From The Grio — Malik Kofi is extraordinarily talented; a child prodigy, musical genius, awe-inspiring orator, with intellectual gifts well beyond his years.

Not only is the 11-year-old academically brilliant but his superior musical abilities leaves audiences spellbound.

An impressive multi-instrumentalist, Kofi plays the piano, drums and guitar. However, his passion is for the cello.

“Malik is a musical prodigy,” says Craig Hulgren, a cellist in the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, who has been Kofi’s teacher for the past five years. “He has advanced technological and interpretative abilities as a child. Beyond that he also puts in the hard work to develop those talents.”

Born into a working-class family in Birmingham, Alabama, Kofi’s unique story is a testimony to excellence against all odds.

The product of a teenage mom, Kofi’s maternal grandmother, Ruby Cox, has raised him as her own since he was an infant.

She says Kofi came out of the womb curious and eager to learn.

As far-fetched as it sounds, Cox says he started talking in sentences at 8-months-old, by the age of 2 he was putting puzzles together. He had mastered reading music at 4.

When it became obvious that Kofi had something special, 59-year-old Cox, a divorced mom of four who never finished college, took the decision to homeschool her youngest grandchild along with his older twin brothers, Robert and Reuben.

She says she has a disciplined schedule and keeps abreast of what is being taught at top boarding schools. “In order for them to compete with the best in the world they need to be able to perform at a certain level,” says Cox, who also put her own four children through college.

Indeed, the twins now aged 23, are also musically gifted and exceptionally bright. They passed their SAT college entrance exam at 12-years-old and both went off to college at sixteen.

Cox, who happens to be a strict vegan, can’t explain why Kofi is so bright but is convinced his diet is a factor. From the time he started eating solids he has been on a raw foods diet, eating mainly veg, fresh fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and herbs in their whole, natural state.

“Junk food is like any substance abuse,” says Cox. “Kids that eat junk don’t focus, can’t sit down, are noisy and disruptive and are not imaginative.”

Although the family has a computer they do not own a television set or have access to an internet. If Kofi needs to do research he visits libraries and perhaps takes out a CD or DVD for background information, says Cox. She believes having no technological distractions, “keeps him focused and creative.”

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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  • TajMarie

    I think we need to encourage more children to go into the arts, math, and science and refrain from being enraptured to pop culture.

    • P

      I was just sitting here thinking the same thing. Thinking about how our kid’s talent/intellect is not limited. It is limitless! Seriously, we need to encourage them beyond just picking up a ball or becoming a rapper. Produce the music or play an instrument. There are so many different options out here for them.

  • Kay

    Yesss!!! I love this! Maybe if we supported our children doing things that we in the Black community considered “atypical,” then we’d have lots of kids doing what he’s doing. The talent is there, right in our own backyards, we just have to cultivate it.

  • Me

    This is certainly amazing, but does anyone else feel like the word prodigy downplays his hard work? It sounds like a way for the lay people to chalk it up to genetics to say why people like this are once in a blue moon. Of course genetics play a role but I can’t help but think about why we are losing our youth to nonsense when he is proof that people have the potential to do great things early on.

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