Black Youth Development

The United States of America is home to long‐standing theoretical frameworks, perspectives and methodologies that have failed in their responsibility to Black Youth. Youth Development (YD) and Positive Youth Development (PYD) research, paradigms and practices have not produced the developmental models that appropriately promote Black Youth trajectories towards outcomes of resistance to the role racism and race play in the destruction of Black lives.

In light of these realities, we offer a model of Black Youth Development (BYD), extending the work of Perkins (2005). BYD highlights the need for explicit attention to the precariousness of Black youth lives particularly in urban centers. We use the elements of Hip-Hop Culture, Critical Race Theory, and social justice as critical race praxis to critique and challenge current research trends attributing the success of Black youth to grit, resilience, perseverance, and mental toughness. Our BYD model proposes three developmental domains: revolutionary consciousness, critical cultural consciousness, and critical self identity.

Critical Cultural Consciousnesss

The social ability to analyze both the covert, overt, intuitive, and communal elements of one’s culture with purpose; developing a holistic and healthy cultural positionality that values the racial heritages of self and the African Diaspora.

Critical Self Identity

The extent to which one’s views of self run separate from societal and institutional minoritization and embraces one’s own realization of race, gender, class and agency both in its systematic privilege and oppression.

Revolutionary Consciousness

The social psychological idea to change one’s circumstances and the circumstances of all through an individual to collective refusal of the status quo and willingness to (re)create on one's own terms.

People who have inspired our vision for Black Youth Development

Inez Beverly Prosser

Useni Eugene Perkins

David Stovall

Bettina Love

Shawn Ginwright

Christopher Emdin

Raphael Travis

Rob Jagers