Tag Archives: role models

The Purge – Catalogue

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The Purge – Catalogue

Tucked away in the SkoolHaze back alleys are about 15 drafted reviews for the books I read this summer. I was on a reading binge from July to September. Initially it started as a #Read40ADay challenge. I was doing pretty well, reading on average about 70 pages a day until maybe… early August. My mind and eyes got tired and…. the world started to slow down. I was still able to get through quite a few books, many of which expanded my thinking and gave my brain great distress. For example, Paul Robeson’s Here I Stand and W.E.B. DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folks were extremely tedious and difficult to get through. Not only did I have to translate their formal language into something I could comprehend, but I also had to try to put myself in their time. The Souls of Black Folks was written in the early 1900’s and I felt the need to put myself in Dubois’ world in order to truly understand his story. This is sort of how Lisa Delpit’s Other People’s Children felt when I tried to read it before having taught a day in school. I picked it back up right after finishing my first year and it felt like Ms. Delpit was speaking to my soul. Other books like Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow forced me to analyze every word of every sentence that described the evolution of our criminal justice system. It became a sad soap opera that I couldn’t put down, and recommend everyone read.

Thankfully I’ve used a lot of what I consumed in my teaching practice and grad school papers. One day I may actually finalize the reviews and post them for your all. Until then check the list out below.

What are you readin?

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Recommended Books – I highly recommend these books. These are all titles that I ended up creating my own table of contents as I knew I would be returning back to the book years later for sources and tips.

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The Mis-Education of the Negro – Foundational Text for anyone educating black children or people. If you haven’t read this book and you teach African American students you should really take a second to see what Elder Woodson has to say. Its probably the most profound things I’ve heard about education theory for Black students, and it was written over a century ago.

The New Jim Crow – Great read for anyone who’s work or life is impacted by the criminal justice system. Compelling argument that highlights how the criminal justice system for over 200 years has worked to create poverty and a caste system in minority communities.

Trying to Get There – Great story about fighting for your own success in a market that isn’t used to your culture. I just loved being able to get a piece of Roderick’s story. And have actually taken to wearing bowties at work because of him.

Eleven Rings The master coach. I admit the sexy cover sold me! Phil replays his youth as a basketball player and how it helped turn him into one of the most successful coaches in history. It was great seeing him make teams from players of individuals. I’m still hopeful I can use some of his tribe influenced techniques in my classes.

Other People’s Children – Amazing read that puts cultural communication differences into perspective. I would say read this if you have at least taught 1 year in a school setting. It made so much more sense once I was able to recall my own work-related situations where communication just simply wasn’t the same between my students and coworkers.

A Handbook for Teachers – Fan of Baruti Kafele’s work. He actually came and spoke at one of the conferences my old job put together. Motivational book that gives the reader so implementable tips for working with Black students.

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Good Reads – Outside of The Narrative, these books are all a bit more specialized. I recommend them if you’re looking for specific tips and strategies in the areas listed.

Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males Great book that highlights some strategies on working with Black male readers. As a Sped teacher its been a bit more difficult to implement these in an ICT setting. But I do feel like this book gave me a better perspective to assess my student’s literacy skills.

The Black Man’s Guide to Graduates School I read this after I had already finished my 1st year of Grad School. Shout out to co-author Corey Guyton who got his Ph. D. from my alma mater Indiana State University. Great read if you’re thinking about going to grad school but not sure where to start. Book offers multiple perspectives from 6 different guys who all had different journeys to meet their success.

Narrative of Frederick Douglas I read this in high school, but didn’t quite remember it. Great perspective builder for anyone who needs a refresher of Black/American history – how far we’ve come – and how far we still need to go.

Motivating Black Males to Achieve Another book from Baruti Kafele. I’m in the middle of reading this now. I love that he approaches this work form a surplus perspective. It shows in his writing and its refreshing reading about Black youth from that perspective.

Unlabel Motivation Maker. I’ve been reading this book for a while. It talks about Mark Ecko’s rise to fame with Ecko clothing, Complex Magazine and all his other business ventures. I love this book because every time I read it I end up putting it down to go work on SkoolHaze. Definitely worth the money.

Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys Perhaps one of Dr. Juwanza Kunjufu’s founding works. Dr. Kunjufu is a voice for the Black Male scholar to speak about his own condition in society. The book was written in the 80’s and reflects some of popular black opinion from that time. But overall a great read for anyone wanting a deeper look at issues that may be affecting Black male success.

