“When you came to Lovdjieff’s classes, you came to learn. If you betrayed other motives, ‘Get out of here this minute!’—without malice but without equivocation. He was a magnet, an institution. His classes were works of art. He made ancient history contemporary by evoking the total environment—intellectual, social, political, economic—of an era. He breathed life into the shattered ruins of the past. Students sat entranced while The Christ performed, his silver-rimmed glasses reflecting the light in eye-twinkling flashes…he was drawn to the student who seemed impossible to teach—old men who had been illiterate all their lives and set in their ways. Lovdjeiff didn’t believe that anyone or anything in the universe was ‘set in its ways.’ Those students who were intelligent and quickest to learn he seemed reluctant to bother with, almost as if to say, pointing at the illiterates and speaking to the bright ones…he returned my essay—ungraded. There were instead spots on it which I realized to be his tears.” Read More
Monthly Archives: August 2012
Seven years ago, I was a mild mannered chubby kid from Brooklyn who physically sat in silence in the classroom, but academically dominated the honor roll. The only time I could talk myself into public speaking was when my GPA depended on it. A matter of fact, even one-on-one conversations with new people were rather daunting.
Seven days ago, I was presenting to a group of outgoing and strong-minded high school students from the Urban League who are the same age I was when I could not even fathom talking into a microphone. In high school, I had a phobia of being noticed; now I proudly and anxiously hop on any opportunity to speak in front of as large a group as possible to share ideas, thoughts, jokes and entertainment.
I am not the same Jerome from seven years ago — but I do not merely attribute that to my physical transformation. Between high school and today, I fell in love with an expression of art that is often muddied by the perpetrators and frowned upon by critics that have made no attempt to comprehend its true essence. Hip hop has given me a way out of my shell and a path to the top of a podium. Now when I hear Lupe Fiasco’s “hip hop has saved my life,” it all makes sense…Read More
Much has been made of President Barack Obama’s so called controversial statements in last week’s Black Enterprise magazine. As the Reverend Al Sharpton put it, President Obama finally stood up to his handful of critics from black organizations when he said that he is “not the president of black America. I’m the president of the United States of America.” Still, many segments of the black community continue to ponder whether or not the president takes their vote for granted (as most Democrats do).
But one of the major distinctions that I’d like to point out about Obama, and the black vote, is the divide between the vote and the admiration. In many ways, I will always be enamored by Obama the man; the black father with a strong family, the historic figure, the stoic and classy demeanor and the message of hope and change that he sends to blacks who have fallen prey to generational poverty and political complacency. However, Obama the politician is just as vulnerable to the assessment of the black community as the next politician who relies on the black vote…Read More
As Published in the Democrat and Chronicle’s Young Professionals’ Blog
Once upon a time there was a small group of high school girls that would sit in the back lunch room table and gossip their heads off. Every day, they would crack jokes on everyone who spent anything less than the hundreds they spent on clothes and the hours they spent in the mirror.
One day, they decided to pick on the wrong one. The immature bunch decided to post demeaning comments online about a peer who boasted straight As, made the front page of the local paper for getting a full-ride scholarship and became the first Black valedictorian. Before the three mocked and jeered her, half of the student body hailed her achievements. But once the word got out that the three mean girls posted rude comments online, the entire student body, even those who never saw or patted their valedictorian on the back before, came together to embrace her and shun the ‘haters.’ By the time graduation came around, the mean girls were old news and the valedictorian’s academic achievements were the only thing worth talking about…Read More