Making it to the age of 25 is a big deal for black males- shit’s not guaranteed. The odds are against us from the jump. We’re growing up in fatherless homes, lacking real structure, surrounded by unnecessary violence, and not getting the proper education. This does not apply to every black male walking the earth, some of us are lucky enough to grow up in a two parent homes that promote education, but most of us are not. Now that it’s February, also known as Black History Month, and I approach 25 years of age, I can’t help but recognize my good fortunes. Thankfully I have a mother who’s extremely educated and sheltered me from the mayhem popping off outside our door. That’s why my 25th birthday will be so special for us. As soon as I wake up I’m going to call her and scream, “NIGGA WE MADE IT!”
Drake’s “We Made It” is an anthem for young black males. It resonates with us more than you could ever imagine. I play it while I’m brushing my teeth. I sip my OJ to it. It has to be playing on my iPhone when I’m walking out the door. Do you know why? Because I fucking made it, and fuck you statistics! I’m not supposed to have a college education, but fuck you, I do. Y’all motherfuckers better shut the hell up and enjoy the show.
“We Made It” is more than the ‘we came from nothing and made something of ourselves’ principle. It’s that, mixed with fuck you. Similar to what February means to me. Yes, I take time to appreciate the heroes like Langston Hughes, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks, but as a black male living in America I can’t have that appreciation without a sense of animosity towards the establishment. Drake illustrates his hostility during “We Made It.” In the intro Drake raps eight times that we’ve made it, reminding us it wasn’t an easy mission. In many cases we had to scrap for what we’ve accomplished, so you best believe we’re going to let the whole world know. This song is the crowning moment of our crusade, a final word at the zenith of young black achievement; “Nigga we made it!”
Drake’s waiting in the lobby at Motown connects with all of us. Who hasn’t waited in an office for an interview, meeting, or presentation, nervous because whatever happens in the next hour may determine your future. I used to sit in Mass Appeal once a week, anxiously flipping through magazines, waiting for an editor to green light my newest article. Now every morning when I come in the office do you know what’s playing through my headphones? That’s right because, “Nigga, we made it!” And if there is a way to rig it, I will play, “We Made It” throughout the entire office when I walk in the door. It’s that serious.
In line at Starbucks this morning I had it roaring out of my earbuds. The older white man in front of me turned around and stared in judgement. I was rocking all black, Jordan 11’s, and a Bart Simpson trap beanie – a prime example of an ‘urban youth’ to this fool. I could see the dude was displeased with my get-up and whole entire attitude. I could hear the determination in Drake’s voice, “I swear that we made it,” it’s immensely intoxicating. I was so drunk on those vibes that I wanted to swat the coffee out of the old man’s hand. I don’t think he realized that I had made it, and young black aggression was the only logical way I could let him know.
Being a black male isn’t the easiest thing in the world. The ones who have made it to 25 years old without jail time or the burden of child support payments rejoice. It’s February, this is supposed to be our month. No need to be sheepish or insecure about our success, let’s raise the proverbial roof and shit on the statistics. You know why? Because we made it.