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General Collection – These books didn’t give me groundbreaking new information, but they were interesting reads.

DreamKeepers – So, at one point we were asked to read a book that I didn’t agree with in our grad classes. The title of the book related to scare tactics that I just couldn’t stand behind in class. I went to the professor and she offered to incorporate an additional text for me and others. This is that text. I like DreamKeepers it kind of touches on the teaching and communication differences between White teachers and teachers of color.

Coming of Age: Rites of Passage I would recommend this for people who have been through a Rites of Passage program themselves. The book gave me a language to use in describing and thinking about the pro’s and con’s of the process. I don’t know if it will be helpful to anyone without an intimate knowledge already though.

To Be Popular or Smart – Easy read. To be honest I can’t remember much from the book.

Motivating and Preparing Black Youth Easy read. To be honest I can’t remember much from the book.

Teaching Matters Great book written by two education scholars from my alma mater Indiana State University. They talked about how educators owe it to their profession to be and bring passion to their work.

The Warrior Method This is a book I just started. It gives basic information about raising strong Black boys. The title is what caught me the most. But I haven’t read enough of the book to really speak about it.

The Alchemist A book I’ve always wanted to read about reaching your personal legend, and creating doors where there were no doors before.

Angry Little Men Oddly enough I didn’t have a problem with this title even though its similarly framed from a deficit standpoint. I don’t remember much about this book, but in the margins I wrote “This book answers how African American children (boys) can have a high academic self-concept even if they don’t perform well academically.”

Empire State of Mind Anecdotal review of Jay’Z’s rise to fame and stardom. The authors interviews people close to Jay-Z and uses old newspaper articles to piece the story together. I wouldn’t recommend this book if you’re looking for more first hand information on Jay-z.

Juggling Elephants One of the first books I read two or 3 years ago that began my library. It was the beginning of me figuring out how to effectively use my time to get what I want.

Fraternity I’ve been eyeing this book forever. It’s the story of the group of Black men that were recruited to attend Holy Cross University on scholarship. The class was part of an integration push by the school officials. Some members of the cohort include Clarence Thomas, Theodore Wells a successful defense attorney, and Edward P. Jones a Pulitzer Prize winner. I started reading this book, but haven’t been pulled in by the story yet so I put it down. I plan to return one day.

Prince Among Slaves Last but not least a book about a former African Prince sold into slavery here in the states. I loved learning about Ibrahima’s story. I haven’t finished the book yet but its historical facts mixed with anecdote.

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The Purge – Bootstrap

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The Purge – Bootstrap

There’s a lot of shit going on and history being made right now, this second, in the world. 80 years from now people will be reading about these current times in whatever newspapers, books, or blog posts there are in the world or beyond. During these, future times what do you want people to read about humankind, humanity? Some bull-shit about you making Fool’s Gold in a global economy!? Or stories about you inspiring your peers and community by trying to enduce and inflict the positive impact that that time needed!? Time will judge what that calling will be.

At the end of the day, my observation as a teacher is that we need all strong citizens to feel compelled to reach back into their communities to teach and support those that need it, which is really everyone. No matter where you come from, if you’re of able body and mind, you should feel obligated to do what you can to (over)fertilize that ground and village that you sprouted from. It should be inherent in you to leave the ground more plenteous for whoever comes after you.

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Support, lead, guide, nurture, develop, fertilize, choose whichever word carries the most meaning to you. I can accept initial ignorance, and in response, I will inform you now! Teaching and learning are the nutrients and the duties we all carry as a burden if weare to complete our most basic of civic duties. If you’re reading this, I will repeat again, (your interpretation of) teaching and learning are the nutrients and investment you must see fit to return once you reach individual success.

Change would be instantaneous in communities around the world if people began to purposely mentor the youth they touch (family, friends’ kids, neighbors, church family, students, friends, co-workers… whatever.) And also chose to view these as learning experiences more so for your for your own sake just as much as your mentee’s. I think this is a vital step toward beginning to build strong communities of worldly citizens, importantly strong Black, Brown, urban, marginalized, (insert label here).

