Miles Ezeilo: Future Howard Bison

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 I got in. I got in I got in I got in I got in I GOT IN!!!!!!!

 

After five years of working towards my dream school, the light at the end of the tunnel is closer and brighter than it has ever been. I have been accepted into Howard University’s class of 2021. It’s a surreal feeling, to say the least. With every late-night study session, every volunteer hour and every extracurricular activity, despite my schedule being hectic, in the back of my head I always thought “Howard will make this all worth it”. Since eighth grade I’ve had this school in my sights, and now it’s only 7 months away from becoming a reality. Excitement is an understatement.

Especially with Donald Trump’s presidential election, being at Howard is even more important to me. While I will be down the street from him in D.C (yikes), I know that Howard will be just what I need during these next four years. No more hyper-conservative “All Lives/Blue Lives/ Not Black Lives Matter” people will I have to face. Instead I will be fed nothing but knowledge of the world around me, my people, and what I can do to change it for the better. It’s almost as if Howard, or any HBCU is the protective shield every young black American needs. Perfect timing, if you ask me.

I can’t thank enough people who got me to this place in my life. Mom and dad, you’ve been my motivation in more ways than one. Besides literally telling me I need to work on college essays and getting on me about my grades, your presence and success alone provided the example I needed to keep working hard. I love y’all. I also want to thank all my aunt’s and uncle’s and cousins and grandparents and friends of the family for helping me all of these years. Whether through example of your achievements, words of wisdom, or just positivity towards everyone around you, you have all been a huge part in how I’m here. Your help meant and still means so much to me and I’ll be sure to never let you guys down.

It feels weird sometimes, to be honest, when I think about the next chapter of my life. For four years I’ve been working on achieving this goal through school and my outside life. Now that the next step is moving closer and closer, it’s kind of strange to know that so much will change. My current routine, my habits and my norms will all be different, and I can’t lie it’s scary sometimes. However, I know that with a strong foundation behind me and a thirst to learn and grow, success and happiness is in the future. I just know it.

 

I just wanted to express how I’m feeling and give thanks the right way to all the people who’ve helped me get here. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. I’ll make sure to keep you updated as I go through my journey.

 

HU !?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

 

YOU KNOW!!!!!!!

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1 Year TDL

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 The date of February 14th, 2015 had a lot more meaning that I realized, for more reasons than one. The first reason was obviously this year’s Valentines Day. The second reason was  this year’s All-Star Saturday Night for the NBA (duh), in which three point and dunk contests filled my eyes with joy.  Both of these events/holidays are ones I enjoy, for not only do I enjoy basketball, but I thoroughly enjoy  being happy with the people I love. Needless to say, both of these events this year did not disappoint in making my February 14th a great one.

      But the last reason that February 14th, 2015 had so much meaning to me, is that it marks the 1-year anniversary of the start of The Darker Lens. Wow.

       It’s hard finding words on how much this blog has done to my life over the course of this year. For starters, I got to be on a panel for the White House on how to help black boys due to one of my first posts on Jordan Davis.  As well as this I also got to go to London due to the help of all of my family and friends through this blog (with the help of Go Fund Me), which ended up being one of the bests trips of my life. But in addition to this, I also gained something from this blog that no trip or opportunity can surmount. This blog gave me a voice.

       Hopefully this blog has, and will continue to succeed in its mission of informing as many people as possible of what goes on in a black teenage boy’s mind, for we have obviously been frequently misunderstood, which leads to decisions and actions that aren’t for the best. This is what I hope for the most, for in my opinion, if these politicians and judges and policemen had an inkling of our true thoughts and intentions, then maybe these tragedies that I see all the time will start to go away.  But even with that being said, this blog is more than just a microphone.

       This blog has given me a chance to truly express myself in ways that internal thoughts can’t. As soon as I see the ” Add New Post” prompt on my laptop, something lights up in the back of my head, and I get this feeling unlike anything I can describe. Maybe it’s the same when a painter looks at a canvas, or when an entertainer looks at a microphone and an audience, but it’s definitely a feeling I love. Whenever I bring myself back to the question of what my future career will be, all I need to see is that prompt and I remember all over again: I want to be a writer. Because of this blog I’ve had the chance to voice my opinions on topics like some of my favorite music, sports, TV, as well as many stories related to the topic of the moment. It’s calmed me down in times of anger and frustration, and it’s inspired me to think about things in a different light. All of this came from a simple idea my parents and I had one year ago.

