Michael Brown, Another Black Teen Dead.

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Michael Brown

 

To be honest, I  really didn’t  want to cover this story.

 

I know I’m supposed to cover things like this, because you guys want to know what  boys like me think about these tragedies. But it makes me sick to my stomach to keep repeating the same story over and over and over and over again, and to see it countless times on the news. First it was Trayvon Martin, then Jordan Davis, and now Michael Brown , as well as countless others. And even more recently Ezell Ford, who was fatally shot by the police in south L.A 2 days after Michael Brown was shot. Another Black  Boy was shot and killed by the police.

I’m sorry, but the last time I checked, black boys don’t resemble geese, quail, or any kind of deer for that matter.  So why in the world are we being hunted by the people that are supposed to protect us.  How  am I supposed to call this country “home”, when it is obvious that the police force turn on anybody that looks like me? Is there a reason behind this violence? That’s what I’m still trying to find out. But until then, I am staying as far away from the cops as I can. Because at this point in American society, making it through the day as a black boy truly is a blessing.

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My Experience in London

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Well, I’m back.  

 

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted something, but due to my summer job, the World Cup, and preparing for London, I simply didn’t find the time for TDL. But man, do I have a story to tell you guys now! Now as some of you may know, I was given the opportunity to go to London over the summer break. And thanks to all of you guys, I raised enough money for me to go on the trip. I remember vividly how I felt when I got on the flight, being a mixture of jubilation and curiosity. The plane ride was long and tiring, but you gotta love international flights (Virgin Atlantic is insane).  After a long time in baggage claim, I finally met up with my other teammates who was on the trip, and began our journey.To be honest I didn’t know what to expect, but I was surely about to find out.

 

Now first off, let’s get the soccer out of the way (or “fútbol” for the next 10 days). As I’ve said before, I love soccer very very much, so to me it was exciting to play against players from other countries to see how they play and how we match up. At first we played well with a 4-2 win over a local club team. I scored, everyone had a good time, and we were optimistic about the upcoming games. But then we soon realized why the English Premier League is a little better than Major League Soccer, if you know what I mean. Our next game we tied 2-2, with both of our goals off of penalty kicks. It was rough, really rough,but a tie isn’t a loss, I guess. And finally came the last game against a better ranked London team,where we lost 3-0.We could barely get a shot off, and I wish I could play that game again. So with an average turnout of 1-1-1, I think that we could’ve done better, and we could’ve done worse. Not much to talk about.

 

And now, it’s time. It’s time to answer the question that I posed in the beginning of this journey. The question that will tell you all there is to know about where I came from.

 How does it feel to be a black boy in London?”

          And for my final answer, I say: it feels like nothing at all.   I know this sounds weird, but let me explain. When you’re a black person, and you live in the United States of America, you act accordingly. You try not to be too loud in public places, you stay away from the police, and you get your fair amount of side comments and interesting looks. In England, and especially in London, this simply doesn’t exist. To start, everybody is interacting with everybody. There is no racial divide anywhere that I could see, and we went to a lot of places. The interracial dating was through the roof, there were black and Indian and Chinese people doing every job a white person did, and it all seemed normal. Black people would walk around the same as white people and everybody else, and they all seemed to coexist naturally, unlike anything I’ve seen in the United States. I seriously was taken aback when I saw this, but it makes complete sense.

 

As I found out, England as a country abolished slavery almost 35 years before the U.S did, and there was no Jim Crow afterwards. Let me just say that again: there was no Jim Crow laws following the abolishment of slavery. Can you imagine that in the U.S, and the results that might have come from it? Maybe we didn’t need to get sprayed on by fire hoses. Maybe we didn’t have to go through Brown vs Board of Education. And maybe, just maybe, we didn’t have to see good people like Martin Luther King Jr. get shot.  From public schools, to restaurants, to even the U.S military, all of that would have been integrated. Now there was still prejudice in England, of course, but everything would have been equally shared. So that’s why I say that it doesn’t feel like I’m a “black teenage boy” in England. I interacted with as many people as possible, I walked into as many stores as I can, and I made sure that I never shied away from conflict of any kind. And as a result,  there was nothing remotely racist when it came to problems in England.I simply felt like a teenage boy, not a “black teenage boy” with all the negative connotations that come with that title America. Surprisingly, I had more problems because I was American.