As Dr. Kunjufu says, no one gets to success without stepping on a few backs intentionally or inadvertently along the way. Even people that believe they achieved success through their own grit and control – You owe it to that very alignment of the stars-esque luck to actively help align the heavens for someone else. Once you know these gates exist, they are easily out-maneuvered. However, the cost of this privileged-knowledge burdens its users with a debt of eased-maneuverability and flexibility: often forgotten, and never paid back in full with interest.

My strong Black and Brown citizens, it takes a new level of arrogance and disconnect to believe that you, yourself, have found success without having received uninitiated support and guidance from a community elder during your youth. Remembering the context that this is the same world where the verdict in the George Zimmerman Trial could have been anything but not-guilty. This argument instantly puts my emotions into over-drive – filling my body with the passion that leaks out of my eyes and mouth – words and motions spilling out on the floor faster than I can process or recall for all that matter.

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No string of language(s) exists that can begin to describe the institutional webs that block the natural and otherwise promised progression of young people of color, specifically males. And to be clear and fair, there is no amount of studying that will ever make me believe I know all the ways these (plural) institutions affect our daily lives for better and forthe worst.

At the end of the day, really all I wanted to say was this. HEY YOU, do your job homie! If you can read this ask yourself are you purposely teaching and learning? If you are not, for the sake of your ideals on equality, justice, humanity, love, whatever – Start. If you don’t know how, ask someone to help you start. It’s that simple. You can ask me and I’ll brainstorm with you. Yes, it’s that simple.

info@skoolhaze.com (info (at) skoolhaze (dot) com)

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This piece is really a response or better yet an explanation of a rant of mine on facebook.

SkoolHaze ThePurge Bootstrap Rant

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Antoine’s Five Steps for Pursuing Your Passion

Antoine’s Five Steps 

for Pursuing Your Passion

Antoine Live Photoshoot SkoolHaze

1.     Take risks Pursuing your passion means making yourself vulnerable in every aspect.  You must become emotionally naked, allowing yourself to make mistakes and risk being terrible.  Even if you don’t desire fame and grandeur, pursuing your passion means that you want to be good at it.  It means that you want to excel in it; and excellence only comes with de and re construction and you cannot be deconstructed without exposing and becoming vulnerable.  Risk also involves opportunities; seizing every one that is beneficial to you and the pursuance of your passion.  Read up on the stories of the people who excel in your passion, whatever it may be, and guaranteed that the level of success they achieved is almost directly associated with the level of risk they had to take to get there.  Its not easy and can even be as serious as violating the values and priorities to which you adhere.  But, it is necessary and it is ultimately this that distinguishes the difference between a hobby and a pursuance of passion.  Do what no one else would and become what no one else can.

 2.     Remain Teachable- One of the hardest parts of being a human is pulling down your ego and learning from and listening to someone else.  As hard as this is it is integral in pursuing your passion.  You must be able to accept what you are not good at and listen to people you respect on the road to change and growth.  Defense is an enemy; you must listen to criticism and be able to be broken down and take any criticism objectively and use it to your advantage; appreciate it.  Now, there are people out there to whom you shouldn’t listen, as their intentions may not be genuine or they could be haters to put it plainly.   These people are to be nodded and smiled at and their “criticism” taken in one ear and out the other.  Discerning between them and true friends may be difficult, but with common sense and evaluation of character, they will be found out.

Antoine Live Performing Skoolhaze

3.     Make complacence your worst enemy- In your passion there is ALWAYS room for growth, always.  Whether you grow vertically and improve on what you already do or horizontally and switch lanes to tackle something different or use a different approach to what you already do, growth is possible.  With this said, it is most definitely ok to be happy with something and to leave it alone.  When a song I have finished gives me that complete feeling, I leave it alone. There are times I even have to be told to leave it alone, but, nonetheless, I do.  Sometimes things are perfect just the way they are; but, holistically, as far as my vocal ability and the way I sing and how my voice sounds, there is no limit to how much I can improve. It is easy to become happy with where you are and dwell on that but just know that you can go higher.  If you’ve conquered a city, focus on conquering the state, then the region, then the country, and dare I say the world?  And yes, the universe as well.  It all lies in the balance of knowing your limitations and not having any at all.

4.     Research and analyze- As a musician I no longer listen to music, I analyze it, unconsciously sometimes.  When a song enters my brain I almost automatically hear harmonies, tone, technique and how the singer hits the notes, and everything in between.  A passion consumes you and you cannot be afraid of that.  In whatever your passion is you must research and analyze the best of the best.  It is necessary to get yourself familiar with what makes the greats great.  Watch their interviews and how they work.  Research their stories and their history.  In an age of ubiquitously available information, you have your passion at your fingertips; take full advantage.

