3rd Annual TENSE Summit Does it Again. Hundreds Support.TENSE Recap of Pictures, Videos, and Testimonies. Thanks Again. by Geoffrey Cooper and A. J. Donaldson

Posted by TENse on August 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

“To be honest man this TENSE S#*%…I mean stuff changed me bruh. My bad for cussing but that session had me thinking. This was a great use of my time. I didn’t want to come at first, but I figured I would come for the free food at least. Mr. Keith Glass f$%# me up…I’m sorry Keith Glass had me emotional” the young man words cut through my soul.

I wasn’t sure if I understood the level of his words until the Keynote Speaker Keith Glass pulled me aside and told me something that I would never forget. Keith Glass was moved by the TENSE Summit. But more importantly the TENSE Summit was moved by Keith Glass.

“Man, I was expelled from school” he told the room full of TENSE participants. “Nothing was funny about that” he said as if he wanted to cry. The room was so quiet you could hear the chill bumps pop on several bodies as it cooled the room. The ice was thick and no one wanted to break it.

TENSE Summit Planning

Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn't Work Hard

Brain Games


Getting into Morehouse College was supposed to be the crowning achievement of Keith Glass’ young scholastic career.
Growing up in Atlanta, he researched how Morehouse College’s student body played a fundamental role in the Civil Rights Movement, even producing revered alums civil rights pioneers like the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. He listened closely as locals described the institution as a pipeline for producing Rhodes Scholars, doctors, lawyers—men of distinction.
So, when his admission letter finally arrived in 2011, and he found out he wasn’t accepted, it nearly shattered his world.
“I was feeling really down,” Glass said. “Anytime you’re told no to something you really want, it’s always a bad feeling.”
Keith told the Summit audience that it was this moment that defined his response to failure. “I refused to quit” Glass said.
Glass had few options: take the knockout and accept defeat; or get up off the mat and regroup.
Thankfully, Glass chose latter.
Fast forward to 2014, and the incoming Morehouse College freshman and motivational speaker took the audience to inTENSE levels as he had everyone on the edge of their seats. “I could feel their energy” Glass said.
“I felt like Keith was talking directly to me” one youth said. “I couldn’t understand how he survived, but then I thought I too can make it if he made it. To be honest my heart is racing right now with tears of joy” a young lady said.
Glass, 22, said his focal point was in his address was to encourage students to pursue their dreams—confidently—and accept responsibility if they falter. That’s something Glass admits he failed to do during high school.
Glass fit the profile like many of his peers growing up in Atlanta—lived in a one-person household; absent father; surrounded by rampant drugs and crime.
“I’m someone a lot of people counted out,” Glass said, adding that stunted his confidence and gave him more reason to not take school serious.
“I didn’t value education,” Glass said. “Education was something that me, and a lot of people in my neighborhood, didn’t see anything to do with our everyday life.
“Ultimately, no one denied me. I denied myself.”
He said he viewed his denial into Morehouse College as part of a bigger plan—to encourage children to make success a part of their everyday lives.

TENSE Summit Registration



ME4UT Support

Ready for the day

Great NIA Leadership

Leslie Upton helping students

Leading the Blind?”]

Thanks to our TENSE Support

TENSE Presenter Changed Lives

Keith and the Kids

John gets a break to smile. Hard work paid off.

Take a long drive through Knoxville, and John Baldwin says it’s only a matter of time before one will notice some disturbing divisions.
The 2012 University of Tennessee-Knoxville graduate notes that the city’s divide shines a light on its major social and economic disparities. While West Knoxville continues to thrive, East Knoxville is considered a hotbed for widespread poverty.
Rather than remain idle, Baldwin, 23, is returning to his alma mater to continue his service, outreach, and self-discovery through this year’s TENSE Summit.
The Summit piqued his interest but wasn’t exactly sure how impactful it would be.
After that Summit concluded, one thing was certain—he was a believer.
“I was surprised by the (Summit’s) effect it had on our audience,” Baldwin said. “The content was strong and it harnessed strong community support. I realized this was something special and it wasn’t your typical event.”
“With (the TENSE Summit), all of these people have these special traits. They’re all intense in various ways. All of these people have gone through obstacles to get where they are.
“The beauty of it is, they live intense because they understand it’s not about them … I’m in debt to serving to others. I know I would not be where I am if someone else didn’t help me somewhere along the way,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin said his work with the TENSE Summit helped him further discover there’s a drastic need for youth development. He said he understands how important that concept is, especially in impoverished communities—where minorities like African-Americans reside.
As a student at Tennessee, Baldwin said the black community was small and opportunities for individual mentoring were slim. Partnering with the TENSE Summit was a way to connect with like-minded people for a common goal—reaching at-risk youth.
“We’re all on the same playing field saying, ‘Here’s our message,’” Baldwin said.
Because of faith, Baldwin said his goal to becoming a doctor is within Baldwin’s reach. Yet, he knows his success is limited if he’s not able to reach back and help others get to the top.
Baldwin said coming back to the Nashville area to pursue medicine helped widen his eyes to the social and economic ills his hometown continues to face. He said he wants to implement a similar community outreach initiative like the TENSE Summit in Nashville.
“There’s a same need for that (attention) in Nashville like we‘re giving in Knoxville,” Baldwin said. “I believe we can make drastic change. “ As African-Americans, we have to give back just more than money. We have to give our time, our mentorship, our talents, and time to develop (younger generations).”

Lyric Flood and Jeremy Flood drive 15 hours to present

Most languages are often complex, layered with words that hold multiple meanings and often difficult to decipher.
The consequence is thick barriers which, unfortunately, stunt meaningful interaction.
For Lyric Flood and Jeremy Williams, music is considered the supreme language. Whether it’s the lyrics from head-banging, heavy metal rock, or the supersonic bass melodies of hip-hop, both agree: music binds, inspires, transforms, and defies systems in place.
“If power (of music) is the ability to influence or change behavior, then it’s one of the most powerful tools,” Flood said. “It’s something you can’t stop or shut out.”
The educator-duo from Houston ventured to Knoxville as guest speakers for the TENSE Summit to challenge hundreds of students to think critically about the music they consume. The ever-expanding genre of hip-hop was the focus of the discussion, as Flood and Williams dissected how the art form continues to play a pivotal role in shaping young minds.
“Now, it’s a contest of ‘How flashy can I be,’ and ‘Can I tell you how much I have?,” he said. “I want (children) to think critically and ask questions (of the artist). So when they hear something on the radio, they ask ‘Why is (this artist) being played so much. What makes (this song) more appealing to a radio listener than another song?’”
When it comes to integrating music into daily instruction, it’s a notion Williams fully adopts. Williams–a teaching leadership development manager for Houston’s Teach for America corps—said he’s seen some of his colleagues use rap lyrics from artists like Lauryn Hill in their lesson plans to discuss literary concepts like rhyme, tempo, and verse.
“When the kids are using something like that … it is sometimes easily transferable (versus) something they may not be familiar with, like Shakespeare or Moby Dick,” he said.
Williams said a majority of the kids at the Summit easily identify with hip-hop, because it’s embedded into their daily lives. However, he said, it’s up to them to form a stream of consciousness beyond the beats.
“(Music) can have an effect on … how you perceive the world,” Williams said. “Every time a song comes on, and they start to bob their head because the bass is loud or the beat sounds nice, we want them to be mindful enough to listen to a song and really ask themselves, ‘What is this song asking me to do?”


