Monday, December 19, 2011

The Andrew Glover Youth Program

I recently had another opportunity to not only sell my books, but also talk to a group of teens who avoided incarceration by entering an alternative program for youth offenders. The Andrew Glover program is one of those jewels in our community that work to keep as many youngsters as they can from entering the prison system. I was honored to be asked to speak to their current clients and grateful for the respect the youth gave me. It was a reminder to myself of why I chose a career in helping young people reach their potential in and out of the classroom. It began as a chance visit on campus by one of their staff. She read my book and within days contacted me about purchasing copies for the Program, then invited me as their guest speaker for an event celebrating the completion of required time and work. I was especially honored by the fact that the Program's director, Angel Rodriguez gave the okay for all this to happen. I'm looking forward to more collaborations with these good folk, as well as other forward thinkers who are dedicated to the saving of our sons and daughters.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pause, Reflect and Eject: A Note to Parents

My understanding is that we’re here to bring forth a well-adjusted young man; to bring the spark back in his eyes. The same spark he lost some time around junior high school, and maybe even before that, when the world went from amusement park to war zone. Let’s not ask what they don’t hear. Young people hate stupid questions— What’s wrong with you? Why do you stay out late? Who are you hanging around? Did you do your homework? Try, instead, Are you happy? Are you happy living here? What is it like to be you? How can school become more fulfilling for you? What am I not getting? So let’s put the punitive approach aside and find alternative ways of relating to our handsome young man, without all the judging and usual chastising, but to allow him to process and relate back in his own way. Let’s press PAUSE, REFLECT and EJECT old ways of parenting and teaching, since he’s not responding to traditional formula. Pause to notice what isn’t working. Reflect on how it felt when you were his age and add to that his indifference, disillusionment and functional depression. Eject your assumptions about him and start from here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Year the Butterfly Was Mine

All writers and poets have their favorite pieces. This here one is mine...

In a forgotten lazy junkyard
I saw him
Kicking empty cans with an agitated foot
Though we shared the same pair of eyes
He couldn’t see beyond the rage
That was badgering his mind
I remember his mother telling him
Son, it’s time you put away the gun
He stormed out the house, ran as fast as he could
Until he couldn’t anymore

The year the butterfly was mine…

He was a victim of circumstances
His old man died before he even knew him
He went on a mission
Crashing in and out of people’s lives
Too jaded to see his higher side
There were tell tale signs
Of a famous story waiting to be told
Iron bars would test his might
But that was how he found my name

The year the butterfly was mine...

In time, I’d wait for as long as he let me
As his questions became my answers
His eyes tired, but mine wide open
For the life he never had
So we took our last kick into the dusty air
Before the years began to gray
I still remember that wounded little boy
And the man who saved his life

The year the butterfly was mine…

From my book of poems, The Dredlocks Tree (2008)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Reviews for Message to a Youngblood

"This book is a real meal. It reminds me of James Baldwin's "Letter to My Nephew" at the beginning of THE FIRE NEXT TIME. I used to teach on Rikers Island and I now teach so-called 'at risk youth' in an alternative education program. I know from experience that the audience to whom Mr. Koromantee is writing--whether the kids are Hispanic, Asian, White, or Black--scoff at most books that are written for them. This is a book that rings true and avoids the traps that most of those books fall into. For one thing, it's not patronizing. For another, it doesn't call on kids to compromise and make peace with 'the man'. It's a message that goes straight to the heart of what it means to be a man in this screwed up, greedy, racist society. This is a great book for any kid. I suspect that teachers who give it to students who 'can't read,' will find that they suddenly can read."

"I have had my copy of the book for approx one week and already someone has borrowed it! Ugh! Sending them your way for their OWN copy! Did i mention that my copy is SPECIAL? Yes, it is autographed for ME from YOU!"

"This book gives voice to our young African American men so that we can create a diaglogue, better understand the world from their view point and close the generational and communication gap that often plague us. Please consider supporting this work. I think you'll find you'll really enjoy it."

