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Overcoming the last Black “Trap”

Sometimes I think health is the last trap that black males have to overcome.  It’s like you can do everything right -you can avoid getting locked up, you can avoid getting shot, you can avoid going crazy, and you can avoid getting caught up in the drug game. But even after all of that if you don’t watch what you put in your body, and you start feeling like you are invincible then BOOM - the high blood pressure trap. BOOM - the obesity trap and the diabetes trap.

It’s easy for me to think of examples of older white men who are still enjoying their lives. I see them in movies, walking around downtown and in other places.  But how many strong healthy black men do you know over the age of 50 without a health problem? Sometimes I feel that as black males, we don’t even imagine living past age 40.

As a black male, I feel like my life has been about avoiding the traps that exist out there for us; and when I think about my future there’s a lot of things that I’m trying to achieve.

What kind of goals do you have? Personally, I have goals of living a long life and being a provider for myself, my family and for those people who have looked out for me. Somebody told me that it’s good to try to picture it in my mind so I can make it real for myself.  I also have goals of travelling and seeing the world. In addition to those goals, I have artistic goals such as producing and making music. Of course I hope to make money with my music. However, I think I’m even more addicted to the influence that I can have through music. It’s like through my songs I can influence people all over the world.  I’m also trying to be a role model. There are a lot of black male celebrities out here. However, when it comes to Black men in my community that I can actually see and get to know personally it seems like there aren’t that many of us.  So I want to be that role model that a lot of us didn’t have.  In fact I’ve already become that for my young family members and for my people that fell into the “traps”.  There are probably people looking up to you like that too.

I’ve been involved in a lot of situations in my life and not all of them were positive but at this point I feel like I’ve been able to beat those traps. But every time I see a black male older than me with a health problem, I know that the ill-health trap is there waiting for me too. To be honest it’s not like I’m about to go start eating only salads or something. However, I am starting to pay a lot more attention to what I eat and drink so that I can enjoy my WHOLE life. 

For now none of the “traps” has gotten me. I’m still here.

Chenjerai – SHIFTDemand

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