Antoine Live Performance SkoolHaze

5.     Don’t be afraid to be greatAn unknown fear of greatness is what I believe hinders us all.  There is comfort in mediocrity and people don’t realize how limited their mentality is and how they hinder people from their own greatness.  In short, Mothafuckas are haters and in most situations their hate is a reflection of their own limitations, doubts and fears.  I used to be afraid to say I wanted to perform like Michael Jackson or I wanted my vocal tone to be as pure as Whitney’s in her prime.  I used to be afraid to have standards higher than those around me for fear of standing out.  In pursuing your passion you have to have the confidence to RESPONSIBLY associate yourself with the greats.  I say responsibly because we all know someone who LOVES to do whatever it is they love to do and claims they’re the best at it, but in actuality they suck, morbidly!  If you’re a painter, set Van Gogh or Warhol as your standard.  If you act, aim to be as good as Meryl Streep.  If you are a film director, be Michael Bay and nothing less, but do it responsibly and in your own manner of course and know the work that’s set out for you to be that great. Above all, prove it! Don’t just talk about it.  Greatness speaks for itself.  Know internally what your standards are and claim them commandingly.  Know that you are and can be THAT GREAT and let the work speak for itself.

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Back 2 Music is the motto. Hailing from Baltimore, Md currently living in Boston, Ma, Antoine is an independent artist bringing back real music one song at a time. His style mixes so many inspirations and genres alike. His versatility and appeal as an artist sets him apart, making his style unidentifiable, but his music and performance an identifying unmatched signature in itself. Working to make every record and live performance an unprecedented experience Antoine is sure to entertain and inspire, one note at a time. Be sure to check out Antoine’s latest video for his song Make You Love Me.

The Call Out

Pt. 1 – Freshman Year Wrap Up

Pt. 2 – Freshman Year Wrap Up

Pt. 3 – Cultural Relevance in an Age of Cultural Ignorance

Pt. 4 – Holding Two Stories, Holding Two Miracles

Kanye Taylor Swift

Part 5 – The Call Out

Of course, I wouldn’t be taking my own advice if I focused on the deficit. I’m excited to be back, I’m inspired by the new year, and all of the new experiences I’m about to encounter. My focus this year now that I feel more comfortable engaging students is to focus on solutions to the problems I encounter in the classroom. What I’ve found is that they’re available if I want to make the impact in the way(s) that I know are necessary and possible. But, I must research them! There’s business in poverty, ignorance, and arrogance. If we don’t search and strive toward creating our own solutions then someone will always be ready to use us to further the depression that is going on.

My personal suggestions would be for people to –

  1. Seek out mentors (in AND outside the classroom/home and community/ and programs)
  2. Always express compassion in our actions with our youth
  3. Research and reading books from multiple perspectives, or at least some that will purposely challenge your thinking
  4. Positive thinking/living/and being. I’m certain that what we do undoubtedly rubs off on those that watch us

In realizing that there is a large problem with the current mechanism(s) that maintain American society. I’ve also realized that I as an individual have immense power to impact that mechanism and alter it and make it work to develop my community. As I stated above, the changes I make will undoubtedly rub off on the people I know. The changes they make will undoubtedly rub off on the people they know.

Money is nice and we all need it to cover certain expenses. However, there comes a time when the want for materialism outpaces the needs of our communities. That drive to secure our own needs at the rick of others pushes people away from their service, mentorship, and fellowship that helps us build up our communities. Make sure there is balance. When you let money (selfishness) rule it will always derail your plans. Nonprofits fall for this all the time. Young professionals entering Corporate America fall for this all the time. Politicians fall for this all the time. Don’t let the money blind you to the one on one/in human contact that is the service we all relied on.

I recently fell into a conversation with a young Black professional and HBCU graduate who was the……… Account Executive for Commercial Relations for BET. Basically he worked in advertising. When he found out I was a teacher the conversation exploded from silence to a full blown debate about how our kids don’t want to do anything with themselves and they want to be lazy, etc… Of course I always respond, to the tune of how are Black students aren’t really taught to preservere through their challenges especially academic, and to ask them to do it on their own is unimaginable. People always put the onus of student’s failure on the student and perhaps his parents. It’s like people miraculously forget that these are minors. I wouldnt’ be fair to say that they don’t know what they want, but at 16 I only knew what my parents, peers, and community knew about the world. Luckily those three groups were comprised of people that only supported my development. I hadn’t experienced enough of the world to truly know what I wanted for myself. why do we continue to argue that children who do not have the most positive support system must navigate this world on their own.

