[WATCH] #BigBoyFaith: INNterview with the “x” for boys

King Randall teaches the Black young men of Albany how to be independent, resilient community leaders
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King Randall teaches the Black young men of Albany how to be independent, resilient community leaders

In 2019, at just 19 years old, King Randall noticed there was a dearth of youth support in his community: crime rates were high, literacy rates were low and there were few after-school programs to engage coming-of-age boys in Albany, GA. And so, Randall, a young man himself, took action to establish The “X” for Boys, an organization that seeks to educate, mentor, and, above all, empower boys in his hometown.

Now a full-time community activist, Randall teaches a cohort of 60 young schoolboys, aged 11 to 17, fundamental skills including reading literacy, money management, auto repair, and home improvement. Six boys are currently enrolled in his live-in program hosted in his own home, which is both self-financed and sponsored by community members.  

Under Randall’s patient tutelage, the boys are furnished with the pragmatic and intellectual skills they need to become self-sufficient adults.

“Teaching them skilled trades, that’s important but also moulding their minds is super important,” Randall told INN24 via Zoom.

Randall, who calls himself “The New Emergent King,” champions inclusivity in his selection process, giving priority to low-income students who would not otherwise be able to join extracurricular programs in the community.

“All of my workshops are free; my field trips are free,” said the 21-year-old community leader, father, and chef.

According to Randall, the titular “x” represents the unknown variable in the process of navigating the real world. As a peer mentor, Randall acts as the compass in the boys’ life-long journey of solving for the “x” in the proverbial equation of adulthood.

“The motto is ‘Let US make man’ and as a boy, being a man is unknown to you,” he explained. “So, you come here to learn how to be a man: ‘x’ simply means ‘unknown.’”

Randall imparts to his protégés the importance of reasserting their agency as young Black men, to forge their own path within a societal apparatus that does not operate in their favour. He reserves spots for boys who have been through the juvenile justice system with the aim of helping them reform their lives and worldviews.

“Young men want to get out of their condition; they want to learn something new,” he said. “They don’t want to get into any trouble—they just need somebody to help assist them.”

Randall is in the process of founding a preparatory boarding school for The “X” for Boys in Albany. He has launched a GoFundMe campaign towards the project, with a goal of $250,000 USD.

The “X” for Boys recently visited the White House on Oct. 10, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for which the boys were “ecstatic.” Randall speaks in detail about the trip and more in this exclusive INNterview.

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Wiki Production Code: A0236

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