Sunday, September 7, 2008


-African American youth are more likely than white youth to be attracted to TV and have a TV and another form of media resource in their bedrooms (KFF, 2005)

-74% of Black families have the TV on during family meals, 15% of white families have the TV on during family meals (KFF, 2005)

-Responsible and positive male role models exist but are not emphasized in the media (Boles, 2007)

-Media Literacy develops critical thinkers and critical viewers (Thoman, 2003)

-Arts Ed w/ Multi-Media Technology engages youth to participate in rigorous curricula and also instills peer encouragement, perseverance, self-discipline and focus (Camerilie & Jackson, 2004)

-The skill of media analysis has also been found to increase reading comprehension (Hobbs & Frost)


-Culture-specific intervention inspires resiliency needed to counteract negative racial stereotypes, social oppression, interpersonal aggression (Belgrave, Reed, Plybon, Butler, Allison & Davis, 2004).

-Bilingualism and biculturalism are positively related to academic achievement (Lee, 2002)


-African American youth are disproportionately taken out of learning environments and placed in special ed and on campus suspension (Noguera, 2006)

-Nationwide an average of 50% dropout of high school (CRP, 2004)

-2/3 grow up in single parent households and without a father figure (Obama, 2007)

-Black youth make up 16% of the nation’s population and 38% percent are in detention and state correctional facilities (NCCD, 2007)

-Life expectancy has been shortened for black males due to gang violence and black-on-black crime (Noguera, 2008)

-Sometimes, regarding intervention, diversity isn’t always the right approach because culturally we encounter and experience different forms of oppression and prejudice (Sen, 2003)

African American Second Language - Swahili

Just as Italians have roots in Italy, Germans have roots in Germany, Chinese in China, Mexicans in Mexico, Jamaicans in Jamaica, etc., African Americans have roots in Africa. The African American lineage, begins in Africa and travels to many different continents including North America. It's important for African Americans to reconnect with their heritage and true roots. This reconnection and exploration can only enhance knowledge of self and culture, and increase our contribution to the diversity of America.

Kwanzaa, an African American celebration of culture, utilizes the Swahili language, to guide A
frican Americans in learning traditional cultural practices and principles.

g the medium of Video, learn basic Swahili here, the native language in Kenya, East Africa w/ Joe Maye.


Once you've completed these lessons, self-direct your learning of the Kenyan culture and many other cultures and richness our homeland, Africa, has to offer you. Please contribute those learnings here.


Shani (Swahili: Precious & Rare)
Anana (Swahili: Soft & Gentle)
Byard (Family Name: Given to us during slavery)

Black Youth and Media Influence

"Ensuring the future of the black male is critical, not just for African Americans, but for the prosperity, health and well-being of the entire American family." (Morial, 2007)  

Greetings Visionaries,

In April 2008, I conducted a research study with 23 African American high school dropouts & youth at risk of giving up on their education, (male and female, ages 14-21) on Media Influence. I also implemented a culture-specific, media literacy-based intervention curriculum entitled, "The HOPSCOTCH Element", with the same population. When promoting the study earlier this year, many of you expressed an interest in receiving the results. I am now able to provide a final copy of the study for you. 

The title of the study is, "52% DO NOT GRADUATE: EXAMINING MEDIA INFLUENCE ON THE VANISHING INNOVATORS OF OUR NATION". I've included the abstract below. A bound copy with accompanying HOPSCOTCH Element sample curriculum, can be mailed to you for a donation of $45.00, including shipping and handling. In addition to printing and distribution costs, all donations support further research efforts and program implementation. Donations are not tax-deductible at this time. If you would like to place an order, please email me with interest. If you know someone who would be interested in this information, please spread the word.

Additionally, if you are serving the population I am targeting and would like me to pilot the HOPSCOTCH Element, I would be honored to work with your youth.  Email me and let's schedule a time, free of charge.

Looking forward to hearing from you! Thanks in advance for your support.

In service,

Shani Byard, M.S.
Message Media Ed. - Innovators Uncovered

HOPSCOTCH ELEMENT - A Mixed Media Critical Thinking and Empowerment Series - RISE ABOVE THE NOISE

"Since new developments are the product of a creative mind, we must stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible" -- George Washington Carver


This is a Qualitative research study, created to examine the influence of the media (specifically TV and Music), on the self-image, purpose and potential of “at-risk” Black youth (ages 14-21). I also used a Participatory research design to support the concurrent and separate development of a cultural-specific, media literacy-based intervention program entitled, HOPSCOTCH Element (HE), aimed to address and resolve the social, academic and economic disparities amongst Black youth. Participants in this study either dropped-out of high school or are currently enrolled in an alternative or continuation secondary school (as the result of multiple suspensions, expulsion or involvement in criminal activity) and have been labeled or diagnosed “at-risk” or “special needs” (due to disruptive behavior, poor academic performance and/or too many unexcused absences) by Los Angeles Unified School District or LA County Office of Education. Results from this study confirm all youth participants 1) are attracted to and large users of TV and Musical media, 2) believe media advertisers strongly influence teens, either negatively or positively, 3) feel they receive[d] inadequate education pertaining to their culture in school and express exigency toward learning more about their African and African American heritage. Additionally, the research and data collected from this study support a critical need for the HOPSCOTCH Element, which combines 1) Multi-Media Arts Education, 2) African American Studies and 3) Career Mentoring (the 3-Pronged Approach), to intervene the outdated academic instruction - currently practiced within the public school system - to engage and empower Black youth to excel. Long-term outcomes for this 3-Pronged Approach are to minimize the academic achievement gap, support the social advancement of Black youth and successfully diversify the workforce of the 21stCentury and beyond. I wish to encourage advocates for and organizations engaged in public school reform, and who are privy to the plight of Black youth and other minority youth, to consider Cultural-Specific Intervention programming using this 3-Pronged Approach as well.