The debate carried on for a solid 15/20 minutes with the BET guy talking about how people don’t take advantage of their chances, and I continued to talk about how all of us at the table as college graduates did in fact take advantage of the chances we were given. But again we are viewing this from the top end of the spectrum. Why is it always acceptable to view this debate from the “successful” person’s point of view? Why aren’t we ever called to give and do more for our communities in an effort to help those that weren’t able to make it through to “success”. I began suggesting that he, and his channel needed to take responsibility and show more positive examples to our young black people to follow. He said that didn’t matter, and that he did mentor young boys. I told him it did matter, just today I had to completely switch my Speech lesson in the middle of class because my students weren’t engaged. I did that by cueing in on their favorite musicians. Drake and Meek Millz. I had told them that I had heard of Drake, but hadn’t heard any of Meek Millz songs. If they were going to write a persuasive speech using one of the two what were some of the points they would use. Some students talked about how Drake was versatile, some talked about Meek using grittier lyrics, some talked about Drake being their boyfriend, some talked about they would persuade me to listen to their own music instead.

He then went on to say that BET wasn’t even owned by Black people anymore, so it wasn’t their responsibility to support their community, they were supposed to make money. I countered that regardless of who owned the station, they positioned themselves as a station that developed content geared for black people, in some ways they had a responsibility to provide a diversity in their programming. And he as a professional had a responsibility to work to develop his community and not just himself. He began to talk about how busy he was and that what he was doing was enough, he had to make sure he was set before he could give anymore. This was the sentiments of everyone at the table. They all, college graduates, and all from prestigious HBCU’s by the way (Hampton and Morehouse) felt that their stability superseeded the stability of the community they were coming from. At this point in my I was definitely feeling my happy hour buzz, and realized it was time to step back and just continue to challenge my table participants to find ways to give back and support those younger than them. Regardless of how stable they felt, they could always find someone who needed their wisdom, knowledge, and guidance.

I don’t remember exactly what said, but at this point he continued to shift the blame back onto students not wanting to be successful. To which I continually asked him why he thought it was OK to require a 14 year old to 1) create an awareness of his place on the globe, and 2) maneuver all things in his life to make sure that he grow up to reach his success, when 3) Black youth, especially boys, in reality control almost no parts of their lives outside of what their parents and mentors see them to. There have been numerous stories in the news as of late of young Black boys whose lives were taken from them because of what someone else thought about them.

Anywhom this post isn’t about that. Its about personal responsibility to make a difference in our community. Too often we push the blame on to someone else, or don’t believe we ourselves can make a change.

Thinking for ourselves/Group think (stereotypes, misinformation, doubts, )

Talents into service. For me, my talents are best used teaching, writing, learning to better help myself, my family, and my students.

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A few closing notes I’ll leave you with:

We all have talents, and can turn those talents into services for other people. For me, my talents are being used to teach, write, and continue to learn ways to help myself, my family, and my students.

Group think is a horrible disease that affects 95% of the population. Are you a knowing victim, even worse are you a silent carrier who doesn’t even know they’re a host? Group think has been used to push stereotypes, misinformation, self doubts… Reflect to see where you stand on this.

Do something different for yourself!

Purposely lift someone up everyday.

Read a book, it opens your consciousness.

Save the hate and push for your purpose!

Work to actively build a community wherever you are (work, school, home, groups, etc…)

The media works to make money, not show you positive images of black people. I recently attended a community event where Dr. Imani Perry said that watching television makes Black people feel bad. Think about all of the negative that can be consumed through media images. Whether we believe what we see or not, the constant consumption of negative media images affects our subconscious. White males on average are the only ones who feel better about their personal image after watching tv.  Additional Source – Black pathology is big business

Educators, stop thinking that the world is in irreversible downward sprial. WIth that mentality of course its not going to change. It takes blind faith in our devotion to our craft to help make those incremental differences that lead to larger scale change.

Get off your ass, and make a difference NOW in your family and community. It’s as simple as giving a banana to the hype that you make fun of everyday.

