Estimated reading time: 10 minute(s)
By: Black Male Summit Staff
The “Smart’n Up” Black Male Summit made an impactful return Saturday, July 9th, with a packed house at St. Johns Downtown. They came looking for solutions, resources and inspiration to solve the problems Black men and boys face on a daily basis. The theme for this year’s summit was “No More Excuses.”
The Summit’s founder, Deric Muhammad, spoke about the younger generation’s desperation to become famous. “Fame is a drug. These young men will do anything to get it. If they can’t get your attention doing the right thing, they’ll get it doing the wrong thing,” said Muhammad. “Some of them would rather be somebody on the front of an RIP t-shirt than be a nobody walking around in real life.”
The delicate subject of Black men’s health was discussed by Deric Childress Sr., a father of three who suffers from diabetes. “I stand before you right now in kidney failure. But it could have been prevented had I taken better care of myself, he confessed.” Childress suffered a diabetic coma last October. He almost lost his life. “As Black men we must do a better job at taking care of ourselves.” He, then, introduced his son Deric Childress Jr., a recent graduate of The University of Virginia, who spoke powerfully to his generation about the importance of youth activism and getting involved in the fight for justice.
The torch was then handed to Pastor Jamail Johnson who spoke about the animalistic portrayal of Black male teen-agers and how to overcome negative stereotypes. “If you don’t know who you are you will spend to rest of your life pulling up someone else’s flag; not even knowing that you have a flag yourself,” he said.
Chad Muhammad, Owner of Universal Realty, spoke to the young crowd about real estate and the critical importance of land ownership. “You were all born into real estate. Land is everything; you can’t get away from it so you might as well benefit from it,” he said. Muhammad was followed by Brandon Barnes who spoke about the importance of investing.
Youtube sensation Philip Scott spoke about the reality of being a Black man in America and how to use the power of your voice. Scott is the owner of The African Diaspora News Channel. It has 1.3 million subscribers. The Black Male Summit was livestreamed worldwide on his channel. Reginald “OG1” Gordon closed the show with a no-nonsense, animated message about the dangers of street life and the horrors of prison. Gordon was sentenced to 200 years in prison at the age of 16. Since his release 30 years ago he has been on a quest to save the next generation from the jaws of America’s prison walls.
The Black Male Summit is an educational forum that focuses on the unique challenges that Black men and boys face in America. It was inspired by the 1995 Million Man March and has been a staple in the community for 12 years. “This year’s summit was the best one yet”, said Brother Deric. Special thanks to Pastor Rudy and First Lady Juanita Rasmus of St. Johns Downtown.
(To learn more about the Black Male Summit visit www.dericmuhammad.com)
All photos courtesy of Aswad Walker