Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Not From Florida, But Whatup FAM: FAMU Recap

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.

Recap. Recapped.

Word.Life.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL, HE A 3

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Panama Jackson is a co-founder of VSB and co-author of Your Degrees Won't Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime. He believes the children are our future and is waiting to find out if he is the 2nd most interesting man in the world.

  • Caramel eclair

    interesting…as i was wondering what in da hell wale could have to talk a bout in a forum with obviously educated people…i thought i had misread the name initially or it was some type of typo or an error or a joke…he’s a rapper for chrsit sake and yes u read that right…he aint no lupe’ fiasco while his lyrics are a bit more enlightened for lack of a better word..still wale? Anyhoo glad u felt u made a difference and maybe hopefully more Black men will heed to the calling…Kudos to you, iand btw i think you’re a 5 ….inteliigence is very sexy #justfyi thanks for the recap cause i was secretly wondering how that was going to turn out…wale? like fa real? ok then…

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      wale held his own up there, and while i’m not the biggest fan of his music, everybody else was and he does have songs that address some of those very issues we talked about. also, he made some valid points and interested statements regarding hip-hop and what goes on behind the doors. also made some funny points too. so while i was initially wondering why they picked wale, he was a good fit after the fact.

      thing is…from the students perspective, they might be wondering why in the hell they picked me. at least them ninjas listen to wale.

      whodatiz? panama jackson? he the kid joe and katherine dont talk about? he just a blogger? why he look like a fake common?!? (actual comment i saw on twitter…LMAO)

      • miss t-lee

        “why he look like a fake common?!? (actual comment i saw on twitter…LMAO)”

        LMAO x20.

      • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

        “why he look like a fake common?!? (actual comment i saw on twitter…LMAO)”

        *DEATH*

      • overit

        why he look like a fake common?!? (actual comment i saw on twitter…LMAO)

        *what my co-workers know for sure: that i aint shit. LMAO, i’m dying*

      • mateosmuse

        @Panama Jackson,

        *DEAD*

  • Made In Hawaii

    Awesome! Love reading about such positive things going on @ HBCUs.
    Sounds like it was a productive event and an enjoyable time.
    Tsk tsk on not having those business cards :|

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      yeah, the business cards were a blown opportunity, strictly from the standpoint of staying in touch with people. i love the opportunity to continue to build relationships. and yeah, there was a lot of positive energy there. i was glad to have visited.

  • Duchess

    P*ssy Princess was just happy to see you…………..

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      there shouldn’t be that much happiness in the world. especially not when you’re grown. lol. like seriously, now you the woman who pissed on herself at an event…ANY EVENT…

      who’s gonna want to date her? she should be so damn embarassed. how you gon’ come to an event focused on UPLIFTMENT and you do some nasty sh*t like that you nasty motherf*cker.

      shesonasty

      • Soula Powa

        As a FAMU alum that bleeds Orange and Green, I for some reason feel ashamed at this chick that couldn’t find a bathroom. We represent better than that.

        I hope that doesn’t color your experience as a whole.

        Nastya$$bishes!

        • http://twitter.com/myzdevyneone MyzDevyneOne

          @Soula Powa,
          HEEEEYYYY JB!!
          Cosign! You KNOW I bleed Orange & Green and that is NOT the biz! WDDDA!?!?! Pissing in Lee Hall outside the bathroom…I.JUST.CAN’T!!

  • Deanna

    So I had no idea who you (panama jackson and still kind of dont..google didnt help) were before this forum but I’m glad you came and shared your thoughts and opinions with FAMU. Now to the girl who pissed on herself you can blame it on the four loco she was drinking. To those who have hater tendencies (Caramel eclair) WALE did a great job. Both on the panel and at the mini concert he gave. He gave insight on how light skin vs dark skin video vixen’s really feel about themselves…i had no idea it was like that.
    And can we save the # sh*t for twitter thanx. Overall it was a great forum!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      it’s alright. i’m a writer, not a biter for myself and others who’s writing to show you what we fighting for.

      howyoulikemenow – i just jacked jay and talib kweli to define myself. LOL. i’m a rapper now.

      you know the only thing that bothers me about being anonymous is that when folks dont know you or don’t know why they should know you they dont listen to you. its the same with music, until we know a song is on the radio, we dont care about it. basically, we’re screwed. but, that’s life and the way it goes so i’m just happy i was invited. and yeah, Wale was cool up there.

      re the light vs dark vixens thing…lol…i SO love how we just call vide hoes vixens nowadays like it sounds better…i think b/c i’m involved in that industry in some ways as well, it’s not news to me and the fact that ANYBODY gives a shit about what color video hoes are is kind of retarded to me anyway. (i’m sure Monk will feel differently). but to me, the fact that we scream for equal opportunity in a venue where most of us refer to the women as hoes just screams to me that we have some misplaced priorities anyway.

      why do we care who shows up to be an accessory in a video? THEY showed up. lol. if you’re looking to videos for self-esteem, you’ve got bigger problems in life anyway. i ALMOST brought that up in the forum but i decided that i’d just let it ride and possibly write about it at some point.

      • Nono

        Congratulations. I’m glad it went well, and I hope even more opportunities open up for VSB.

        “why do we care who shows up to be an accessory in a video? THEY showed up.:

        Oooh, I wish you had spoken on the whole “light-skinned/dark-skinned vixen” issue. Just the whole “vixen” (please God, spare me) thing in particular. I would’ve loved to hear about the response you got on THAT.

      • overit

        but to me, the fact that we scream for equal opportunity in a venue where most of us refer to the women as hoes just screams to me that we have some misplaced priorities anyway.

        you better get yo panel on, i’m at my desk wavin 3 fingaz in the air, and i truly do not care.

      • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

        I’m actually in total agreeance, we shouldn’t be overly concerned about the complexion or even the racial make up of the models featured in videos. Just let them be. Generalizing and casting the title “hoe” on them is more problematic in my opinion.

        • Sula

          Generalizing and casting the title “hoe” on them is more problematic in my opinion

          Exactly.

  • Dash

    A couple of mofos randomly asked me if you had a twitter because apparently I should know these things. Congrats on making a pilgrimage to The Mecca. Hopefully this leads to bigger and better things, like a spot in the inevitable Black In America III, The Dirty Version.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      oh you KNOW i’d definitely need to be in that Black in America. lol. thanks for coming out homey. i really appreciate that.

    • monie

      @Dash, errr “The Mecca”?
      sorry the bison in me couldn’t hold it in.

  • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

    Man, keep building the brand and business cards won’t be needed. Do you think Jay-Z or Barack Obama walk around handing out business cards?? That’s for suckas. Ha!

    On the real though, glad things went cool. Us men can always do more when it comes to reaching back to our youth. As you said, “preaching to the choir” can definitely be effective (and needed at times) but it would be great if more of these type of events were held in high schools and even middle schools.

    Keep Bangin’.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      yeah, that’s one thing i was thinking, a lot of these convos need to happen earlier than college and hopefully the men that were there (and women even) would reach down to the younger folks in the community.

      as far as the business cards go, it was more about having the ability for some of the young brothers i met being able to get in touch with me. there were a few guys who seemed like they genuinely wanted to sit down and talk more and stay in touch and unlike jay and barack, i actually NEED and WANT to stay in touch with as many people as possible.

      quick example, after the event, Wale (who’d been signing autogrpahs ad nauseum im sure) wanted to kind of go a back way out of the venue so as to be able to actually get out quickly.

      me? i wanted to walk right thru the people. i love that sh*t. i was signing autographs and trying to talk to any and everybody i could possibly talk to. i dont have the liberty to be like, i need to go out the backway, they know him.

      them ninjas dont know me. i need them to do so.

      • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

        Yeah, I was just joking on the business cards thing. I do wish that more people who are in the spotlight, to a certain extent, extended themselves out to the public a little more and were more accessible. That personal contact can realy make a huge difference as oppose to sitting behind a table, podium, or twitter page.

  • http://www.unepetitefillenoire.blogspot.com KayBeezy

    Co-sign with Monk…Business cards are something lukewarm people need, for cold individuals they are accessories…
    Anyway, sounds like it was a good experience, I wish that we had invited more speakers for the black community at my uni or that people would have shown up when we did. You and the Champ could have gone to my school and dropped some knowledge on the masses.
    P.S. I only knew of you and Wale…not that that says a lot.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      i myself had never heard of Enitan Bereola until I was told I was going to be on a forum with him. however, at FAMU, he’s somebody. plus he’s an author – a published one – so folks there know him and his body of work.

  • Caramel eclair

    @ Deanna lol @ hater tendencies *kanyeshrug* i guess it sounded kinda haterish…but i’m not a hater….to prove the point i follow wale on twitter.. nuff said… i just thought he was kinda random…interesting that he talked about the light skinned vs dark skinned video girls cause some group (read darkskinned girls group) actually tried to or are in the process of boycotting his “pretty girls” video stating the obvious use of light skinned girls only…now obvious to whom i’on know i haven’t seen the video but dig the song….but i digress. I’m glad he did a great job but i still think he was random…jus like his performance at the MTV music awards….again I digress… but he had only 1 song out at the time “my name wale and i came to spit”*snicker i’on really know the name of the song) and landed a major gig like that…yeah it pays to be on jay’s team sorry bennie seigel….this post is going to end now cause i sense it is going nowhere fast *my apologies*…

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      yeah he actually talked about a lot of folks wanting to boycott his video and about how he has dark skinned women friends who have told him that they didnt feel pretty enough to be in a video. he had some legit things to say about that.

      btw, boycotting videos is the dumbest shit ever. like seriously. boycott stupidity. boycott violence.

      videos?

      we gotz to do mo’ better.

  • bajanflchick

    I need to start a “Who is Panama Jackson” campaign
    ummm-nope, we know who you are and sh*t, so don’t even worry about it, however if you’d like, we could do that, there’s more than enough folks here on the regular to get your name out there….but on a serious note, and it’s Monday & I’m tired & if it was some other day I may have been able to string together some long a$$ dissertation regarding your appearance at FAM (Michael Eric Dyson style), but since it’s Monday all I can say is Proud of you Panama for reachin back and I look forwad to seeing you on Black In America III, The Dirty Version.

    • miss t-lee

      “I need to start a “Who is Panama Jackson” campaign”

      Hey…it worked for Mike Jones.
      *snickering*

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      well i appreciate the help here lol. i’m sure at some point, which is a point The Champ and I are working on, we’ll be out there in a much bigger way.

      • Smiley Face

        …did somebody sat VSB Picnic in Rock Creek park…? lol *crickets*

  • http://www.shesoflyy.blogspot.com Muze

    i can soooo see y’all doing Black In America III, the Dirty Version.

    glad it went well, glad you made an impression… and SMH at any college-aged person peeing in the middle of any public anything. wow.

    now i have to go look up the other panelists… i’ve only heard of you and wale, like someone else said. go figure.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      its interesting that you all dont know dr. steve perry cuz that ninja got MOBBED when we got down there. folks asking him to be their daddy in what i assume was an innocent manner.