"Message To a Youngblood" is an uplifting read that discusses some of the most prevailing social issues concerning young men. What I love about the book is that It is a simply read that is not boring and people of all educational backgrounds can learn, enjoy, and gain further insight from. This novel is a page turner from beginning to end and I promise everyone you will not be disappointed."

"I got my copy of MESSAGE TO A YOUNGBLOOD in the mail a few days ago. I have to say this was an easy read with much practical and 'life-saving' information for our sons and brothers. Written with much care and wisdom, Mr. Koromantee covers all aspects of not only the problems that exist with marginalized young men, but also real, practical, workable SOLUTIONS. This book should be in every school, after-school program, workshops, boys home, etc. I love the section for educators on how to use the book as well. What a wealth of information! Thank you Mr. K!"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Misedcation of the Black Child

"When I attended grade school, there were always photos of great White men on the walls yet none looking more like my father; and Dick and Jane lived in a house that had a foyer, but I didn’t know what a foyer was since no one in my neighborhood had one. In middle school, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. seemed to be the only celebrated Black man. I remember being confused about the inner-city riots. My parents were too busy assimilating/surviving to break anything down for me, and my White teachers couldn’t find the words to explain why Black folk across America were so enraged. I just remembered the worrying in their eyes and this feeling of not being a cute Black kid to them anymore, but now officially a nigger. By the time high school came around, those same White teachers turned into cranky White instructors who taught me about the Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Sami and Gaul yet left out the Mali, Kush, Songhai, Moors and Zulu. I was taught civilization started with the ancient Greeks, but my social studies teacher skipped the part where they stole from Africa; that Queen Cleopatra seduced Caesar but nothing on Queen Nzinga and how she led an army against European invaders. I learned stuff like George Washington never told a lie, but not that he owned slaves; that Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the United States by purchasing the southern territories from France, but it was with the help of the Haitians. And then there’s the standard Columbus discovered America, but I had to find out on my own that the Italian colonizer had originally set sail for India and got lost, so he named the Carib islands ‘West India’ to save face. I even learned about the Jewish holocaust ‘til I could recite pages off Anne Frank’s diary. But the on-going African holocaust was kept out of my textbooks and classroom discussions.

Like most African and West Indian American teens, I graduated high school having learned absolutely nothing about myself except that I started off as a slave from a savage continent, struggled through Jim Crow Laws, moved north for better job opportunities and was finally allowed to vote, thanks to the Civil Rights Movement. Other than that, I was invisible."

Excerpt from my book, Message to a Youngblood

Monday, October 31, 2011

How Can We...

How can we tell him to man up and suppress his feelings and then later say man up and communicate his feelings? I'm just askin...(photo by Ocean Morisset)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Message to a Son

"Black people do have power; just that we lack vision. No matter what you heard about former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, he used to force White city contractors to hire Black workers and invest in our hoods if they wanted their bids secured...And no, you're not crazy. Just overstressed from having so few job options, an education that works against you, a society that marginalizes you, a country that under-educates but over-incarcerates young Black males, and the fact that we don't look out for one another in the same systematic way other groups do." (Excerpt from my latest project Message to a Youngblood).

Ostend Street

Monday, October 24, 2011

What is Black Now? And Are We Even Ready to Talk About It?....

In his latest book TourĂ© asks the question, What does it mean to be 'black' now? Says we should ”attack and destroy the idea that there is a correct or legitimate way of doing has no patience with self-appointed identity cops and their cultural bullying.” Now, that might be some fighting words for some of my diehard red, black and green. But if we take a min to consider where Toure's trying to go with this, we can at least appreciate the idea of finally placing individuality before collective pressure to represent/less and fit in/more. Maybe that's one of the reasons why so many of us get upset at father Cosby's call to clean up our dirty laundry and stop the victim game. Or why Obama wants to be Prez and not Black Prez. As much pride as there is in carrying our Black, we tend to forget the pride of just being. The luxury Whites have of getting up in the morning to simply be, without the preoccupation of skin color. No matter what you think of Toure's views, we can't call him a sellout just cos he wants us to be ourselves, without having to prove the obvious-- hair, lips, nose, melanin and yea, the everyday hassles of race-ism. But being yourself, from attitude to fashion to choice of music to who we vote for to who we call friend to who we love to social consciousness to lack of social consciousness and back to attitude; being yourself is the real emancipation, if we can get there. I'm just sayin...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

On-Line Book Orders

On-line purchasing of my latest book, Message to a Youngblood is now available on Once again, thank you for the kind support and admiration!!!

