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Soledad O’Brien, Tom Joyner Ask: What Will Black America Look Like in 2025?


CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and BET personality Jeff Johnson say America is destined to manifest a radically different cultural, political and economic complexion in 2025 due to several powerful forces and components. The minority birth rates are much higher than whites; the continued evolution of technology and social networks; and also due to policies implemented by the current presidential administration.

The two hosted a star-studded panel, “What will Black America look like in 2025?” in which they discussed the greatest challenges of the next 15 years as well as some of the current victories that will contribute to constructing a much different-looking America in 2025. The panel featured radio mogul Tom Joyner, Academy Award-winner Lou Gossett Jr., famed Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree (who taught both Obamas, albeit at different times) and actress Vanessa Bell Calloway (stars in Jada Pinkett Smith’s TNT weekly drama “Hawthorne”).

Health Care: Health care reform was a big win. It does not solve all the problems, but if we have inalienable right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, then we have to have health care reform,” said Melissa Harris-Lacewell, an associate professor of politics and African American history at Princeton.

 A New American Dream? “The challenge of 2025 is the recalibration of the American perception,” forwards Barton J. Taylor, president of the National Urban League Young Professionals. “With the foreclosure crisis, is the American dream to still own a home? And should we recalibrate to talking about owning the American business instead of the American home?

 Controlling of Our Images: “They are making their own movies. They are into the ‘Net. We still don’t have a lot of African Americans headlining shows. I happen to be on a show where an African American is not only the star, she is my boss and executive producer. But there aren’t a lot of Jada Pinkett Smiths out there,” says Vanessa Bell Calloway. “We have to take control of our images with the technology that’s coming out. In 2025, we can only imagine how vast it will be. These kids today are making movies with little or no budgets. They are making them for like $5,000. When Spike Lee made his first movie, She’s Gotta Have It, he did it for like $125,000. They don’t need that anymore. … The HDTV cameras are cheaper now, so you can get it for the whole weekend for a few hundred bucks. And that’s great because we will be able to tell our stories and show ourselves in a slice of life that we really live.”

terry shropshire

Pictured above: Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., Tom Joyner and Soledad O’Brien