As you all know here, I was just invited to participate in a forum about the edification of Black men down at Florida A&M University (FAMU for the Black-colleged). As we also know, a lot of you have no clue what edification means. Please go look it up. Thank you.
You back? Great.
On this panel was myself, Dr. Steve Perry of CNN’s Black in America 2 fame, Enitan Bereola (author of the book, Bereolaesque, a sort of guide for men about being grown and sexxy and more Diddy-like), and rapper Wale (you probably know him from the you know…)
So pretty much, I was (and still am) the low man on the totem pole. Enitan is FAMU alumni and seemed damn near like FAMU royalty, Dr. Steve Perry is the only lightskinned man in America that all women seem to want, and Wale is, well a rapper. Nobody (well very few people) knew or seemed to give a flying f*ck who I was initially. Hell, even the article writeups and promo stuff in advance more or less mentioned me in passing. Not that I’m offended or anything, I get it, it’s just funny to go somewhere and realize nobody knows who you are and couldn’t care less when there are other famous people around.
So clearly, being the sexxy motherf*cker that I am, I decided that I’d make it a point to make myself memorable. Which if you’ll remember, I’m a 3, so it was a daunting task to say the least. Hell, radio interviews were conducted with all of the panelists…except, um, me. I’m not sure if that was due to timing or because I need to start a “Who is Panama Jackson” campaign but nonetheless, it’s just an interesting feeling to going from being known around one medium to being a virtual unknown in the real world.
Dr. Perry was extremely cool and very “real”. He is exactly who you saw on TV. Though I will say I expected him to be much taller. He’s probably my height or a little shorter, and I ain’t tall. Enitan was cool as his book suggested, toothpick and all. He essentially created an adjective out of his name. He took my sexxy schtick to a whole new level and wrote a book about his methods for conducting himself in life.
Wale. What can one say about Wale? He was initially standoffish at first. Once again, I’m a nobody so I chalked it up to that but he was like that with everybody. Just hella chill. For those that know me, hella chill is something I don’t do. I’m always on so it was hard for me to understand a celebrity falling back so hard. But he opened up at some point (to me at least), after they mentioned that I was from DC and went to UMD for grad school. Which further proves that while in DC, us Black men hate eachother, but outside of the District, it’s all love
The panel itself was pretty dope though I’ll say I felt that we were preaching to the choir a lot. I mean technically, we’re talking to the people that need to hear it the least. College me and women SHOULD be the cream of the crop and the people who already know that they have to go back and institute change in order for us to progress as a people. Then again, I also went to college, at one of those institutions considered to be a beacon of light and all that non-sense and some of the most ignant ninjas in America went to school with me. So perhaps we were talking to the right and wrong people at the same time. We talked about the Black community, the hip-hop community, the media, and women’s impact on Black men and vice versa. Truthfully, the hour and some change slotted wasn’t nearly enough time to really delve into most of the issues but it’s a definite start. Or at least it should be. I would assume that the point of this forum was kind of a jumping off point for future endeavors and the like. Or maybe for a lot of folks it was a Wale concert with an opening act of a bunch of cats telling them that they needed to do better (something I said a few times). I think the panel went well and I’d love to do more of that but like I said, when you talk about the Black community, no amount of time is enough to really delve into the issues, especially talking about Black men. Add to the fact that you’ve got two long winded ninjas (myself and Dr. Perry; that dude can talk) and you really don’t cover as much ground as necessary.
But after the fact, quite a few students talked to me individually about what I’d said and felt I contributed nicely so that was a bonus. At least I wasn’t up there sounding like a dude who ain’t sexxy. I also felt like I at least left an impression. As the most unknown unknown cat up there, I had a job to do and I felt I did it. Blew some opportunities though because we STILL don’t have business cards so all these men wanted to keep in touch and I had to pray they either copied my info down right or can remember the VSB name.
All in all, it was a good experience, save for the chick who pissed on herself in the middle of the forum.
And yes you read that right. FAMU – we got to do better.
Special shout out to Kianta Key who I take it was the overall organizer and really did a phenomenal job managing personalities and an event at a Black school – which means exactly what you think it means. There were a gang of great folks I met at FAMU and I was really happy to be apart of something that I felt made a real difference, unlike my day job. It kind of made me want to return to teaching, specifically at an HBCU. Also, shout out to the cat John Sellers, who created the Mt. Rushmore graphic so many people were hitting me up about. Great guy and really talented, and he also runs this site, Freedom Theory.
And a special shout out to the FAMU community at large and all the new folks I met who added me on twitter forcing me to have to twitter (tweet?) more.
Hopefully, I can find someway to keep contributing to their cause down there. For me it wasn’t just some sh*t to do, it was an opportunity to help make a difference. Just talking about it isn’t enough for me. I’m a Black man and me and my brothers need help. Folks like Dr. Perry make a difference everyday. That needs to be me.
Well that’s the abridged (trust me, I could write a solid 3000 words about all the f*ckery involved in my trip) version. Very Smart Brothas are carving our niche in the world and hopefully this was just a beginning.
Thanks for having a brotha.
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL, HE A 3