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Young Black Men Counter Negative Media Representation With Creative ‘Suit & Tie’ Video

It seems as if much of mainstream media wants us to believe that young minority men, especially Blacks and Latinos, are violent, unintelligent and destined to lead a life of crime. But one group of young men has created a fun and powerful response.

After years of watching the media mangle the representation of Blacks and Latinos, a group of junior and senior students from Illinois’ Central High School has taken matters into their own hands.

Thirty-four students dressed in their finest attire, created a music video to Justin Timberlake’s hit record “Suit & Tie,” which sends a message about who they really are.

“We are not gangsters and thugs.”

“We are employees and volunteers.”

“We are scholars.”

“We are athletes.”

These messages scrolled across the screen as the students were shown participating in community-building activities, business meetings, study groups and sports.

It’s the type of message about young Black men that viewers don’t often see when they turn on television in search of the daily news.

As Tiffany Gholson, one of Central High School’s counselors, explains, it’s about time this group of young men were able to have a say in the way they are portrayed by the media.

“The negative stories told daily in the media and in our culture about our young African-American men tend to ignore their successes and don’t tell the full story about how young Black men are becoming leaders within our community schools,” said Gholson who also helped them organize the project.

In addition to showcasing a promising group of students, a quote at the end of the video presents a powerful message to those who are still attacking the younger generation.

“Those who criticize our generation forget who raised it.”

The YouTube video has already earned over 50,000 views as of Tuesday morning, with more than 1,600 likes.

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