 

It was such an amazing experience, that I will truly never forget.  I don’t know how or when, but I am getting back to London one way or another. There’s no way I’m not. We sadly had to go back a day before my school started, but everyone agreed that this was the best trip ever. And when I got back and started my first week of school, I of course came to the loud and bustling halls of Grady High School. The same school where  the teachers ask guys like me two and three times if i’m sure i’m in the right class (because i’m supposed to be in remedial classes, obviously). Yup, i’m back in America. Great. So that’s why from this day on I’m not going to give you “a black boy’s point of view in this day and age”, because that’s too broad. I’ve seen the other side, including my trip to Ghana last year, and at this moment, I want to see something other than the U.S for a while. From the sights, to the sounds, to especially the people, being out of the country sounds really good right about now. So right now, and from now on, I’m giving you “a black boy’s point of view in America”, because that’s the perspective that needs to be heard.

 

photo 2photo 3photo 5

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TODAY IS LONDON DAY!!!!!

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TODAY IS LONDON DAY!!!!!

TODAY IS FINALLY HERE!!!!!!

 

For almost 2 months now, this day has only been a day in the future for me. But now that today is here, I can barely hold in my excitement.  If you don’t know what ‘m talking about, check out my post on London I made last month. But to  make a long story short, I’M GOING TO LONDON TODAY!!!!

At around 3 I will be getting on a flight to New York, followed by a flight straight to Heathrow Airport. From there I will be spending 10 days training with international soccer players, and enjoying the sights,sounds, smells, and even the tastes of England. If I can find a way to squeeze a post in there, I’ll be sure to add as many pictures as I can.

Again I want to say thank you for everyone who supported me, for if it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be feeling this happiness right now. You guys made this happen, and I am forever grateful.

I know I haven’t posted in a while, and work, schoolwork, preparing for this, as well as other things have gotten in the way. But nonetheless ,I felt like I should have said something before my flight, and I can never thank you guys enough.

 

Now If you’ll excuse me, I have to check over my suitcase one last time.

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A Trip to London Update: WE DID IT!!!

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I can honestly say, that I never had a doubt in my mind about the outcome of this effort. I’m not saying this because I have rich family and friends, or because I begged or anything, but simply because I have such faith and love in the community around me. You guys have given me so much help when it comes to so many things, and this post is the least I could do to thank each and every one of you. I am truly blessed. Everyday I am thankful for the family and friends that I know. From the people I live with, to the people that live across the world, I know that I have a web of close connections that is always there when I need guidance, leadership, and support. This is what helps me in all of my endeavors whether it’s sports, school, or writing. Everybody I know has never led me astray, and as a result I had the opportunity that was laid before me. For those who are lost right now, a couple weeks ago I put out a post telling everyone about the chance I have to go to London in order to train with my soccer team for 10 days. The trip is all planned out by Adidas, and our team was lucky enough to train with top-level English teams in late July. As soon as  heard, I was ecstatic, but I knew there was no way it would be free. Sure enough the trip costs two thousand dollars, and I needed it by a week before the trip. So, I decided to use thedarkerlens.com (TDL for short) to ask for support. And sure enough, I have successfully reached my goal! The level of excitement, happiness and appreciation that I am feeling right now is through the roof. I really can’t express in enough words how thankful I am for everyone I that donated in any way, and I will be sure to make you all proud. As I said before, an in-depth narrative about everything experienced in London will come as soon as I get back. Again, thank you all so much.   WE DID IT!!!

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An Opportunity of a Lifetime: A Trip to London!

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An Opportunity of a Lifetime: A Trip to London!

An Opportunity of a Lifetime: A Trip to London!

