Let me begin by saying this…. The KICKBACK was COMPLETELY and 100% NECESSARY and I ENJOYED every minute of it. From the moment I received the invitation, I instantly became excited for what was to come. I arrived and the scene was already set, there were people sitting, standing, talking and all around engaged with one another. With some really good fried chicken and mac n cheese on the side; that I just had to help myself to, we were ready to go.
The Kickback itself though was brought to us by @Natelege, @Hearts_Converse, and @theOGStudios, it was a pleasure and an honor to be attendance for such a successful, well thought out, and very much needed event. Many times I’ve personally wanted to view a real moment such as the one we had; one with real, coming into their own, but intellectual adults discussing real matters at hand. You see similar productions on tv; MTV, BET, or VH1, but none and I mean none for me seem to hit the mark they really needed to. It also comes off as if they were scripted, done just for the moment or just a ploy to get my viewership. But the Kickback I can’t begin to tell you how real the moment was.
The first question of the night set the standard and even now it’s something that I continue to think about “would you rather be single for the rest of your life or settle for the best you can find?” And just like the intellectuals we are, we immediately started breaking down this questions. To what extent is settling, what degree of single are we talking, can we make it a compromise rather than settling?
Second question; was completely different from the first and turned up the conversation. It invoked a discussion on codeswitching; what is it, how do you do it, are we all guilty. It made some of us confront moments of realness in our own lives, sips had to be taken, my own naiveness was admitted. It all made you wonder “do you compromise your culture to fit in?” The cultural disconnect is real, why do I know everything about your culture, but you don’t know anything about my black culture?
To stamp the end of just the beginning; the questions was asked, “do we still need black institutions?” I believe we all said yes, but it did take a minute for me at least to get there. It was a question that really made me think. Like do we actually need them are they really necessary at this point. We do need them, I remember being at Morehouse’s graduation and WANTING that experience; feeling the tradition and history of what it means to attend an Historically Black College or University. But it went much deeper for me and for others, for us it was about knowing our history, knowing our story, and embracing that same story. Black institutions; whether they are a church, school, museum, or library, aren’t just places or buildings. They are our history, they are our story, they are who you and I are.
It was truly an honor being in the presence of so many others who for that night were not only intelligent, but the leaders of their community. They spoke knowledge that was from the heart, words filled with compassion, simply laying down their thoughts for the rest of us to consume. I walked away from this event filled with joy that it was made possible. I walked away feeling renewed, that there were others who shared in my joy. That I wasn’t the only 20 something black male having the thoughts that I am having. I want to end with this, Natelege I thank you for having the foresight to plan and put on this event, you are a visionary and I would encourage you to keep plowing forward. To the others whose presence I was happy to be in thank you, little do you know but you are the words of this recap and the inspiration I will channel going forward.
The kickback wasn’t an event, a networking session, or an expert panel, it was me, you, us; being real with ourselves and one another.