DJ Stearl The Pearl Show TENSE Love with Chris Wiley and Sedrick Twitty


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TENSE Summit Announces Youngest Keynote Speaker Ever. REGISTER NOW for (25 days away) 3rd Annual TENSE Summit

Posted by TENse on July 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

“Who is the Keynote Speaker Keith Glass?” a young lady asked.

I saw Keith Glass in Atlanta, GA. He received a surprised scholarship for over $7,000 from his former teacher Warren.

“I asked ‘Who is Keith Glass?’” the young lady clarified the question.

“I didn’t ask where you met Keith Glass” she made her point more clear.

At the time he was a kid with a dream to attend Morehouse College. I was less impressed by the money Warren raised and more interested at Keith’s reaction to the money raised. The room fell silent for what seemed like an eternity. As time elapsed the crowd wondered if the young man was grateful.

“Why is he so quiet?” I thought to myself.

“Ummm…Who is Keith Glass?” the young lady was impatient.

I asked her to be patient. Two full uncomfortable minutes evaporated until Keith’s voice cracked. His eyes stayed open to fight back tears. He was too emotional to speak. He hugged his mentor as cameras flashed and hundreds clapped. We all smiled for 30 seconds, but no one could’ve predicted what Keith would say next. What he said next changed the course of the moment. We discovered the story of Keith Glass?


Well I asked him to tell me who he was 6 months after we left Atlanta and this is what the young man had to say:

“My name is Keith “Mr.46″ Glass, and I was born and raised in Atlanta GA. I am a 2011 graduate from South Atlanta High School of Law and Social Justice. I continued my education at Georgia Perimeter College and just recently been accepted into Morehouse College for Fall 2014. After graduating high school, I discovered my passion for public speaking, but more specifically I discovered my passion to be the voice of the unheard. The following school year, I went back to my middle school, Price Middle School, where I founded my first mentoring program entitled “Males on the Move”. In 2013 I went on to start an organization and empowerment tour entitled “The Rise from 46″ with the mission to motivate and incentivize at risk youth in the Metro Atlanta school districts. I also serve as an ambassador for Teach for America, an organization leading the movement of closing the achievement gap. I have addressed over 3,000 teachers and students and had the honor of being the opening act for John Legend at one of his concerts in Atlanta. I live to serve others and being an inspiration to those who doubt their own abilities is what continues to push me to persevere. A quote that I live by is ” I Didn’t Wait for an Opportunity, I Created One” and I instill that idea into all those who I am fortunate enough to encounter.”

Supporting TENSE Summit is EASY as 1, 2, 3…

1. REGISTER FOR TENSE SUMMIT 2014 or someone else for the 3rd Annual TENSE Summit
For GROUP REGISTRATION: Email us at tensesummit@gmail.com


2. Donate TO TENSE SUMMIT 2014 any amount directly to TENSE at
Email us at tensesummit@gmail.com.





Saturday, August 23, 2014
9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
University of Tennessee
James A. Haslam II Business Building
1000 Volunteer Blvd
Knoxville, TN 37996

Follow TENSE on Twitter and get it FIRST@ajTENsejournal
Also Email TENSE Team or submit articles at tennsejournal@gmail.com
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View TENSE Summit Pics on Instagram @tensesummit
Email tensesummit@gmail.com


Will You Attend/Support (30 days away) 3rd Annual TENSE Summit? PICTURES!!! VIDEOS!!! and PROGRESS!!! Please REGISTER/DONATE by TENN

Posted by TENse on July 22, 2014 in Uncategorized


Supporting TENSE Summit is as easy as 1, 2, 3…

1. Donate any amount directly to TENSE at DONATE TO TENSE Email us at tensesummit@gmail.com.

2. Support TENSE via GO FUND ME (students) to help students travel to TENSE from Houston, TX. They have already raised over $500. They need your help. GO FUND ME

3. TENSE SUMMIT REGISTRATION. Register yourself or someone else for the 3rd Annual TENSE Summit at www.tensesummit.org. Email us at tensesummit@gmail.com.. We’d love to see you there!

What has TENSE done to raise money?

View pictures below to see our TENSE Summit FUNDRAISER efforts.

Mr. Donaldson and Ms. Sanchez’s former students GO FUND ME CAR WASH

Click the link below to donate!

Help Mr. A.J. Donaldson's and Ms. Kellee Sanchez's former students travel from Houston, TX to Knoxville, TN for the 3rd Annual TENSE Summit. Lets make both these teachers and their former students dreams come true as they reconnect for a purpose and promise honored to them years ago. Please support this initiative. We cannot do this without you.

Show your support by donating any amount to our GO FUND ME account. Every dollar counts.


Read the review and view pictures from this amazing event!


What does TENSE need from you?

I am writing to you on behalf of TENSE Summit Community Outreach Committee. TENSE, Teaching to Eliminate Negative Stereotypes through Education, is a non-profit organization where we intend to counter the pathological culture of young people with E.M.S. (Education, Music, and Style). We will be hosting our 3rd Annual Summit on Saturday, August 23, 2014. Please click to watch a video that further explains our mission. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiqhRdr4rZo

Upon returning to their respective locations, the attendees will be able to showcase their new wealth of knowledge to their communities as well as positive memories and lessons from their experience at the Summit. As a parting gift we would like to provide gift bags to our 250 attendees. This is where we are in need of your help. We are in need of reusable shopping bags and items to put in our gift bags. Some of the items that we are looking for are as follows:
250 backpacks
250 lime green or black socks
250 pens and pencils
200 rubber wrist bands
USB Flash Drives
We believe that these items will help encourage our participants to tap into their creative sides.

Please see below for the benefits you will receive as a sponsor of the 3rd TENSE Summit.


You can also donate any amount at www.tensesummit.org. I would like to thank you for considering this opportunity to partner with our organization. If you have any questions regarding our organization or the project itself, please feel free to contact me at the address given above or at tensesummit@gmail.com.