  At this moment right now, there is no question of what my favorite sport is. My favorite sport is the sport that draws in fans from around the world. And as I said previously, it is the sport that turns off the world’s problem for a full month to celebrate and enjoy a wonderful event known as the World Cup. That sport, of course, is fútbol (otherwise known as soccer) and I can not get enough of it. I love the emotion that is brought with playing it, as if the game that you’re playing is the last of your life. I love the way it transcends culture borders, giving all countries from Jamaica to Japan a chance to enjoy themselves. I love the wave of jubilance felt when you score a goal for your team, as your teammates rush to you to share the moment. And on top of this,I love the friendships and bonds formed by going through hardships and triumphs with your team. Basically, I love soccer in a lot of ways. But probably one of the most valuable things about soccer is that it can open doors to opportunities that you may have never been able to experience.  For this reason, I am writing this post for you today.

        Currently, I am part of a club soccer team in Atlanta, officially named the U15 “Inter Atlanta FC 99Elite.” We are a great team full of kids like me who just want to keep getting better at what we love. Personally, I love every minute of it, for not only am I getting better, but I can also spend some time with some pretty cool guys as well as a cool coach.The reason I bring this up is because this summer, my team and I have the chance to make it to London, England, and work with some of the English Premier League’s biggest soccer teams: Fulham FC and Chelsea FC! Both being located in London, my team will be able to train with these teams and watch them perform live. We will be staying in London for a total of 10 days, and will also get to experience the cultural landmarks that London has to offer. This includes seeing Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral and many more things. It truly is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am truly privileged to be given this chance. But there is one problem:

I need some money.

        Now my parents are willing to pay for the flight to London, but I need to pay for room and board, as well as other possible expenses. This is a total of around 2000 dollars, which needs to be made by the trip ( the last week in July). This is where I am asking you to come in. But do not get me wrong,  for this is not a charity case.

        You see, I am all about giving the point-of-view from a teenage African American boy in the world that we live in today. It has been my mission ever since I started thedarkerlens.com. and I plan on sticking to it. As a writer, I am always trying to expand my views on how the world thinks of me and people like me. And so far, I can only speak of incidences and experiences that I have living in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I was fortunate enough to go to Ghana, West Africa, a couple of years ago.  Europe seems to be different. In Europe there are customs, traditions, behaviors, and history that are very different than what Americans are used to. For example, although there was still slavery in the British Caribbean, slavery ended more than 50 years before it did in America! But in contrast to that, England has also been guilty of having moments similar to Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis with the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 (whose killers where just found two years ago). So due to these things as well as others, I feel like the race relations in this foreign country could be interesting to experience. This experience could definitely aid my writing in many ways.

        I also feel like this is an opportunity for black kids like me to see that the world is much bigger than what they think it is. I often interact with people from school or other places, who see their lives and careers only through the lens of their home town! They simply do not know how large the world is, and how many opportunities it can give you. By going on this trip and telling everyone I know about it, hopefully my peers will realize this.

        So with that being said, it would be more than appreciated for you to help me out in my hopes of making it to England. I promise to post an in-depth account of my experience to show you what it is like. I will bring you the sights, the interactions, and especially the relation between black and white Europeans. This is something that a lot of people (especially kids of color) do not get the chance of doing, and for that reason I am trying to seize the moment when it arrives. So please help out for not only a soccer player trying to get better, but also for an inquisitive teeager who would like to know what life is like across the pond.   Below you can find a link to donate.

>LINK TO DONATE<

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Cat Fight: Why it’s OK for Black Girls

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When it comes to women in my family, I may not have a lot, but the ones that I do have, stand out. They stand out by providing for us, by caring for us, and leading by example of the right thing to do. They strive in all of their fields of work, showing that it is not impossible for a woman to succeed in a country mainly ruled by men.  Not only do they meet the standards put on by society, but often exceed it. And of course, all of them have the upmost respect for one another, other people, and most importantly themselves. Because of this, throughout my life I have thought of females as strong, poised people with high self-esteem. This changed when I started high school.