Deflecting the blame onto others, ensures that the “problem” will continue to happen. Find a solution, keep expanding that solutoin, and share it with others.

Stop helping people for a paycheck, OR relying on the people that do help people for a paycheck. You can be the one to bring change to the world. Don’t be the haystack, be the needle that everybody is looking for.

Kanye mic drop

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http://www.vibe.com/article/read-kendrick-lamars-controversial-lyrics-big-seans-control

Tell Flex to drop a bomb on this shit/So many bombs, ring the alarm like Vietnam in this shit
So many bombs, make Farrakhan think Saddam in this bitch/One at a time, I line ’em up and bomb on they mom while she watchin’ the kids
I’m in a destruction mode if the gold exists/
I’m important like the pope/I’m a muslim on pork/I’m Makaveli’s offspring, I’m the king of New York
King of the Coast, one hand, I juggle them both/The juggernaut’s all in your jugular, you take me for jokes
Live in the basement, church pews and funeral faces/Cartier bracelets/for my women friends I’m in Vegas
Who the fuck y’all thought it’s supposed to be?/If Phil Jackson came back, still no coachin’ me
I’m uncoachable, I’m unsociable/Fuck y’all clubs, fuck y’all pictures, your Instagram can gobble these nuts
Gobble dick up ’til you hiccup, my big homie Kurupt/This the same flow that put the rap game on a crutch


I’ve seen niggas transform like villain Decepticons/Mollies’ll prolly turn these niggas to fuckin’ Lindsay Lohan
A bunch of rich-ass white girls lookin’ for parties/Playin with Barbies/wreck the Porsche before you give ’em the car key
Judgement to the monarchy/blessings to Paul McCartney/You called me a black Beatle, I’m either that or a Marley

I don’t smoke crack motherfucker I sell it/I’m dressed in all black, this is not for the fan of Elvis
I’m aiming straight for your pelvis, you can’t stomach me/You plan on stumpin’ me?/Bitch, I’ve been jumped before you put a gun on me
Bitch, I put one on yours, I’m Sean Connery/James Bonding with none of you niggas, climbing 100 mil in front of me
And I’m gonna get it even if you’re in the way/And if you’re in it, better run for Pete’s sake
I heard the barbershops spittin’ great debates all the time/Bout who‘s the best MC? Kendrick, Jigga and Nas
Eminem, Andre 3000, the rest of y’all/New niggas just new niggas, don’t get involved
And I ain’t rockin no more designer shit/White T’s and Nike Cortez, this is red Corvettes anonymous
I’m usually homeboys with the same niggas I’m rhyming wit’/But this is hip-hop and them niggas should know what time it is
And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale/Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake
Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller/I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you niggas
Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you niggas/They dont wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you niggas

What is competition? I’m trying to raise the bar high/Who tryin’ to jump and get it? You better off tryin’ to skydive
Out the exit window of five G5’s with five grand/With your granddad as the pilot he drunk as fuck tryin’ to land
With the hand full of arthritis and popping prosthetic leg/Bumpin Pac in the cockpit so the shit that pops in his head
Is an option of violence, someone heard the stewardess said/That your parachute is a latex condom hooked to a thread

Sources:

You Should Kendrick Lamar Your Friends

Front-row Leadership with JeShaune Jackson

The Creative Dreamers Award has been funded! We’ve met our goal of $3,000. I have a call next week with our liaison on campus to discuss next steps in regards to communicating the scholarship to the campus, alerting the selection committee, and figuring out how we can start building an actual endowment or if we should continue to go the yearly route. In hindsight, it took far more time to get the actual scholarship paperwork complete than it took to raise the total amount of funds. Proof that its not that difficult to do your own if your interested. Hopefully my subliminal hints aren’t so subliminal…

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As we all know, the world works in very mysterious ways. I recently stumbled across an article about another young creative dreamer doing his part to spread positivity, push himself, and completely dominate the game. Meet JeShaune Jackson, a 26 year old, business owner, graduate student, philanthropist, and mentor. [He sounds a lot like me, or at least what I want myself to become.] JeShaune recently delivered his first Jeshaune D. Jackson Scholarship to a young African American male student at his alma mater Bedford High School in Ohio. Even better, JeShaune introduces his scholarship winners and runner ups to black physicians and scientists, and develops his own mentor relationship through consistent check ins and relationship building activities.

