For generations African American families continue to struggle with dysfunctions, destitute and destruction. My father, Bobby Newsome made a decision to change the way his family approached life. He believed that Black people should not accept that everyone else deserved happiness, wealth and a good life. He taught us that men should take personal responsibility to lead their families through good times and bad times. He said we needed to Try Something New!
Before you get deep into this article I want to make it perfectly clear that my dad was affectionately given the nickname “Blackie” by my mom, not because he had a dark complexion; But he had an attitude of Black Pride. He echoed the sentiments of the godfather of soul, James Brown, “Say it Loud! I am Black and I am proud!”. And you must understand that my father came from a family that lacked Black male leadership like so many other African American families in this country. Statistically, one-third of American households are fatherless. That number skyrockets to over 80% in African-American households. So, my father set out to change the way his sons approached manhood. When my dad enlisted into the United States Air Force during the war in Vietnam his family was intrigued by his decision. However, they never thought about the war that the men in our family were fighting in the Brooklyn neighborhoods. Many of them were dying before their 30th birthdays in the streets or in New York prisons. Our father told us that he did not want us to experience two things; prison or poverty. And he said if we had a child we were only a man if we provided a decent life for that child. Otherwise, he did not consider us a man for shunning our responsibilities. After his enlistment in the Air Force, dad started a career with the United States Postal Service as a Mechanical Engineer, responsible for ensuring that the machines were working to deliver the mail. He bought a three family brownstone in Brooklyn. Our mom still lives there almost forty years later. This might sound small to most people. But this was a huge leap for our family.
A few years before he passed away, Bobby Newsome wanted to venture into entrepreneurship. He told me about his dreams to purchase buildings in New York and refurbish them for families to rent. And he talked about owning coin operated laundromats in the Big Apple with a dry cleaners attached on the other side. But he never had the “courage” to take that leap. I thought it was interesting because I believed it was more courageous for him to shift the mindset and direction from the family’s destructive course. He asked me if he could become a business partner in Newsome Marketing Enterprises, a marketing firm that I started in Las Vegas to assist small businesses with marketing and communications. We became business partners because I understood how my father needed to scratch that entrepreneurial itch. We were doing something new!
In 2009 my father would lose his fight with diabetes. A year later my daughter and I decided that we would continue the journey that Bobby Newsome started. We wanted to keep the legacy of Something New and created a new brand SUMNU!
Written by Shaundell Newsome