Who’s Got Game? NextGen!

In Slade and Toni Morrison’s hip hop inspired update of Aesop’s famed fables, they leave it up to the reader to decide who’s got game — the ant or the grasshopper, the lion or the mouse? The stories are unfinished in a way, waiting for the reader to step in and complete the stories for the grasshopper and the mouse, allowing the reader to establish their own parameters for what it means to have game. The grasshopper, Foxy G, makes a compelling argument when the ant, Kid A, leaves at the end of the summer to do “real” work. Foxy G, the musician, says, “How can you say I’ve never worked a day?/Art IS work, it just looks like play”.

Kid A and Foxy G’s difference in opinion seems to represent some of the most challenging issues we are facing in our schools and in our activism; how do we get Kid A to value Foxy G’s art as work? How do our schools see youths’ art, activism, and art as work? The enterprise of public education, as fragile and fraught as it may be, is also unfinished. And I think this network is forming at a critical time to respond to the drastic shifts in student interests and needs — and our numbers, our locations around the country, and our reach on digital platforms and elsewhere have immense potential to bring about real change; for the well established groups, we know this is already happening in powerful and sustaining ways.

I think we are we here to do more of that; I think we are here to magnify that and create new pathways to change. We are here to establish a group/network identity, to meet and to know others who will work together with us to rise on the power and energy of the collective and to see how creative, responsive, critical, alert we can be to our experiences, our communities, our interests, our ART.

We are youth driven.

We are youth inspired.

We are listening.

We are writing.

We are the network.

We are art.

And we’ve got game.


Lillian Reeves

5 Responses to “Who’s Got Game? NextGen!

  • Tom McKenna
    4 years ago

    Dear Lil,

    Thanks for these intriguing thoughts. At the Poetry Freeforall tonight the moderator quoted WH Auden on the power of creating “useless” things (art). I wonder if anyone remembers the quote.

    One facet of your post that just inspired some connection for me is your reference to “our reach” — both in person and digitally. I wonder how we might use “analytics” from digital tools as just one strand of data gathering. I know Kip from Louisville got some great analytics on our last Twitter chat. Maybe someone among us is interested in learning how to analyze (and optimize) that dimension of our reach.

    I was more like Kid A than Foxy G as a teen. What about “all of y’all” ? (Did I do that right, Southerners?)


    • Lillian Reeves
      4 years ago

      Thanks Tom. I was also a Kid A, but I could appreciate the work of Foxy Gs around me. Their work is needed and we need to value it.

      I also really love the twitter stories and I think they could be a powerful tool for capturing and summarizing exchanges, big ideas, and actions.

  • Tangee Allen
    4 years ago

    WOW!!!! Im totally feelin’ this Lillian. In the words of 3Stacks (Andre 3k) DA SOUT HAS SOMETHIN” TO SAY! We have to stay in connection over the course of the year as thought partners. I’m looking forward to startin’ some good trouble. 🙂

  • Lillian Reeves
    4 years ago

    Yes yes yes Tangee. John Lewis — good trouble is the best kind. And definitely. We have to stick together.

  • Ceci Lewis
    4 years ago

    Count me in as a thought partner. I, too, would love to keep the ideas flowing, the motions rolling, and the heads spinning. We need to write our stories. We need to create our futures. We need to be in our present.

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