Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Conservs and Let's Go

I wish we'd all get along...
wise heads/new minds
conservs and lets go
educated/know how
rugrat/fat rat
drugee/better weed
fancy and natty
lightskin/my skin
bitch and sista
I and us
he and she
stuck in the head and stuck in the bed
stuck in the past/got rid of the hate
like the punani/like it the other way
hip hop and Lupe
tight jeans and loose them
religulous/got rid of the hate
dem and them
old and gone

(From my next book of poems, Throw)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Reading Pics and Thank You's

Respect to Sister's Bookstore and Cafe for the opp to have an African-centered discussion on our sons and more effective ways to reach them. It wasn't easy for some parents to have to be called out on their bad choices and counter-productive language. But once they saw the connection between an unruly young man and parent formalities, they understood that accountability goes both ways.

Like all book readings and workshops, you want to allow all opinions yet at the same time make sure the very purpose of the convo isn't derailed. And that's the delicate job of an author pushing his latest book. For example, we could've taken more time on how hyper-masculinity is a positive, but my intention was to focus on the pressure to fit in and the boys and men who hide their vulnerabilties behind it. We could've spent more time on what The White man did and didn't do, but I came to talk about personhood, accountablity, healing. Not blame. Still, I thank each and all for attending. I thank the young men, especially, who read with me and to you, and the mothers who reminded us that deadbeat dad is not a word to use loosely.

I thank also my former colleague from Rikers who stepped in looking like pamfoxxybrowngrier, and a newfoundsistafriend who travelled all the way from Charlotte, North Carolina just to be part of the discussion!

Special thanks again to Leo Defoe for being the face of my cover and Ocean Morisset for a great book design. And of course, much love right back to the buyers for making me head back home with an empty bag!

ps-- Part of tradition at Sister's is to close either with a prayer or a poem or song from someone in the audience. Gina Coates blessed us with The greatest Love of All. Thank you, Gina. Much appreciated!

My next project is a support guide for young males who have sex with other males but don't relate to gay culture, and the parents who love them. Stay tuned. Stay interested.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Reading

Join me in ending Black History Month with a disussion on the plight of young males of African descent. And solutions to a national crisis.

K Workshops

Besides writing books for and about hard to reach populations, I also teach language arts and urban psychology, and do workshops on topics ranging from general life skills to alternative education. For those interested in having me come speak to their students and participants, the following is a list of workshops I've either done or are on-going--

Message to a Youngblood - Reaching and Understanding Our Sons
Before You Fly Off - Lessons and Advice for Our Teen Daughters
English Can Be Fun -- Helping Students Fight Their Fear of Writing
Educating Urban Youth - When the Curicculum Doesn't Fit
Counseling the African American Male - The Audacity of Not Judging
Trouble Girls - Working With Female Teen Bullies
Single Parenting - Parent Stress/Peer Pressure
The Marginalized Student - From Identifying to Celebrating
Am I in the Right Major? - Learning and Developing College Skills
Prison Bizness - Why Are So Many Black Men in Jail?
Teaching the Young, Gifted and Incarcerated
You Talkin' to Me? - The 411 on Conflict Resolution
Gay Youth - Counseling Them, Counseling Us
Beyond the Bling - Black Male Self-Awareness
Black Masculinities - Hyper-Masculinity in the Black Community
Love and Happiness - Developing a Relationship With Yourself First!
Creating Your Job and Finding True Purpose
Learning How to Better Manage Your Time
Wholistic Wellness - Creating a Positive Environment For Success
Writing the Autobiography - Leaving Your Written Legacy
The University Male Center - Challenges, Tools, and Leadership
The New Academic Advisor - A Different, More Wholistic Approach
Despierta! - How Culture Can Affect Academic Performance
Toxic People - The Art of Recognizing and Avoiding
Doing It Your Way - How to Self-Publish Your Book
Doing It Another Way - How to Create, Market and Sell Your T-Shirts
No Rage, No Guilt - The Difficult Process of Addressing Race-ism

K Books
Message to a Youngblood - A Conversation with Our Sons
Before You Fly Off - A Father Offers Advice to His Teenage Daughter
Before You Fly Off - Volume Two (Released July, 2009)
The Dredlocks Tree - Prose and Poetry
Throw - Photos and Words (tba)

