this movie, regardless of age or race, will relate either to Oscar Grant or his mother, beautifully portrayed by Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, in some way. The movie leaves no doubt that Oscar Grant’s death was completely wrong and unjustified.

I encourage everyone to do what you can to get the word out about Fruitvale Station! Go to and commit to using whatever resources you can to help promote it. If we can just get people to the theater, I believe this movie will absolutely change people’s perception of being a young Black man in America. It’s that powerful.

Originally Posted on: Black Youth Project

jasiri-x-42-150x150Article by: “This Week With Jasiri X” the groundbreaking Hip-Hop news series has taken the rap world by storm. Each Episode of “This Week With Jasiri X” features Your Hip-hop News Anchor Jasiri X reporting the National news over the hottest beats. For weeks Jasiri X has provided a rapidly growing internet audience with a most creative and interesting delivery of the weekly news. Using lyrical skills, controversial subject matter, and phat beats, Jasiri X shows and proves that real Hip-hop is not in the least bit dead. Chuck D of Public Enemy once boldly declared that “Hip-hop was the CNN of the ghetto”, no artist has better embraced and embodied that concept than Jasiri X.

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League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Jerry Craft

League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Jerry Craft

League Of Extraordinary Black Men

Syndicated Cartoonist Jerry Craft interviewed on Cablevision’s Neighborhood Journal. He talks about how he created his Mama’s Boyz comic strip and why he publishes his own books.

League of EXTRAordinary is where we at TheBlackManCan highlight Black Men who are making positive and remarkable contributions to society.  Nominate a Black Male today on the contact page or e-mail us at

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