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INFO: documentary update--drugs, violence and dreams of young black men  KAL-@aol.com
 May 17, 2007 02:02 PDT 

 
 INFO: documentary update--drugs, violence and
dreams of young black men
=============================================

 Greetings,
One man.  One camcorder.  One God.  One Dark Night.  Together, the four of
us journeyed to major cities throughout the southeastern United States and
talked to young Black males about drugs, violence and dreams.  These talks were
not conducted on the local college campus, in local public schools, the
local community center or local church.  These brothers hardly ever come to such
facilities.  No, the talks were held right on the block where drugs were sold
and at the time when the block was hot.  Without having met any of the 58
young Black males all under the age of 30, we conducted eleven focus groups. 
Their voices and scenes from their local communities will be forthcoming in
The Roots Cried Out- Drugs, Violence and Dreams of Young Black Males (
www.TRCODVD.com).  At some point, we have to get sick and tired of being sick and
tired.  Some things should make us disturbed about mankind.  While conducting
these focus groups, a 17-year old star football player was shot and killed less
than two miles from our home near downtown Atlanta.  He was robbed of a cell
phone and $5 in his wallet.  The alleged 23-year old murderer was arrested
right before his funeral this past Saturday.  The 23-year old had a teardrop
tattooed under his right eye in his arrest photo.  Scenes from the funeral will
be incorporated into TRCO-DVD.  BTW, there was a young brother with two
teardrops in one of the focus groups we conducted.
 
Well, this is not an email providing an update on murder totals in New
Orleans and Philly; though, you can rest assured that the numbers have
increased.  Watch and see what happens as the temperature rises.  This email, however,
is an attempt to get more of us committed to the next generation of Black
leaders and to do something besides read this b.s. floating around the interenet
about how we’ve lost a generation of African American males.  How can anyone
look at their son, brother, nephew, grandson, uncle, father and claim such
nonsense?  I don’t see the generation glass as half-empty, but as half-full. 
The “hard-core” brothers we talked to in various communities throughout the
South have dreams just like you and me.  If we believe that a generation has
been lost, then we might as well throw up our hands.  Well, not me.  I’ve
worked with countless positive and productive Black men and boys from my
non-profit years to my attendance/teaching at an all Black male institution.  In the
tradition of Dr. George Washington Carver, my cousin Dr. Benjamin E. Mays,
Gordon Parks, Sr., that Utopian Dreamer Jesus Christ and many others who met
people where they were without any fear or intimidation, I will continue to go
to these brothers on the block and ask them about their dreams.  I would
hope you’d do the same instead of fooling yourself into believing that we’ve
lost a generation.  But we know, of course, that this type of love for a fellow
man…well, I’ll leave that alone. 
 
Without further ado, here’s a glimpse into the eleven focus groups:
 
Atlanta, Georgia-
1.  Bankhead Courts public housing projects, 4/10/07 @10:30p.m. 
            Number of Participants:  6
            Age Range:  Teens
            Length of Dialogue:  17 minutes
            Profanity Level:  Low
            Use of Words “B*tch” or “Ho”:  None
 
2.  Bowen Homes public housing projects, 4/11/07 @10:45p.m. 
            Number of Participants:  6
            Age Range:  mid-to-late 20s
            Length of Dialogue:  30 minutes
            Profanity Level:  Very High
            Use of Words “B*tch” or “Ho”:  The word “B*tch” four times
 
3.  Jonesboro South public housing projects, 4/22/07 @9:55p.m. 
            Number of Participants:  5
            Age Range:  Teens
            Length of Dialogue:  23 minutes
            Profanity Level:  Low
            Use of Words “B*tch” or “Ho”:  None
 
Columbia, South Carolina-
4.  The Colony Apartments/Outside a nightclub, 4/13/07 @12:15a.m. 
            Number of Participants:  5
            Age Range:  early 20s
            Length of Dialogue:  7 minutes
            Profanity Level:  Low
            Use of Words “B*tch” or “Ho”:  The word “Ho” two times
 
New Orleans, Louisiana-
5.  Calliope public housing projects, 4/17/07 @10:15p.m. (EST) 
            Number of Participants:  4
            Age Range:  mid 20s
            Length of Dialogue:  1 hour (45 min. with discussion guide/15
min. Katrina talk)
            Profanity Level:  Very High
            Use of Words “B*tch” or “Ho”:  The word “B*tch” once
(referring to SuperDome, not women)
 
Augusta, Georgia-
6.  Underwood public housing projects, 4/20/07 @10:05p.m. 
            Number of Participants:  5
            Age Range:  late 20s
            Length of Dialogue:  45 minutes
            Profanity Level:  Very High
            Use of Words “B*tch” or “Ho”:  The word “Ho” once
 