With his scholarship, JeShaune plans to build black youth by providing them the much needed one on one mentoring and role modeling they will need to support their future successes. JeShaune himself earned a bachelors degree from Bowling Green State University in Premed and Biology. He’s currently pursuing two masters degrees from Case Western Reserve University – Entrepreneurial Biology and an MBA in Design and Innovation, and wants to add a medical degree on top of that.

Donate directly to JeShaune’s scholarship:
JeShaune D. Jackson Scholarship to Treasurers Office
Bedford City School District
475 Northfield Road
Bedford, Ohio 44146

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JeShaune is a philanthropist, scholar, and also businessman. He created the business/nonprofit organization BioComm. The organization brings together graduate students from diverse academic backgrounds – medical, law, engineering, business, and other fields – to build proposals for science and medical innovations. Participants gain valuable entrepreneurial and business experience working across fields and with real world clients. With the help of the students, JeShaune’s BioComm looks to bridge the gap between science innovation and consumer. You can watch a video proposal featuring Je’Shaune and BioComm at the Johnson and Johnson Be Vital Challenge website.

As we can see JeShaune is an ambitiously inspirational player on the scene. Its humbling and invigorating to see him accomplish his goals. I love the vision he has carved out for himself and his endeavors. He is leading from the front! Think of it as front-row leadership. Being different and resultantly impactful with your leadership. What are some ways you lead from the front? Leave your ideas in the comments section below.

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Find out more about JeShaune, the scholarship, and BioComm:

 
 

Movie Suggestion: The Pact

Movie Suggestion: The Pact

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If you’ve ventured to my website, then I’m going to assume that you’ve at least heard of this book before: The Pact. The story of George, Rameck, and Sampson as they grow up in inner-city New Jersey dodging some of life’s regular challenges growing up young, black, and male in America. They made a promise to eacher to become doctors, and today they’re more than just that, their mentors to kids and professionals alike. I don’t exactly remember when I read the book. I want to say I had to be about 21-ish. So about 7 years ago. It was a great story showing that even the smartest and most motivated young black boys experience challenges that often times throw them off the track to success. Or at least prolonging their journey.

I just so happened to land on Netflix this weekend and saw that the movie was finally made available to stream. Immediately I clicked play, and took out my notebook to take notes on what I saw. I don’t remember too many details from the book, a sign that I need to go back and re-read it, but I was blown away by the huge following the doctors have amassed in so many years. The movie is shot in documentary/reality show style. Following Sampson, George, and Rameck through what seems like a month in their lives.

Their bond bleeds through the screen, their professionalism is encouraging, and their humanness is evident and inspiring as they still encounter challenges in their everyday lives as black men aiming to inspire all those around them. I invite you to grab a notebook, a chair, and learn from the movie.

SampsonRameckGeorge The pact

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Notes: 

– The scene where the doctors meet an inspired young man and his mother at a book signing is one of the most powerful scenes of mentoring/role modeling I’ve seen portrayed on screen. Seeing black men mentor black boys is truly a beautiful site, and a duty all educated black men deserve to their communities – yes, including you!

– I wonder what it feels like to be the doctors. How do they manage their abilities to have an impact to so many youth and adults?

– I want to have an impact like this! How do I get myself to the point where I can have this kind of impact?

– The doctors feel as though they are practicing role modeling, and want other men to join in and do the same. What do you think it means to practice role modeling?

– I need to get a bunch of college banners and hang them around whatever space I teach in next year. No wonder Malique is so focused on education, his room is a breeding ground of college pennants. And shouts out to him for his first and second choice schools! Way to shoot for the stars. I wish I could get an update on what this young man is doing right now.

– How do you go about spreading your positive message/knowledge to the people around you?

– I wish I could get a better look at what it’s like to be the doctors. How did they begin doing their outreach? How do they maintain their outreach efforts now, especially given their professional obligations as doctors? On paper, what does a typical weekly schedule look like for them? This will help me see how I can better manage my time as I grow this and my other platforms.

– Rameck says “Busy is good, there’s a reason why I run like this, because there’s a need for what we do. If there wasn’t a need I wouldn’t be running like this.” Does this scene influence you to make any changes to your own push for greatness? Does it make you frame your work/life any differently?

– What does Rameck mean when he says “We have to get out there ourselves and do something to help ourselves.”?

