Spoken word artist stops show with ‘The Average Black Girl’

Ernestine JohnsonErnestine Johnson is glorious in her spoken word performance of ‘The Average Black Girl’ on the Arsenio Hall Show.

Ernestine recounts when boyfriend’s mother told her she was acceptable because she’s not ‘The Average Black Girl’ … and she’s told she’s not ‘The Average Black Girl’ because “When I speak, I pronounce every syllable.” But Ms. Johnson interprets this label in a very different way.

Black Bruins say UCLA admits just a small number of Black students – for sports wins

A Yale Daily News reporter provides the essential background for this video decrying the starkly racist policies of UCLA, one of the United States’ largest colleges.

Last week, Sy Stokes and 11 other black male students from UCLA uploaded a YouTube video of a spoken word poem called “The Black Bruins.” The poem attacks the university for its lack of racial diversity, specifically its incredibly small percentage of black male students. Overall, only 3.3 percent of the male population of UCLA is black. Of the 2,418 entering male freshmen, only 48 were black.

The poem goes on to cite several other statistics about black males at UCLA. The graduation rate for black males is 74 percent, while the overall graduation rate is around 90 percent. Additionally, 65 percent of the 660 black males at UCLA are undergraduate athletes. UCLA also holds 109 NCAA championships, more than double the number of black male freshmen.

Stokes interprets the meaning behind these figures with the lines, “When we have more national championships than we do black male freshmen, it’s evident that our only purpose here is to improve your winning percentage. So now black high school kids can care less about grades, just as long as the number on the back of their jersey doesn’t fade.”

UCLA Brown & Black students
Read UCLA’s Daily Bruin coverage of this issue.

Like Jobs and Winfrey, Suli Breaks will not let exam results decide his fate

Young people around the world are speaking up about education and careers. We need to listen to them because – this is their age. The age of information. And they know, much more than we give them credit for.

Suli Breaks - exam results

No dejaré que el resultado de un examen decida mi destino (subtitulado en Español)


Right now, there is a kid finishing parents evening in a heated discussion with his mother,
Saying why does he have subject subjects he will never ever use in his life…
And she will look at him blank eyed, stifle a sigh, think for a second,
And then lie.
She will say something along the lines of,
“You to get a good job you need a good degree and these subjects help you get a degree.
We never had this opportunity when I was younger”
And he will reply, “but you were young a long time ago weren’t you mum?”

And she won’t respond, although what he implies makes perfect sense; that society’s needs would have changed since she was 16.
But she will ignore this, grip his hand more sternly, and drag him to the car.

But what she does know is that
She didn’t ignore him to shut up…
She didn’t lie because they are just returning him from parents evening and an argument in the hallway would look bad on her resume…
She won’t lie because she had just spent the last hour convincing a stern face teacher that she ensure that her child studies more at home…

No. She will lie simply because she was never taught better herself.
Although, all her adult life, she has never used or applied
Pythagoras’ Theorem or pathetic fallacy,
And still doesn’t know the value of x.
She will rely on society to tell her child, who has one of the sharpest minds in the school, he is “unfocused, hyperactive, easily distracted, and wayward.”

How many equations, subjects, dates did you cram into your head weeks before an exam never to use again?!

How many times have you remembered something 5 minutes after the teacher has said, “stop writing”… only to receive your results a month later to discover you were only 1 mark short of the top grade?
So, remembering it 5 minutes earlier would have instantly made you more qualified for a particular job?
On an application form it would.

We all have different ability, thought processes, experiences, and genes.
So, why is a class full of individuals tested by the same means?

That means that Cherrelle thinks she’s dumb
Because she couldn’t do a couple sums.
And if this issue is not addressed properly,
It because a self fulfilling prophecy.

Then every school has the nerve to have policy on “equality”
Huh… the irony.
Exams are society’s methods of telling what you’re worth.
Society can’t tell you what you are.
Because this is the same society that tells you abortion is wrong, but then looks down on you for being a teenage parent,
Sells products to promote natural hair, looks, and smooth complexion
But the model on the box, is half PhotoShopped,
has fake lashes and hair extensions.
Governments that preach peace…
But endorse wars.

If you believe so much in the importance of higher learning and further education,
Why then increase the tuition fees every year?
I believed Miss Jefferson when she took me into the office said
my exams would be imperative to my success.
Then I took Jefferson out of the equation, learnt to think for myself, and I realized
We were always taught to follow when misled.
Huh… the irony.

Test us with tests,
But the finals are never final
Because they never prepare us for the biggest test (which is survival).
What I suggest is fairly outlandish…
I don’t except everyone to understand this
–Except the kids that know what it feels like to be
Worth no more than that D or that A
That you receive on results day…
The ones whose best stories
Where never good enough for your English teacher.
Because apparently you: “missed key literal techniques, did not follow the class plan,
and the language was too formal” for him to understand.
But then; he’d reference Hamlet, Macbeth
And you would fight the urge to express your contempt, by partially clenching your fist with only your medius finger left protruding in the middle on your hand,
And asking if she was aware that Shakespeare was known as the innovator of slang.
Or the kid at the back of the class who thinks “why am I studying something that doesn’t fuel my drive?”
But when confronted with a math problem his eyes come alive!!
So this one is for my generation
The one’s that found what they were looking for on Google
Followed their dreams on Twitter
Pictured their future on Instagram
And accepted destiny on Facebook.

This one’s for my “failures” and “dropouts,”
for my unemployed graduates,
My shop assistants, cleaners, and cashiers with bigger dreams,
My self-employed and entrepreneurs,
My world changers and dream chasers.

Because the purpose of “Why I hate school, but love education” was not to initiate
A world wide debate but rather to let them know that
weather 72 or 88
44 or 68
We will not let an exam results
decide our fate.
~ Suli Breaks