Birmingham, Alabama-
7.  Loveman Village public housing projects, 4/25/07 @ 9:35p.m. (EST)
            Number of Participants:  5
            Age Range:  mid 20s
            Length of Dialogue:  27 minutes
            Profanity Level:  High
            Use of Words “B*tch” or “Ho”:  The word “Ho” twice
 
Chattanooga, Tennessee-
8.  Eastlake public housing projects, 4/28/07 @ 9:45p.m.
            Number of Participants:  5
            Age Range:  mid-to-late 20s
            Length of Dialogue:  31 minutes
            Profanity Level:  High
            Use of Words “B*tch” or “Ho”:  None
 
Jackson, Mississippi-
9.  Washington Heights community, 5/01/07 @ 9:35p.m. (EST)
            Number of Participants:  5
            Age Range:  mid-to-late 20s
            Length of Dialogue:  40 minutes
            Profanity Level:  High
            Use of Words “B*tch” or “Ho”:  15 times (mostly by same
person)
 
Pensacola, Florida-
10.  Pensacola Village public housing projects, 5/02/07 @ 9:05p.m. (EST)
            Number of Participants:  5
            Age Range:  mid-to-late 20s
            Length of Dialogue:  25 minutes
            Profanity Level:  Medium
            Use of Words “B*tch” or “Ho”:  None
 
Charlotte, North Carolina-
11.  Oaklawn redeveloped public housing projects, 5/04/07 @ 10:00p.m.
            Number of Participants:  6
            Age Range:  teens to early 20s
            Length of Dialogue:  35 minutes
            Profanity Level:  Low
            Use of Words “B*tch” or “Ho”:  None
 
*Bonus- A Success Story- 1-hour interview with a twice convicted Georgia
felon (drug related)
            5/6/07 @ 1:30a.m., videotaped face-to-face interview near
downtown Atlanta.
Interviewee eventually graduated from Morris Brown College and currently
works for the State of Georgia providing counseling to single mothers and
fathers on individual responsibility and job readiness/preparedness.
            Age:  late 30s
            Length of Dialogue:  57 minutes
            Profanity Level:  Low
            Use of Words “B*tch” or “Ho”:  None
 
So, over eight hours of footage has to be whittled down to about two
hours.  A two-minute trailer will be on the website within a week’s time.  A
creative team has been assembled for idea development, editing, production, website
design, etc.  We also have initial commitment from Stic.man of Dead Prez (
www.BossUpBU.com) and Professor Griff (www.PublicEnemy.com) to bless the
soundtrack.  All this is part of a new paradigm in research we’re establishing:
Highly Engaged Action Researching and Direct Organizing (H.E.A.R.ing and
D.O.ing).  This paradigm is many steps removed from community-based participatory
research.  It’s going to take something radically different to effectuate life
changes in these young brothers out here.  HEARing and DOing is for a special
breed of researcher.  Everyone’s simply not cut out for this type of work. 
We’ll keep you posted on the development.  If anyone would like to dialogue
around HEARing and DOing, then hit me off loop.  Believe me; I have some
stories to tell about being on the block with these brothers.
 
Lastly, I want to offer up a special father-son/mentor-mentee breakfast
taking place in honor of Father’s Day.  You may recall Let Us Make Man- The
Gathering where over 600 attendees celebrated Black Manhood back in February. 
The organizers are at it again with “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” Father’
s Day breakfast on June 16th in Riverdale, Georgia.  Not restricted to all
males, a separate breakfast will be held for mothers who bring their sons,
followed by a half-day training for single mothers.  The men and boys will engage
in an academic quiz bowl and field day activities.  The day will end with an
Intergenerational Outdoor Theatre showing The Pursuit of Happyness.  We
anticipate over a 1,000 registrants, so register now at www.LetUsMakeMan.net. 
 
Like I said in a previous email, we’ll be on your block soon while you’re
sleeping.  There are a few more focus groups scheduled cities in the south. 
Want to see HEARing and DOing in action?  Okay, I’m willing to come to your
city and show you how to get on the block.  Or, I can provide you with a
presentation regarding this very exciting new area of humanity research.  Please
check www.TRCODVD.com for updates on the video.  I’ll be signing copies of The
Roots Cried Out this weekend at Morehouse’s graduation.  Stop by Morehouse’
s bookstore and I’d love to have a conversation with you. 
 
One man.  One camcorder.  One God.  One Dark Night.  Take care.
 
Peace and Good Health,
Mike
 
P.S.  Thank you to Mrs. O’Neal, Mr. Triplett and Deacon Holt for the
excellent advice on gardening.  Besides the tomatoes and bell peppers, my sons and
I have planted squash, watermelon, zucchini, cucumber and peppermint.  I’ll
keep you posted on the progress.


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