HBO’s Treme Actor Ameer Baraka Joins Oprah’s Blackboard Wars

HBO’s Treme Actor Ameer Baraka Joins Oprah’s Blackboard Wars Ameer Baraka is many things: a model for Master P‘s No Limit Apparel brand, an actor in the acclaimed HBO drama series Treme and FOX‘s “The Unit”, a producer, a director, a fitness enthusiast…and a man with a criminal history. Now, the 36-year old is taking on the role of a lifetime―himself. It sounds like the easiest part to play in front of a camera, but the reality is completely different. The story he’s telling isn’t just his own, but those stories of hundreds of children in New Orleans who are on the fast-track to a life in prison, without redemption, without hope. Having experienced first-hand the worst society has to offer, Baraka has risen above his past and more importantly, wants his rising tide to lift the spirits, hopes and dreams of every young man and woman who thinks they have no alternatives.

His web series “N.O.L.A. Life,” co-produced by Danny Garcia (What She Wants For Christmas, Who Did I Marry?) and Baraka himself, dares to show it all. The documentary series, described as “the truest, grittiest, most realistic depiction of New Orleans life ever filmed,” explains not only how life is for the young men and women on the streets, but more importantly how that life can be different. As a young man, Baraka experienced the hardship of growing up without a father. A mother and grandmother can provide love, but as he notes, “A woman cannot raise a man.” Without the strength, without the discipline afforded by a positive male role model, living in the Calliope housing development, he fell into a life of drugs, crime, and violence by age fourteen. It wasn’t until he landed in prison and met older, reformed convicts who saw something special in him that he learned the secret to breaking this vicious cycle. Preaching at children does not work―mentoring them does.

Two years’ experience running a mentoring program at Booker T. Washington School in New Orleans backs him up. Considered some of the highest-risk youth in the state, Baraka’s engagement brings real results to a setting long thought beyond repair. Reaching out to the intelligent young minds he sees before him, Baraka challenges them to channel their energies and impulses in positive directions and faith-based initiatives, and the results speak for themselves: drug use, fights, suspensions and expulsions at Booker T. Washington are down across the board. To further these ends, he created the Ameer Baraka Give A Hand Fund, which provides financial assistance to children so they can attend school in better areas of New Orleans. Visit his website at to learn more about his life and work.

On Saturday, March 16th at 9pm, you will see and hear Ameer Baraka’s powerful story on Oprah Winfrey‘s OWN Network show, “Blackboard Wars”. You will get to know Ameer and the young men and women he mentors and engages every day. And you will come to believe, just as he does, that one man really can change the world.

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Started From The Top, But Now We Here

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I good friend of mine DJ/Producer Big Phil sent me a text last week telling me I should flip Drake’s, “Started From the Bottom” to “Started From the Top” and talk about how we came from Kings and Queens to where we our now. At first I was hesitant, but after seeing the deaths of 6 month old Jonylah Watkins to gun violence in Chicago and 16 year old Kimani Gray who was shot in the back by the NYPD, I felt I had to speak to our current condition.


We’re the original literal or biblical we’re the pinnacle
physical or spiritual it was learned from our umbilical
all of science in general to the highest identical
came alive in his image too these ain’t lies that I’m giving you
now we act like niggas who shake they ass for the biggest jewels
satisfied with spending til we win the crown for richest fool
calling our mothers and daughters bitches too
our community’s dead and this is living proof
when a 6 month old baby’s killed it’s crazy real
to survive you need the amazing skill of a navy seal
no wonder why they wave the steal took under by the hate they feel
til satan waits to make a deal like sign and you’ll be raking mills
video on worldstarr tv show on VH1
a knife to the lords heart can’t remember where we came from
we started from the clouds
now we stuck inside the ghetto tell me how could we be proud

and to the esteemed family of Emmett Till
I do not cosign how these other rap niggas feel
wishing I could kill em still or teach em till I give em skills
Life and death what I’m spitting real every rhyme is a living will
and while yall contributed to that Molly craze
the NYPD killed Kimani Gray
3 shots to his back while he was running away
Now these big gangsta rap niggas got nothing to say
Oh I thought you was busting the K
see the police now you got ya tail tucking to skate
What’s up with em Jay? You ain’t touchin em Ye?
Where TI and Luda are they stuck in the A?
Imagine having one stop hustling day
take the hood to the precinct till they shutting the place
We want justice for Gray Kimani and Ramarley Graham
Trayvon, Rekia Boyd, Rekia Boyd, Noel Polanco, Oscar Grant
don’t be surprised when niggas start poppin back
mourners in the ghetto reading Dorner’s manifesto
praise the Lord and pass the metal
cause we on the bottom now
don’t mean we can’t take the power push them cowards outta bounds

Lupe Fiasco Steps Up & Does a Song for 6 Month old Jonylah Killed in Chicago

Jonylah Watkins6monthold BabyPowerful song from Lupe Fiasco that pays tribute to Jonylah Watkins the 6 month old killed by bullets the other day in Chicago..This is a heartfelt beautiful song.. Nothing more needs to be said.. Listen to the words and let us all end violence in our community. Shout out to Lupe for doing the song.. Shout out to NBA star Derrick Rose for paying for the funeral..