Update: In Academics & Beyond: Role models for our young black boys


July 26, 2009 This picture “Speaks to identity, dream building, and is a great example of the potential significance of this moment in history…doesn’t hurt that it’s toothache sweet either…Can you say ‘Someday I want to be President?’”

The above comment on the picture was left by a flikr blog reader, cageyness.  This picture can be found on the White House Flickr blog.  Select this link for the White House Flikr blog.

Is President Barack Obama an inspiration to young black men?

Our community continues to grapple with the minority student achievement gap. The debate has been raging in our community for about a decade or more.  Barack Obama’s story should be seen as an inspiration.

Our new President is seen as cool, he is seen as authentic, and is clearly brilliant.  Basically…its cool to be brilliant!  (Is that stretching things?) Our 44th President beat the odds, and every youth who hopes for more can do the same.

To our youth: Do you feel limited by your life’s circumstances?  Decide every day to think positive, stay the course, and reach for more. Allow President Obama’s story to positively influence your own.

Byron Hurt is a Guest Speaker on an NPR show that discusses this very issue. He is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, a published writer, and an anti-sexist activist.  His most recent documentary, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (BBR) has been selected to appear in more than 50 film festivals worldwide and the Chicago Tribune named it “one of the best documentary films in 2007.” Listen to what he, and two other guests on this NPR broadcast had to say on the topic.

National Public Radio (NPR) describes today’s broadcast in these terms: “Whether they like it or not, athletes, actors and musicians are often role models for kids. Now, it’s possible some young black men will look up to President Barack Obama instead.

But will his Ivy League resume resonate as much as the backgrounds of ball players and rappers?”

Listen to NPR: Is Barak Obama The New Black Role Model?

“In addition to being a filmmaker, Hurt is a nationally respected activist. Since 1993, he has been using his craft, his voice, and his writings to broaden and deepen how people think about race and gender. His first film, I AM A MAN: Black Masculinity in America, is a 60-minute award-winning documentary that captures the thoughts and feelings of African-American men and women from over fifteen cities across the country. Hurt challenges audiences to interrogate the damaging effects of patriarchy, racism, and sexism in American culture.” (Information found on his website.)  Find video clips of Byron’s work on his  website.

© 2010 W. S. Hughes


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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Anthony R. Bentrovato says:

    I just read the first sentence and needed to comment. I am old and white and Obama is an inspiration to me. He inspired me to vote for him. He inspires me to believe in youth, humanity, family values, this country, the future. Sappy but true.

  2. He inspires me also, and I am a woman of color. I consider his wife Mrs. O a great role model as well. I’d love to build off of what I’ve learned from my mom and grow up to be as awesome a wife, mom, and public servant as the First Lady herself. Indeed, President Obama and the First Lady make me believe that I will achieve in time everything I dream for.

    I saw this video and it touched me deeply. Evidently we’re not the only ones who feel this way about the President:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1m_k2dCj0M – w

  3. Summer Programs:

    young African American men – Morehouse College announces its Summer Program

    low income youth: Princeton University announces its Summer Journalism Program

    Link:https://perfectlyplanned.wordpress.com/2009/01/31/summer-programs-for-hs-students/

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