It's hard to review the book without acknowledging the individual behind the words. And to acknowledge the writer is to confirm that he lives what he believes, he practices what he preaches, and he is a man of conviction. To witness the way Jameel Davis conducts his life and business, is to verify that his words of wisdom are genuine.
Cultivating Minds to Own Thyself" covers a range of topics from identity to the education system, retirement, relationships, and spirituality. There are questions and quotes, and there's even space for writing notes on the pages as well. Overall, the book can be viewed as a self-help guide to living a life of integrity and progress. The back cover copy states that this book "teaches readers how to examine themselves in attempt to modify their thoughts and in turn become their best self, as well as make a difference in the lives of others."
It is birthed out of a love for his brothers and sisters, and a cultural responsibility to nurture and educate his community. You can feel this passion on the pages: through first-person accounts of the changes he made to his own life and the recommendations that he produced as a result, the advice can not be taken lightly.
Jameel notes that he removed many negative influences from his life, in order to surround himself with individuals who uplift and inspire. A graduate of Kent State University's Justice Studies program, the influence is evident as he unravels concepts of miseducation and representation. He credits environmental factors to contributing to the development of self-respect and dignity. He summarizes this with a quote saying that: "a solid core will override every exterior aspect you have."
Having graduated from University, Jameel still does not shy away from pointing out the contradictions that exist with the system. The thousands of dollars of debt, and "miseducation" that many of us believe are a customary rite of passage for young adults...he points out the flaws openly, with recommendations for self education and independent financial management and retirement preparation.
Why preach on these topics that have been covered by many, written about in abundance, and discussed daily via social media memes and influential quotes? Because it is his civic duty to inspire. In Chapter Four: I Am My Brothers & Sisters' Keeper, Jameel states that: "It is my passion to enlighten and to help myself, as well as those who wish to be helped, to become better than yesterday."
I read this book in two sittings, only separated by a brief night's sleep. While the words were wise and intelligently composed, it was the soul with which it was delivered that most moved me. It was the acknowledgement of culture and history, and the obvious intent to inform a generation about how to move forward without repeating mistakes of the past, and without repeating careless life choices that are fed to us with ill intention.
As an artist, I admire how Jameel has chosen to use his literary voice for the empowerment of people. As a writer, I appreciate how the words were crafted, and the level of detail and references that were used in support of his arguments. As a father and a brother, I commend his honesty and willingness to share raw emotion and intention. I believe that we living during a time where we need to amplify every good message we find, in order to break through the daily discouragement of corruption and injustice that we see in local society, as well as the international landscape.
These are words that we all need right now. Words of hope. Words of progress. Jameel says: "Leadership and positive reinforcement must be implemented. We have to be more family oriented. Spread love, joy. Promote healthy relationships."
The relationship advice is blunt and effective as well! Chapter Six has a great reference: brain teasers and questions for singles. A thorough self-questionnaire, it allows readers to take a moment to reflect on their personal beliefs and characteristics, and frames them in relation to love, friendship, and commitment.
There are so many important takeaways from this piece of writing, that it is worth reading, worth highlighting, and worth referring back to on occasion. And one of the best parts about reading a piece of writing and being able to access the author, is that you can sustain the feelings of inspiration and continue to receive the positive energy and observe the real-world journey of the book's creator.
I recommend that in addition to reading "Cultivating Minds to Own Thyself" that you also connect with Jameel himself. He is active on Facebook and LinkedIn at "Jameel Davis," and can also be found on Instagram at @CultivatingMinds_ or via his publishing company @ElevatedWaves. I highly recommend this, because the simple act of connecting with Jameel Davis has been nothing but a blessing for me personally, and I have witnessed firsthand the impact he has had on those he has engaged with.
Sending nothing but wishes for continued success for this young brother, and preparing myself to read his other works!
Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.