I began the Fair Game Project on the premise that there is something very wrong happening with some of the African American male population. Not all, some. But is not even some, too many? I will not indulge you with statistics because there are far too many inaccuracies. Nevertheless, they all point to a problem. There are far too many African American men (1 million) in the prison system. America land of the free and home of the brave, incarcerates the most people in the whole the wide the world. Seventy two percent of African American homes have only one parent, the mother, in the household. Graduation rates, poverty, homicide, the list is long and endless.
He is a problem. Look.
I created the Fair Game Project because Black Men are obviously not invisible. However, there are systems in place to insure that he is invisible in the community, in the home, in the classroom, and the marketplace. What is the value of black male life? Is he only valuable on courts, fields, and stages?
How does it feel to be a problem? I often wonder that, in regards to the African American male. That he at some point in time in his life, living here in America, is thought of as a problem, an inconvenience, someone who is in the way and needs to be exterminated and or extinguished.
He is an American problem. Adjust.
While at the 2013 First Ladies luncheon in Washington, DC, I had the opportunity to hear First Lady Michelle Obama speak on the trials and the fears of those who live in the hells of the gang violence that is ever rampant in Chicago. However, there was something she said that stood out over her eloquent words, “85 and sunny puts fear in the hearts of the children living on the streets of Chicago, because that is when the gangs come out, that is when the shootings happen.”
What does that feel like, for a child to not be able to enjoy a beautiful sunny day, made by God only to play? Because your number one concern is will you live to see tomorrow, if you go outside to play today?
He is a problem to himself and his community. Focus.
I began The Fair Game Project because I see and I care. I created the Fair Game Project because I posed a question to myself, “Am I meeting my obligation as a human being to help, honor, and advocate on behalf of those I see that are hurting?” The answer at the time was no, you are not doing enough.
This exhibition is in the embryonic stages of a work that will mature with our awakening. I began this work with the African American Male first, because he is the most pinnacle piece to a puzzle that will bring the African American community back to a place of healing. He (the black male) is the first to be attacked, discredited, and removed.
He is not a problem. If I care, he is my responsibility. Plan.
I began the Fair Game Project because I have one under my tutelage. I have one watching me and asking me questions. I have one who sees what is happening to those who look like him. It is my responsibility as his mother and as a black woman to say I see, I hear, I know, and to reassure him and show him I will do what I can, I will do my part.
The Fair Game Project is my platform. What’s yours?