The Black community mourned yesterday as we remembered what would have been the 19th birthday of Trayvon Martin. It seemed even more painful with the news of his murderer being involved in a ridiculous boxing match for money. This week also marked the beginning of the trial of the murder of Jordan Davis, another young unarmed Black boy killed in Florida, this time over loud music.
Far too often Black boys are forced to navigate a world where they face violence, mass incarceration, police brutality, failing schools, and unemployment. One recent study found 92% of Black male teens were unemployed in Chicago and 83% nationally. Young Black men are also almost singularly portrayed in the media as criminals and thugs. According to a report by the Pew Center, in Pittsburgh, 86% of the time the local media covered Black men the topic was crime. The reality of this situation is why we chose to start the 1Hood Media Academy.
1Hood Media Academy helps African American young men critically analyze media messages, broaden media experience, and develop creative skills needed in creating their own media. All too often the young African American male is either underrepresented or misrepresented in media. Our mission is to improve self-image, dispel stereotypes, and provide a positive forum of self-expression. The program is offered to young African-American men, ages 14-19. The course will include, though not limited to, the art of blogging, video production, and social media. Located at the Alloy Studios, 1Hood Media Academy is hosting an open house on Monday, February 10, 2014.
We are relaunching the Academy tonight with the help of Legendary Hip-Hop producer 9th Wonder. 9th Wonder will participate with fans in an intimate talk hosted by me. The talk will happen at 7 p.m. at the Alloy Studios, 5530 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206. We all have a collective responsibility to change the current conditions in our communities. The question is, what are we willing to do?