    So even though I’m technically a day late, today I want to thank everyone who has ever read my blog, all of my friends and family, and the people who have inspired me and pushed me to do this. I love you all for it,  I’m thankful, and I hope for many more anniversaries of The Darker Lens in the future.  

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My Thoughts on the Michael Brown Verdict

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I got an update from CNN at around 11 o’clock last night. Being half asleep, I glanced over to my phone, stared at it for a while, and slowly sat up in my bed. Staring into space now, all I could do was think of the current situation I’m in, and my heart sank. No outrage, no screaming, just disappointment and a hint of fear. With that I listened to some music, and went to bed soon after.

 

That was my initial reaction to hearing that Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted for the shooting of 18 year-old Michael Brown.

 

What saddens me the most is of course the fact that the legal system is indirectly calling black boys targets, and not human beings. As a black boy I am no longer safe, for now it seems like I’d be safer running away from the police than towards them for help. This has been shown multiple times. But the thing that makes me hate myself, is the fact that my response to these shootings are becoming less and less passionate. I remember when Trayvon Martin was shot, and how I was fuming for weeks on end, angry at everyone and everything. I was thirteen, and in my eyes this was something I’ve never heard of: someone who looks just like me is killed for no reason. This was heartless, sad, and unprecedented for the most part. But after two years of the same sad story with different names and faces, all I can do is stare at a wall and pray for the families of the victims.  I’m slowly being desensitized from an issue that directly affects me, and I hate that I feel this way.  This is something that needs to change.

 

In no way is it OK to normalize the shooting and killing of black boys. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing normal or regular or just about Michael Brown, Troy Davis, Trayvon Martin, and countless others. All of them were unique lives that ended too soon. But the fact that it happens so often is where the psychological issue comes into play. When you see black face after black face after black face on the news as a kid and as an adult, you start to see it as normal. This leads to the further devaluing of black boys, resulting in the process starting all over again. So when something is becoming “boring”, what does the news latch on to make a story?  In this case, its the riots.

 

I woke up at around 9:30 today, and turned on the television to see how people were responding to the verdict. Hoping to see news coverage on the Michael Brown’s family, or more on the lack of indictment itself, I was instead greeted by headlines like “Riots Fill the Streets of Ferguson”, and “Ferguson up in Flames”. This was coupled with video segments of black people looting and jumping on police cars, but nothing on the cause of this anger. I turned off the TV and finished my cereal in silence.

 

OK, this is the part that makes me mad. Not only does the news seem to not cover enough of the lack of indictment itself,  but instead MSNBC and CNN are focusing more on the looting and the rioting caused by this issue. Sure, the news still needs to cover something like this, but the main story is being missed. “Michael Brown’s Killer Set Free”. “Shooter of Innocent Boy Released”. “Darren Wilson Gone With No Charges”. These all sound like headlines that would not only bring in views, but would also tell the real story instead of the aftermath, no matter how exciting that may be.

 

To say the least, these are my feelings on the lack of indictment. I’m sad, dissapointed, but in the end I can only shake my head.  So this holiday season, I’ll have a lot to be thankful for. I have my family, my friends, my health, and especially the ability to be alive, for I know for sure that can change at any time. RIP Michael Brown.

 

Happy Holidays.

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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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Jordan Davis: Thoughts From A Black Teenager

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I get scared every time I turn on the news now. My thoughts on the verdict of Jordan Davis, the 17-year-old young African American man who was shot to death by Michael Dunn are simple: as a black boy in this day and age, my trust and sense of safety is dwindling as I write this. First Trayvon Martin, then Renisha McBride, and now Jordan Davis, as well as too many others to name. What is the news telling me when people that look just like me are getting murdered just because? To me this means that America is a long way away from Martin’s dream of people being judged by the content of their character. To me this means that even though we have a black president, things are definitely not perfect. And to me this means that some white people still don’t know that they’re not just killing three-fifths of a person anymore.