"The book is written in such a way that both the youth and parent can read/learn/grow together. It's also a useful tool for a young male who may not feel comfortable speaking openly about his feelings, including rage and functional depression. I'm a counselor and educator at heart, so this is not just about selling books. The business of saving our sons and daughters is serious and personal to me. I want to make a difference, and with this book I believe i did."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Love Is...(Message to a Youngblood)

"...And LOVE IS pointing out her haters to her, so she can watch her back; LOVE IS not letting her ignore her close friends and family just 'cause she found true love; LOVE IS pressuring her to graduate when she tells you she'd make a great mother; LOVE IS saying she's beautiful without the weave, hair piece or wig; LOVE IS understanding how your preferring girls with long hair and lighter skin complexion adds to her own rage and self-esteem issues; LOVE IS inviting her to debate with you and your friends on serious topics and world events; LOVE IS taking her to see movies that also make people reflect; LOVE IS teaching her that female empowerment doesn't mean male disempowerment; LOVE IS asking her when was the last time she apologized to someone and why?..."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Book Release: Message to a Youngblood

That's the problem with formula. Experts end up talking to one another and around the young person the book is supposed to be for. Looks nice on paper or even up on a popular bookstore shelf, but if the youth ain't feelin it then you can't say you're an expert. But that's just my take on it. Everybody got their take. Here's mine...

I'll share reading dates later.

Friday, September 9, 2011

From Ground Zero With Love

It's proper to send light to the families, partners and friends who lost their loved ones on 9/11. And it's even more proper to take a min to honor the innocent who didn't leave world trade center in time. But let's also keep in mind that 9/11 also means remembering how White America unleashed her hatred for 'different' right after the twins fell. We had a mayor, already famous for his racist jargon and policies, who used the unfortunate event to spew his political agenda and a President who encouraged division. When Bush told America "you're either with us or against us", it gave racist Whites permission to take their misguided rage on innocent muslim americans and anyone perceived as not being 'american' enough. I was just moving back to nyc from nc where trigger happy southern Whites were putting U.S. flags on their cars and trucks, on their porches and wife-beaters. I remember the language of hate that was taking over the magnolia air and one of my neighbors, an African American muslim woman who was forced to move out of her house cos she refused to stop wearing her abaya. and I remember the term 'terrorist' being thrown around by even some american Blacks who had somehow forgotten how the united states came to be, in the first place.

By the time I reached the gw bridge, NYC was in a total depression and Tribeca was the last neighborhood anyone wanted to live in, what with the fallout from all the debris and scattered body parts. This wasn't another sequel to Die Hard. This was real. And you could tell that White America, especially, was experiencing shock from a loud global wake up call. But most European Americans tend to be in denial about reality checks, either from miseducation or a plain unwillingness to admit that they benefit from racism. So rather than consider historical karma, the majority of them got caught up in the blame game except some like Scottish-American author, Jason Trask (I'm still learning to stop using colors to describe persons without sounding like a research scientist). I guess you can call my buddy a liberal, if we're looking for a box to fit him in. Some people need boxes and categories when choosing their music. But I'd rather call Jason a socially conscious citizen of the world, besides my best friend. He didn't get jumped or called names, or was forced to move his wife and kids to a safe zone. But he had to endure ignorant, paranoid neighbors and co-workers who called him a communist for refusing to put up a U.S. flag at his own doorstep. He was even called in by his supervisor to explain his unusual 'foreign' behavior. I grew up in Montreal, so I know about White on White isms. In Quebec, the beef was over language, not skin color. So I wasn't surprised at all that his own tribe was getting ready to light that torch on his ass! But for whatever reason, they let him live. That's if, of course, calling someone a crazy liberal is letting them live.

