Letters To A Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny (Book)

Artist: Hill HarperTitle: Letters To A Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny (Book)Rating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Danielle Cabell

Maybe all that taping of CSI: NY caused Hill Harper to miss the popular memo de stereotype: Young black men don’t read. So devoting 173 pages of words to them probably isn’t the smartest idea. Then again, actors aren’t exactly known for smarts are they?

Odds are, you’ll remember Harper from his role as the blonde-haired Black boy who’s trying to come up in 1999’s In Too Deep starring LL Cool J and Omar Epps. But that was a movie, fiction. In real life--in fact, Hill Harper’s smart. He’s smart enough to understand that maybe the reason too many young black men aren’t minding books is because there aren’t too many books written with them in mind. And while it takes no degree from Harvard to Sherlock that one-one of Harper’s one, two, three Ivy-league degrees hails from that university.

But fear not, Letters to a Young Brother (Gotham) ain’t about getting into Harvard, IQs or SATS. STDs, however, well, let’s just say Harper’s raw with his experiences in this book he candidly answers what he says, “are all the questions I have been asked numerous times by young men.” Despite much of the actor’s advice reading like common sense adages, it’s written with such a positive tone that one won’t mind advice like “Use school. Don’t let school use you.” From, girls, drugs, sex, the importance of education, consumerism, being-raised by a single parent, choices, money matters, dealing with other people, and everyday struggles Letters permeates with relevance for young brothers on the come up of manhood.

In one letter Harper writes: “Standing still and going backward are no longer options for you and me, so you might as well get comfortable with being successful and unreasonably happy. You’re part of my crew now, and all of my crew moves forward in their life’s journey.”

Enlisting Nas, Senator Barack Obama, NFL star Curtis Martin and actresses Sanaa Lathan and Gabrielle Union to join him in response to certain questions prevents Letters from becoming any part dogmatic while terse quotes from the likes of Jay-Z, Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Ice Cube , Jadakiss, Andre 3000, Will Smith commence each of the 18 letters comprised within the book’s pages. Provided it’s read, Letters to a Young Brother will motivate-showing young brothas(ers) getting proactive isn’t as much about preserving their sexy as it is about MANifesting their destiny.