Live Your Life in TENSE,

A.J. Donaldson, Founder and Director, TENSE Summit


Saturday, August 23, 2014
9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
University of Tennessee
James A. Haslam II Business Building
1000 Volunteer Blvd
Knoxville, TN 37996

Follow TENSE on Twitter and get it FIRST
Also Email TENSE Team or submit articles at tennsejournal@gmail.com
Follow TENN on Instagram @ajtenn
View TENSE Summit Pics on Instagram @tensesummit
Email tensesummit@gmail.com


TENSE Journal Presents: TENSE Summit OXYMORON Open Mic Fundraiser Pictures and Recap (Coming Soon Saturday,August 23, 2014) by TENN

Posted by TENse on July 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

Friday, July 4, 2014 at exactly 7:38 p.m., the Sky Box on Gay Street was filled with 21 candles, 21 pieces of original art, 21 performers, 21 TENSE volunteers, and ummm…ok I can’t think of anything else that captured the essence of “21.” However the ambiance was set for an unforgettable night. The OXYMORON: GOOD INTENTIONS, BAD DECISIONS had another standing-room-only crowd of TENSE supporters throughout the night with hundreds of dollars raised for the TENSE Summit. DONATE HERE

Rewind to 7:08 p.m.: TENSE supporters strolled in on time. Sir Marlon Brooks a.k.a DJ Slyme provided the perfect music to accentuate the ambiance. August Alsina blared from the speakers, “I’m way too young to be living like this. Ask me why I do it? I’ma put it like this….” The mood was set. The room filled up as fingers snapped and the flames flickered. The lights were dim but the spot light beamed center stage. It was show time.

Ladies and gents welcome Maarefa Arnette. “Brotha you up first!” I announced. Anxiously, Maarefa meandered through the crowd without hesitation. “This is what I do. Say no more,” he said as he grabbed the microphone. Polly J was next as she lit up the room; her entourage of 20 chanted as she approached the spotlight. “Polly! Polly! Polly!” they screamed in unison. I believe they were there for Polly J.
Courageous had the gumption to glide from the furthest corner of the room to make his presence known. His extended entrance did not disappoint. The ladies giggled and whispered as he spoke languages of love. Black Atticus was no rookie to the spoken word scene; the crowd chattered about his previous performances before he ever reached the stage. A seductive poem written by OXYMORON artist coordinator Natiah Finnikin was performed by Carla Rogers. It was an excerpt from Finnikin’s play Mrs. Magaha Boarding House adapted from Sandra Donaldson’s book “This is Between Us.” S.T.A.R.R sung about the pain of the struggle but spoke about the grind to riches. The crowd sat and stood still as Sanford a.k.a Smitty, Brendan Javon, Warren, Josh Outsey and Tiekel Finnikin sang songs that pushed to the depths of their souls.
9:57 p.m.: DJ Slyme energized the supporters with a series of line dance tunes: The Wobble, Electric Slide Cupid Shuffle, DJ Unk’s 2 Step, and the Nae Nae.
11:30 p.m.: TENSE team and volunteers Deidra Harper, Laukia Houston, Brittany Anthony, Jenae Anderson, Eric Stokes, Shaunie King, and plethora of other supporters sat on the couches after the last group of patrons departed the in TENSE experience. We sat long enough to hear some say “So when is the TENSE Summit again?” We laughed as we thought about the question. We laughed even harder before one of us had the energy to simply say “the TENSE Summit is Saturday, August 23, 2014.” (REGISTER HERE) In the end it was good reminder to remember why we gathered there in the first place. We did it again. First Raleigh, NC, then Houston, TX, and now Knoxville, TN. From the bottom of our heart, TENSE Summit thanks you for everything. Where will we take the TENSE Open Mic Experience next?



Saturday, August 23, 2014
9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
University of Tennessee
James A. Haslam II Business Building
1000 Volunteer Blvd
Knoxville, TN 37996

Follow TENSE on Twitter and get it FIRST
Also Email TENSE Team or submit articles at tennsejournal@gmail.com
Follow TENN on Instagram @ajtenn
View TENSE Summit Pics on Instagram @tensesummit


TENSE Journal Presents:The Billion Dollar Racket…I Meant Billion Dollar Bracket:Why College Athletes Who Can’t Read Should Take the Money and ‘Run Forest Run’ by TENN(back from hiatus)

Posted by TENse on April 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

“I heard NCCU basketball coach Levelle Moton got offered more money by other schools” I told a prominent athlete. He was into sports no matter what school. He followed NCCU’s amazing NCAA tournament story on ESPN. They were in the NCAA tournament for the first time ever.
“I’m not surprised” he said.
“Most Coaches take the dream job” he continued.
“Can you read?” I asked the 300-pound gifted gladiator and collegiate champion at a MAJOR university. This had nothing to do with anything I said.
“What?” he asked. He looked at me as if I was the wrong person asking the wrong question.
“Can you read?” I was in danger of losing a friend and possibly gaining an enemy. I wasn’t thinking about his feelings. I was running off of passion. I wanted to get to the point.
“Dude if you don’t get out of my face with that mumbo jumbo,” he smiled to disguise his anger. I didn’t get an answer, but then again he never gave me one either. He never said he couldn’t read, but then again he never said he could.

“May the odds ever be in your favor.”
-Hunger Games

Let me back the story up a little.

Facebook Post
March 31 at 6:57pm

“…Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Aaron Gordon, and any other lottery freshman please take the money and not the education. I am not being sarcastic. I support early departure if they won’t pay you at school…”
-anonymous 1

Facebook Response
April 2 at 8:31 am

“’in all thy getting, get understanding… I am sorry to hear this perspective… What about what is optimal for them and for society? If everyone just does what is best for them then this whole world goes to hell in a hand basket and quick.”

-anonymous 2

Reflecting on this response from an anonymous writer, I realized this person had a good point. If we all served our own interest then we as a society will perish from selfishness. The word that stuck with me was ‘optimal.’ What is ‘optimal?’ What is optimal for society? In other words, how do we maximize value to best serve society? I reckon this is the thesis of the anonymous writer’s argument. We disagreed but he had a good point.

What are ‘dumb jocks’ worth? My educated people would argue that an education is more valuable than money. But ask those same educated people with student loans if their debt was worth the degree and you may get a different answer. But I digress. Let’s focus on the optimal task at hand.

1.) Sometimes what is optimal for “society” isn’t as important as to what is optimal for one’s own family and an oppressed people ((i.e. black, brown, red, and occasionally our white workers) who represent parts of the whole society. So then we must ask do we satisfy the whole (society) before we satisfy the parts (underserved people) of that whole? or do we serve the parts (people) before we satisfy the whole (institutions)? or are the two inseparable, thus do we serve both? The anonymous writer would agree with the latter, “optimal for them and society.” However, my concern is reserved for “the least of thee” and 21-year old men who can’t read despite their acceptance into a MAJOR accredited University. Illiteracy is not optimal to society, but we can’t ignore that same society didn’t teach them (illiterate athletes) to read. What does this mean? This means uneducated men has a better chance (odds) of creating an optimal opportunity for their family and self rather than expect a “society” that has failed them for generations to support them in an optimal way.

Perhaps President JFK disagrees with me too “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” –John F. Kennedy.

