It’s a BIG RICH town but I come from the POOREST part . . .”
– Starz’s POWER Theme Song, Performed by R&B Artist Joe featuring 50 Cent
If you are like me, you know when you hear that line from the sultry smooth crooning of Joe Thomas, a new (unless you are binging because you’re behind) episode of Starz’s King Pin drama series Power is about to begin.
In this show, created by showrunner Courtney A. Kemp, a reformed drug dealer from around the way in New York, Jamie St. Patrick, is making the transition into being a reputable nightclub business owner but keeps getting pulled back into his former life by his pampered wife and best friend of the neighborhood.
A similar peer pressure is pushing young men of color all across this country. Here especially, inside Miami’s historic Overtown community, local news updates chronicle unsupervised youth in street entanglements of robbery, violence and gang affiliation.
The only difference is that there is no viable alternative for street life that is tangible and constructive for these young men.
Luckily, Headliner Market Group, known for its lavish celebrity parties at such upscale nightclubs as LIV, recognized this community deficiency and created today’s conference Smart N’ Up Black Male Youth Summit II held at the Lyric Theater, one day before the 3rd Annual Overtown Music and Arts Festival.
At today’s conference, impassioned speakers of color shed light into what POWER really is for these young men and it has nothing to do with the show.
It had more to do with understanding what the “thug life” mentality would ultimately lead them to and how many of their favorite hip hop artists who rap about that life REALLY aren’t living it as authentically as they make themselves appear on albums and social media activity.
By talking to these young men whose ages range from 8 to 18 in a practical and unapologetically honest way about this concept of POWER (and not AT them like a sermon), these artful “tough love” speakers seemed to break through an emotional wall of resistance that allowed real discourse and consciousness-raising that older generations of men may have been too intimidated to try.
With only a Texas-born orator and the local World of Mac Founder Derrick Turton, testimonals of predatory prison life and unrealized potential highlighted how important knowing one’s worth is to become a fully-realized man and an ambitious citizen of the world.