“There is a place in God’s sun for the youth “farthest down” who has the vision, the determination, and the courage to reach it.”
- Mary McLeod Bethune
Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. What do these extraordinary men have in common? They started to make their mark on the world at a remarkably young age. With the passing of the iconic literary legend that is Dr. Maya Angelou, a conversation has reopened about the youth of today. The question has been asked by many who will continue the work of the ancestors and elders that have passed on to a better place. My question to the people asking that question is this: have you not looked at the generation behind you?
Many are blinded and hoodwinked by the pervasive ignorance that is associated with the young people of the black community. There’s so much negativity that has been broadcasted to the world about us that when the topic of passing the torch comes around, we are overlooked entirely. I mean, how is the world going to function when the youth assume there positions as the elders in society? Aren’t we all only concerned with fighting, twerking, smoking weed and buying Jordans? The corporate media stranglehold on black America is frightening and insanely effective.
I came to know about the great Maya Angelou with her poem Still I Rise. My mother, a dynamic public speaker and theater major in college, would always find a way to recite it at whatever function she would be the host of. Even in my early years, the words in the poem resonated with me. It’s such a powerful piece of work! There was especially one part of the poem that spoke volumes to me.
“You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”
I feel like that one stanza from the poem can have allegorical context to anyone that is going through struggles in their lives. I especially say that those words speak perfectly to the younger generation that was counted out and neutralized before we even had a chance to grow into our own. We go through so many trials and tribulations trying to come into our own as strong, intelligent black men and women, public enemy number one and two.
Many of us scared to be an authentic individual because of the backlash we would justly receive from our peers around us. Because of this we grab on to the closest thing possible to identify with, whether it’s positive or negative. Often times, the negative side of things is so easy to gravitate towards. It’s instant, it’s gratifying in itself. Plus, there’s always a large amount of people doing things negative in it’s origin. Believe it or not, it’s a struggle to walk the right path.
But it is possible!
Let’s use the example of queen mother Maya Angelou. She went through so much in her long life. But, she found her voice and became one of the most prolific writers in recent memory. Her work has inspired and uplifted millions of people, regardless of age, race or gender. Now, she’s immortalized in history!
It’s incredibly disheartening that she left us but let’s not forget the image of class, intellect and elegance that she portrayed on a daily basis. Dr. Angelou stumbled a lot in her life but she eventually found her footing. Can you allow the black youth of the world to find their voice. As a matter of fact, can you assist us in this endeavor? That is how you usher in the next generation of thinkers, scholars, icons and prophets.
We are quickly coming into our own, using our own unique outlets to express our struggles and triumphs to the world. It’s just up to the elders of the community to hear us and take heed of it. The voices of the new generation can’t be silenced. We are here to usher in a new generation of activism, just like Dr. Maya Angelou did before us!
April 4, 1928-May 28,2014
R.I.P Queen XOXO
-We came, we saw, we conquered! My debut publishing effort “Riverview High: Circumstances” reached #2 on the Amazon charts! Check it out on Amazon today. Don’t forget to leave a review!
-“The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson” is out now! Make sure to go get it!
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