Featured Story, Hustling & Hip-Hop, Prison Stories

Blakk Sun by shaun leflore

As we mature and gain experience, we often learn that things and situations are not what they seem to be. Michael Powell, AKA Blakk Sun learned that lesson the hard way. The mainstream media’s depiction of a glamorous and promising future in the streets influenced Blakk as he grew up in Mansfield, Ohio.  Experiencing poverty throughout childhood also contributed to Blakk’s attraction to the fast money the streets seemed to promise all young black youth throughout the nation. As Blakk’s hunger for materialism grew, so did his audacious behavior. That dangerous behavior eventually led him to serve the next 14 years behind bars. 

During his prison sentence, Blakk educated himself on the ways of people, the world, and most importantly, his community. His self-identity, definition of manhood, and investment in the community began to change. As Blakk continued to feed his mind he learned about systemic oppression, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the major corporate contributions to mass incarceration. Blakk began to see the system that produced so many young men like himself. One day he looked around the prison and saw caricatures representing one image; the image of a savvy but rebellious individual with behavior that was not rooted in knowledge. He saw many of his peers running around emotional, impulsive, ill-informed but overly opinionated. Blakk noticed that important aspects of life were not being discussed such as the purpose of human existence, truth, and authenticity. He decided that day to do something about it, to invoke a new way of being, to serve and inspire the black community.

In Blakk’s personal life, he realized that music and art had a profound impact on his thoughts, perspectives, and interpretations of the world. Once separated from society, Blakk was able to think clearly and keenly. He started forming new aspects of his character. He began to analyze data and understand systems. These contemplative moments impelled Blakk to be a part of the change and provide an accurate representation of life in the streets and the prevalent outcomes that many have. 

Blakk decided he would utilize his talent of music and poetry to reflect the gritty reality that many often ignore when it comes to the allure of street culture. He decided to be the new model that people like him could follow. Now, in 2021, Blakk is home. He is sticking to his promise and actualizing his purpose. Amid a Hip Hop and Rap culture littered with the glorification of criminal behavior and violence, Blakk Sun is a refreshing and inspiring voice. Thousands of youth are negatively influenced, many are lacing up and preparing to hit the streets in full force, believing that everything that glitters is indeed gold. Blakk tells the truth about his experiences, immaturity, and lack of vision while still keeping it real. His jovial nature and explosively creative vocabulary are entertaining, inspiring, and comforting all at once.

Blakk can talk a good game, but his walk is even better. Also, one thing is for certain: Blakk’s music will not lead you to a prison cell. Blakk has co-founded Reentry Music Group which plans to sign other artists post-incarceration that also work to change the narrative of the urban experience and provide music that inspires positive growth.


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