How do you define “identity”?
Identity is the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks and expression that make a person or group. Identity, is one of the most—if not the most—important aspects of being a human being.
If you were given a blank check to develop a project or program, start a business or fund an organization, how would you invest it?
I would start a radio station so that disadvantaged black people could share their experiences to uplift and inspire each other and the youth. It would be great to control our own media outlets. I would open a school (not government-funded) for black children to learn about black history as well as some of the cultural values of Ghanaian culture like collective identity. It is something that young black men should have more opportunity to do, whether they are as fortunate as I am to go to Ghana or if they are able to participate in a program that introduces them to these ideas in Chicago.
How did growing up in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood affect the path you are currently taking and the choices you make?
Living in Austin helped me realize the reality of African Americans living in the inner city. Women raising children on their own on welfare, fathers not playing a role in their children’s lives, and born into an environment around gang violence, drugs and alcohol. It affected me deeply because the government made it to where the black male couldn’t provide for his family, excluding him from buying property, job opportunities, getting loans from banks and a right to live. The black woman is dependent on the government for everything she needs. Going through a lot of adversity made me conscious and aware of my struggle to help fight for others who cannot speak for themselves. I am an active member of my community, giving speeches and raising awareness of our continued struggle.
Has any class, project or program at Northeastern challenged your point of view?
My education is not about learning about inner city kids. I am one. My focus is on the system. All these programs in some way relate to what the oppressor wants us to do. You cannot get caught up in their game.