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Omanii Abdullah
Poet
I didn't grow up in a housing project. I came from a two-parent household on the west side of Syracuse. But if I were to visualize this poem, I would visualize me, standing in a project, with chains all around me. One chain might be drugs, another might be prostitution, or alcoholism. Different vices for each chain. I'd have my hand pointing to my head. My head would be like a lock, and my hand like a key. With knowledge, I can sever those chains and move out of that situation.

I'm not stuck in that situation myself, but I have relatives who are. I talk to them. It's like, "Yeah, I know you're right, I have control over my destiny." Some of them act on it, some of them don't. Because many people need reinforcement, and they need to hear it from more than just one person.

I am from the hood
The hood did not enslave me
I am my master

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