        In as little as the first month, I noticed things were a little strange. For one thing, I realized that not only were people obviously bigger and taller than me, but that there were a lot more harsh words thrown in the air. Sugar Honey Ice T (you know what I mean) was in every conversation, The F-bomb was dropped on a regular, and when it came to any reference toward any female of any kind, you could bet on “bitch” being the word of choice. And I know, the world isn’t pretty and nice, but I was especially surprised by the amount of language coming from the black girls in the school towards each other! Sometimes it was in a playful way, but other times (more than boys for the most part) it led to VERY loud arguments, which led to shoving, and finally, fighting. This draws a crowd of course, which cheers on their favorite girl, until someone ends up in handcuffs. To some this seems like entertainment, but to me it seems like a problem.

        I simply didn’t understand the source of all the anger, if there was even a source at all. I understand that people have conflict with one another all the time, but these girls are fighting as if it’s the only form of resolution. What was this coming from? Thinking it was a lost cause after months of seeing the same thing, I decided to go home and watch some TV.

“Sportscenter…… No.”

“Spongebob……. Not right now.”

“Key and Peele…..Maybe later.”

“Basketball Wives:…..Hmm, never seen it. Might as well give it a try.”

BOOM!!!!!!!

“……YOU CAN’T EVEN AFFORD THIS GUCCI BAG!”

“……..YOU JUST MAD CAUSE YO MAN GOT A CHICK ON THE SIDE!’

“BITCH, WHO YOU THINK YOU TALKIN TO?????”

“……AHHHHHHHBYONYOEHVNVOMCRPIHFXEFXJRGPNTNJOIUNYLH!!!!!!(flying fists, screams made, and champagne glasses broken)”

After only 10 minutes. 10 minutes. What is this?!?!?, I said to myself.  Is this supposed to help anybody? How does this even make money? With mixed emotions, I turned off the TV and sat at my desk in silence until it finally hit me. And now I’m here writing this.

        What the media is doing now is basically feeding into the minds of black girls  that in order to be famous and have money, you need to do one of two things: 1)marry a rich basketball star so you don’t necessarily have to work at anything, and; 2) get hyped for no reason and fight women with the same mindset.  Now I know that reality TV most of the time is fake, but that isn’t the problem. Because of this, we have girls that are fighting and cursing at each other, in the hopes of not only gaining respect, but to also prepare themselves for their potential “job.” This also halts their learning drive, ‘cause  who needs to learn algebra or social studies when all you need to do is pull out a girl’s weave? It would be different if these “Basketball Wives” were everyday people, but not only are they well-off, but rather paid if you ask me. Basically, the example of a black woman in the media now is a woman with nothing to her name other than her husband.

        I say all this to simply express my opinion on the matter. Watching this show has solved the question in my mind towards why some girls choose to use violence rather than to solve issues in a more productive manner.  If you don’t agree, then let me know. This is just something I saw, and I would really like to hear more viewpoints on this issue. After all, I’m just a boy looking on from the outside. Whether you’re a boy who’s been in a fight with a girl, a mother who is going through this with her  child, or a fighting girl yourself, it doesn’t matter. With more views, an accurate resolution can be made, and that’s all I’m trying to accomplish. But in the end, it was an interesting experience watching this show, and has really opened my eyes towards how black women are perceived in the media, and the outcome it creates towards black girls.

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The Childish Gambino Deep Web Tour Review

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 “The crowd was waiting for the man of the night. After almost 45 minutes of an opener DJ set, it was time to see who they were paying for. All that was heard was the clicking of iPhones in boredom, as the DJ  made his last remarks, leaving his booth. There was nobody on stage,  leaving only props consisting of a piano, a couple of sofas, some drums, a projector screen, and a chandelier. As soon as the crowd’s attention is almost completely lost, a voice comes from the background repeating the same word over and over again:

 

woooorldstar. Wooooorldstar. WOOOOORLDSTAR. WOOOOORLDSTAR!

 

The crowd joins in and forms a deafening chant. Over and over, this is all you hear from the sold out crowd. And suddenly, almost oblivious to the noise, Childish Gambino walks onto the stage and sits at the piano. He’s met by what sounds like a roar of screams as the crowd rushes towards the stage trying to get a better look. The band walks on seconds later, as Gambino leans into the microphone. With a sleepy cadence he says:

‘What’s up Atlanta’.

 

The show had begun”.

