A member of the #Blavityfam, Clint Smith, used a huge platform to send an important message about raising black boys. The NOLA native wrote a spoken word piece that aired at a TED conference titled, “How to raise a black son in America.” He had the following to say in regards to the talk:

“I wrote this after Tamir Rice was killed, and after reflecting on how hard it must have been for my parents, for black parents everywhere, to have to teach their children to navigate a world that is so often taught to fear them. I can never thank them enough for doing everything in their power to protect me and my siblings, to keep us safe in an unsafe world. I hope we’re on our way to something better. Thank you TED for posting. #BlackLivesMatter” – Clint Smith


Blavity co-founder Aaron Samuels had a short behind the scenes interview with Clint about his work

Blavity Co-Founder Aaron Samuels and Poet Clint Smith

Aaron: Can you give more insight on the process of writing the poem?

Clint: I knew that if I was going to have the opportunity to speak at TED, a place that represents an entirely different stratosphere of power and influence, I wanted to create a piece that was going to bring this issue to the forefront of their consciousness. I don’t want this to be something that people can ignore, or claim not to see. I believe that this is a seminal moment, and I want people to have to sit with, and hopefully be deeply unsettled by, the realities that many in the black community face everyday


Aaron: Why this story?

Clint: In no way am I speaking for all black people, as I can only speak from my vantage point and we’re an incredibly heterogeneous community, but I do think that sharing my story illuminates a conversation that happens in a lot of black households.


Aaron: What can we expect next from you?

Clint: In terms of future projects, I’m working on my first full-length collection of poems and will be taking part in the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop this summer. I’m looking forward to learning from and working with some brilliant writers there.


Janet MockThe Dream Defenders, and activist Shaun King have shared the video with all of their followers.  What a way to use spoken word to create a poignant and powerful, piece. Thank you, Mr. Smith.

For more on Clint check out his Blavity Exclusive Behind the Mic:

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