Does it make sense to serve a country (society) that didn’t teach you how to read before you serve yourself? You beat the odds despite the lack of resources. And I am not blaming the country but rather, I am looking at the whole versus the parts of the whole, the oppressed (illiterate man) vs oppression (societal failed education system). Is this selfish? No, because you can’t help society until you help yourself and family first.

“May the odds ever be in your favor.”

2.) High School Basketball Players: 545,844

High School Senior Basketball Players: 155,955

NCAA Student Basketball Players: 17,500

Average NCAA Freshman Roster Positions: 5000

NCAA Student Athletes Drafted: 48

% High School to NCAA: 3.2%

% NCAA to Professional: 1.2%

% High School to NBA: 0.03%

(Courtney Campbell, www. traintoball.com)

To add to these stats I would add the graduation rates of our urban youth in this society.

“The report finds that the 47 percent national graduation rate for black males is nearly 28 percentage points lower than that for white males. In 10 states, the report said the graduation rate gap exceeds 30 percentage points, led by Wisconsin, with a gap of 51 percentage points between the graduation rates of white males and black males.” (By Tim Weldon, CSG Policy Analyst)

Now apparently what’s respectable is to graduate from high school or college and apply what you learned to society in the most optimal way. In business, we are taught that with any investment the greater the risk the greater the reward, but in life the lesser the odds the greater the return. For instance everyone signed up for the Billion Dollar bracket sponsored by Billionaire Warren Buffet. The odds of guessing every team right in the bracket was 9.2 quintillion to 1. I repeat 9.2 quintillion to 1. This opportunity was free but the odds increased exponentially. The cost for opportunity to win a free billion dollars was impossible odds. In other words you could not win even if you were given a billion chances.

How does this relate to student employees taking the money over the education? By capitalizing on a less than one or two percent chance by entering the NBA before being subjected to injury, sex scandal (i.e Jameis Winston whose speech was mocked by educated fans), or gift violations (Peter Ward, Reggie Bush, Johnny Manziel, and more) I would argue they are optimizing their opportunity and society’s too by creating an avenue for a group of people with less odds in life to overturn their socioeconomic condition. To forego that rare chance is in fact criminal and more likely to send us to hell in a hand basket. Everyone doesn’t get those chances. Actually, i stand corrected: everyone DOES get those chances (odds) but not everyone wins them.

Look at what happened to Marcus Smart. He almost lost everything by coming back to school. Even though, he made the decision to push a wealthy fan who could afford front row season seats, that almost cost student “employee” Marcus Smart his livelihood, not a season ticket. He was a #1 or #2 pick last year. This year he dropped to like #8 or #9. Big deal? Who cares he still getting drafted? Well would we have this same conversation if Smart didn’t get drafted? Ok better yet where is Maurice Clarret? What about the other Ohio State players who sold their championship rings? Where is Lynn Bias? Did we forget about the great dunker of all time, Earl Manigault? My point being its a tragedy student “employees” (who can’t read) are held to a higher standard by an organization (NCAA) that don’t hold the same standard for themselves.

“Can you read?” I asked one more time before he rose to intimidate me. I wasn’t afraid but his shadow sent the message.

“I gave you 3 chances to stop talking to me crazy” he warned me. He was right. I had taken it too far. After all he was on pace to enter the NFL draft.

“You did give me a chance. I apologize. ‘May the odds ever be in your favor’”

I was certain he hadn’t READ the Hunger Games.


DONATE TO TENSE Summit HERE: Its never too late www.tensesummit.org
3rd Annual TENSE Summit Saturday, August 23, 2014 University of Tennessee
Follow TENSE on Twitter and get it FIRST @ajTENsejournal Also Email TENSE Team or submit articles at tennsejournal@gmail.com
Follow TENN on Instagram @ajtenn View TENSE Summit Pics on Instagram @tensesummit

For more on this topic click here to watch

REAL Sports Episode on Academics in Sports (UNC,Memphis, etc..)



TENSE Journal Presents:”TENSE Summit 2013 Recap:From the Eyes of Young Brother” by Geoffrey Cooper

Posted by TENse on August 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Big brothers often carry a heavy weight of responsibility in our society. As the younger sibling in my family, I can attest.

Between the two of us, my older brother was often the first to get in trouble with my parents – even if I was the one caught red-handed. Somehow, the blame would always circle back to him as my parents scolded, “You should have watched after your brother.”

Tough break for him.

Yet, I’ll admit, there’s a certain badge of honor connected to being the older sibling.

Accomplishing feats like being the top athlete, scoring A’s on that report card, or getting into that stellar college is enough to make any parent beam with pride. They believe their older child’s accomplishments are also theirs because of good parenting.

In return, parents hope the actions of their older kids rub positively on the younger ones.

This Saturday, I traveled to Knoxville for some positive action with my big brother, A.J.”Donaldson, for the 2nd annual TENSE Summit. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s James A. Haslam Business Building was full with conscious minded volunteers, local and abroad, connected with youth and young adults through discussions on education, music, and style.

It was like some movie reel made real as I witnessed his vision flash with florescent lime green colors throughout the building. Over 200 participants rustled through the halls with excitement and purpose. As I looked at AJ it was obvious he had no time to bask in his own achievement. It was strange. While everyone seem to celebrate the success of the summit it seemed my big brother smiled to mask a deeper thought. He didn’t seem satisfied. For some reason he looked like he expected more and that this was just the beginning. But what else could he be up to?

The TENSE (Teaching to Eliminate Negative Stereotypes through Education) Summit is Donaldson’s brainchild, partnering with former high school classmates to bring the summit to fruition in 2010 yet the first summit was held 2012. Donaldson, a Knoxville native, steps into that big brother role as a mentor, encouraging self-expression, confidence and awareness among his younger peers.

Across the nation, we continue to witness a practiced apathy toward public education and deterioration of its schools, particularly in majority black communities. Alarming dropout rates, plummeting test scores and the lack of quality teachers have become a normality and continue to cripple our young children before they even have chance to compete in society.

Big brothers – particularly in these black communities – are one of many lifelines who ensure our youth can thrive without interruption. Positive role models in those troubled neighborhoods can mobilize youth to steer clear from the gangs, say “no” to drugs, excel in school, and sow fruitful seeds for future generations.

I’m not saying these individuals can and should bear the job as the superhero, swooping down with their mask and cape to “save the day” every waking moment. These troubled times call for more hands on the deck.

Still, when a problem occurs and the stakes are high, two options are readily available – stand on the sidelines and do nothing or take action.

Thankfully, I have a big brother who defy the status quo and go with the latter. I never knew what he was thinking behind the appropriate smile and nor did I bother to ask. Why? Because sometimes a younger brother would rather not see, instead of a sneak peak we just believe. However, when asked how he managed to put together such a monumental event. His response was more serious than ever,

“If you honestly believe I did this alone with over 20 lime green shirts surrounding the room and over 200 people sitting in those chairs, and a random DJ scratching records in the back of the room for free, then I must admit my friend you really need to stop waiting on superman” he said as the audience chimed with light hearted laughter. The mood was sober.

