Father to Son: Ode to Black Boys (audiobook)

father to son.jpg
father to son.jpg

Father to Son: Ode to Black Boys (audiobook)

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AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 37:49. Father to Son: Ode to Black Boys is a spoken word testimony to the phenomenal journey of African American people. A dying father’s inspired and hopeful last conversation with his 17-year-old son serves as the context for this uplifting and powerful narrative. Jaiya John’s compassionate voice weaves a rich kente cloth tapestry of Love, celebration, challenge, and honor. Father to Son, with its rich rhythmic wordplay, flavored with a gumbo recipe for Self-Love in both males and females, frames the journey of African American boys into manhood. Here is a role call for the spirit warrior in us who wants our families to be whole. Come beat the drum. 2016. 4 x 6. Softcover. 104 pages. $12. First edition. Poetry / African American / Child and Family. ISBN: 978-0-9916401-4-0

This little book is an easy, scintillating, soul awakening read! Share with youth, schools, libraries, programs, agencies, places of worship, sororities and fraternities, and families!

Among many social issues, Father to Son addresses the following:

·        Parenting

·        Fatherhood

·        Womanhood

·        Family and Community

·        Love Relationships

·        Education and Empowerment

·        History, Heritage, and Ancestry

·        Positive Identity and Self-Love

·        Leadership and Role Modeling

·        Spirituality and Sacredness

·        Healing from Trauma

·        Anger and Violence

·        Racism, Stigma, and Prejudice

·        Purpose and Giftedness

·        The Power of Creativity

·        Dehumanization

·        Rehumanization

·        Resilience

·        Holistic Wellbeing

·        Rites of Passage


Father to Son was written and originally recited as part of a keynote message for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Eighth Annual African American Advisory Council Statewide Conference in Itasca, Illinois, April 14, 2000. The conference theme that year was a celebration and honoring of African American males, and a call to our collective and personal responsibility. I was honored to deliver my keynote as a last-minute replacement for the poet Nikki Giovanni, she whose spirit in words first broke open poetry in me.

Spirit was a tidal wave with us that day. The audience of around 700 responded to the piece with an energy that I have not experienced since. These wide-open souls were of varied racial, cultural, professional, and personal backgrounds. Each dedicated to honorably serving children and families. They traveled intimately with me through the poetic word flow, exhorting a soulfully charged uprising, a fervent call-and-response reminiscent of traditional African American church praise and worship.

At the last word of the piece, our collective space filled with a resounding silence. Then came a roar, and waves of emotion. This lasted for hours, as we clustered closely in a human circle, not wanting to leave the embrace of Spirit. Men were as teary, dissolved, and physically expressive as were the women. We embraced each other deeply in a moment surreal and persisting.

Something deep inside our generational woundedness and our strength, both as cultural peoples and a societal spirit, had been touched and released. I knew in that moment that these were words for mutual healing.

Father to Son flows out in the context of a people’s centuries-old imposed and learned self-rejection, and an ancient, enduring determination to Love ourselves, Purposefully, no matter. It is a Love letter for anyone who truly cares for the healing and wholeness of all.

May Blessings be upon our dear children, as they journey Sacredly into an authentic Love of self, and into an honorable Love for this humanity.

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