GRID Magazine


Michael Kirby Addresses Urban Education Realities in “Black Professional”

Michael Kirby

Michael Kirby, a profound voice emerging from the heart of New York City, has struck a chord with his latest song, “Black Professional.” This track delves deep into the complex realities faced by Black males in urban education, an issue that resonates beyond the confines of the classroom. Kirby, a middle school dean originally from Hartford, CT, brings his personal experiences to the forefront, shedding light on a largely unspoken conundrum.

“Black Professional” is not just a song; it’s a narrative that speaks volumes about the premature elevation of Black men to leadership positions in education. It highlights the challenge they face: being thrust into roles of authority without adequate experience, training, or support. This practice, often driven by the pressure to diversify administrative staff, leaves many Black male educators unprepared, leading to quick burnout and exit from the profession. Kirby’s poignant lyrics and soulful delivery put into perspective a startling statistic – only 1.3% of educators in the USA are Black men.

This track is a part of Kirby’s third album, “Shoulders Carry Honor,” released on October 18, 2023. Much like its title suggests, the album carries the weight of topics such as temptation, burnout, and the raw truths of working in education. Kirby’s approach to these subjects is brutally honest, navigating the listener through the highs and lows with a mix of lyrical depth and melodic prowess.

Michael Kirby isn’t just a music artist; he’s a storyteller and an advocate. His dedication to making a difference is evident in his 2018 debut album “Spying On Heaven,” from which he donated all proceeds to the Food Bank For New York City. Kirby continues to use his platform to shed light on issues that matter, and with “Black Professional,” he’s opened a long overdue dialogue.



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