I suppose my big brother doesn’t want to be Superman but I doubt he will ever be Clark Kent.

2nd Annual TENSE Summit Saturday, August 24, 2013 University of Tennessee DONATE PLEASE www.tensesummit.org if you missed the chance to HELP the TENSE MOVEMENT. WE STILL NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO HELP MORE YOUTH!!!


Follow TENSE on Twitter and get it FIRST @ajTENsejournal

Also Email TENSE Team or submit articles at tennsejournal@gmail.com

Follow TENN on Instagram @ajtenn View TENSE Summit Pics on Instagram @tensesummit

Geoffrey Cooper is a seasoned writer, reporter, columnist, and graduate student at VCU. Please feel free to email him through tennsejournal@gmail.com or follow him on twitter

WATCH TENSE SUMMIT 2013 HERE with music provided by @7th SOANA

TENSE Summit 2013

The 2nd Annual TENSE. Summit of 2013 made the press! Take a look at the mentions and share with your friends, family and colleagues!

WATE – TV- 6: http://www.wate.com/story/23246918/young-volunteers-hold-tense-summit-to-try-and-stop-youth-violence

KNOX NEWS: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/aug/24/youth-learn-strategies-for-success-at-tense/


WBIR – TV: http://www.wbir.com/news/article/285856/2/UT-hosts-educational-summit

ALL FOOD for TENSE Summit was provided by The Taste of Heaven Soul Food and Catering
To have this professional groups serve your organization please contact:
Master Chef Lonnie Cornelius (865) 951- 5922
PO Box 20012
Knoxville, TN 37940

get tickets ASAP www.forbiddenretreat.com


TENSE Journal Presents:Scholar/Activist Dr. D’Weston Haywood Announced TENSE Summit(Aug 24th)Keynote Speaker “The Time is Now” by Geoffrey Cooper

Posted by TENse on July 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

For D’Weston Haywood, the classroom is where he feels most at home.

Armed with a chalkboard, ambitious lesson plans, and rich idealism, the 30-year-old college professor wants to challenge his pupils daily to unleash their academic prowess and erase the status quo. Despite harsh fiscal cuts nationwide to public education, Haywood continues his pursuit unfazed, knowing that teaching isn’t just another 9 to 5 gig, it’s a moral duty.

Haywood will bring his messages of empowerment and “seizing the moment” to hundreds of young black men and women next month as the keynote speaker of TENSE Summit 2013. The TENSE (Teaching to Eliminate Negative Stereotypes through Education) Summit is the brainchild of Knoxville native Anthony “A.J.” Donaldson, a close friend of Haywood.

Donaldson – a graduate of Austin-East High School and currently a public school teacher in Houston – partnered with former classmates to bring the summit to fruition in 2010. Haywood said he first learned of the summit from Donaldson as the movement was still gaining traction. Haywood said Donaldson’s sense of urgency regarding the direction of today’s youth and his unselfishness to serve the people of Knoxville were cues for him to also aid the cause.

The summit aims to connect with youth and young adults through discussions on topics concerning education, music, and style – three pillars Haywood says is critical among the development of today’s children.

Haywood said he remains concerned with the country’s continued apathy toward education, particularly at inner city public schools, which are often majority black. He said the trends of low test scores and college placement, and dismal high school graduation rates will continue to hinder black youth if more advocacy is not pursued.

“Knowing how A.J. is, and knowing how committed the brother is to executing the things he sets his mind to, I just knew it was a matter of time before it materialized,” Haywood said. “I like (Donaldson’s) idea of bridging what would otherwise seem like these very separate categories of education, style and ambition, and putting it all together to bring it back to young people.”

Haywood grew up in middle-class home in southeast Raleigh, N.C., learning the value of education early on by his grandmother and mother – a principal of an elementary school and a social worker respectively. Despite the exposure, Haywood said he often struggled academically and socially while a student at Southeast Raleigh High School.

Graduating in 2001 with a low GPA and few college choices, Haywood said he knew he had to make a change. Haywood credits mentors like his former high school teacher, William Walker, for the about face.

“He pulled me to the side and said, “Hey, stop! Stop what you’re doing and get it together,” Haywood said. “It was him pulling me back and pulling me in under his wing that really reshaped me life. What he was able to do for me through his own teachings made me want to be a teacher.”

Haywood double majored in political science and history at North Carolina Central University, a public historically black university located in Durham, N.C. It was there he sculpted his leadership skills and social consciousness, serving as student leader and activist, notably Student Government President during his senior year. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in May 2005 with high honors.

After graduation, Haywood ventured into educational initiatives and speaking engagements targeting at-risk young black males. Haywood would later pursue his master’s degree and a Ph.D. in American History from Northwestern University, focusing his research on black culture, black masculinity in America, social institutions, and gender. He currently serves as a tenure-track assistant professor of history at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

With the summit in its second year, Haywood said his message to the younger crowd will deal with the importance of education and that finding their path in life will often take time – something Haywood knows all too well.

“It’s truly a journey,” Haywood said. “You start on the path thinking, ‘I know the trajectory. I know the endpoint. I’m going there.’ Then you realize during the process there’s so many detours and so many times you miss your exit.

“You might complete one leg of the race, but there’s more laps,” he said.

TENSE Summit 2013 will happen from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on August 24 at the James A. Haslam II Business Building on the campus of University of Tennessee-Knoxville. The event is free to the public. Those interested in attending can register at www.tensesummit.org.

DONATE TO TENSE Summit HERE: Its never too late www.tensesummit.org

2nd Annual TENSE Summit Saturday, August 24, 2013 University of Tennessee REGISTER NOW!

Follow TENSE on Twitter and get it FIRST @ajTENsejournal Also Email TENSE Team or submit articles at tennsejournal@gmail.com

Follow TENN on Instagram @ajtenn View TENSE Summit Pics on Instagram @tensesummit

Geoffrey Cooper is a seasoned writer, reporter, columnist, and graduate student at VCU. Please feel free to email him through tennsejournal@gmail.com or follow him on twitter

WATCH TENSE SUMMIT 2013 HERE with music provided by @7th SOANA


TENSE Journal Presents: (TENSE Summit Coming Soon…Aug 24th Edition) Moore Men Rereat (FINAL Part 2 and 3) by TENSE

Posted by TENse on July 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

The young men beamed with excitement as we consolidated cars and piled into them. There was an informal rule of a 5 person minimum to travel with us to the top. This unexpected rule was symbolic: “If you have room then use that space. Don’t travel alone. If a man needs a ride give him one, especially if you are headed in the same direction. Because if he doesn’t make it there then the man who made it with the most space will be held accountable.” It was proverbial to say the least. It was dark by the time we reached the base portion of the mountain’. We were all exhausted from the cross country flights and travel so we tried to get as much nap time on the road as possible but sleep was impossible. We had so much to talk about and catch up on, so much to plan. Maide showed his dedication as a mentor, going on 48hrs with no sleep after flying from L.A. and it showed.

