Scholarship Above All

One of the most important things, in my opinion, is to showcase the positive within the black community. Often, news relating to present day blacks is littered with tragedy or controversy--drama and tension sell. From shows like Real Housewives to Kanye, the news well replay stories where blacks commit crimes but they will overlook, or barely mention, the group of blacks working in a soup kitchen to feed the local homeless. The act of reporting only the bad is part of what sways people to believing stereotypes. Media outlets like Upworthy are great for getting positive news (about anyone, it's not race specific), and if I had the funds and man power (contact me if you want to get this rolling) I'd start an Upworthy for blacks. 
Image from Yale's baseball roster

In that line of thought, I thought I'd dedicate today's Black History Month post to Akintunde Ahmad. Ahmad was a senior at Oakland Technical High School last year. He had a perfect 5.0 GPA and he scored 2100 of the SAT. Ahmad plays the French horn, the African drums, and also excels on the baseball team. Its not surprising that the Ivy League was waiting with open doors for this young man. He's been honored by the Oakland Raiders, made an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and accepted to more schools than the newscasters were allowed to let him list. Ahmad decided to pursue his studies at Yale and is a freshman there now.

Achieving academic success is usually a nail in the social coffin for high school students regardless of color, but for black students it can be even more alienating. Academically gifted blacks are often on the receiving end of labels and comments such as "oreo," "acting white," "talking white," and "forgetting where you come from." Seeing Ahmad receive the recognition he deserves will not only inspire people to follow his footsteps, but also remind other black teens who are also excelling academically (and they are out there, perhaps they don't have a perfect 5.0 or they come from "more positive" neighborhoods, but he's not alone) that what they are doing is worth while. So, congratulations, especially to Akintunde Ahmad, but in general to all the young scholars making their way to college. Whether you're going to technical school, community college, or the Ivy League, I'm proud of you. Keep up the good work.


  1. "Raiders Honor Yale-Bound Oakland Teen For 5.0 GPA, 2100 SAT Score". CBS Local. May 20, 2014
  2. Riya Bhattacharjee. "Akintunde Ahmad, Oakland "Street Dude" with 5.0 GPA, Appears on "The Ellen Show," Announces He Will Attend Yale". NBC. April 23, 2014


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