I've known Fahiym Ratcliffe for 8 years, rarely does this long time hip-hop journalist and former Source magazine editor-in-chief editorialize about his personalize political beliefs. Like most good journalists he'd rather let the evidence speak for itself. But I guess last night he must have been inspired by Barack's infomercial, because this morning I woke up with a motivating editorial from "Fah" in my inbox. Check it out after the jump or go to phiscalmatters.com to check out the original post. After you check it out, leave a comment about you what you thought of Barack's historic ad.
Did any of you happen to watch Barack Obama's 30-minute infomercial on most of the major TV networks last night? Two words come to mind - emotionally brilliant. Whatever criticisms some contributors at Phiscal Matters have with the Senator, all of us recognize Mr. Obama's brilliance, his sound intellect and measured candor - qualities befitting of any Presidential candidate - which was on display throughout the commercial.
There were times I wanted to cry, especially during scenes that profiled Americans in some of those key battleground states in the Midwest and their personal financial crises. There were times that I looked at myself as a failure, given that I never finished college. Yet, most of all, what that infomercial confirmed for me and my partner at Phiscal Matters, was that Senator Barack IS US! I remember when my partner, Blandon Casenave, and I were students at Hunter College and active participants in Student Government, we would build after classes, sometimes to 10, 11:00 pm at night about the type of leadership Black America needs. We all have oodles of respect for Reverends Jackson and Sharpton, and Minister Farrakhan, but we debated and concluded that the most important asset for the next generation of leaders is to be "technically proficient," i.e. should possess tangible skill sets beyond inspirational oratory. Someone who is both "Martin and Malcolm," as well as the late businessman, Reginald F. Lewis.
I sincerely believe in his own way, Barack Obama, is that template, and the fact is that they are tens of thousands of Black men just like him - skilled and ready to lead - but it just was not our time...until now.
In this faltering economic climate, which will disproportionally affect African-Americans the most, the new Black leadership needs to show our communities what they can offer, as well as inspire us to "do something for self." The new Black leadership needs to adamantly stress the importance of getting a college education, a trade skill (plumbing, electricians, information technology, etc.) OR BOTH, because the 21st Century is about globalization - where people need to understand that they are competing with individuals - THROUGHOUT THE WORLD! The new Black leadership must openly, but with sincerity, confront the systematic challenges of poor and working-class neighborhoods - from gangs, drug dealing to drug addiction, mental illness, limited access to, jobs quality education and food, and prevailing low-self esteem.
To me cats like Newark, NJ Mayor Corey Booker, author Kevin Powell, gang interventionist Tarik Ross, PH.D candidate, writer and community organizer, Rob 'biko' Baker, co-CEO of Disturbing Tha' Peace Entertainment, Chaka Zulu and Allhiphop.com co-founders, Chuck Creekmur and Greg Watkins, and countless of other men and women (Micheala Angela Davis and dream hampton, how could I forget) represent this new paradigm of leadership, some of whom I can call as mentors and friends. We are from the hoods, not afraid to embrace and criticize the hoods, and love acquiring knowledge and empowering others - either with jobs/economic opportunities, or just a plain word.
THIS TRULY OUR TIME, SO LET'S NOT BE AFRAID AND GRAB THAT MANTLE OF LEADERSHIP.
Barack ain't afraid, whatever the outcome will be on November 4th. Why should you be?