– “Don’t wait for someone to give you something. You go get what you want them to give you.” This is a big reason why I started this blog. Be the change you wish for others to make. At times it seems like I’m doing this for my own good, which actually helps because it helps me reflect and document what I  do and how I think. There wasn’t a guide I felt was representative of black men as I began the journey of becoming a teacher… So I made my own.

– Cosby parenting video clip: This is essentially how I am with my students.  Caring, direct, fatherly, matter of fact, emotionally invested, and fully invested in their development. More than they even are for themselves. My students are 16-18, and they think they have it all under control. From their perspective they run their worlds. But they don’t understand that the world is far larger and more complex than they can comprehend at this point in their lives.  They don’t understand that the decisions they make now impact their lives now, AND sets the bar for where their lives can go in the future as well.  What often gets in the way for them is their narcissism, cockiness, or selfishness. Extremely common for teens, but still, it serves as a barrier to deep academic and social development in the actual classroom. At this point in the school year intense student interventions look similar to how Cliff and Theo interact after Theo calls Cliff back into the room. Students ARE afraid to try for a multitude of reasons, its not acceptable and  getting in that ass, as any big brother would, is my way of showing them tough love in the classroom. Followed by the  regular signs of warmth and love as a mentor in their lives.  Which reminds me to look into more of Bill Cosby’s  written works.

– Who can you develop your own pact with to help push you to be the greatest you can be? Who can you team up with to hold each other accountable? Who is on your team? I’m starting with my frat brother as we build up Creative Dreamers. We’ve  grown together for  8 years, and have each other’s back similar to the Doctors.

– Think about ways to document and share your journey like Sampson, George and Rameck have done with their various books, website, and now movie. Don’t hold on to knowledge, tips, tricks, understandings you have come to know and depend on. Think about how useful it would have been for you had you learned these lessons earlier in life. Pay it forward and share yourself with others.

– Cute Granny alert!

– What sacrifices are you willing to make when your work life interferes with your out of work ambitions?

– Cling to the positive friends and family you have. Help each other become the best versions of yourself that you can!

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— Available on Netflix

2006 – NR – 85 minutes

After making good on a high-school pact to become physicians despite extraordinary odds, three friends return to their tough hometown of Newark, N.J., to practice medicine and inspire at-risk youths to stay in school and off the streets.

What were some of the key points from your perspective? Share in the comments section.

Dr. Walter Kimbrough’s audio interview post Dre-gate

Dr Dre Dr Walter Kimbrough donation

Dr. Walter Kimbrough comments on his LA Times Op-Ed about Dr. Dre’s donation to USC. I really enjoyed hearing Dr. Kimbrough’s perspective on the issue. In fact, it made a lot of sense after hearing some of the statistics and real life effect Dre’s donation could have had for an HBCU.

- Thanks to Dr. Boyce Watkins for snagging and recording this interview -

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Key Points:

  • – Dr. Kimbrough has 8.5 years experience as a University President.
  • – Educator/Mentor drenched every word spoke. I could feel his passion through the earbuds
  • – 2 months of interest off a $35 million dollar investment would pay for some HBCU’s expenses for the entire year. (WOW!)
  • – Dr. Dre, with this donation, is now the largest Black Higher Education philanthropist in history.
  • – Dr. Kimbrough considers Dr. Dre a peer, and fellow visionary. (I wonder who my peers/fellow visionaries will be 20 years from now…)
  • – USC is trying to fundraise 6 Billion dollars in a large capital campaign. In 1.5 years time, they have already raised more than the combined endowments of all HBCU’s.
  • – $35 million would double/triple/quadruple most HBCU’s endowments. This could easily transfer to more scholarship opportunities for students, resulting in less amounted debt.
  • – Dr. Kimbrough has discovered the Art of the Challenge. He views this experience ad an opportunity where he can challenge how he engages with potential donors. He also wants to challenge others to think about how they give to their community.
  • – [Everyone] should target their resources to help those that need it the most in their communities.
  • – Black entertainers [and everyday citizens] need to focus their giving to do the most good.

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Dr. Kimbrough really brought the message home for me here. I still commend Dre for doing something drastic and different, but I do see how this money could have been exponentially more impactful at an HBCU. What were some of the key points from your perspective? Share in the comments section.

Check out:

Dr Dre creates his own academic program at USC

Why didn’t Dr Dre give it to a black college?? – Walter Kimbrough

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