By Hasan James
These past seven months have been a time for the ages. I vividly remember being told by a Black Medical Doctor that COVID-19 would not affect African Americans in large numbers because our pigmentation would protect us from the deadly disease. Yet here we are with well over 8.3 million cases in the United States, with well over 221,000 deaths and African Americans being three times more likely than whites to contract COVID-19.
After seeing so many people I know being personally affected by the disease; including my own mother, the book club was a welcomed distraction. Going into this book club, I only knew two out of nine other brothers, but here we are seven months later together as brothers!
I wish I had an over the top countenance to describe meeting most of these brothers for the first time, however, the trauma we all experienced while watching George Floyd take his last breath and Breonna Taylor’s murder get covered up, while reading literature that uncovered the disenfranchisement of black people for centuries, bonded us together as if we’d already known each other forever!
Sitting down with these educated, inventive and ingenious group of brothers was just what I thought it would be. Being on a weekly call for hours with these guys every Tuesday night, prepares one for a round table of this magnitude and just like on our Zoom calls, none of us held anything back. One thing about this unique group of brothers is, as much as many of us think synonymously with one another, we are in fact free thinkers with opposing opinions.
In all honesty, I have to admit that the conversation about the murder of Breonna Taylor frustrated me the most simply because I followed this case from the onset, even landing an in-depth interview with attorney Benjamin Crump to discuss the case and many other cases regarding African Americans wrongfully killed at the hands of law enforcement. The fact that some of the brothers in the group were almost siding with Daniel Cameron’s decision to not bring charges on any of the cops (the Wanton endangerment charge is BS) because of the law, infuriated me. Now in my mind, this is an open and shut case. The cops obtain a no-knock warrant, kick in the door waving the 44, her boyfriend not knowing who kicked down the door shoots his legal gun at the intruders, the intruders (who we now know as the cops) shoot back at any and everything in sight, including Breonna, and moments later (although they will never admit it) realize they made a grave mistake because they had no business there in the first place. Breonna and her boyfriend Kenneth Taylor were innocent. So why isn’t that not the narrative?
Even with a slight difference of opinion at times, this group of brothers are necessary for the culture. We’re talking about a group of men who love their wives, mothers, girlfriends, fiancés and black women PERIOD! Our love for God is evident every time we gather, even in the midst of risqué language and hyperbole. What you see is what you get and what you get is a bunch of brothers with purpose, who just so happen to like reading. But we can’t just skip over that fact because how many black men do you know who like to read? I always grew up hearing the myth that if you want to hide something from a black person, put it in a book, yet here we are, dispelling yet another rumor, myth and misconception.
What people will gain from this dialogue is authenticity, honesty, passion and swag, our book club come to life if you will. All too often when you see a bunch of black men attached to any type of media, it typically has a negative overtone. This TLK 3:7 round table will eradicate that and most certainly be compelling to the viewers, as black men from across the country come together to discuss things that really matter to our communities. Subjects like voting, social injustice and the disrespect of the black women is not discussed enough in these types of settings, but we managed to tackle these topics with ease and passion.
Again, the year 2020 has rocked us all to our core and COVID-19 mixed with a record number of black people being slaughtered at the hands of police officers nationwide, was enough to make us throw in the towel, yet we survived. “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” and once you watch this amazing round table of brothers, it will be evident that those adjectives describe us all.