While Jason was standing up for his american rights, my mother was being harassed by her White neighbor for not putting up her U.S. flag. If you know anything about haitian immigrants from the Duvalier/Papa Doc days, you already understand why my mother allowed the woman to stick a flag on her window as proof of her loyalty to the good U.S. of A. And if you know me well enough by now, you're absolutely correct in assuming I ripped that damn thing off my mama's window and told the old bat what she can do with her pride! Cos for most African Americans, the American flag is a symbol of contradictions. Like an uncle who molested you when you were a child but is now paying for your college tuition.
Come 9/12, we'll all go back to our everyday lives. We'll forget all the speeches made my the politicians, all the recited names of those gone, all the hype about being as one and resume to being the fragmented society we really are; fragmented by skin shade, income status, languages, gender, sexuality, religion, voting ballots and move on to Halloween candies and masks. Mattofact, Columbus Day's coming around soon, and no one will stop to ask why we gave the original terrorist his own holiday? or more immediate, why homeland security isn't profiling men who look like timothy mcveigh since he's the one who bombed us six years prior to 9/11? Why po-po still focuses on me and anyone else who looks like me? but we'll move on, ignoring such questions and pretend we all get along; that we all are glad that president obama finally said the bad words-- "The unemployment rate for African American youth is the highest". But if there's a slightest part of you that rejects the pomp and circumstance and is willing to gain a more inclusive definition of what it is to be an american, checkout Jason's book, I'm Not Muhammad. It's a story about not only what went down in downtown NYC in 2001, but also about what brings all of us together, as opposed to apart.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Show Our Colors, Not Your Ass!!!

Every year round this time, Carib folk from and around Brooklyn, NY take over Eastern Parkway to celebrate the annual West Indian Day Parade. I used to go as a child when the Parade was a gigantic/awesome gathering with floats showcasing each Caribbean flag/music along the sidewalks filled with food vendors who, in turn, showcased the matching flavors. I stopped attending when the event became more of a dangerous place to be caught in, what with gangsta wannabe's turning it into an excuse to shoot at one another other. It became something both residents and visitors tolerated, until NYPD decided to curb the ra-ra. Now the floats pass through Crown Heights and down to the plaza circle without the usual threat of violence in the air. Folk can relax. Barricades are no longer weapons of terrorism but symbols of order. And yet I still haven't been back to at least try some jerk chicken. Because the focus seems to be more about showing our asses instead of our colors.

Maybe I'm just getting older and less tolerant of nigga mess. But I want more from us as a people, if not a race. Too much self-debasing and compromising of what cultural pride looks like. I know. What's wrong with just having a good time? Nothing, if you consider a good time bending your back forward to let another dry fuk you for all to see, or cheering a 5yrld girl for gyrating her privates in front of grandma. Or better yet, a group of males bumrushing a female to show what they do when the lights are out, while the female grins at the mere spectacle of it all. If we're okay with teaching our sons and daughters that showing your ass is showing our pride, then let's not act surprised when non-Family members don't take us seriously. Let's not act dumb when our young men use their flags as gangsta' face masks to emulate gang mentality which have nothing whatsoever to do with Caribbean plight and forward movement, but everything to do with misguidance and identity crisis.

Remember the Puerto Rican Day Parade some years back when the women were terrorized by grimies? Remember just last year when po-po had to interrupt the Dominican Day Parade cos some of the participants mistook mob mindset for ethnic pride? And remember how this year, Dominican ra-ra was forced to shutdown due to rain and how both the grown-ups and NYPD privately thanked God for it? I'm bringing this up cos I'm wondering if we're at a crossroads of defining who we are, where you have those who see a parade as an opportunity to display flags and colors, and those who see it as an opportunity to wile'out. Kinda' reminds me of a similar on-going debate between 'gays' who see pride as exhibitionism and those who'd rather push with their clothes on.

