The African teenager and his self-destructive path

via Google images

It’s really hard to find urban African teenagers living in the United States who aspire to be someone positive in society anymore, too many have embedded the common urban mentalities that surrounds them. Mentalities chained to negative poetry behind ghetto walls aspiring to be a BET topic; sporting the latest trendy name-brand clothes and sneakers. Mirages of the fast life residing their thoughts; planted on the corner mimicking a failure that African Americans have tried so hard to bury. Teenage thugs wondering the streets from dawn to dust on a school day harboring trouble. School becoming a playground to attract the opposite sex and associate with gangs and drugs.

via Google images

What many people don’t understand is, this mentality that these African teens adopt is none but a facade. Many of these young African kids never have known what a harsh life is; because foremost if they’re living in the USA, it’s most likely that their family was/is wealthy in Africa. Therefore they were never that eight-year-old-AK47-totting-kid that you saw on CNN, nor were they that no-shoes-street-wanderer-kid you’ve seen on the Discovery channel; or anyone poor and rough. They were most likely the children of wealthy corrupt politicians, or successful businessmen. Born in a society where they belonged in the rich elites of their poor nations, where they’ve enjoyed living in mansions that would make MTV Cribs jealous. Born with diamond spoons in their mouths, they were never “gutter” beyond their wildest dreams in front of a mirror rocking to a Tupac CD.

Like a wealthy White kid in the suburbs (wigga) who embodies the gangsta lifestyle he pictures in gangsta-rap songs and perceives in hip hop videos; these wealthy African kids indulge in this mock-gangsta lifestyle to fit within their new found community; the “hood”.

Now, how did a rich African teen ends up in the “hood”? Well; because wealth in Africa does not equal wealth in America. You, living in the wealthiest neighborhood in your home country may mean that you have enough to live away from the projects in the US, but not enough to live in Beverly Hills. Nevertheless, sometimes even if these kids parents afford a rich area in the US; they’ll still find themselves fitting the stereotypes they see in the videos. It’s like being Black in America automatically translates to Gangsta, thug, and ghetto.

What saddens me the most is when some of these kids grow up with this type of mentality, being destructive rather than productive. I mean, I can understand a 16 year old associating with a gang, even though I don’t condone it; however at that age we all start to find a niche, and we tend to associate ourselves with the most popular and attractive niche to the opposite sex. Teenage years (High School) is when we try our best to fit-in while our sexuality builds.

Two things are in a teenager’s mind; his persona and sex; he’s always worried about how he’s being perceived and how his personality will get him the girls. He figures if he’s to be seen as “cool”, girls would want him. And that’s true. Girls tend to like “cool” guys. Now the sad part is this: if being a delinquent is what is being perceived as cool; then that’s what these kids become; young delinquents (READ older post about this…). Therefore delinquency becomes the niche; but a niche only the weak would fall for; however it’s nothing more beautiful if one grows out of it and recognize it to be just a phase. That’s something a lot of these young adults don’t realize; it’s just a phase; therefore they get lost so deep in this delinquency that they lose their footprints and a way back home becomes impossible, destined behind bars or early burial.

via Google images

So when these African teens come to this country, they leave home their friends and their morals; Lil’ Wayne’s words suddenly become alive. The climax happens when they learn the language; so the self destruction begins. They start mimicking the young delinquent mentality. They start forming their own associations “to help their African communities” – remember the Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, MS13? They were all associations designed to help their outnumbered communities. And just like the former delinquent associations; these African “associations” composed of nothing but African teenagers and failed adults start fighting each others, no others but each others.

It’s going to be little by little until they eventually follow the footsteps of the Black and Latino minority that have befallen into intercultural-gang-warfare. Hard working Mexicans are really ashamed of these young Cholos in South Central LA; along the line with hard working African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Salvadorians etc… all around. Every minority in this country that is associated with violence was once associated with peace and good work until their kids arrive emulating the gangsta-lifestyle. And I’m very sad to admit that Africans are to end up like this, if nothing is done. The situation is escalating day by day. Although the majority of these young African teens “living” the fast life aren’t really about it; however you always crawl before you walk. They may be posers trying to impress peers, and may not dare pull the trigger on another human being; but that’s how it all starts. We never know what the future generation is capable of. When you see a bad apple in your bowl; you get rid of it before it contaminates others asap.

The seeds bought here to produce and make a change while maintaining a positive


representation of Africa, contract the disease found here and help build it by destroying a remarkable and respectable foundation. A foundation set by Africans (and descents) all over the world to help better Africa, so we can finally catch up and perhaps lead like we did before.

P.S. This is not meant to overshadow all the hard working future building African teens and young adults; they’re around and doing a great job. However a small observation leads to generalization. And generalized as lazy, no good thugs is not what we want for our community. Therefore something must be done.

Well this is just a one man’s words.


About shakanova

I am water my friend


  1. Stacy

    Wow this is very deep and thoughtful. And you are right, if this is the case then something must be done, No mind should be wasted in the streets. Keep writing; i like your style of writing by the way. I will be reading more from you. Kudos.

  2. Hawa

    Wow Ajani, this is a great article and very well said. It is the children of immigrants that mess up a reputation of a whole community…what happened to the “African” pride that our ancestors used to have? We surely need to do something about this situation.

