Does Young Black America Even Need a Leader?

In the shadows of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, many black folks have wondered, "Who's to be our next leader?" On the Black Youth Project, Jonathan Lykes asks that question of his own generation.

As we move further away from the 1960's civil rights movements I think it is important for individuals in the black community to speak for themselves. It makes more sense to allow people to finally have the agency and empowerment to have their own voice represent their life and experiences.

"A poll, commissioned by BET Founder Robert L. Johnson asked: "Who speaks for you?" The response: 40 percent of African Americans surveyed said, "No one," 24 percent said, the National Action Network President and MSNBC host Al Sharpton, 11 percent said Jesse Jackson, 8 percent said NAACP President Ben Jealous and 2 percent said Marc Morial of the National Urban League."

I believe that the 40 percent of black people surveyed could mean two things.

First off, it could mean that no progress has been made. It means that nearly half a century after the civil rights movement the black community has been incarcerated, stigmatized, and dispersed to the point that we have no central understanding of what a black agenda would look like and who would even lead it. It could mean that the "New Jim Crow" truly is here and creating a generation of disappearance in the black community.


Read Jonathan Lykes' entire piece at the Black Youth Project.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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