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African American Male Students Encourage Positive, Social Representation

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Central High School’s male students create a two minute video showcasing the positive appeal of African American men. Each student is dressed in corporate or business-casual attire, sauntering through the halls of their local high school, exuding awareness of self and sense of guaranteed future. The video is entitled “Suit and Tie in the 217”, detailing the potential of young boys in the Champaign, Illinois area. The thirty or so black men are seen walking past lockers and classrooms, each of their pants at their waist, and belts matching their dress shoes.

Bow ties, button downs, and printed cardigans embellish the scene, while quick cameos of their dance moves (the Dougie especially) are more than entertaining. We them head into their school’s basketball gym, demonstrating their athletic ability.

Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie” accompanies the video, adding an infectious beat behind the moving quotes filled with positivity. These quotes attest to the young men’s impact within their community. Some of these quotes read, “We are not gangsters and thugs,” “We are employers and volunteers,” “We are scholars” and “We are athletes.”

In hopes to combat the stereotypes often placed on African American male adolescents, the students of Central High School have proven to be both creative and effective. As society continues to bombard our world with negative images of the black male, we encourage you to share this video in an effort to enlighten the misinformed. Black men are becoming leaders within our communities, creating success stories that deserve recognition.

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Annsleigh Denise is a graduate of Spelman College, earning a Bachelor's Degree in English and a Minor in Multi-Media and Professional Writing. She is a multifaceted creative, focused on the inner-workings of print, publication, and Broadcast Journalism. Possessing notable editorial skills, Annsleigh aspires to utilize her professional experience to impact the world of media.

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