  3. Samory

    Indeed true, left no stone unturned. I like to call them “African trash”, they are never themselves, entire persona’s been influenced by peers. Also i think what mostly attracts girls to “thugs” is mostly the money they tend to offer these empty headed girls, so i think its not mostly the whole thug appearance that somewhat appeals to them but the offers and perhaps boast of how they could protect them. It’s really sad how u would forget where ur from……sad

  4. Rama

    You’re so right bro, i really can’t say better. I have always had this feeling, how young Africans people are losing their culture norms through Media. One thing our people don’t understand is that they don’t know the Media can be very bias sometimes. So as you said they’re probably from a wealthy family back home, they eat what they want, get the clothes they desire and all the good things. A wealthy man back home is considered a very low income person in America. And when they come here it’s a whole different story. But they tend to follow the same concepts from where they’re from. They want to be cool, so they rather hand out with the “thugs” considered to be cool, while they’re losing their values.Sometimes you ask them, where you from? They’ll say I am from Brooklyn, but really they’re not. Through media, the neighborhood, the people we hang out with, our young African teenagers are losing their identity which is very sad. I can go on and on until tomorrow but i’ll never finish this conversation.
    One thing i might say, don’t follow everything you see on TV (like Lil Wayne on a music video looking all cool and good, that’s just his Marketing strategy but in real life he’s different). Do your research, respect who you are and what you stand for and people will respect you. And that’s how we can Make this world a BETTER PLACE.

  5. Tolson M.

    Much respect for attacking such an issue that’s destroying our community. Myself, i almost felt for this faze as you mentioned; but it took some maturity from me to comprehend that i was lost. And i’ll make sure that my new born child to never forget his roots… as parents, sometimes the failure of our seeds are at our hands; some of these kids just need a good ol’ African beating to put them back to track. They’re really bringing shame to us.

  6. Sina Gbla

    I am very happy that you touched on such an important issue. Thankyou very much. Though i don’t live in the U.S. a similar situation is emerging. Our youths here cling to the African American persona, because they feel that is what is required like you said to be ‘cool’. Australia does not have an established black community, but like you might guess, gangs have been formed and we too are experiencing gang war fare. Over here its mostly about girls, racial slurs and gang mentality. They dress, walk and the ones that try hard enough talk like african americans. They pride themselves in being asked ‘are you from america’. But are quick to brush aside questions such as are you from Africa? What part ect. Don’t get me wrong they have youths who are very much proud of their heritage and do not joke with it. But it seems the overwhelming desire to be considered ‘likeable’ is to adopt what they see on tv. It is from these begginings that previously very intelligent students with many aspirations, no longer go to school because they Cant be bothered. Its crazy when in Australia the population of Africans are mostly refugees and as a result I believe most did experience war, if not directly in directly such as being displaced from their home countries. What you wrote really made me wonder.. what happened to all those goals, plans and aspirations the youth of africa had before coming here. Where is their determination to make their parents proud and their efforts not gone to waste? Where is our conscience? We were brought here (most of us) because a war devastated our nations, our people. Has that been forgotten?
    I will pass this link on if you don’t mind the more people read it the better.. something to ponder about when and if you decide to become part of this sad trend.
    Thankyou again Ajani.

    • It’s not surprising to me that it have hit you guys there. It’s very sad to be welcomed in someone household; and end up wanting to destroy that household. I’m wondering; do they deport those refugees caught in the delinquency in New Zealand? or just jail them? As a refugee you should be ashamed to commit any type of crime i think.

  7. kadija ce ke ta ecrit est vrai.tu devien philosophe hein.bien.ton site est bien g faire de tant en tan un coup d’oeil.mon petit frer doit lire ca .g pense ke ca va changer ca maniere de reflechir.merci adjani

  8. Thanks all of you for your powerful insights and contribution… I hope an initiative is taken.

  9. Anyimaka

    Very nice article. I totally agree with the points you have touched on and wish you the best.

  10. Alpha

    This is definitely one of your best pieces. Very relevant topic and really well thought out. I’d say that ONE of the most fundamental causes of this is the way we (especially us, Africans) are raised and educated. From the day we are born, it is bashed into our skulls incessantly that you must do and believe as you are told, under threat of punishment. Kids are never really told WHY they must act in one way instead of another; just that they must do as their elders order and this unquestioning obedience is upheld as the greatest virtue of them all.

    The consequence is that kids never learn ANY critical thinking skills (and unfortunately, most grow up into adulthood and beyond in this state). The funny thing is though, this doesn’t guarantee that kids will continue believing and practicing what their parents taught them. However, and probably more importantly, it guarantees that they will fall for whatever ideas they are more exposed to in whatever environment they live in, because they were never taught any skills for rationally and intelligently evaluating ideas. Case in point: good kids from relatively wealthy African families, move to America, and everywhere they turn, from their hood, to their school, to the television, etc…. they are exposed to gangster fetishism …. so they go ahead and adopt that type of mentality — both males and females.

    Anyway…. this theory of mine hasn’t been tested in the lab yet, but I’m willing to bet my whole $0.02 on it.

  11. Iman

    Ajani, Ajani, Ajani, my kindred spirit. I am living proof that my intuition is constantly leading me to beautiful conscious human beings. I always knew there was great depth to your heart. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the problems you are seeing around you. I hope your level of discernment will only grow to help shed light on those living in darkness.

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