Advice and lessons learned come from an unlikely source
NEW JERSEY – A young black man raised in Brooklyn and the suburbs of New Jersey strays off the most obvious path to success. He’s not going to college; instead he wants to pursue a career as a rapper. While waiting for his dream to come true, he gets caught up in the penal system.
This is the true story of Hillary Simpson’s son, and the inspiration behind her new book, How to Become a Successful Black Man, which compiles advice, anecdotes from noteworthy black men, and lessons learned for young black men and their parents to act on.
Simpson also discusses the uncomfortable truth of being a black man. On average, she says, 58 percent of black boys do not graduate from high school, and an even smaller number graduate from college. In addition, she notes that one in three black men ages 20 to 29 years old are under correctional supervision. Along with these statistics, Simpson highlights the blatant racism that black men experience in white suburbs.
These statistics prompted Simpson to found the Boys to Men program seven years ago in Newark, New Jersey. A common theme throughout the book is that family and role models are two of the most important factors determining a black man’s success.
The book provides solutions for parents who want to nurture and be a positive role model for their child, but it also draws the line between guiding and forcing your child in the right direction.
“We must begin repairing our community by helping black men to become successful leaders of tomorrow, says Simpson. “The statistics are at crisis proportions. We must act now.”
About the author Hillary Drummond-Simpson is a mother who has experienced the challenges of raising a successful black man. As an educator who has taught in three different states over the past 20 years, Simpson has discovered a recurring problem: African American boys are consistently pursuing careers in either entertainment or sports. In 2004, Simpson formed Boys to Men, a mentor program that pairs black boys with male role models in the black community. The group has branches in Newark, New Jersey, and Conyers, Georgia where Simpson currently teaches.