Look, I'm not trying to force my values on anyone here. Go do you! But as for me, I'd rather celebrate West Indian pride by remembering our Maroon and Rastafarian heritages, how Ayiti gave each island the blueprint for independence and how our rich African traditions still show in our costumes like the one here representing the Devil. In modern times, Devil Man is called upon by painting the body either blue, red or black; sometimes mud, but the one color is smeared from head to toe and the horns add to the drama. This is all part of the Jab Jab, an offshoot of the Parade that actually occurs before sunrise. The idea is that the Devil walks through town warning people about not paying for their wickedness. It's all mythology, of course. And then the myth got hyjacked by some parade marchers who sexualized the character (FYI-- The island of Grenade is currently considering banning the sexually provocative 'devil man', while parade supporters are siding with freedom of expression). But a quick lesson in American colonial history will teach you that the full coloring of bodies or tarring actually began as a form of collective protesting when male slaves smeared themselves with tar, mud, paint or molasses so their masters wouldn't recognize them. As in, I'm stealing the very molasses I'm forced to cultivate for my keeper. Hence, the French term-- Jab Molassie. Just one of the thousands of daily rituals we used to do collectively (and still do) to compensate for the chains around our necks, both literally and figuratively. The blowing into the conch shell is a symbol of Haiti's determination to withstand the tides of imperialism and global economic punishment for having the audacity to stand for something; for believing, still, in her pearls even if crime lords and egotrippin' government officals in Port-au-Prince are blocking progress. Think about that while you're out there enjoying all the fun. Think about what it took for you to even be able to show your ass! And maybe then you'll understand why I want more.

Note: A few hours before posting this note, a young man at the parade was shot in the leg.

In the Meantime...

Now that the creative part of the business of writing is done comes the printing process, having the right look for the book so it catches the eye and holds the attention. After that is a matter of finding someone who'll listen...In the meantime, I'm putting together some of my newer prose in my second book of poems, Throw...

She wears sea shells on her ankles.
The sound of her footsteps and goes back to a time
When Black women ruled sub-sahara.
Her robe smiles the color of sassafras
And captures the wind's most delicate secrets.
If you're at a crossroads,
Her gift for seeing the unseen will resolve your angst.
If it's a timeline you need
For a blessing that's divinely yours,
She can pull it out of her hair.
She can do these things like you know your name.
But she can't call a friend to see how he's doing.

Friday, September 2, 2011


parts the air
like Shango knows
your truth.
and majestic.
He speaks
from intuition
with his eyes
Didn't know his swag
until it shaped
his footsteps,
the way wisdom
a man's
But dig his

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sign of the Times...

He from Senegal by way of Harlem
Il est Africain but only when his parents are looking
Otherwise, he pulls his pants down more than some
Between leaving his building and heading back in
Cos he knows better to, if he doesn't wanna get picked on
He even learned to say 'nigga' cos he wants so badly to be Black

He from Senegal
But doesn't like it when you tell on him like that
Cos no one wants to be african
But everybody wanna be nigga!


fall in line
cos you don't mind
chains around your smile
are you hungry?
of course, you are
but you keep your pride down
pretend you like it raw
when they're drilling your backside

some say money comes before aspirations
while some aspirations are merely illusions
one thing for sure
if you can't see from this angle
everybody gotta do their dirt if they want that tv cable

go by the trends
cos you got nothing of your own
to make true friends
are you angry?
of course, you are
but you fake the fake
pretend you still know your name
when they're feeding your frontside

some say fame comes after the give up
while some give it up even after the wake up
one thing for sure
if no one's told you yet,
only the free know not to forget.

From my next book of poems, Throw

Monday, August 29, 2011

Marked Man

"You are a marked man ~ Kahlil Koromantee ~ your compassion and the conviction of these words are pure and penetrating. You are marked because you have the courage to put yourself out there in words and deeds for all to see. This is a singular gift and the fact that you are a teacher multiplies that gift exponentially. The world is a much more interesting place because of your presence in it. You are making a difference. Your mark is made in the hearts, minds, and lives of all your students, friends and people who know, respect, and love you. A humble observer."