If you don’t know who or what I’m talking about, the answer is Childish Gambino. Childish Gambino a.k.a Donald Glover, is a comedian/actor/writer/rapper that has made his mark on a few forms of entertainment. Whether it’s writing for 30 Rock, being a stand-up comedian, or playing the role Troy Barnes on NBC’sCommunity, Donald has showed that he is not only funny, but smart, creative, and extremely talented. His rap career started in 2010 with a couple of mixtapes entitled I Am Just A Rapper and I Am Just A Rapper 2, and really took off with his first LP Camp  in 2011. Since then he has been doing a plethora of things, including releasing his second studio album entitled Because The Internet (album cover above). This album was accompanied by a full screenplay to go along with it, involving a young adult like Donald living a laid-back, lavish, and lonely lifestyle. The album was, in my opinion, really good, showing multiple sides of Gambino that really showed off his range. And to top it all off, Donald announced the Deep Web Tour around the world where he’ll be performing stuff from his past and recent album. I was lucky enough to get tickets.

 

What a show.

 

The first thing that I loved  was the live band that played throughout the concert. Not only did it give the concert an authentic experience, but it was also really, really good. From the drums down to the backup singers, everyone held their own. My personal favorite was the female keyboard player, who almost hypnotized me by how powerful and passionate she was. And all of it fit so well with Gambino’s music, which isn’t just all synths and bass like some other rappers. By putting actual instruments into his songs, it makes the live experience that much better.

What was also really cool, was the Deep Web app that was made especially for the concert, and how people in the crowd could interact with the actual concert via a projector screen. You could send messages, take polls in some areas, and even draw pictures when you wanted to. I wish I knew about it before, but it was still really cool ( and sometimes funny) to see what people were writing in real time in the crowd.

On top of all this, the stage was set up to resemble moments in the screenplay, so it was as if you were watching a movie during the performance with Gambino acting as the score. I was wondering why there were sofas and a chandelier when I got there, for it almost looked like a stage for a play or something. But it worked out really well, and I felt like I wasn’t just at a concert.

And of course, there’s the performance from Childish Gambino. This was, in my opinion, the best part of concert hands down. This man put on a show. He rapped with incredible charisma, he sang really well, he danced, he talked to the crowd, he freestyled, he did everything. You could feel the electricity coming from the stage with songs like “Worldstar” and “Crawl”. And because of this, the audience never seemed to stop cheering. All the parts for a great show were there, and he was basically the glue that put it all together. It was really good.

So in conclusion, I would rate this performance an 8 and a half out of 10 (we waited for a little bit for him to come out due to some safety problems or something). It was fun, it was interesting, it was exciting, and it was CRAZY. If you have some spare time and he’s in your city, I highly recommend checking it out. Chances are, you’ll become a fan.

 

 

Here’s another photo from the concert.

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My Experience: The African American Excellence Summit

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In this day and age, especially as a teenager, I get the constant feeling that my opinion doesn’t matter. Whether it’s dealing with issues concerning my family, or suggesting ideas in the classroom, I always feel like my ideas are…dismissed. And this statement is especially true most of the time, sadly, due to the color of my skin. Not with my family, but at times I feel like teachers and people I encounter that aren’t black, act like I’m incapable of making my own thoughts or expressing myself. Not only does this anger me, but it makes me a little scared to think that there are people who think this way, when we currently have an African-American president. I could go on for a while about this, but I’ll save it for another post. Anyway, imagine my excitement  when I get an email that I have been asked to take part in a panel on African American Educational Excellence at Morehouse College on behalf of the White House! The panel I was on was literally made to see how Black boys and young men felt on issues concerning them, and how adults can help us on the problems we face. It was so fitting to some of the problems I face,  that I thought it was actually a joke. “Yeah right, so I’m probably going to ride on Air Force One to meet with the President for lunch afterwards, right?” But then, I asked my parents about it, and sure enough, it was happening.

