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
The King Has Fallen is an excerpt from a short story series “Eve | A Tale of Torn Souls.” In the film we find a modern day king overwhelmed by his own inner turmoil, reduced to nihility. He falls in love with a woman who does not fully love herself, rendering him jaded. For the first time in his life he has no control over who he is and spirals out of control after being utterly heartbroken. The downfall of this man has been directed by his misguided love and unwillingness to move on. In the end, his dysfunctional love affair leads to his ultimate demise.
A Kofi Genfi Creation in association with House of Lords
Director/ Writer/ Starring: Kofi Genfi
Editor/ Co-Director: Omari Oneal
Leading Lady: Misha Bernier
Make-up Artist/ Stylist: Sisi Nike
Photography: Sir Thelonious
Creative Consultant: Joseph Johnson
Creative Consultant: Leke Alomaja
Styling Assistant: Christina Dennis
Production Assistant: Arielle Maracheau
Marketing Team: Villains Unite
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 FruitvaleFilm.com 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
Article 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.
School Daze (1988) is a musical-drama film composed and directed by Spike Lee (who as stars in the film as “Half-Pint”). The film centers on Vaughn “Dap” Dunlap’s (Laurence Fishburne) efforts to have the students and administration at Mission College, a fictitious prominent historically Black college, participate in a movement opposing apartheid in South Africa. One of the central goals of the movement is for the students and administration to champion institutionaldivestment from South Africa. Although Dap is successful in getting the attention of many students and the administration, and many students support his anti-apartheid positions, most Mission College students are unwilling to incur any institutional repercussions for fully partaking in Dap’s anti-apartheid movement.
The failure of the students to engage in political activism to protest apartheid in South Africa exposes how capitalist ideology has imbued their psyches. Most of the students are not willing to risk the potential of being expelled from school to become a part of a passionate movement from freedom in South Africa. They fear losing immediate and future money as a result of being expelled from a prestigious institution. While there seems to be general respect for Dap’s intellect, there appears to be a dominant view among the students that his intellect is practically dangerous. Even though the things Dap says sound good to them, they know the political activism he advocates requires them to act in ways that will cause them to risk the “safe” spaces they occupy.
While those who watch and review School Daze may fall victim to the easy temptation to read Dap’s political consciousness as being unfruitful, he causes the students and administration to have to wrestle with the tensions that exist between their money, morality, intellect, and politics. Unfortunately, they primarily reduce Dap to being an out-of-touch “revolutionary.” His ideas ultimately just become interesting and not things that should not be pursued. The majority of the students are concerned fundamentally with themselves instead of the collective as Dap is.
The strong hostility of Mission College’s administration to Dap’s zealous insistence on Mission College’s divestment from South Africa unveils the inauthenticity of the school’s motto: “Uplift the Race.” Dap does not succumb to the threats of Mission College’s administration to expel him; he employs different tactics to work around potential expulsion attempts.
At the end of the film, Dap vociferously and repeatedly states, “Wake Up!” All students come out their dorm rooms, as Dap stands in front of them. The film leaves what is happening and what will happen for the viewer to interpret. One could interpret the ending as the students are finally ready to actively participate in anti-apartheid movement, and they begin to see how their personal concerns, including being overly consumed by fraternity and sorority life, are less significant than the national and global issues and problems that can have an impact on them and what they will be able to accomplish when they graduate. From the students’ body language and facial expressions, it does not seem like they are simply patronizing Dap but are seriously ready to follow his leadership. Dap’s refusal to accept the status quo is what allows the solidarity meeting take place at the end. What the film suggests that Dap longs for people at Mission College and beyond to “wake up” from is sleepwalking when there are many important problems they need to be working to address, including, of course, fighting apartheid in South Africa.
By: Antonio Maurice Daniels, Originally posted to http://revolutionarypaideia.com
University of Wisconsin-Madison