Thursday, June 04, 2009

T.I.’s Road To Redemption: A Solution for the GOP’s Urban Outreach?

by Brandon Brice

Rapper T.I.,whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr., recently got busted for trying to buy illegal firearms and silencers for protection, but the Atlanta judge cut his sentence for a year if he did community service by helping other kids.

MTV, a subsidiary of Viacom, decided to portray in a series of episodes titled, "T.I's Road To Redemption." The interesting concept behind this show is that it takes young at-risk youth from the streets of inner cities nationwide, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, etc., and grants these young black and latino males a second chance at life.

As an avid television watcher, I recall the one moment I watched an episode of a young black male from Atlanta, GA, who was involved in gang activity, thus headed for a life of crime and destruction. The yougn 17year old black male, lived in a single parent home in one of Atlanta's drug infested sections of the city.

The rapper T.I. traveled down to Atlanta to take the young man away from his surroundings to an undisclosed location in sunny California, where T.I. had a personal discussion about his life, and the consequences of his actions. T.I. introduced this young man to his cousin, whom had recieved life in prision for a crime he committed at the age of 18 years old in 1978. T.I's cousin, a born again christian, illustrated the negative path which resulted in his jail sentence and encourage the young man to work hard and gain a sense of hope for his future.

Later that evening, T.I. introduced him to hip hop musical artist, MC Lyte, Russel Simmons and LL Cool J who all supported this young man's efforts to start a new life. T.I.'s off site construction business was presented as an opportunity for the young Atlanta hipster to work and gain soem extra money, which I thought was a tremendous step in urban renewll of adolescents. One of the Republican Party’s biggest challenges are reaching out to crime infested neighborhoods and connecting the message of hope to minorities nationwide. T.I. through this program has challenged this status quo, by granting young men the ability to start over through exposure, real life experiences and building a network. The GOP has more of an obligation to create opportunties for youth through the hands of philanthropy, exposure and a network, just as that of privledged children.

Perhaps Chairman Steele should strongly critique this new style of outreach, by helping young men and women find employment which builds dignity and character, through an interest of their own. T.I. is one of the first rappers who has actively expresses the importance of entreprenuership, by hiring ex-felons through his construction business when released from prison. As I observed this documentary of this gentlemen who was in the midst of joinging a gang, and being a statistic on the local news, this two week intervention changed the young man's life. At the end of the series this 17 year old prospect expressed an interest in attending a four year college and university in the State of Georgia, after he witnessed the incredible possibilities outside his frontporch.

Brandon Brice is a graduate of Howard University and is a former fellow of the New Jersey Eagleton Institute of Politics fellow at Rutgers University. As a long time member of Republicans for Black Empowerment, Brandon is an active contributor to Brandon Brice has worked as a policy intern for the former House Speaker the Honorable J. Dennis Hastert and has served as a fellow at the United Nations. He has been featured on C-SPAN’s Road to the White House, BET’s What’s At Stake, Hot97 with Lisa Evers, a regular contributor on Fox News Strategy Room and Fox and Friends. Brandon is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, and attends the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church.

1 comment:

Erin Hazatd said...

This post is a joke, right? This is the way for Republicans to reach young African Americans, to create a program that allows an at-risk youth to be flown across the country by a rich person to start over in his life.

This is what it was intended to be, " A Feel Good Story." As you mentioned, this was a way for T.I. to lower his jail sentence. I respectfully offer that programs that have picked and chosen select individuals from difficult areas, rather than developing and supporting programs that help those communities has long been the problem. With recommendations like this, it is not difficult to see why the Repubs are having a rough time in the black community.