The unforgettable phrase made famous in the 2005 blockbuster film “Hustle and Flow” and written by hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia, reminded us that “It’s hard out here for a pimp.”

At least that was the conclusion which the lead actor, DJay, portrayed by Terrence Howard. Yet, through his refusal to give up despite the odds against him and the many hurdles he must overcome, he shows those closest to him that “everybody’s got a dream.”

But realizing one’s hopes and dreams has grown even more difficult for many African Americans during this unprecedented health pandemic. Even before the appearance of COVID-19, Blacks were disproportionately impacted by health challenges like hypertension, diabetes and obesity and education, economic and social inequities.

Now, Blacks have claimed another unenviable status as the race most devastated by the coronavirus, far outnumbering whites and Latinos as well in reported infections and deaths.

And mew federal data released just days ago shows that COVID-19 has already cut U.S. life expectancy by a year. But for Black men, the average lifespan dropped by close to three years, comparable to the years 1942 and 1943 when World War II worsening.

And things could become worse better they get better. Consider that during the 1918 influenza pandemic, the U.S. life expectancy sank by 11 years.

But Blacks have faced even greater challenges and darker days. During those times, Blacks survived because we banded together, shared our skills and talents for the community’s good and kept our neighborhoods clean and safe.

We were, as the adage goes, “our brother’s [sister’s] keeper.”

We believe, as our ancestors showed us, that Black solidarity remains among the key strategies and beliefs for our successfully weathering this latest storm. Further, we fear that “we shall overcome” will remain little more than a hope and the title of a song, if we are unwilling or unable to overcome as one community.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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