Hip-Hop Journalist/Activist Kevin Powell held a three-day national conference in Brooklyn over the weekend, dedicated to the empowerment of Black men and boys. Black and Male in America began in 2004 with a 10-city tour doing think tanks and summits geared toward encouraging community responsibility, proactive fatherhood, good health, the importance of education, etc.

Participants in this year’s conference included CSI’s Hill Harper, who has written a book called Letters to a Young Brother, which touches similar subject matter, Byron Hurt, producer of the film Beyond Beats and Rhymes, Chris “Kazi” Rolle, star of the film The Hip-Hop Project, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Ed Lover, and more. 

“Given all the statistics, the brain trusts, the summits, articles, essays and reports, and given the current national dialogue around Hip-Hop and its affects on young America (particularly young black males), we feel that we need to do something that speaks to these myriad of concerns that offers a template and a clearinghouse for basic proactive solutions,” said Powell, supported by the agreement of other panelists and participants about the timeliness of BAMIA

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However, it is understood that while BAMIA’s mission is to encourage awareness and promote positivity, it is not the final solution.

“We do not propose to have all the answers with this conference. Indeed, more questions will be asked than answered,” said Powell. “What we do propose is that we not see this very critical life-saving and life-empowering work as rocket science. Some of the proactive things we need to do are very simple: we’ve got to know our history; we’ve got to know who we are; where we come from; we’ve got to have a plan of action for every aspect of our lives…”

For more information about Black and Male in America, visit www.blackandmaleinamerica.org.