Recent Essays
From Ground Zero With Love
50 Means Reset
The Color Complex
One Drop of Blood
How the Haitian Government System Works or, The Waiting Game
Dear Oprah
If I Interviewed Obama...
The Writing Process: On Writing For and About Young Black Males
When Doves Cry - The 2010 Haiti Earthquake
Dancehall Music is Not Reggae
When Dumb Wasn't Cool
Bang, Bang. I'm Dead!
Youth Participation in Neighborhood and Community Settings
Letter to My Prez - Wyclef Jean for President
The Other Writing Process
How'You Like Her Now?-- The Makings of An Irish Rasta

If Life is a Dance, Where's the Music?
Akasan: Rap and Hip Hop in the Haitian American Community
Generation Entitlement: Where We Went Wrong With Our Youth
What Are You Doing Here? - A Conversation With a Former Inmate

My current project is on the overall development of young urban American Black males; how parents can better relate to their troubled sons; their education and spiritual wellness; social identity concerns; hyper-masculinity and buffoonery; and how we can help them define and discover their purpose.

"Most books about us are about teaching us how to fit in.
Your book helps us understand our rage and learn how to be ourselves in a world that has a problem with that."
‎--22yrld Tariq

For more info on workshops and book orders, feel free to contact me at

Thank you again for your kind support!


"Alright, little girl. How do you know this man?"
"He's my father."
He looked at my father who was standing with the other cop. My father was staring at me with a tense smile. The cop smiled a little. Then he touched my shoulder and pulled me away from my father and the other cop. He said in a whisper, You can tell us, kiddie. He can't hurt you here. You're safe now. Did he touch you funny?"
No, he didn't! He's my father!"...

Those of you who've read Danzy Senna's book, Caucasia know that scene well. It's a father and his daughter doing what all good daddies and happy daughters do together, strolling along a path of green on a summer day with ice cream cones in their hands. What makes this dad and daughter stand out, however, is that he's African American and his daughter is very fair-skinned cos mama's Euro-American. This is the 1960s and White bystanders assumed that the little girl was being kidnapped by a Black man, so then po-po shows up to question the father. And even after showing his ID while a crowd of both concerned Whites and nervous Blacks surrounded them, the cop still didn't believe him. He just pulled his daughter away from him to question her privately and even tried to coerce her into saying something they could use against him. But by now she was hip to what was really going on and angrily said again, "He's my father!". Consider the meaning behind having to prove your dad is your dad to a suspicious cop and crowd solely cos of the sharp differences in your skin shades; consider how this incident shaped this little girl's opinion of the world around her and of herself in comparison to it. And consider how humiliating it must've been for her dad to stifle his natural urge to punch an overrated, trigger happy cop in the face!

Fast forward to a few winters ago when I was taking my friends' son to the bus terminal. He was coming from college out west, did a stop over in NYC and was now headed north to his parents. My friends are Euro-American, tho this was an insignificant factor since we all knew each other from the time my daughter and his son enjoyed the zoo together. But an overrated, trigger happy cop began badgering me while a crowd of concerned Whites and nervous Blacks watched. He didn't take my friends' son to the side, nor asked me for ID. Instead he accused me of being a robber. Said I looked like one of the bus terminal regulars. But I remember him peeping us from the time we set foot on the terminal. When you're someone like me; someone who experiences institutional race-ism almost on a daily basis, and someone who's paying attention, you know better to notice po-po wherever you're going. So I knew he'd been watching us buying the bus ticket, talking and laughing, and then waiting on line standing next to each other like we knew each other. He knew there was an energy of family around us and that's what pissed him off the most, I imagine, besides my not paying him no mind (it throws them off when you walk without fear). So the only thing he could do was bark at me, hoping I'd re-act so he could humiliate me in front of an audience by pinning me down on the ground, handcuffing me and taking me in for booking regardless of the fact that he was in the wrong. But I chilled. Plus, his mother didn't need to hear about blood stains on the ground of a major city terminal cos I lost my cool. Still, while the cop was spitting his racist venom at me I kept thinking about the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. I couldn't help wondering that had it been a White man helping a young Black male catch his bus that it would've appeared more 'normal' to this asshole and maybe to those people watching it all go down.

In any event, just like Danzy Senna got in her dad's car and let the silence between them communicate their angsts, my friends' son got on the bus distraught over having seen race-ism and police terrorism up close and personal. And even after we all did our formal complaints to proper authorities, he got a lesson in American life that no teacher or book could ever bring to his consciousnes. He got an alarm call on the kind of lessons European American kids must have in and out of the classroom before they can even begin to understand the concept of privilege.

This is not victim mentality. This is intelligence. This is being informed, especially if you live in a bubble and therefore never live the America our youth complain and Rap about. Victim mindset is a little girl who stops writing cos she doesn't think her story will be worth sharing. It's close friends who stop being friends cos one of them can't see pass their rage.