Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tavis Smiley Essay Contest

Blogger Contest:

Reason Why My Blog Should Be Chosen

My blog, JuliusSpeaks, is a reflection of me. I believe that I have a unique perspective to offer to the dialogue concerning race and African American culture taking place within the United States. In order to make the case for my blog, I must introduce myself. My name is Brandon Wallace. I am 27-years-old and Afro-American. I am also a writer and educator with a Master’s Degree in American Studies from Purdue University. I believe that my blog would be an excellent choice for covering the Black State of the Union because I believe that I would be able to provide unique, interesting, and informative questions and dialogue to your scheduled panelists.

A dialogue between myself and such figures as Dr. Cornel West, Danny Glover, Nikki Giovanni, or Magic Johnson, would be interesting to say the least. To Dr. West, I would pose a burning question related to one that has long sat in my soul—and which is actually the focus of my academic work. As an academic, I have theorized that within the patriarchal framework that is American society, the Afro-American has existed in and played the role of the bastard child-constantly relegated to the lowest rungs of every aspect of society. With the turn of recent events, my question to Dr. West would be: With the election of Barack Obama, does this mean that the Afro-American has finally been legitimized and does this signal an erosion of the white male power structure in American society? To Danny Glover, I would love to have a conversation about progressive struggle in the-so called Third World, the TransAfrica Forum, and the relationship between his acting career and his activism. Nikki Giovanni is one of my mentors and one of my spiritual guides as an Afro-American and as a writer. I would most definitely ask her questions about her poetry, her politics, and explore the nuances of her literature over the years as well as her impact on the Afro-American community and other communities. Magic Johnson and I could most definitely dialogue on HIV in the Afro-American community, his activism, and his life since his diagnosis.

I believe that my perspective as a young Afro-American, educated, queer born in the city of Chicago who has experienced living in the Deep South as well as urban environments, deeply conservative areas as well as politically progressive and open areas, and who has spent most of my very young contemplating matters of identity on the spectrums of race, class, gender, and sexuality makes me very well qualified to serve as a web journalist at your convention. I also feel that my unique perspective, one that is flavored by a vast exploration of literature since my early youth, an admiration of such figures as Alice Walker, Nina Simone, Angela Davis, and Barbra Streisand, will provide your audience with interesting and thoughtful questions that, perhaps, they had never thought to ponder before.

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