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What Makes a Black Man?

I penned an article for the Rising Oak Foundation Newsletter that was published this week called “What Makes a Black Man?”

It’s the first of a two-part series on the topic. Here’s an excerpt:

The responsible man is always accountable in everything he engages in. The responsible man has a sense of accountability that actively denies hypocrisy wherever it tries to creep in. The responsible man is healthily consistent in his worldview, while be sensitive and introspective enough to realize that he may need to update his view from time to time.

Rising Oak does a lot of great work around the country empowering communities and organizations that focus on strengthening the quality of the lives of Black boys.

Enjoy the piece, and stay tuned for part 2.

One Love. One II.


John Legend's Commencement Address at UPenn

I generally disdain the Cult of the Celebrity. It frustrates me when the unqualified, unverified, and unquestioned present weak arguments and empty claims that are accepted as facts given from experts. While I also reject the Cult of Expertise, I’d take that one over celebrity.

The Cult of Celebrity & the Cult of Expertise often cross paths during this time of year: graduation time. Colleges across the country are hosting commencement celebrations and inviting speakers of all types to inspire students to go off and change the world. President Obama. First Lady Michelle Obama. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Newark, NJ Mayor Corey Booker. John Legend.

John Legend? Yeah, that John Legend.

He addressed the graduating class of UPenn on Monday, the school he graduated from 10 years ago. At first, I saw this as a classic case of the Cult of the Celebrity:

  1. Why exactly is this guy giving this address.
  2. Is he really that interesting/compelling/appropriate?
  3. I bet I’d give a better speech than him

While I will definitely not concede the third point, I was pleasantly surprised with the address he delivered. So much so in fact, that I’d like to share it with all of you.

My key takeaway from the speech was:

Now, I don’t assume that the truth is commonly found. Like its bedfellows of democracy and justice, I believe it is quite rare to find. It is born through process. It is gained through questioning. It is found in listening. It’s about accepting that complex problems require complicated solutions.

Enjoy this, and share it.

One Love. One II.

P.S. Now, back to my hating on the Cult of the Celebrity.

The SuperSpade is Everywhere – on the Kindle, the iPhone, and everywhere else

The SuperSpade is everywhere.

The SuperSpade is everywhere.

Just a quick note today about ways Brandon and I are making The SuperSpade available to you in as many ways as possible:

Last but not least, we’ll soon be rolling out an email newsletter where subscribers will receive great insider benefits like:

  • Tips on how you can be an effective activist and get involved at the local and national level
  • Additional in-depth analysis on issues and events
  • Connections to other online activists and bloggers working on issues impacting people of color
  • A chance to have your voice heard on The SuperSpade
  • Much more…

There will be another announcement when the email newsletter is up and running.

Stay tuned and stay connected.

One Love. One II.

Photo Credit: lennbob on Flickr

A Handicapped Inauguration


No place for the handicapped

No place for the handicapped

The Inauguration of Barack Obama was an historic, life-changing, captivating experience for nearly everyone who refers to themselves as a citizen of this country or an inhabitant of this planet. Unfortunately, a seat in history’s theater was denied to myself and hundreds of others that wanted to watch the ushering in of an epoch of a renewed American spirit. Amidst the tears of joy, achievement, and progress, existed tears of pain and missed opportunity. Alongside the jubilation, frustration. With triumph, tribulation.

I write here to tell my story of the Inauguration. It may differ from most others that have been written, but all accounts are important. I especially want to thank the angels that were in the crowd to help Ellen and I on Inauguration Day. Warning: this post is very long.

Read More…

The SuperSpade at the Inauguration

The SuperSpade will be covering the Inauguration Parade and Swearing In live and in person. My fiancee, mother, aunt, and I will be attending the official festivities with special seating thanks to the Presidential Classroom, a phenomenal program I participated in when I was in High School.

The coverage will be in the form of blog posts here, photos on Flickr, and posts/quotes/pics updated constantly on my Twitter feed.

Further, my personal Twitter feed will be syndicated by the San Josey Mercury Newspaper across the top of their homepage.

Brandon and I are looking forward to covering this historic event, and we’re glad you’ll be a part of our experience.

One Love. One II.

Happy 2009

Happy New Year from The SuperSpade.

I want to personally thank everyone on behalf of Brandon and I for continuing to support our efforts from the time we started this site in November 2005.

2008 was an exciting, inspiring, challenging, and educational year for all of us. As we look ahead to 2009, we can only pray that this year builds upon all those years previous.

I’m not big on resolutions, but there are certain commitments that I’d like to share with you that I want to help guide my thoughts and actions in the coming year.

  • The simplest solution is usually the correct one.
  • Err on the side of decisiveness.
  • Let go of what you can’t impact.
  • Long-term thinking does not replace present-day action.
  • If you love someone, act on it.

Happy New Year family.

I look forward to having a great time on this site and having great conversations with all of you.

One Love. One II.

Garlin is Getting Married! Now I Need Your Help…

Yes, it’s official.

I proposed to my my girlfriend, Ellen Smith, on December 1st, and she happily accepted! We can’t wait to marry one another and spend the rest of our lives together.

Ellen & I

Now we need your help

Ellen and I are finalists in the FOX 2 Detroit Wedding of a Lifetime contest. The contest winner will receive a beautiful, all-expenses-paid destination wedding on Lake Michigan.

I am asking all of you to vote for us to win the Wedding of a Lifetime.

How to vote:

  1. Watch our 1 minute video to hear why Ellen and I deserve to win.
    If the link doesn’t work, you can paste into your browser address line. 
  2. Create an account on the FOX 2 Detroit website. You’ll need to give your email address, name, and address. You don’t have to live in Michigan to vote.
  3. Vote for us! You can vote once every hour. Voting ends at midnight on December 14th.
There are only 5 days left to vote, so please vote early and often. The contest winners will be announced on December 15th.

The SuperSpade has been an important part of my life since Brandon and I started the site in November 2005. I appreciate your continued support of the site and of me personally.

Other news

While I’m writing about personal news, I’ll also include that I had knee surgery on December 2nd (the day after I proposed). I’m at home now, recovering, and will hopefully be back up and on my feet before Christmas. Please pray for me. And yes, voting for Ellen & I will make my knee heal faster. 🙂

One Love. One II.