The “Positive Push” Experiment Launches


Tom Burrell


  ( — Author and advertising executive, Tom Burrell launches the “Positive Push” Experiment, a national campaign utilizing the viral power of social media to support positive black music artists and videos in honor of Black Music Month. Chicago, IL  

The impetus for this innovative campaign to combat the negative imagery plaguing the African American community was Burrell’s recently released debut title, Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority. In his book, Burrell “calls for a cadre of enlightened thinkers to use New Media to change how blacks are projected in the media. Instead of just talking the talk, we will kick things off with a relatively easy way to demonstrate our ability to bring about change.”


Utilizing the powerful social media networks of Twitter and Facebook, consumers are encouraged to Tweet and update their Facebook status that promotes positive artists and videos. The “Positive Push” campaign believes that misogynistic, violent or irresponsible lyrics and images aren’t the only way to sell black music. Understanding the dynamic of promoting positive imagery to change the misguided “brainwashing” that has occurred over the years “Positive Push” will choose videos, representative of the core message, that consumers can view at  

The first video selected for the campaign is the new single, “Tightrope” by singer Janelle Monáe. “The video not only serves as an homage to artists like Jackie Wilson, The Temptations, James Brown and Michael Jackson,” said Burrell, “Monáe offers a video that’s also evocative, hip and entertaining without using offensive or lewd imagery.”  

If consumers like the videos message, they are asked to purchase the single on I-Tunes, and then use their social media networks to invite at least five friends to sample the video, buy the song and repeat the exercise by asking five more friends to join in.  

“We hope and believe that success of the “Positive Push” campaign will bring about game-changing results,” Burrell stated. “Imagine if 200,000 people bought the song in a single day. All of sudden, the prism shifts and consumers are using their economic clout to bring about change.”  


Some Positive Black News, just when we needed it.

Urban Prep Academy 2010

Urban Prep is big on ritual.

Every time one of the high school’s seniors gained college acceptance, he swapped out his red tie for a striped red-and-gold one — until an electrifying day in March, when all 107 seniors of Englewood’s Urban Prep Academy for Young Men donned striped ties.

Today, they established another tradition.

The students, in their trademark uniform blazers and ties, publically announced where they would attend college. For the first graduating class of Chicago’s only public all-male, all-African-American charter high, the declaration was monumental. Many of the students at the school, which is in one the city’s roughest neighborhoods, are the first in their family to go to college. Only 4 percent of them read at grade level when they started four years ago, school officials said. 

The event was designed to mimic the annual signing day where student-athletes commit to a college team. Seniors rattled off the names of the schools where they were accepted — some as many as 10 — then announced the one they had chosen and put on a hat from their future school.

Keith Greer, fearful he’d mess up his hair, hesitated for a moment before he put on his Southern Illinois University cap. He remembers when his grades were so low his freshman year that people told him college was not a feasible option.

“I’m greater than what people said I was,” he said after mashing his curls. “I stuck it out.”

When Gerald Jackson was a kid, he dreamed of a signing day when he would announce his basketball skills to the world. But the future Howard University student realized scholarship outweighed athletics.

“It’s a big, big day,” he said as he grinned uncontrollably.

But the students, who have to pass bullet-riddled windows and metal detectors before they begin their academically rigorous school day, are the first to admit their journey is far from over.

“I know there are going to be obstacles, but it’s up to me to overcome them,” said Lavince Person, who decided on Tuskegee University after learning in class about its first president, Booker T. Washington.

His biggest worry is monetary, but like every other student in his class, he has completed his Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and Person hopes to participate in a work-study program once he gets to Alabama.

In total, the students were accepted to more than 100 schools, including Northwestern University, Georgetown University, Indiana State University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Representatives from some of those schools, as well as former Bear and Urban Prep board member Chris Zorich, also attended the event at Harry Caray’s.

Nike commemorated the accomplishment with a limited-edition Urban Prep shoe. When a representative unveiled a prototype of the sneaker — complete with the school’s creed written on the insole and two pairs of shoelaces, one red and the other red-and-gold striped — the room erupted in applause and students rushed to the podium with cell phones and digital cameras.

“I’m not going to wear it,” Person said. “I’m going to cherish it.”

Each student will receive a pair of sneakers, but not before they graduate and meet with school officials in the summer — hopefully with train, bus or plane tickets to college in hand.

“It’s another carrot we’re dangling in front of them,” said the school’s CEO, Tim King, who donned a “100 percent” T-shirt over his crisp white button-down.

The school will stay in touch with the students in hopes of getting them to finish what they started at Urban Prep, King said.

“This is the next step in the transition,” King said. “Graduating high school is not a big deal. Getting into college is not a big deal. Finishing college — that’s a big deal.”

Duaa Eldeib

#3 Real Positive Black Men

Virgil Killebrew


Brother Sean;
Thank you for inviting me to join you in your efforts to change the visions of millions of Black Men into Positive Expectations. Your blog encourages me that there is still a core off Black Men who are looking at our situation with a dispassionate eye. Your blog also re-affirms my faith that there will be a new breed of young Black Men who will keep alive all that is good and positive within the Black community. That there are so few Older Black Men who are morally, ethically, and spiritually active in furthering the needs of our community is shameful, but your blog may be the impetus for activating others.  

#2 Real Positive Black Man

Antwan McHenry


I don’t think I’m that powerful but I think the fact that I’m not afraid to say what I feel needs to be said is one thing that sets me out. In addition I carefully monitor my behavior and image so that it does not support the negative images of the black male that is currently out there. Some of the things that I am or have been involved in are teaching a bible class with the Illinois department of corrections teem male division. Called2Serve NFP a youth program that I helped create and I have worked for the Chicago Public School system where I try to encourage students not to settle for the status quo

#1 Real Positive Black Man

Sean Hunter


I would consider myself a “Real Positive black Man” because I believe in God. Secondly, I think that I have a positive outlook on life, which in some way helps/motivates those around me. I like to help those in need and let them know that I’m there for them anytime. I am a very responsible person and I do what I have to do, so that things get done. I have a lot of pride but I never let it keep me from succeeding. Lastly, I am I very respectful young man and I pride myself on that. These are just a few things that make me the ‘Real Positive Black Man” that I’ve become.