Welcome to my new column “Why You Should Be Reading…”
“Keep on keepin on kid….” – Bamma Brooks.
Those words radiated through me as I continued to read through the last few panels on the page.
I’m lost in Shaft # 4 and now that I’ve made it mid way through, I am reminded why my anticipation was so high. This comic is filling a void, a void that is much needed to be filled. Lately now a days we are strapped for media representing strong black men in any positive way, at least on a mainstream level! Truth is most of us are messed up, and how could we not be with the conditioning of society around us, praying on our delicate psyches.
Shaft as well is battling the odds in this book, coming home after the terrors of Vietnam trying to find his place in the world. He has killed more then he has and loved, and what he has loved has now been killed, causing him to go into a whirlwind of uncertainty. Add the pressures of his surroundings, and the ever stresses of selling out, you find him in a constant state of battling morality.
All of these things I certainly battle as well, obviously on a much smaller scale, but on a scale none the less. I have loved, I have lost and I too feel the constant pressures of selling myself short or “selling out”. I happen to be riding this roller coaster of life proud to have made it to my mid 20’s, yet I find myself thinking where do I go from here? How do I find my niche? How can I best use and enjoy my talents all the while maintaining some sort of ethics and morality in the process.
“Keep on Keepin on kid…” – Bamma Brooks
Shaft is on a similar journey, making a whole lot to be gained by following along and paying attention. Even a killer such as Shaft can operate with high morality, so anyone such as you or I should be up to the task. Shaft is trusted by the law while also being entrusted by the street, and trust, respect, and the addition of honor are 3 of the highest accolades a man could receive in his lifetime, yet success and safety are still not guaranteed.
I too one day hope to be regarded in such a way and I think all respectable men do as well. Thankful, I finish up this read and proceed to the back of the comic, I always find much joy in seeing and listening to the playlist that has been compiled for each issue. More strong tunes to keep the spirits high while doing a great job setting the scene for the journey we are embarking on. This piece of art is for anyone looking for a sense of understanding, not only of themselves but of the journeys we must all take with in our own lives.
We will find ourselves with good times along with bad times, and as our characters evolve we shall find ourselves wondering which way to go, or what road to take. Shaft shows us this and makes it very clear giving up cannot be an option, standing your ground improving you intelligence and continuing on the path of righteousness is a hard road with no promises. Yes, It’s a road less traveled but in these times a road very necessary to be taken, and personally i am proud shaft has given me a medium to take refuge in.
As I return the comic to its sleeve I make my way over to the shelf, placing it with its’ brethren in numerical order. Once safely stored I glance at Shaft # 1 which I was lucky enough to have signed at Emerald City Comicon. With a smile I enjoy a quick flashback of the knowledge dropped on me that day, I see it clearly represented in text form on my book plain as day, it simply reads:
“Justin – Keep on Keepin on” – David F. Walker
Thank You Mr. Walker.
– Grainbelt Jones
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