        My first reaction was excitement, but the more I thought about how important this was, my emotions quickly turned into nervousness. The Summit was postponed briefly due to weather problems, but that didn’t stop me from constantly thinking about what I have to say and all the things that can go wrong. What if I start to sweat a lot on stage? What if I can’t answer any of the questions? What if I look stupid!  All of this was swimming through my head as the days leading up to the summit were ticking away. But as I sat on my couch on the night before the summit, my dad gave my the best advice I could have gotten. He said:

“This entire panel is about people like you. You don’t have to make things up or memorize things. Just speak from the heart. That’s what they want.”

And with that, I felt ready to take part in this experience.

        And after all the anticipation, and the weeks and weeks of wondering what’s going to happen, I’m glad to say that it went very well. I felt the energy in the room, as the panelists and I answered all the questions we were asked with fluidity and relaxation. We were asked questions like “how do stereotypes affect the way you live”, all the way to “what is the one thing that adults can do to support black males”. To be honest, it didn’t even feel like a “panel”. It simply felt like a conversation between the panelists and the moderator, Nick Chiles (I liked him… a lot) . The audience wasn’t intimidating at all, and their questions in the Q&A were thought-provoking.  And one of the bests parts, was that I even got to plug  thedarkerlens! I felt like I could be up there all day, but there was a different panel after us. And it was during that panel, that I learned one of the most important messages of the entire day.

        The next panel was about how Black men can have success in college. It was an electric and exciting panel to watch, and I learned a lot of statistics and opinions that can really benefit me down the road. But what I got the most from that panel, was the importance to go to a Historically Black College. All these panelists, mainly men, were all alumni of an HBCU. What was great about that, was the fact that all of them were SO SMART. Like, it was overwhelming how smart these people were. From professors, to  graduated seniors of HBCU’s, all of these people were incredibly intelligent. And honestly, it was refreshing to see. Too many times in the media and on the news, I see the stereotypical depiction of a black man who is either barely literate, or a convict. This panel was a great reminder that there are still brilliant black males in the world, and that it is possible to be around them through HBCU’s. And that’s, to me, why it is so important to go to a HBCU. Whether it’s Morehouse, Howard, Hampton, or any other college, it needs to be a place where I can be around and learn from smart black men. And hopefully, I can become one in the future.

 

 

Me (on the far left chair) at the Summit.

Me (on the far left chair) at the Summit.

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What Made My Week: The Boondocks Return

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It was a Tuesday, around 3:45 pm. I’m riding back from school on the bus, with only maybe five other people on it. With my headphones in, looking out the window, I’m just waiting to get home. The day wasn’t the best. My math class was particularly dull today, and I pretty much fell asleep in Spanish. On top of all that, I was just recovering from a stomach virus, so I definitely wasn’t 100 percent. As the bus makes its final turn, I try to see if the Adult Swim wall is different. It’s been blank for about a week now. We make the final turn and I halfheartedly look in the direction of the sign, and I see this:

 

                         Boondocks.JPG

It takes me a couple seconds to understand what I’m looking at, and then it hits me like a pile of bricks (or aStinkmeaner Chest Kick). I pull out my headphones, turn to the first people I see and exclaim “BOONDOCKS IS COMING BACK!” I’m met with a series of strange looks, but that doesn’t matter to me anymore. I run home from my stop, do a little dance for a minute in the middle of the living room, and then collapse on the sofa in exhaustion. Finally: The Boondocks is coming back.

Now if you don’t know what The Boondocks is (really?), then let me explain. Based on a comic strip, The Boondocks is a cartoon show that involves the lives of a Black family from the south Chicago area that moves into a white suburb, and the adventures that come about. With crazy characters, hilarious writing, and clever storylines, The Boondocks was created by Aaron McGruder in 2005. Since then, three seasons have been made, followed by a VERY long wait. And now, finally, The Boondocks returns on April 21st.

 

Words cannot describe how much I like this show. Every character, every episode, and almost every scene from this cartoon has made me laugh or think in some way. Not only is the show hilarious, but it’s also brilliant. With tons of thought-provoking satire involving Hip-Hop, the Internet, and even ignorance in the Black community, The Boondocks, isn’t just a “cartoon.” It’s more of a social commentary. Some of my favorite episodes include “Return Of The King”, where Martin Luther King Jr. comes back from the dead and sees the world we’re living in. And of course, I love “Granddad’s Fight”, which focuses on the ignorance aspect of black people.