We stopped by a Kroger grocery store to grab some last minute items for the mentees. Thomas’ brother was the cook and he was particular about the food he prepared. One of the goals for the weekend was to elevate the taste palate of the young men by introducing them to food they never had before. However when we got to the store, Thomas realized he forgot his wallet in white mesh bag at the mansion.

“You put it in the garage.” I said, vividly remembering Thomas’ motions at the house..

“Really?” asked Thomas asked.

“Yeah, I saw the bag but had no idea your wallet was there.” I laughed. But at this point money was not an issue. We had bigger fish to fry, eighteen hungry young men looking for
change. We made it work. Money should never hinder a vision. The purpose is more important than the purse.

We returned to the car with all the requested goods. Maide was so tired he reached to the middle of the console with his right hand to buckle his seatbelt. I watched him try desperately to clasp a seatbelt that was never there. In fact I never knew of any car with seatbelts in the middle. I tapped his shoulder.

“Umm…you do realize the seatbelt is on the other side?” I said it loud enough for Thomas to hear. We all busted out laughing from fatigue. It was the comic relief we needed.

The road winded up the hill for 17 long minutes. The higher we got the more excited we became. This was destined to be an amazing weekend. The higher we got, the more removed from civilization we became. This was a good thing.

“Alright guys, I need everyone front and center,” commanded Thomas with a voice that was distinct but stern.

“Now you have all gathered here for one reason and one reason only. You want to take your life to the next level. You want to be a better man without excuse.” He said.


“What is the meaning of “mentor”?

mĕn’ – tŏr: a wise and trusted counselor or teacher

Statistics show that:

• 2,712 babies are born into poverty a day.
• 85% of African American children are reading below grade point level
• 2,857 high school students drop out daily.

How will your child be positively impacted?” Thomas spit facts rapidly as if he had committed each statistics pertaining to their lives to memory.

But there was something else behind that type of memory. It was the memory of someone who learned those numbers for their own rehabilitation. It was as if he remembered those numbers in an effort to forget those personal memories that made him remember them.

“In other words we are here to break the cycle” he summed up his presentation.

I was standing to the side with a neon green TENSE t-shirt, a t-shirt that he helped design as a TENSE affiliate, a shirt that represented everything we were trying to do. However, the Moore Men Retreat was designed by Thomas and he had a mission in mind.

“hand me that box” Thomas asked without using a question mark. I took no offense because I understood the severity of the situation. In time of crisis there is no time emotions and egos. The work is always more important than the person.

I walked over to grab a box. I wasn’t sure what was in it but I knew this was the induction ceremony. I opened the box and all I saw were freshly packaged white business shirts with ties. Each man was called up by name and given a shirt and tie free of charge. This was an amazing gesture and the mood of the room shifted instantly as the young men faces lit up as they unwrapped their “presents.” However there was one shirt remaining in the box. With a disappointing look we put the shirt and tie aside and replaced the name of the original owner with a kid that was added to the retreat at the last minute. There was a 1 second moment of silence for the young man that never showed up. Time stopped for 1 second but life went on. It was obvious he didn’t show up.

The shirt and ties were designed to prepare them for their unofficial interviews the next day, which was the beginning of a grueling process.

We woke up bright and early for breakfast and listened to the keynote speaker who charged up the young men and motivated them to take charge of their lives. The next hour, they went through four interviews by several intense interviewers, undergoing a series of heavy-duty questions and suggestions for their path. They had to edit and re-edit their resumes several times before submitting to an employer.

“Sir, how does my resume look?” asked a young man with a thick Georgia accent. I read the resume and told him it looked as good as it could look ten minutes before an interview.
He smiled but I could tell he was nervous. We were men of business and nothing less than excellence would be tolerated at the retreat and each of the young men knew that. We wanted the best from them and for them. Thomas exuded that kind of energy and it spread throughout the camp.

The interview ended and the young men received personal feedback. It was candid but constructive feedback. Each young man had an opportunity to ask questions and get help in a safe environment. It was something special to witness the humility of men; healthy to say the least. After a grueling day of interviews and presentations from prominent figures it was time to loosen up and enjoy networking on a more personal level. As I talked and connected with the young men after my presentation, I noticed many of them identified with me and gravitated towards me. We talked about everything from politics, sports, girls, and salads. Yes, salads. Apparently one kid had never had salad before the retreat. This was his first salad experience. This was mind blowing to me. One young man shared how he never saw a relationship growing up in his home. He never saw what a healthy relationship looked like outside of television and songs.

“I have never seen my father.” one young man confessed.

Later it got more intense towards the end of the night.

“I heard you mention something that struck with me,” stated the stocky young fellow from earlier.

“Really? What was it?” I asked to clarify.

“Well I just wanted you to know that I lost my brother in front of me and I have carried that pain for so long,” he said with tears in his eyes.

“How did you lose your brother?” I asked to give him time to adjust to his emotions.

It is never wise to retreat from an open man. This is a critical stage in development.

“Well we were at a club and we got into an altercation and some guys pulled out guns and shot my brother down in front of me,” recalled the young man.

“They aimed for me but he couldn’t shoot fast enough before his friends summoned him to the car before the cops came. I was also struck in the side by the bullet.”

He was reliving the moment as he lifted his shirt to show me the scar. It was real. I could feel the pain.

He was in the hospital when he received the phone call from his mother. “My baby is gone” he said his mother cried.

This was a past he kept concealed even as a NCAA Division 1 athlete. This was the pain that fueled his performance. I was speechless but I did not retreat. I just listened as he added layers upon layers to the story.

Up the mountain, there was no backing down….no turning away from the TENSE terrain that was to be uncovered.

I did not retreat this was, indeed, the beginning of the Moore’s Men Retreat.

“Aye man they got em. I couldn’t save em. I couldn’t save em. He was supposed to be here. We were too late” the text message read.

I knew who he was talking about. I didn’t even have to read the link that reveal the face of the young man who had been arrested for charges that landed him in jail with a bond set $100,000. It was the same young man that never claimed his shirt and tie. The difference was made clear.

DONATE TO TENSE Summit HERE: Its never too late www.tensesummit.org

2nd Annual TENSE Summit Saturday, August 24, 2013 University of Tennessee REGISTER NOW!

Follow TENSE on Twitter and get it FIRST @ajTENsejournal Also Email TENSE Team or submit articles at tennsejournal@gmail.com

Follow TENN on Instagram @ajtenn View TENSE Summit Pics on Instagram @tensesummit


TENSE Journal Presents: (TENSE Summit Edition) Moore Men Rereat (Part 1): Father’s Day for Fatherless Men by TENSE

Posted by TENse on June 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

Less than 5 minutes before this TENSE Journal was released a TENSE family member lost the only father he ever knew today, his mother passed on Father’s Day. R.I.P Family

At 6:45 p.m. I boarded a flight headed for Nashville, TN. My final destination was Gatlinburg, TN.
However, my first priority was in Knoxville, TN where my mother and sister awaited me at photo/video shoot for the 2nd Annual TENSE Summit. I would only spend 3 hours and 37 minutes in my hometown, but I maximized my time. With my schedule beyond packed and the odds of making the trip stacked against me there was no way I could satisfy all my obligations. This trip was a leap of faith and teeming with great purpose.

