african-american-youth

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Rammellzee X Basquiat X 1982

Jean-Michel Basquiat and Rammellzee on Santa Monica Blvd after exiting Maxfields in Los Angeles. Photos by Basquiat’s assistant Stephen Torton. 

A Different World Impact on The Next Generation

I’m a millennium child. Yes, born in 2000, but my soul begs to differ. Ever since I began to take interest in the music I listen to, the shows I watch, and the ideas I believe in; I’ve always had an old soul. My mother remembers me screaming to D'Angelo by the time I was 9 and watching Sanford and Sons with my grandmother at a very young age. So “A Different World” idealism has probably already been installed in me. But since I’ve started highschool my low aspirations to go to college have been uplifted. I am a high achieving student without much effort or as the father figure in my life would put it, “A High-Achiever without have to Achieve Highly” but I never truly wanted to go to college. College is expensive, hard, and lots of responsibility.

But watching “A Different World” has given me a new outlook on college, especially HBCU’s. Though I am at the end of my Freshman year in highschool, from watching this show I’ve made a conscious decision to begin to “Achieve Highly”. “A Different World” has given me a realism of experiences that will, sadly, most likely happen to me in my college stint but the show has also given me a positive outlook on a college experience; especially a HBCU experience. From Whitley and Dwayne’s rendition of love, to Freddy’s naïveté, and Jaleesa and Walter’s quarrels. The show has a balance of representation and possible fantasies for all black youth that’s dream is to aspire. I’m proud to be deeply touched and transformed by this show. -Kyara Robinson

My heart goes out to every married gay couple around the country fearing that their marriage will be nullified by this republican congress. Also to all of the sick individuals fighting for their health that rely on the coverage that they’ve received under the Affordable Care Act which is most certainly going to be revoked. To all of the families huddled together in fear tonight wondering how long it’ll be until violence ensues against them during immigrant witch hunts and the inevitable round ups. To every African American youth sitting at home afraid to go out now that a party has just taken power that firmly and passionately believes that their lives don’t matter. They do. And finally to every struggling working class family whose lives are going to get tougher and tougher as republicans make extreme cuts to their friends and benefactors at the top and compensate by abusing the middle class. My heart goes out to all of you.


I have no idea how we got here but I’m extremely saddened by the thought that a majority of the people voting in this country could support a man like that. It’s such a cliche to say that because of these results I want to move elsewhere but it’s so true. A majority of voting Americans just voted for a country filled with divisiveness and hate. That is not a country I feel safe living in. That is not a country that speaks for or represents me. Unfortunately, there is no way I could leave. I have to stay and work to help stall or fight the horrors that await. These hate-filled Americans may have won the battle by electing this horrid man as their leader but they will most certainly lose the war for the future of this country. We will rally and we will win again. #iamaprouddemocrat

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Many African American youth feel that they have to wait until they’re around 50-years old to be an influential leader of their people. When you look at these black leaders who many expected to be in their 30s or 40s, you’d think otherwise. These men became leaders in their 20s. This shows age doesn’t matter. All it took for them to be a leader was ambition, courage, education, and listening to the advice of experienced leaders. These are the things that can turn today’s black youth into leaders when they reach their young adult years.

According to Huey Newton, African American young adults have played a major role when it came to fighting for justice and equality. By looking at the age of these leaders, you can also see why racists in the police and prison system mostly aim for young black men. The young adults are the ones most likely to bring about change. This is what the black youth need to be aware of. Once they are, they’ll have the courage and confidence to become successful leaders of their people.

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DAY TWENTY-TWO: During a podcast taping at the @colombobogota about education, black history month, the interview took a turn onto ugly cry avenue when the director of the center and host of the podcast asked me about the impact my mentors, the late Mary G. Brown and her husband Leroy Brown. They exemplified what we now call #blackexcellence. Their desire and passion to help african-american youths in #NorthCarolina succeed in life is a thread that runs deeply through my life. I speak Spanish, play piano and have two college degrees because of them. So, when the Colombo director noticed me mentioning them a few times in the interview she asked me to go into detail about their impact on my life… and I started crying. I realized the very moment I was experiencing in Colombia was because of their influence in my life.

Much like the great work the Browns did and the Colombo centers are doing all over Colombia in educating and equipping people for bright futures, I want my life to be about more than me and my accomplishments. I want to help someone else make their dreams realities. That to me, is #excellence at its finest. I salute my dear mentors Mr. & Mrs. Brown and all of their many sacrifices for the African-American community and the world at large!!! #blackhistorymonth

@exchangeourworld @americanmusicabroad @statedept @usembassybogota #binationalcenters #culturaldiplomacy #colombia #bogota (at Centro Colombo Americano, Bogotá)

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Youth unemployment has reached tragic proportions. Today in America, for those young people 17-20, those kids who have graduated high school or have dropped out of high school, if they are white, youth unemployment is 33%. If they are Hispanic, youth unemployment is 36%. If they are African American, youth unemployment is 51%. In my view, maybe, just maybe, it makes sense to create jobs and educational opportunities for these young people.
—  Bernie Sanders
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With the primary season finally over we’re figuring out what voters actually care about. 

We talked with a group of students at Hampton, the historically black university (or HBCU) once attended by Booker T Washington. 

The issues on their minds are: 

  • Jobs (and the prospect of endless internships on a road to nowhere).
  • Prejudice which might hold them back.
  • A totally valid anxiety about the behavior of police officers. 
  • And debt. Obviously. 

Photos: Bastien Inzaurralde for the Guardian.