        This entire case hits home for me because Jordan Davis could have been a lot of people I know. He could have been my cousins who live in Florida. He could have been my brother Cole. He could have been me. Over the course of two years since Trayvon was killed, my mental process and the way I hold myself in public has changed, without a doubt. I’m constantly evaluating and questioning myself: should I change the way I am because of other people? My answer is always, no, probably not. But do I change myself because it keeps me safe? Yes, definitely. I try to distance myself from any sort of commotion or conflict happening around me because I know it’s too easy for someone to come along and make me a suspect. I try to be extra nice to strangers so they don’t get the wrong impression. And unless it’s negative 20 below zero, I’ll take a hat, not a hood. And I’m not a “thug” in any way, shape, or form. I get good grades, I try to use manners when I need to, and always try to keep a smile on my face. But I know that that doesn’t mean a thing to someone who is threatened by me. By the skin I’m in. Because racists and even regular people who let stereotypes push their fear don’t see me as a complete individual with good home training and good morals. All they see is dark pigment walking down the street and they’re ready to pull the trigger.

        Although Michael Dunn is going to prison for his wrong-doing, it still doesn’t feel right. After all, somebody going to prison doesn’t mean the event didn’t happen. Jordan Davis’ parents still mourn, and we still lost a valuable life and teenage black boys like me are still hearing the message loud and clear: it’s open season on us. Plus, the murder of Jordan Davis isn’t even the reason why Dunn is going to jail! He’s going to jail for what? For almost killing Jordan Davis’ friends who were in the car, and for shooting deadly missiles. Not because he shot somebody in cold blood for no reason, but because he didn’t kill more people and was using a gun. This brings me to another force that I clearly can’t trust: The American criminal justice system.

        Why is it that my father tells me not to confront the police even in times of danger? Because all too often, the police and the criminals have the same mindset: “Let’s get rid of all these brown faces once and for all.” How come those 11 jurors and that judge could not come up with the verdict that was staring them right in the face? I don’t know. I can’t quite comprehend how a fear gives someone the right to take someone’s life. Honestly, I feel like the verdict answers to a fear of making too many people mad. This phobia is the same one that the jurors of Trayvon’s case had, and it was the same one that the jurors in Troy Davis’ case had back in 2011. I can’t help but to think that the American criminal justice system is set up to condone the loss of a black life rather than anger the white community it serves.

So I say all this to say that I’m severely heartbroken, not just because of the case, but because it has been officially made clear that too many white Americans don’t consider black boys as citizens or even human beings. Do you think this would have been a problem if a group of white guys were blasting Tim McGraw? My guess is no. Because that wouldn’t be “thug music.” My heart goes out to the parents and family of Jordan Davis. Mr. Davis and Mrs. McBath: I am painfully sorry that your son had to be a victim of White America. I don’t know, maybe next time I’ll turn down Chief Keef and turn up Taylor Swift when I’m driving in the part of the country I supposedly can call home. Maybe that will save my life.

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The Mind Of a Teenage Black Boy

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Hey, Miles here. I’m a 15-year-old African-American boy from Atlanta, Georgia, with a couple of things to say about the world I live in.  Although I lack a few necessary character traits (i.e organization, neatness, and sometimes common sense), I always try to be aware of what goes around in my life in every aspect of it. Basically, whatever the subject may be, I usually have a unique opinion on it. And as an African-American teenage male, this lens that I look through as I view the world is different than an average person on the street. Whether it be sports, politics, movies, music, or just the basic things in my life, I like to have my own stance. And because of this, I am doing this blog for two reasons: one, because I love to write. I LOVE it. Ever since I knew what words were, I’ve always been trying to express my ideas and thoughts through writing. I’ve had my phases of not wanting to pursue writing anymore, but the love I have for doing it always brings me back. I never want to stop writing.

And two, because I feel that the true opinions and thoughts of black boys in the world today are dwindling, and are being replaced by what people think we’re thinking. Too frequently I hear from schools or organizations, “How come black youth isn’t engaged/interested in what we’re trying to give them?” Well the answer is simple: you need to ask black youth! If you want a change to be made, you need to look for voices that represent the demographic you’re trying to catch. I may not speak for all teenage black boys, but you can be sure that I can speak for myself. And that’s gotta mean something.

My writing inspirations are very close to me, for they are both a part of my close family. My Uncle (Nick Chiles), and Aunt (Denene Millner) are both prestigious authors that have not only published countless books, but also successfully run websites that have to deal with the lives and stories of African Americans in America. With a résumé like that, how can you go anywhere else? They really are (as well as my Dad who insisted I should start this) the reason why I decided to pursue blogging. And for that,I thank you all. I have a good feeling about this. This is going to be fun.

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