If you are a black American college student, you have to accept you are in a unique position in African-American history no older generation of our people can relate to. You are in a highly global competitive environment, you have next to zero guarantee of working long-term at any corporation and the older Generation X of African-Americans out here ain’t done a damn thing worthwhile to make the future better for your generation and you are all grown up now. Here is the one thing you African-Americans cannot do – you cannot look at any African-American older than you as a template or model, because most of them suck. Go ahead and look at the African-Americans out there black media want your generation to admire – all of those older blacks are just making a business of running their damn mouth but doing nothing to build a better future for your generation. Others are showing off pictures in social media of their status wanting you to admire them but they ain’t showing you guys how to be better or better off than them when you African-American students come out in their world. The biggest future challenge for African-American students this 2016-2017 is to de-program yourself because you were raised in a toxic negative-facing environment. You grew up around black people hating other black people, black dudes talking about hating black women, black women talking about emasculating black men, black leaders only interested in looking good than actually doing good and the worst – two parent working middle class household where you had no real friends and connection to the community because everybody wanted to impress their curb appeal and nice car in the drive way. But here is the thing – the 2016-2017 era is going to be devastating to a lot of African-Americans out here in the real world that been basically screwing around and playing and not taking their position in an urbanizing, global and automation world. But for you African-American students of 2016-2017 have tremendous opportunity to shape your future and you going to have to – it’s not optional you know. Let’s just put it like this, the previous African-Americans students that graduated from 2010-2014, you don’t want to end up like them! So let’s talk about the seven things I want you African-American students to focus on and shape and develop to better yourself this 2016-2017 semester. Learn to Love. There is too much black-on-black hate among African-Americans right now and a lot of this negativity is driven by anti-black negative media and misconceptions about value and money. We have black guys promoting PUA and posting up butt pics, playing music degrading to black women and wonder why black women hate brothas. We have black women stereotyping black men being either a dog, gay or in jail and trying to check our pockets and shallow features and wonder why Ed Hartwell divorcing her after getting her pregnant ignoring the fact she chose the Ed Hartwell kind of guy. You and your generation of African-Americans have to learn how to love again. You do not need the previous generation to tell you how to love, you have it in your heart to know how to love. You have to show empathy for other people situation and be real that life happens, it makes you a better person having this mindset. You have to listen to other people and even if you don’t agree with them, let them know you listened openly to their position. You have to care about things bigger than yourself – this is going to be your ultimate reward in life. But most important – learn to defend your brothas and sistas from hate within our own people. If you a brotha, don’t let some punk black dude walk around talking about he hates sistas – you check that character and you let him know you stand up for your sistas and you love your sistas. And if you a sista, you don’t let some jilted sistas go around talking about black men are worthless and date white men instead, you let that weirdo chick know you got the brothas back and he got you when no one else got him. Don’t let this hate out here regarding black men and black women creep into your generation. Ability to love is your most valued asset that carries you and define the quality of your life. Work Towards Health/Wellness You are the first African-American generation that truly know by now the importance of health and wellness in the black community. Let’s be direct – you need to get a wearable and track your activity and commit to activity every day. You need to be around African-Americans who also value wellness and create a fit club or join a fit club and run together or walk together and do activities together from playing soccer together to kickball and pickup basketball together. Change your wardrobe to casual athletics. You should also realize to eat right – you have to count your carbs and intake and stay away from processed food like bacon and deli meats and hot dogs. Nothing piss me off more than seeing a black woman at the breakfast cafeteria asking for pork bacon – that is the world’s biggest turnoff for me because she is basically putting processed meat in her body every morning and not taking her life and her body seriously. You sistas are secretly passing away at 40-50 years old and then posting up some bullshit meme of a 60-year-old black women saying black don’t crack – yall sistas all up in the caskets at funeral homes passing away in your 40s. You brothas need to stop all that drinking and eating red meat because I got way too many cats around me kidneys failing or dying from