When Autum Ashante got on BET at the age of seven and read a poem about White nationalism putting us in “bondage”, I felt like my ovaries wept for the possibility that I, too, could one day be so lucky as to have a little warrior child like her someday.
“Black land taken from your hands, by vampires with no remorse / They took the gold, the wisdom and all of the storytellers / They took the black women, with the black man weak / Made to watch as they changed the paradigm / Of our village / They killed the blind, they killed the lazy, they went / So far as to kill the unborn baby.”
While conservatives denounced her as a racist, she brought me back to my own childhood recitations of my dad’s Black Panther chants and our family’s very candid conversations about race that were not saved for my teen years. She was my little hero and my friends sent around an email calling her “Little Jamilah”. I wondered once or twice what had happened to her in the years following her notorious performance.
Now 13, the young scholar is nursing some serious wounds after being admitted to the University of Connecticut…and then having her acceptance rescinded. Father Batin Ashante told the NY Daily News that Autum is “devastated” upon learning that the university has now stated that she is not academically ready for college.
“I’m her dad and it just bothers me to see her go through this.”Ashante said. He added that his daughter had confirmed her plans to attend the school and informed them that she was raising funds for her expenses.
The family will go forward with their plans to leave the Bronx for Connecticut, as Autum will seek another school to attend in the fall. Her father seems doubtful that he’d send Autum to the University of Connecticut in the future. “I’m fed up. They have insulted us and the work that we’ve put in,” he said. “I’m not sure I want her to be involved with an institution that treats her like that.”
Can’t help but wonder if the school found out about Autum’s poetry and got shook. It’s very possible that she left “I was the kid who called White folks vampires on BET'”
Autum is a brilliant girl and will surely succeed academically elsewhere. However, attending college at 13 is an incredibly difficult task for any child, regardless of their intelligence. Think about the experiences that you had or are having as a college student that she would miss out on because of her youth. Do you think a gifted child should go off to a university, or should they wait until they are old enough to have both the academic and social college experience?