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Black Youth & Role Models

Thinking about the words of my elders always does either one of two things: inspire me to be active or cause me to question their perception of my generation. Some elders have a way of conveying their wisdom in simple messages and illusory anecdotes that hold a greater understanding of life. Sometimes though, it seems that many elders hold an even simpler view of youth and the society we are faced with. Well, let me be the millionth person to say that it is not that simple. Many of the supports that my mother and grandmother had through social institutions such as schools and parks & recreation spaces are unsafe or just plain unavailable. However, the biggest support I feel to be missing is the connection with knowledge and decision making that comes from a role model. Specifically with regards to our young men, I wrote a poem speaking to my perception of the generation as far as where we’ve come and where we may go. 

I cry for you

You, my brothers, young princes
heirs to the kingdom of this earth
backs straight, squared shoulders
deep eyes and pronounced brows
regal in every way–exemplified by your strong stature & rich black skin
…I cry for you

they’ve taken your land and called it theirs; confusion
transported your seeds to infertile land; separation
determined your present by rewriting your past; miseducation
flooded your eyes and ears with propaganda; sensory deprivation
& with this systematic progression of degradation
they have moved you to self deprecation

…I cry for you

I say knowledge is power
you say money makes the world goes round

I say live by the golden rule
you say you have to give respect to get it
besides fear is stronger than love anyway

I say open yourself to the world and it will embrace you
you say only sensitive thugs need hugs
“I’m a real nigga!”

I say we are fashioned in love and it is the key
you say love is a fable spun by cons, hoes, and bums for deceit because nobody ever really cares

& i cry for you
tears that are warm and streaming
and yearning to quench the thirst of your heart and your mind

tears that are warm and streaming like the blood of a sacrificial lamb

tears that multiply with the inherent intuition that its ceasing would deny you of the ocean required to allow all the blessings of your inner tributaries to flow

tears like water pouring from a cup of libations
remembering your ancestral royalty
and invoking those spirits once more


tears like those of Mary Magdalene on the feet of Jesus.


but you don’t understand.