colon cancer getting their anus cut out, in their early 40s. I’m not scaring you – this is real in our community. You brothas and sistas need to be at college and your universities pushing black health and black wellness, that is the true black lives matter fight. You students need to share recipes and be smart, not some old wives talk or some Dr. Seebi bullshit. Your African-American generation have the technology to know exactly what is your health/wellness status from DNA testing to wearables and daily blood monitoring and proven routines. In addition, we have mental health as we got chemical imbalanced and bipolar, manic depressive and schizophrenia brothas and sistas being written off at crazy but I challenge your generation to approaching mental help in our community in a way that shame the older African-American generation for shunning it. Define Your Unique Story The African-American student body of 2016-2017 cannot be followers, sheep or useful idiots. You cannot admire ineffectual old people and adopt outdated ways of thinking and accept irrelevant organization that kept the black community marginalized and stagnant. We cannot let ourselves just follow one person like an Oprah Winfrey channel or Tyler Perry script or Roland Martin rant and let them be the filter of the black voice, that’s some crap right there and unacceptable. In 2016-2017, you are going to define your story and this is how we move forward. In order for black people to progress, we need you to accept who you are and your story. If you are gay, if you are poor, if you been abused, if you been ignored, if you are privileged or you are a hustler or you are a conservative or ultra-liberal or you are a living off the land or your parents immigrated from Nigeria or Jamaica, then this is your story and who you are. If you want to play in the WNBA, create a rock band, move and live in Jakarta, Indonesia or you want to start tech business or you want to build modular homes in Tanzania and Botswana, then this is your story, your dreams and who you are. No one has the fucking right to tell you what kind of black person you are and what kind of black person you strive to be with your life. In the age of Agile – the official Afro-Tech approach to uplifting our people, our community and our future, we don’t create black solutions, we fulfill stories, your story. And we need to know your story so we can help deliver fulfillment to your story and you also fulfil the definition of your story through your journey. Write down the story of where you want to go with your life and write the plan of your journey. Learn to look at who or what plan to stand in the way of your journey and how you will overcome but most important, you define your story, your journey and be the author of your life and path to your fulfillment. Too many of us got other people names in our mouth and I hope the 2016-2017 African-American student body learn to have their story to tell, not someone else. Develop Skills that Produce Value The African-American student body of 2016-2017 are going to compete in a global economy. There are over 100 million talented young adults in this world competing with you for opportunity and resources and leadership – this has never happened anytime in world history and your generation is the first one ever to have to deal with this reality. You are not going to get a “good job” when you graduate, you are going either have skills that produce value or you don’t have any skills that can produce value the market demand – pick how you want to go about it. The good thing is if you develop skills that have value like the blockchain for example, you can have a job in London tomorrow, dating a brotha/sista out there in South London rocking Burberry then fly to Dubai and get a high-paying gig and rent a Lambo with an Ethiopian riding through the desert talking about favorite intimate positions before flying to Costa Rica and get into a 4x4 Jeep with someone your age from Argentina with a well sculpted body riding through the lush jungle and exploring hidden beaches with blue ocean waves. Or you can be some lame cat still in Indiana looking for a job at a job fair handing out your paper resume and no one called you and you still living with mom and looking at your social media feed of memes liking comments because you like the person that posted it – how you want to do it? You going to get skilled or be sidelined in the global economy? Do your homework and learn how to develop skills and work with other students and create a skills-building committee. I don’t care if you come together and get skilled at planning house music festivals and exotic travel clubs as a bunch of students working together - just pick something and collectively develop skills you all can go out in the world and take on and can rely on each other to be a force in the global economy and make your mark around the world – the world is yours if you want it. Engage in Imaginative Innovation The problem with black students is they shun creating centers of innovation around them. Black people like hanging at the student center talking about who screwing who and drama and nonsense and showing out. This is the same problem with HBCUs and why they are a damn joke – they do not believe in cultivating their HBCU student body to be organically innovative and create original solutions. Because innovation is not taken seriously in the black community (Dream and Hustle and my peeps take it seriously) you students have to own the responsibility