‘Being Mary Jane’ producer Salim Akil is sharing his concerns as a Black parent in America in an open to his 12-year-old son.
The letter appears in a guest column for the July 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter and comes after the shooting deaths of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and five police officers in Dallas, reports The Huffington Post.
Akil expresses his “paranoia” as a black father evoked by his memories of the 2014 shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
“The realization that you have a black body conjures up images of 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s murder in my mind,” Akil wrote. “Catastrophic thoughts begin to invade my five senses. My heart beats faster. I try to catch myself, try to remind myself that no, you are here with me. I’m watching you. You are real and for the moment… alive.”
He went on to add, “You are the American dream, son. You were made black on purpose. God did that, so I want you to dance in the end zone, dunk the ball with beautiful creativity, become a police officer or a fireman, celebrate when you pass the bar exam, finish your medical residency, ride with your top down and play your music loud, wear your pants low on your hips or tie your neck up with a Windsor knot, find a woman like Diamond Reynolds and marry her quick. What I’m asking you to do, son, is after the tears dry, live. Live life “by any means necessary!”