And this is why I do what I do...Thank you!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Last Sketch In...

‎17yrld illustrator, Chris Carter saved the best for last. I wanted to add visuals this time around, especially for the male readers, and Chris came thru once again; just like Nchewu Akpoke and Rajiv Mahadeo came thru with their own sketches. (Rajiv, by the way, did the cover for my first book of poems, The Dredlocks Tree).Thank you, guys for your amazing input to this project!!!

And so the printing begins...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chapters from My Books on Young Urban Black Girls...

Vol. 1:
So you think you're ready to party?
Boyfriends, and boy friends
What a high school freshman should never do!
Peer pressure/parent stress
Sex is good; it's timing that can be bad
Image and perception
Confidence: the ultimate form of self-defense
Assertive vs. aggressive (there is a difference)
Black men's perceptions of American Black women
When your hood is a war zone
Rewards and dangers of using the Internet
What most dads want from their teen daughters (what this dad wants)
So hard to say goodbye; even harder to say I'm sorry
I hate you, you hate me!
It's your life but,..

Vol. 2:
Check your self (and not just your accessories)
Your parents' baggage is not your handbag
Girl bullies
The skin color game
White boys who like to kick it with Black girls
Bisexual or dl boys, and why they'be frontin'
Developing a relationship with yourself first
Back to the weight thing
Love upside down
The 1-2-3's of communicating
Depression (the other mirror)
Tetimony: lunch with dad
How to be a stress-free parent?
When water is thicker than blood
Dear dad

Note: The male counterpart to these books is scheduled for release September 2011.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Get Out Their Way!

The youth don't trust us cos of our contradictions and they refuse to take advice from anyone who buys into a system that they know fails them. When we gripe over their use of the N word, we forget we're still using National Association of Colored People and United Negro Fund. The way they look at it, if we don't mind still calling ourselves 'colored' and 'negro' then 'nigga' should be the least of our problems. Cos they got much more important sht on their minds. Like being forced to find jobs under the table, since having a Black President turned out to be another scam. And so they hustle, like we hustle but without the fear of being themselves. Cos our tradtions are their restrictions. Our expectations are their tribulations. Our religions, mental slavery. And our preoccupation with sexuality is their comic book passtime. Are they angry? Sure you right. And they wear their rage like they flash their pant buckles and exaggerated eyelashes. So now we want their votes again cos without them there is no progress. But progress always has a price. Make some noise or get out their way!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

For my young ones...

Black culture is not street culture, and street culture is what your music videos and the suit n ties who push them want you to believe Black culture is.

-- Excerpt from my next book of poems, Throw

Male Youth Book Update...

Dr. Raymond A. Winbush (The Warrior Method) has joined grassroots literary guru Louis Reyes Rivera and ex-gang member Aqueela Sherrills who helped broker a truce betwen the Crips and Bloods to review my book...When you're on your divine path, the blessings come to you directly and effortlessly. Thank you!

Don't Just Buy Him Sneakers...

Don't just buy him sneakers. Help him start his own book collection, so later on he doesn't think it's a White or punk thing.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Educational Center

This Sunday, July 24th I'll be speaking at the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Educational Center in NYC on the mis-education of our youth. It's gonna feel a lil weird joining other educators and youth psychologists this sunday at the same sight Bro. Malcolm was assassinated...
Gonna feel even more weird knowing that this same spot that wasn't ours before is still not ours today. Nonetheless, it's an opportunity to meet other professionals committed to the overall development of our youth. It's also a chance to read excerpts from my upcoming book on young urban Black males. Here's one section of the book where I speak directloy to our sons--

A friend of mine told me to come at you with love and not disgust, so I’m hoping my words and tone have been proper to you. I’m hoping you take it the right way when I tell you to clean up after yourself and respect others’ belongings; to remember to wash, especially your underarms, your privates (the inside of your foreskin, if you weren’t circumcised), to always flush after relieving yourself and wash your hands; to keep your nails short and cleaned, your clothes off the floor; to watch what you eat, how you treat your neighborhood, how you come off to people. And yes, pull your pants up some. Because I want more from us, and I want you to want more from you. I may not always get you, but I love you just the same. I love you enough to tell you what you need to hear; and to tell young fathers to try not to be so hard with their sons, to hold their hand when walking with them and not ahead of them because that’s how we create emotionally healthy males.

