In Aunt Alice vs. Bob Marley, Kareem Kennedy documents his quest for an education in the schools and streets of New Orleans. With his father gone and his mother frequently out of the picture, Kareem looks toward teachers, friends, and extended family for the skills to muster through public schools, Hurricane Katrina, and the “heavy hands and hard shoes” of his life. Kareem’s story serves as a meditation on the New Orleans public education system as he sheds light on the best and worst their public schools have to offer. Throughout his time in school, Kareem feels pulled in two very different directions. On the one hand, there is his Aunt Alice, an advocate for black empowerment who presses him to discover his creative potential. On the other, there is the “Bob Marley” culture of taking it easy, getting stoned, and not worrying so much about the future. The two years Kareem spends writing Aunt Alice vs. Bob Marley represent highs and lows: losing friends, surviving violence, and the beginning of his college career.
Kareem Kennedy is a student at Southern University of New Orleans majoring in social work. He is the editor of the university newspaper.