I am Ahmariah Jackson, author of Locked Up But Not Locked Down: A Guide To Surviving The American Prison System. The book is brimming with myriad observations from those who have faced the harsh realities of the prison industrial complex. It offers relevant resources for newly freed (or soon to be) inmates in an attempt to aid in their reintroduction to society. One of the book’s major purpose is to provide cautionary tales to prevent disenfranchised youth from committing acts that lead to their indoctrination into a very dubious fraternity. Moreover, the book focuses its energy on enlightening the confused and equipping every reader with functional ways to manifest personal rehabilitation. The reality is that we are all one mistake or watchful eye from battling the beast which is the American justice system.
Alas, I digress. The focus of this post can be found in the lyrics of the phenomenal emcee, Big Krit and his song “Boobie Miles”– “You gotta play it to the end. The only difference between a winner and a loser is a winner plays until he wins.”
The major question with which I wrestle as I move forward with the promotion of this book is: So, what next? Now that I have made clear my desire to address and reduce the number of Americans trapped behind prison walls, how do I remedy the conditions that undoubtedly play a heavy role in the decisions that lead to incarceration?
The fact is, crime is a socioeconomic issue. Many of those locked behind the walls are not especially criminally-minded, more often than not, they are perpetrators of non-violent crimes with ill-equipped public defenders. But the focus should be to get to our youth prior to that daunting situation, right?
The answer is that Boobie Miles. Big Krit gives us a song that should be the soundtrack to many of our lives. He challenges the listener by saying, “Never accept a loss… and when your number(‘s) called, you betta give your ALL. I hope you give your ALL!”
I have not yet been able to devise a plan that will eradicate poverty and promote equality in our capitalistic society. I’m not sure if such a goal is truly possible. But, what can be attained is a personal power that cannot be shaken by any political agenda. GIVE YOUR ALL.
The goal in this life is not to keep up with the Joneses or any of the nouveau riche that populate our music charts. The goal is to find the star within oneself. What that means is that we are indebted by the creator with certain unalienable talents as to not be put asunder by any man or institution.
So, to the youth and the youth within I say: there is SOMETHING that you do that no one can challenge. The goal is indeed knowledge of self, for with that you have a path and a purpose that cannot be obstructed by any obstacle.
Close your eyes. Breathe deeply and imagine yourself as you truly are. If there was one talent within yourself with which you would bet your life, what would it be? (Remember that we can’t all be actors, rappers, ballplayers or drug dealers.) There is a mission within yourself that will guide your path. The goal in life is to find that path and ride it until the proverbial wheels fall off.
Get money, don’t be no lame
Bench warmers never ride foreign, so play the game
Never drop the ball, never accept a loss, get back up if you fall
And when your numbers called, you better give your all