The center is located at 3940 Broadway and 165 th Street. Conference starts at 4pm.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

NYC Writers Group Assignment

So I gotta do this fatherhood assignment for our writers group and not sure which direction to take. The part about stop being in love with your child and raise them or missing my own dad but noticing him everywhere...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

50 Means Reset

50 means reset; means reflecting on your past lessons, making way for even more blessings and affirming your personal mission. I write books for and about marginalized youth. I also say what needs to be said, even when it causes some to question my seat at the Family table. Because it's our tendency to avoid the obvious that I want to examine. Our collective experience as people of african descent who still suffer from the on-going holocaust of americanization has undoubtedly caused us to be victimized. Yet many of us find ourselves stuck in victim mode, unable to move beyond our rage. Those of you who know me personally have watched me deal with the rage. You've celebrated my growth when my wings allowed me to think beyond my resentments and been patient with me when the bars of anger imprison me each time one of our haters cuts my flight.

50 also means noticing your physical transformations...

I used to be very angry at European Americans for their privileges due to insitutional racism. but anger is like cancer. It eats at your spirit and stifles your creativity. It's a delicate, often times difficult process to avoid terminal dis-ease while still being conscious of what's going on around you politically. But I know 'whites' who treat me like fam and Blacks who could care less about pan african solidarity or my personal welfare. That fact alone forces me to close my eyes when I really want to see someone and focus instead on intentions and energy. At this point I'm less interested in reacting to our haters and more invested in our work as a pschologically damaged people still recovering from post-slavery syndrome.

Part of my agitation was the fact that 'white' people get to simply be. This is their collective luxury; never having to think about their skin color. They simply get up in the morning and start their day. We, on the other hand, have the burden of constantly being reminded that we're guests in our own home from subtle to blatant messages. But this is the challenge that I'm offering myself and you. To learn how to simply be; to be judged by our intentions and not by other's insecurities or superiority complex, which brings me back to my initial call. And that's for us to do more self-reflecting and face accountability when we play a role in our own demise.

We want our President to come up with an agenda that will address our issues (unemployment, miseducation, crime in our neighborhoods, generational poverty, affordable healthcare, political representation and urban development, as opposed to gentrification). but are we addressing our contradictions? (job unpreparedness, expecting teachers to raise our children for us,

Our 'no snitching' policy when it comes to calling out those who we know are terrorizing our hood,

The disrespecting of our girls and women, predatory mindset,
hair and skin shade politics,

Aspiring to parenthood but not marriage, making bad choices in mates, allowing fear to rule us,

Mental illness,
avoiding constructive criticism, preferring down low behavior over reality). I'm just sayin...

I believe in a higher power. I've seen too many unexplained events happen in my first 50 years to think it's just me doing the driving. Much less, the writing. I believe I did the right thing when I quit my doctoral program to instead keep my voice and write books that motivate, educate and hopefully inspire, rather than fulfilling somebody else's definition of success. And I believe I came through my mother to meet my father.

I also believe there's a silent war going on between Black people and niggaz (sorry, uncle). Same war going on between shirt ties and ankhs, wigs and nat'rals, gays and men who have sex with men; between those of us who are religious and those who are more spiritual, those of us who style social consciousness and those of us who live it. but no matter our differences, it's still us. It's still all good, as we try to redefine what it means and looks like to be an American or find our way back to African.I love our youth, especially when they find it safe to smile. There's a part in the book I'm working on where I tell our sons that I want more from them; that I want them to want more from themselves. And I want their parents to do the same. So if you're still with me then come go with me. Education. Revolution. Change starts with us.

Thank you for reading.

Images 14: Montreal