Ain’T No Place Safe
Carlton "Carlito" Ewell
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Here we have in Aint No Place Safe, a complicated coming-of-age story about the struggles of a young man by the name of Raheem Porter as he grows up in the Badlands section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. How does a young black male navigate his way safely into adulthood with so much violence and drug use sitting right outside his front door? Even with extreme God-given talent both athletically as well as academically, the chance and opportunity to excel in life can be seen as simply just a dream. Our protagonist, Raheem, is an extremely talented basketball player (who is well sought after by most division 1 schools) just as his twin-like sixteen-year-old cousin, Kareem, was. In the opening scene, Kareem is tragically shot and killed for a pair of expensive basketball sneakers while a helpless Raheem looks on. Although this traumatic event is life altering, somehow with the help of a loving grandmother (Mother Porter a.k.a. Nana) and the support of a few caring teachers, a strong-willed Raheem perseveres. Raheems basketball talents very quickly blossom along with his size and height. He becomes something to marvel at. Instead of this creating a narcissist, it somehow humbles the young man. He subconsciously understands that his talents are a blessing and is to be used for the betterment of his familys future.