A Boatload of Perspective

“I cried for having no shoes and then I met a man with no feet.” -Helen Keller

Here’s a fun fact, Helen Keller and Martin Luther King Jr. were born the same year, but never mind that.

Most people don’t even know how Memorial Day started as much as they know it’s something about veterans, but it’s not Veteran’s Day, but it is a three day weekend on the brink of summer so we will get drunk and set off these fire works from last year before we buy new ones next month for 4th of July. By description, Memorial Day is the prologue to 4th of July, a day we celebrate life in America, the “land of the free” with “land of the free” being a epithet that historically speaking has been interpreted to include everything free including labor, land, and people but not quality education and healthcare.

Regardless, Memorial Day is when we celebrate and honor those who have given their time, efforts, and most significantly lives; to the cause that is our freedom. We enjoy that freedom and our problems so much we coin our issues, first world problems-jovially brushing them off and continuing our stressful days. The term “first world problems,” indicates perspective, but how much perspective?Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 3.39.41 PM



This year, 2016, The Mediterranean Sea has claimed the lives of 2,443 people who have attempted to cross it in search of peace and freedom. 2,443 accounts for ALL people, women and children included, who have died or gone missing at sea. Here’s another fun fact, there are only 2,772 migrant deaths world wide. That means that over 85% of migrant deaths come from one body of water and is concentrated in one general area. The majority of these individuals are fleeing from corrupt, war-ravaged cities and governments, sometimes on makeshift boats, and never reach their destination.

Truthfully, I hate reporting problems without solutions and this is a problem I don’t have a solution for. The death toll is higher than it was last year at this time by nearly 1,000 bodies. I’m sure as international policies and committees on migrants continue to falter, we will see this number grow. So this 4th of July, as you celebrate life and joke of “first world problems”, think of the people that are dying to do the same.





Kevin ‘Ai-Que’ Smith II is a hip-hop artist, former educator, and co-Director of Philadelphia’s longest running Hip Hop event, The Gathering. As a English and History Education alum from the prestigious Lincoln University, PA Ai-Que also challenges the socio-cultural climate by fostering open dialogue and advocating for unity among underserved communities. He’s currently on a national music tour performing as a solo artist. Ai-Que’ explores hip-hop lifestyle, lyricism, politics, activism, technology and pop culture for OogeeWoogee.

'A Boatload of Perspective' has no comments

Be the first to comment this post!

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

OogeeWoogee. All Rights Reserved.