 

But there’s another reason why I’m so happy that The Boondocks is coming back, and that’s to shine a light on issues today. It’s been almost four years since season three ended, which means there are a lot of relevant subjects that would have been great material for the show. With Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Obama’s second term to name a few, it’s obvious that a lot has happened to Black people, as well as society in general. Back in 2010, The Boondocks was showing people the Black perspective of topics that were important back then. And because of this, not only were people given a chance to think about these issues, but they could also enjoy doing it! To me, at least, it was like the news with comedy. I was informed as well as entertained. It was great.

 

I made this blog to show the perspective of a Black teenage boy in this society. As much as I would like to think it, Thedarkerlens doesn’t have a worldwide audience. But I feel like I’m still helping, for I feel like my perspective and the perspective of Black people needs to be heard.  And that’s the main reason why I’m so happy for this season. The Boondocks has a worldwide audience to show the opinion of Black people. And for that, I’m ecstatic.

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Mexico vs Nigeria in Atlanta: A Nigerian’s Perspective

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Remember when I said I LOVE sports? Well that statement couldn’t be more true when it comes to one of my favorite sports. This is the sport that unites us on a global scale for thirty days, to remind us that we all have something in common.  Something that we can all say is inspiring, exciting, and and simply beautiful to watch and play. I’m talking about soccer, the sport of the world.  Now,  I am a huge fan of soccer, so when I heard that there was an international friendly happening between Mexico and Nigeria, the country ofmy heritage, in my city, I nearly lost control over my motor skills. As an African American with an African Dad, I almost never get an opportunity to show my heritage as a Nigerian while still being in America. This was something that won’t happen again for a while, and I was more than happy to go.  As I put on my Nigeria T-shirt at home, all I could think about was the feeling I was going to have when I could see an arena with Mexican’s and Nigerians enjoying the same event together.  Jesus, was I in for something different.

 

The arena was sold out with around 68,000 attendants.

 

I counted around 30 Nigerians.

 

Everywhere I looked all I saw was the Mexican country colors of green, red, and white, the Jersey’s of the Mexican National Team’s favorite players, and the Mexican National Flag.  If you scanned the stadium for long enough, you could see a couple of darker faces in the crowd with the green and white Nigerian colors on, but you would soon lose them in a matter of seconds. My family would get multiple looks from everyone in the crowd, followed by a generous amount of Spanish in our direction.  I later found out that it wasMexico going on a country tour, and Nigeria @ Atlanta was just a stop.Basically, we were severely outnumbered.

And that’s only the half of it. It was clear from the start that this wasn’t just a Mexico vs Nigeria game. no, this was a MEXICOOOOOOOOOOO VS nigeria  game. The announcements? In Spanish. The half-time show? In Spanish. The commercials on the big screen? Español. Not only were there barely any Nigerians attending, but there were no Nigerians running the program. From the music choice, to the cadence of the announcers voice when talking about both the teams, you could tell which team had home field advantage.

Even though we were definitely the minority in this group, something very interesting happened to me. Because of the singularity of my condition,  I never felt prouder to be Nigerian.  I know this may sound weird, but it felt like  my family and I were representing our country all by ourselves. We couldn’t see anybody else within our section representing Nigeria so we had to make sure we gave as much energy as possible.  And because of this, I loved every minute of it. When Nigeria got boo’ed when they touched the ball, it just made me want to scream louder with more enthusiasm.

 

The game ended in a scoreless tie, but it was still a great game to go to. Not only did I see my first international soccer game, but it was also the first time in a long time that I could forget about everything I personally stand for, and focus on the only important thing at the moment: being a Nigerian. I say this because I feel like a sense of heritage is very important. I ‘m lucky enough to have a father straight from Nigeria, so I know where my blood is from. But to African-Americans, I’m telling you, nothing feels better than representing your home country.  Whether it’s with a website like africanancestry.com, or going through your family tree, knowing your heritage is something I think everybody has the right to have. Because at that game I’ve never felt prouder in my life, and I want other people to have the same feeling.

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