R.I.P. Jim Kelly 1946 – 2013: As Goes The Role Models, So Go The Youth!

I have to say that I was stung at our loss of iconic Actor/Martial Artist Jim Kelly.

He passed away from cancer at the age of 67.

At the time of this writing his passing happened several days ago, but I wanted to meditate on my thoughts concerning Mr. Kelly in the wider scope of things as opposed to throwing around a few facts about his life as so many other writers will.

Even though he starred in several movies in his brief acting career, Kelly was more known for his unforgettable role in the Bruce Lee flick “Enter The Dragon.”

Jim Kelly & Companion

His strikingly handsome looks, lean muscular physique, mighty stride and no nonsense attitude was the thing that matinee idols are made of. All of this in a time when the conscious Black movements were still strong and our future as a people – even with the many issues that we still had to deal with – seemed bright on the horizon of destiny.

But Jim Kelly’s presence on the big screen as well as the many other movies from that golden era – or may I say as a Black man – OUR Golden Era of film, will probably never see that type of strength displayed on masse to convey to the world and an entire people that we are a force to be reckoned with on this planet.

As a young boy of ten years old when my Father took me to the movies to see Enter The Dragon, I was amazed at the screen presence of the great Bruce Lee and embraced him also as one of my heroes that would help me in my soon to be introduced to testosterone ridden days. But once I experienced the overwhelming magnetism and sheer force that were all things Jim Kelly, I knew that his brand of manhood and cool had to be utilized in my personal users manual of manhood as I grew up!

I couldn’t realistically put Bruce over Jim or Jim over Bruce, because they were both dynamic in their own unique manner, but what endeared me to Jim Kelly even more so was the fact that he was Black like me so I felt as though his aura was attainable because he looked like so many men in my community.

Bruce Lee

This is why it is important in those developmental years to have icons and role models that a youngster can really identify with and embrace to see themselves in as they project their particular brand of excellence out to the world.

It’s not that a man or woman of another race cannot inspire one to achieve a level of excellence over and above what could have been attained without their influence, but I know for a fact because of my personal experience that at particular points in anyones development that they need to see someone in a successful position that looks like them and share similar traits that would identify them together from the root.

This is what I got personally from Jim Kelly’s influence on my young mind growing up, he gave me a boost. Just like Muhammad Ali did to the greatest level for me.


Just like Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan did for me.

Just like Jim Brown and all of the unnamed stars who were often on the camera as well as the intellectuals who never got to see a camera that much, they did it for me too!

There was so much at that time to be proud of although there were many blights dotting the landscape of the late ’60’s and early 70’s, but the was a spirit, a unity, a cohesiveness in our people that we just don’t have in the present time anymore. We “lost” that special something and if the truth be told, if Jim Kelly were to reappear on the landscape of the big screen today, he probably wouldn’t be embraced by the movie industry because he would immediately be asked to wear a dress or play a role that would contradict his heterosexuality.

Jim Kelly wouldn’t be embraced because his roles made it cool to be Black, intelligent and handsome with a take no bullshit attitude – something that scares the crap out of mainstream white America.

Jim Kelly - Straight Out Of A Comic Book

Yes, Jim Kelly would be in direct opposition to the Metro-sexualized, effeminate, lip gloss wearing don’t know WHAT I want to be mass manufactured and engineered fragmented facsimile of a Black image of the day.

His return if it were possible could be rejected all it wanted in the present world, because I know that all I would have to do is take a trip back to a sweeter time not only in MY life, but the lives of the many who enjoy these pages at on a regular basis. Culture is what you make it and if I don’t want to indulge in the corporate garbage that’s being passed off as something of a direct lineage to MY culture, then I won’t!

Give me a DVD of Jim Kelly in any one of his movies, some old reruns of Soul Train and a couple of episodes of Good Times and I’m good to go! Now if I feel to get a boost on top of that then i just might break out with my DVD stash and pull out the entire ROOTS series, but you don’t want me to do that because I JUST might not be so approachable after seeing my history played before my eyes early in this country.


But on a serious note, didn’t we all want to emulate those who were in the spotlight in our time coming up? Of COURSE we did!

So don’t you feel as though someone has figured this out and has elected to influence our young generations coming up to be confused about the many issues that they face from within constantly?

When I look at many other communities, we as Black people seem to be the problem child of the group and I just don’t believe it is because we are inferior in any way, but it is because of what we are ingesting in massive amount more so than these other cultures who have maintained more of THEIR original culture and not this cyanide-laced imposter offering filled with death!

Our real men have been demonized and removed from the psyche of the young Black mind and we don’t have as much access to see, smell, taste, hear and touch those targeted icons like we did back in the golden era of my life. We as a whole are seeing the results of this extraction and are falling fast as we are trying to replace the hunger for the real men in our communities and media with something that was never meant to be ingested into our beings in the first place. What movie could compare to “Three The Hard Way?” You had no question that it would be a blockbuster from start to finish.

If the “Three The Hard Way” title was used on a movie now in the present after certain agendas are push down our throats, I would have to say that it would probably be some kind of adult down low brother gay group sex flick! LOL!

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Rest In Peace Jim Kelly, your very presence as well as every man like you are precious in our lives and while you now have your time to rest until you meet your Maker, the world will NOT rest in peace because your prototype and mold has now been destroyed!

Peace & Righteous Love Always,

Your Brother In Mourning For A Great Man & Lost Culture,



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