Brothas,

What black men in your lives have you tried to emulate? Who were your role models? What traits of theirs have you tried to bring into your own life?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "I have not always been right, but I have always been sincere." ~ W.E.B. Du Bois ~~~~~~~~~~~
Original Post
Off the bat, I would have to say my Grandfather. He was quite a rogue, he was just a good person.

While I did not always want to write, when I did realize I could write, I always wanted to write as well as Richard Wright, while I did not imitate his style or anything like that, I like that he wrote about everyday black people or even better the poor and oppressed black people.

Also I like the way James Baldwin writes or more importantly what he wrote about, especially when it came to religion.

Earl the Pearl's finger roll.

Frank Zappa's political/social/artistic essence.
quote:
Originally posted by Wiz:
Earl the Pearl's finger roll.



Dr. J ...

For me it was a man I met when I was in college. He was a curriculum counselor. He was also a Christian pastor, though somewhat heterodox in his thinking.

It turns out we had the same first name and he was some 40 years my senior. He sorta took me on as a mentee. He taught me a lot about life. About how to care for people and show appreciation. About how to carry myself in the world professionally.

He was something of a model for a scholarly, sensitive, and responsible black man.

He was probably the first man I'd ever met that could relate to me on a certain level.

He's passed on now.

But every now and then when I find myself in a situation, certain things he said pop into my mind.

That's funny.

I liked Richard Wright too.

Let's not forget Muhammad Ali.
My father - I watched him transition from ensuring the family's physical survival to ensuring the family's spiritual survival. He has always been one of my biggest supporters, taught me the value of expressing my emotions openly as well as the value of being able to take care of myself completely.

My Uncles - They've taught me humor, discipline, swagger, resilience & pride

Dr. Harold Braithwaithe - My African Psychology professor introduced me to Dr. Welsing, Chaikh Anta Diop and so much more.
I would first have to list my paternal grandfather. He was an incredibly strong person both physically and in terms of character. He did physical labor most of his life, and had the physique to prove it. He had been a contractor/carpenter when my father was a boy. When I was ten, we put an addition on to our house, and I watched mesmerized as he moved a load of cinder blocks for the foundation like they where nothing. He died the summer after I graduated from high school. At his funeral, there where people standing outside the church.

Other than that, I have never really had a mentor. I have often looked for one, but was always disappointed. Perhaps the closest was my M.Div thesis adviser, James Melvin Washington. Scary intellect. He had a photographic memory. One of those true freaks that you hear about that could remember things like the page and paragraph of a citation. He was also a person of incredible faith, but it was not at all of the simple or naive variety. It was the kind of faith that embraced hard questions and doubting.

Finally, as far as inspirational figures that I never met, I would add W.E.B. Du Bois and Howard Thurman.
I never had a mentor. I observed and picked up things from brothers I thought seemed to have life in the palm of their hands. I didn't make bad choices, but there are unfortunate limits to not having somebody who was there to emulate and to help guide you. I didn't turn out too badly -- there are some elders (parents, family) who claim the right to pat themselves on the back for how I turned out, however undeservedly. But the gap between the state of my life and the unique potential I had/have is evident to me.
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
Other than that, I have never really had a mentor. I have often looked for one, but was always disappointed.


I know that feeling well


quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
I didn't make bad choices, but there are unfortunate limits to not having somebody who was there to emulate and to help guide you. I didn't turn out too badly -- there are some elders (parents, family) who claim the right to pat themselves on the back for how I turned out, however undeservedly. But the gap between the state of my life and the unique potential I had/have is evident to me.


I know that feeling too.

I'm still determined to make that potential a reality though.
My paternal grandfather Falaju who is the most powerful human being I have ever seen or heard about. I have seen him do things that would turn your hair white. Yet he is so humble that he prostrates himself to his older sister and worships his wife because he understands the power of an African womans womb. What an example of African manhood.

My little cousin Olufemi, who vibrates at so high a level at 15 years old that grown men stutter when they speak to him.

My Iya (mother) Aina. Who's understanding of the mystery of existence is so deep that my brothers and I never even tried to lie to her out of respect for her light. It is she who taught me how white men rule us using the barest understanding of our mysteries and their vicious hearts.
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
Brothas,

What black men in your lives have you tried to emulate? Who were your role models? What traits of theirs have you tried to bring into your own life?


My martial arts teacher was a serious cat. An Afro-Panamanian who taught me the importance of African unity in the Caribbean. He meant business - and was especially brutal toward folks that tried to take advantage of him. And at the same time, he did not charge about 50 percent of the students he trained. He opened his heart and home to those in need.

And my uncle... Love this dude! Family man, psychiatrist, never smiles in public, sense of self, intellectual, runs 4 miles a day (even at 71), and he still works even though he lives the life of a retiree. Fed me DuBois, Booker T, Garvey, and Malcolm. Taught me to "never spend money on women" and "never depend on a woman for your food, clothing, and / or shelter."

I try to live like both of these me - everyday.

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