Black Male Leadership in America and Support of Young Black Boys and Men in our Communities

Unity for Change events happened all over the U.S. yesterday. In Brooklyn we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan with NY State Senator Eric Adams and a well-trained crew of activists with the Obama campaign. There was about 50-70 of us from age 5 to 60 and we chanted and got folks to blow their horns on the bridge. I learned I live in Senator Adams’ jurisdiction, the 20th Senate District in Brooklyn (incl. Crown Heights). I told him of my concern about the kids in the high school on my corner where a knifing took place about a month and a half ago. Helicopters circled around my block for what seemed like half the day. I was thinking this is terrorizing our community. How long can you look for someone who knifed another kid in high school from an aerial view? And just how many times do they actually find anyone this way?

Senator Adams was familiar with Paul Robeson High on the corner of Albany and Dean in Crown Heights. He mentioned the knifing. That’s probably the news that distinguishes the memory of the community relative to what’s happening today. Sad.

I met some great people on the hike across the bridge. Two Ethiopian born Brooklynites. We had a chat about the possibility Barack Obama is to America. I mentioned that about 12 years ago I attended a Youth GospelFest co-sponsored by Quaker Oats where a white rep from the sponsor told a house full of black children and their parents “maybe one in 25 years from now, one of you will be president”. In hindsight I can see what he was trying to do, but it left the rest of the adults in the room like me in shock. Back then that wasn’t even a possibility, but it landed like we’d have to wait that long according to this white men. It couldn’t happen now.

Thank God we really cannot predict the future, but we sure can be the change we want to see int the world. Barack has a future he is causing and he has invited us all to do the same.

I am writing a song about the saggin’ pants that stand on the corners whom I’ve been criticizing but forgetting who I really am. A professor, someone who could listen their dreams and perhaps assist them in making it happen. A success coach. A member of their community. The song is called WHO LET ‘EM DOWN signifying on their saggin pants and who we adults have not been being for this young men.

Always watchin’ them in silence
While my teeth are filled with rage
Doing the nothing is such violence

Everyday I don’t deliver
Went to college but I run
from saggin pants I let down…

(Hook:) I’d like to change the world— but I don’t know what to do-o.

The myth that this style of dress comes from Riker’s Island may be true but what’s worse is that those of us with college and university degrees are a brain drain on our communities if we don’t step up, lift these brothers up to their dreams. It’s not what we want for them, but what they want for themselves or their lives. The song says “Being liberal is such nonsense.”

We’ll roll this puppy out in an acoustic set for voice and guitar at my gigs this summer. Next one is Sat July 5th in Rockville, MD at Caribou Cafe at 6:30pm (no cover) and then on Tue Jul 21 at Cornelis Street Cafe in Manhattan at 8:30pm ($10)

A DOSE OF REALITY ‘SAGGIN PANTS” (from documentary)


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