Class is Over

June 17, 2020

By: Denetrick Powers

“Young skinny Black Man from the Northside.  
Forever lost in the archives.  
Forever lost to his dark side.  
Some say it’s the wrong side.  
Well either way it’s a long ride.  
How many decades have gone by?  
How many dead because we all die? 
An injustice anywhere is an injustice to all.  
Well show me what justice looks like and I’ll tell you how tall and how much it weighs on my mind on a daily basis. 
Face it.  
Each glance in the mirror is an honest tale.  
A tale of hell disguised by race.  
A race of rats.  
Some blind.  
Some laced.  
The cheese is processed,  
and I still can’t taste the true bliss of happiness. “ 
– D. Powers


America has a sick way of giving pop-quizzes on American History. One day you wander into the office feeling gleefully light on your feet and all of a sudden you see your partner sitting at his desk smothered in despair. He tells you that the teacher has done it again and to not open your textbook. You try to tell yourself that you’ve seen this test before and that the answers were the same now as they were in 2016 and although you’ve studied over and over and over again, the story continues to resemble a nightmare with no way out.  

The title of this day’s pop-quiz is George Floyd. “Please scroll to page 4 of your textbook”. Reluctantly I open my textbook, “American Pop-Culture, Millennial edition with comments by Gen-X and Gen-Z”. At the top of the page I read that a Minneapolis Police Officer has killed a Black Man by the name of George Floyd. Said officer killed the man by suffocating him with his knee on George’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. As I continue reading, I fall into a spiral of facts and misinformation that makes my mind freeze and my heart clip. And this was the week when America’s class was ended. When students all over the world decided to throw the book back at the teacher.  

America has been our teacher for far too long. Indoctrinating us into believing we are inadequate and knighting us with the honor of failure. I almost bought into the fashion of its school uniform, mediocrity…. Good thing I had just enough good taste to question the bad stitch work. 


. . .

Denetrick Powers describes himself as “many beings,” and this is certainly true. A North Minneapolis resident who has been involved in Redeemer’s youth programming from ages 10 to 18, becoming the lead art organizer for their ‘At Home in Harrison’ project funded by ArtPlace, co-chair of the Harrison Neighborhood Association, and co-founder of CounterSpace Gallery. He is also the Co-Founder and Director of Planning & Engagement of NEOO Partners, a creative real estate service and community engagement solutions. As a curator of space and experience, Denetrick leverages his expertise in arts & culture with his background in urban planning to develop creative programming solutions using creative direction and the ability of art to communicate messages and inherent biases.