”AJ, see you this June for the 1st Young Men’s retreat” he stated without asking. I didn’t bother searching for the question mark because there wasn’t one. Thomas Moore, visionary of the retreat and close childhood friend rarely asked for much and it was implied that whatever order he commanded, demanded action. I knew he was serious and so was I. When serious men come together something good or bad will happen. But regardless of the outcome it will always be inTENSE.

“Ummm…sure.” I risked my response without checking my schedule. I knew something big was brewing.

“We need Moore Men” was the last words exchanged before the phone went faint.


“I’m here my brotha. Where are you guys?” I texted but didn’t drive at the same time. I mean I texted at a stoplight…I think. At any rate….
“West Knoxville Lane,” read the text response.
“Destination: 27 minutes away,” read the GPS.

For some reason, I still use the outdated mechanical GPS that disappeared from the market five years ago with the surge of smartphones. I hated using the GPS on my current phone because
of the inconvenience when driving, especially when someone calls and interrupts the directions. I dread the interruption.

Also, I hadn’t updated my iPhone to the latest iOS 6 software so I relied on the blinking blue dot to connect me with the red dot (my destination) and I always turned the wrong direction at an intersection. In other words, for those unfamiliar with the iPhone, I live in a technology time warp, backwards warp of course. I locked the route into my outdated GPS and headed where my friends were located. When I arrived, I pull up to a housing development with cobble stone roads and newly paved driveways that swirled into the entrance of each house on the block; the community was Pleasantville Perfect. I was most certain that I was at the wrong location because the retreat was designated for 18 young men with various pasts, most of whom would be labeled “at-risk urban youth.” I instantly assumed that I was meeting Thomas before we headed to a local church or some center to meet the rest of the fully grown young men. I was wrong.

The house was easily a million dollar home from the outside with romantic architecture that spoke to its affluence. Thomas greeted me in the yard with a serious but relieved look on his face, anxiously waiting to get started. We walked through the soft grass, across the cobblestone, under the aquaduct arch above the entrance, grasped the cool brass handle and walked through the door. My Kenneth Cole brown leather shoes clapped against the hardwood floor and echoed throughout the kitchen. The owner of the home was a short middle-aged white woman who bore a gracious smile. Beside her was a young black male name Maide. I didn’t know Maide at the time but I would later learn that he was one of the other designated mentors. He had flown in from Los Angeles and looked tired from the long travel. They offered me Chick-Filet sandwiches as soon as I said hello.

“Who has pouches of Chick Filet sandwiches laying around to offer guests?” I chuckled to myself even though I couldn’t be mad about it as Chick-Filet is my favorite and only fast food place to eat.
Before I could greet the third person in the house, the daughter of the owner, she cut me off.

“We’ve met before,” she said, reminding me to prevent an embarrassing exchange or introduction.

“Oh, yeaaaah…that’s right! Good to see you again” I exclaimed with enthusiasm to disguise my lack of memory. I never stated her name, evidence of my ignorance.

“Aye lets head down,” said Thomas, interrupting the salutations.

“Huh?” I was confused. I thought these were the only people there. We walked down a winding staircase. Thomas walks ahead and says “you can sit next to me” before I could see anyone else at the meeting. As we turned the corner, I saw a vision brought to fruition instantly. I counted 14 young men before I ever counted one. My initial count was wrong. There were 18 young men. At this moment, I decided to set the record straight. My face lit up with a genuine
smile as I sped through the full size young men with high fives and handshakes. The energy was high and they respected me for that. Little did any of us know we would respect each other with the highest regard before the weekend ended. The camaraderie was grand, as I could tell they were athletes by their demeanor; the vibe was reminiscent of a locker room. Athletes have a certain swag about them. It’s a shy confidence that explodes at game time but shrinks in private.

“Whats goin’ on big man?” I asked with bravado, boosting the confidence of the short, stocky fellow.

“Hello sir,” he said with a faint voice. The pudgy man spoke with a thick Mississippian accent as thick as the summer haze. However, he was an articulate fellow, too formal at times, but he was respectful to say the least.

“Noooooo, don’t call me sir just yet,” I say with a laugh. “Either you have to take away ten years or give me ten more before you call me sir.”

The room lit up. I pounded and shook hands with all 18 young men before they had a chance to stand.
I didn’t want them to think I was a big shot. I was there for them and they were there for me but
we were all there for a retreat.
In my opinion, the more accessible I appeared the more comfortable they would feel and the more comfortable they felt the more of an impact I could have as they opened up.

“This is my mans from the bottom. I told yaw this was gonna be a full weekend!” Thomas spoke with excitement as if to prepare them for what was to come. I saw a broad shouldered fellow sitting in the back raise his hand.

“Roof, what you want man?” Thomas joked as if he anticipated some outlandish question.

“Can we get on these weights?” asked the husky football player who simply could not resist the full scale weight room that filled the basement. I must admit I couldn’t blame him. It look as if no one had worked on the machines in years according to the dust that covered the dumb bells. A heavy décor of weights in a home was like a dream come true for athletes.

“Lets get to it then,” I stated, surprising them all.

“If you don’t get yo’ skinny…” … I could imagine the voices in their heads mocking me.

Again I got their attention, breaking the ice of what appeared to be a closed group of young men who’ve experienced the downside of life too early. But regardless of their troubled past, they all demonstrated respect and where a medium of respect can be found, then progress can be made.

The time had come to head to the desolate Rocky Top Mountains. It was approximately 6:37 pm…

1. An understanding of the developmental issues that their mentee is experiencing:
• 75% of the mentors involved in this retreat are African American, grew up in single parent households and/or are first generation college graduates.

2. An understanding of the familial, cultural and community context in which their mentee
• The majority of the mentors involved in the retreat, grew up in single parent households and grew up in the south.

Happy Father’s Day…


DONATE TO TENSE Summit HERE: Its never too late www.tensesummit.org

2nd Annual TENSE Summit Saturday, August 24, 2013 University of Tennessee REGISTER NOW!