of creating innovation. Now here is the problem with innovation – a lot of the older black characters are just trying to fit in the mainstream as a badge of honor. In the tech world I see too many wannabees talking about they want to work at Facebook or Twitter or whatever to have it on their resume, that’s not innovation, that’s trying to brag. I’m the one with the impressive places I worked at on my resume but that is not what matters, what matters is my skills and ability to innovate. Create a “center of innovation” club and make a space to innovate. Pull out the yellow Post-It notes and start putting solutions on the wall. Start presenting solutions like we do here at the Global Urban Collective and share them among your group. Look for problems, look at existing solutions and then look at how to replicate what other people do and swaggerjack their solutions. Create tiny homes for homeless, create mobile apps that alert New Orleans resident of flooding is innovative stuff – learn to look at these solutions and have this on your resume while you in college to prove you have innovation and skills to bring to the global economy when you graduate. Take Ownership Of Diversity and Leverage Diversity The African-American 2016-2017 student body cannot walk around and think black people are the alpha and omega of solutions to the black community. People all over the world have similar problems and challenges as us and some of them created solutions and we need to understand there are a diversity of people out there we can learn from. Learn to look worldwide for patterns and practices for solutions and respect other cultures and what they done to solve their problems. In addition, I challenge the African-American 2016-2017 student body to take a leadership role in cultivating diversity instead of asking white privileged males to accept minorities and women into their white privileged circles. You as an African-American can do a better job worldwide embracing diversity and extracting the value of diversity. Anybody who go worldwide and handle global business will tell you a smart African-American will trump the living shit out of a white privilege male on any business offering where the playing field is level, you African-Americans have that kind of clout and respect if you can handle your business and you can build a global, diverse team like the 3rd Strategic Institute to make things happen. Avoid the losers that still talking black and white because we are in a hyper-global competitive world where if you go to London or even Hong Kong or Toronto, you will see how complex things are in terms of diversity and it boils down to individual talents and contributions and your story and your background (not your skin color) that adds to the diversity mix. Diversity is one of the best assets in a global competitive environment and the 2016-2017 African-American student body will need to take a new course to learn how to leverage diversity for a global competitive advantage. Always Put Values over Money The concept of “money” is changing and is not the same definition for the 2016-2017 African-American student body and their future. Terms like “net worth” means nothing and talking about what you own or got is worthless, including a house (you really never own a house, you think you do but you really don’t – government really owns it). We are in an era of digital money and augmented money and smart money using data on top of the transaction that can have more value than metal and this is transforming right now in 2016 and 2017. Your generation has to look at value and the extraction of value, not money. You can extract your temporary utility value renting a nice car for the weekend or a mansion for a weekend getaway or use a ridesharing service to get from A to B, you don’t need to own a Rolls Royce Phantom and have it sit in your garage depreciating at a rate of $300/day, that’s fucking stupid. Cats be wanting to check my money and not realizing I can create my own cryptocurrency and create my own value if I want – damn, that shuts them up real fast, didn’t it? See, the concept of money and everything you thought you knew about wealth, ownership and assets has changed dramatically around you African-American students and you cannot view money like the previous generation have. Value is owning something others can utilize. All of you students chip in and rent an apartment in a newly built mixed-used complex in Nicaragua and split the profits from that one apartment. All of you students get a nice used car and share rides with Uber, splitting the profits among each other. I hope you are seeing where I’m getting at – having something that you can extract value from is how money is going to work for your generation, not some rapper in a music video standing in front of an expensive car and flashing jewelry. To the 2016-2017 African-American Students, This is Your Year, Your Story The environment and challenges around your African-American generation is unique and unprecedented with global competitiveness and automation and the transformation of money as we know it. But this is the biggest opportunity that any generation of African-Americans ever had laid before them where you guys can have empires that span from Asia to Africa while you chilling in Atlanta. You have to disconnect yourself from the current negative and toxic black culture, expand your mind and options, develop skills, leverage diversity and learn to extract value. Once you learn this the world is yours.