By Kyle Colley Let me make this clear, by all means you do not have to possess all these traits in order to be considered a successful black man in 2015, however if you observe a successful black man in today’s society many of these traits will be seen. Without further ado, here is the list for ten ways how to be a successful black man in 2015! 1) Know your African History To be a successful African American man in 2015, one must take the time to dive deep into history and understand where his people originated. Unfortunately, most schooling will provide little to no information about how our ancestors used the natural resources of Africa to build one of the earliest great empires. Most schooling will start our history at slavery so it is up to you to self-educate yourself on this very important history. I suggest reading books such as Nile Valley contributions to civilization and The Souls of Black Folk. Also, watch the mock-documentary Goodbye Uncle Tom just to name a few impactful studies. A black men that knows his history will be successful because he will understand that his people come from royalty, they are resilient and were capable of building two great functional lands. 2) Accept and learn from your history Face it, we were enslaved! Unless we cope and utilize what we learned from that captivity, we will continue to be enslaved mentally! A successful black man in 2015 understands the trials and tribulations our people have seen and continues to push for justice. A successful black man in 2015 is fueled by the words and actions of Nelson Mandela, Marcus Garvey and Tupac Skaukur (to name a few), to continue the legacy of proactive activism. 3) Understand that being black is a privilege In the great words of the late James Brown “I am Black and I’m proud!”. A successful black man in 2015 wears his black skin as a badge of honor and embraces the culture wholeheartedly. When one understands the privilege of his black skin, he will welcome challenges head on and successfully persevere because he will hear the voices of his ancestors telling him to march on. Once he realizes his black privilege, he will bestow his intellect and awaken consciousness to his fellow people. 4) Have militant tenderness What does it mean to have militant tenderness you may ask? Militant tenderness coined by Dr. Cornel West means to have an extreme, fiery passion for not only your life and goals but also for the people around you. A successful black man in 2015 loves hard and fights even harder for what he wants from life because nothing is given, it is earned. For you to really embrace number 4, you must ask yourself this question, What is love without passion? 5) Embrace your complexion/heritage The idea of Colorism is a social construct! Meaning, it only has meaning because society has given it one. Moreover, a successful black man in 2015, has an awareness of the Willie Lynch letter which states, “that if you separate slaves by age and color of their skin tone you will rule over them for 300 years!” (This theory was implemented in 1712, you should google and read the letter if you are unfamiliar). Safe to say that his theory has been well executed. However, a successful black man in 2015 embraces whatever his skin complexion is and understands that his skin tone makes him no different or better than anyone in his race or any other. Just remember that a house slave and a field slave are both still slaves! 6) Have a vision and a niche that will advance the progression of the race Regardless of race, all successful people must have a vision and or goal that they ambitiously pursue in order to stay focused in life. In 2015, a successful black man knows that he is not limited to being an athlete and or famous rapper to be considered a success and he works diligently to strengthens his abilities. A successful black man is also aware that by bettering himself, he is directly impacting his race in a positive light. With his strong presence, he will naturally influence and guide his race through his character. 7) Liberate yourself from mental slavery by educating the mind It is no secret that slavery has had a definite and significant impact on our mental well being. Moreover, it’s ambiguous to believe that slavery was more physically than mentally malevolent (I repeat, check out Goodbye Uncle Tom). However, as a successful black man in 2015, go beyond the formal education taught, and use your smartphones and computers to gain knowledge to become an expert in any field that you desire. By taking these steps, while most people in our generation use these devices for social personal reasons, you will have gained the leg up on the competition (a wise friend of mine use to always say, “I refuse to have a smartphone and be stupid!”). I recommend that you read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, if you are interested in how successful people think and yield full potential for themselves. 8) Have strong applied faith in a higher power The key word is applied because what is faith without action. (reluctantly I add) Drake said it best when he said, “I’m the type to say a prayer, then go get what I just prayed for.” Regardless of religious beliefs, a successful black man in 2015 devotes his faith in a higher power with infinite intelligence and follows his guidance to achieve success in every aspect of his life. 9) Sacrifice vanity for self awareness “Success is not something you pursue. Success is something you attract by the person you become,” these words from Jim Rohn, should be ingrained to memory by everyone that wants to succeed in life. Success is not the black lamborghini speeding down the highway, its the person that is stepping on the pedal of the black lamborghini speeding down the highway. It is important to highlight the words sacrifice vanity, because if you do not love and have a true awareness of yourself, materialistic objects will not love you either. A successful black man, sacrifices an abundance of valued objects, and invests his money in experiences, people and establishments he believes will improve the world he lives in. 10) Love and respect Last but certainly not least, having a loving and respectful heart/soul will aid a successful black men tremendously. If you have read into the laws of attractions, you would know that if you think and act positive, life’s positives will attract to you. By this law, if you expressive respect and love to others, the same will be expressive to you. Proverb: What you think is what you become period. Take a stand today to be a successful individual, believe it in your soul and it will have no choice but to manifest itself in all walks of your life. Wholeheartedly embody these important words from Benjamin E. Mays, “Not failure, but low aim is sin,” think and stay positive and success will become you. Kyle Colley is a rising sophomore political science major from Denver, Colorado who attends Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.