Follow TENSE on Twitter and get it FIRST @ajTENsejournal Also Email TENSE Team or submit articles at tennsejournal@gmail.com

Follow TENN on Instagram @ajtenn View TENSE Summit Pics on Instagram @tensesummit


TENSE Journal Presents:The Story Of A Serial Killer Name B.O.B(Bombs Over Baggage):What do you and B.O.B have in common? by TENN

Posted by TENse on May 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

“I don’t feel like writing anymore,” I said abruptly. “Why?” asked a faithful reader and dedicated subscriber to TENSE Journal. She was an older woman with a medium build. Her complexion was caramel and her eyes were shaded by her leather banded Ray Ban sunglasses. She made an excess of $200,000 a year. In other words, she was well-off and didn’t have to spend any time or money on a small blog or a rising writer. It’s safe to say she had bigger fish to fry.
“Because every time I write the thrill only last for one night,” I said reluctantly, hesitating to tell the truth, which was life was simply too hectic.
“But over 500 people read your blog/journal. I don’t understand how that is just a one night hype. I doubt over 500 people read your journal in one night, thus to reach that many readers would take the span of at least a week to reach”, she exposed my theory with ease.
I chuckled at her accuracy. “What do you want from me?” I asked, ignoring her correctness and delved right to the point; men have a tendency to jump to the point when they are losing the battle. The war becomes much more attractive when the demise in battle seems eminent. “I am tired. My mind hurts from constant work. I have given myself two choices: Its either ‘_______, you stop writing to work or stop working to write, which do you prefer?’” I made the message clear that we were not in the same financial bracket.
“But your words do work” she said without any other explanation.
Again this clever soul did her research. “But your words do work” echoed in my mind again and again and again. It was a double entendre. “But your words do work” played again in my head. I smiled after the third time. I decoded the message. It was true. My words have actually worked. Again her point was made but I was not that distracted. “what do you want from me though?” I asked again. I knew this was not about my negligence from writing on the most current events. There was something else. This woman had a fire in her eyes that sparked my interests. I was well-trained with body language. When a woman gets emotional their eyes develop a slight slippery glaze that indicate the soul is heating up and one blink away from boiling water down their cheek. I could sense the anger in her tone. This was not about my writing hiatus. There was something deeper tearing at her gut as the tears escaped the pockets of her sockets. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “I am married with kids and the man I love is not the man I am married to…in fact we are separated but he will not let me be. I am convinced he is set to kill me” she wasted no time dropping the bomb. “Who are you in love with?” I asked reluctantly.
I could hear the bombs descending from above as the whistle preceded the explosion. I braced myself for impact.
best friend name Bombshell.
Damn she fine.
Will you be my Valentine?
Circle Yes, , or Maybe?
No. Maybe NO, and YES, NO…
Boston Bomber.
Bombs Over Bagdad.
Outkast “Don’t pull your thang out unless you plan to…”
Atomic Bombs in North Korea.
Israel Bombs Syria.
At Bartow High School in Florida, Kiera Wilmot arrested and expelled for mistakenly mixing chemicals in science class that was viewed as bomb.
DJ Funk Master Flex Hot 97.5 freestyle bombs.
Columbine Bombs.
Mushroom shaped Bombs.
You dropped the bomb on me baby. You dropped the bomb on me…”
GAP bands 70’s hit ran through my mind. Wasn’t Charlie Wilson in that band before he signed with Kanye West? Another random question hit me.
Bombs, Bombs, Bombs…
Amanda Berry Found Alive
Shaniya Davis found Dead
More Bombs…

All of this cluttered my mind in the span of 3 seconds. It’s amazing how fast the control center of the body process information. It’s as if every bomb that ever hit me exploded at once. Every bomb in my brain wanted attention. I could not get the word bomb out of my head. My definition of bomb exploded into a different meaning. Time passed following the conversation before I was contacted by a mutual friend “they found her…” he said. He didn’t have to say anymore. I could hear the explosion in his voice. No bombs were necessary. No further explanation. “What should I do?” the voiced asked. I had no words. I had no advice. I had nothing to say. My words didn’t work. “But your words do work” reverberated in my mind as I looked at the time adding minutes to my phone. Ironically those minutes spent talking were minutes lost walking. Time had expired. Life was gone.

When you think of a bomb what comes to mind? Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Oklahoma City, Baghdad, Columbine, or perhaps World Trade Center (despite no bombs were used or were they?). Or maybe you think of the most recent bombs dropped. Those Boston Bombers were responsible for killing innocent civilians. And in no way is this an apologetic article aimed at supporting their heinous actions. However, what does the word bomb mean to you? What caused these young men to drop bombs on innocent Boston civilians? What was their motive? Reports suggest that the two young brothers practiced radical Islam. Although little is known about their greater plot we do know that they were well organized and possessed more bombs. But what caused America to drop bombs on innocent civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? What possessed the school to expel and arrest little Kiera for experimenting in science lab and perceiving it as a bomb threat? But more emotionally what caused the woman to drop a bomb about her estranged husband? How long was the bomb ticking in their marriage before they exploded into a double death “do them part?” For the sake of confidentiality I will not reveal any sources but a hurt heart can be just as volatile as bomb. Anger is a bomb that diffuses in one of two ways: explosively or implosively. Explosive anger blows up immediately. These people are like the Hulk they blow up really fast but they calm down really quickly. You know who they are before you even see them. You know what makes them tick(another bomb reference). And when you push there button its booms day at any family or friend event. They curse you out, let you know how they feel, but they move on, atleast until you forget to “like” their Instagram or Facebook picture. Forbid you unfollow them on Twitter. Run!

Then there is the Implosive group. Now these are the ones to worry about. The ones we least expect. They bottle up anger so deep inside that they appear normal on the outside as they implode on the inside. The anger they possess manifest into an atomic nuclear reaction. They see nothing but red when they explode. Both groups are dangerous but the latter is harder to detect.

For instance, Cleveland teen Amanda Berry and couple other young girls went missing 10 years ago. Her mother died from heartbreak after spending everyday of her life looking for her missing daughter. Recently, Berry escaped from captivity and was later rescued by neighbors. According to Charles Ramsey, the man who aided the escape, “that man had some testicles. I bar-b-qued with this man. And we listened to Salsa music. I would’ve never suspected he had women in his house against their will.” Her kidnapper had some major internal, deep seeded issues. So deep no one, not even neighbors detected any problems. Do you have a time-bombs living, ticking with you or next to you? Do you hear the ticking inside or around you?

I only know the answer to one of the aforementioned questions. However, that answer does not justify the loss of life. When someone drops a bomb there is nothing good that comes from it. Someone dies a sharp emotional, mental, or physical death. The question you need to ask yourself: are you making intentional or incidental bombs? What anger do you have building up inside of you that may cause others harm? Do you intend to kill the people you encounter emotionally or physically? Or do you build bombs without knowing it like little Kiera?

And don’t forget to LIVE YOUR LIFE in TENSE.


DONATE TO TENSE Summit 2013 HERE: Its never too early or late to stop some bombs from dropping.

2nd Annual TENSE Summit coming
Saturday, August 24, 2013


Follow TENSE on Twitter and get it FIRST @ajTENsejournal
Email TENSE Team or submit articles at tennsejournal@gmail.com
Follow TENN on Instagram @ajtenn

View TENSE Summit Pics on Instagram @tensesummit

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