Welcome to Jamal Washington: CEO

Episode 1 (Introduction)


It was a pretty brisk morning that Thursday in late September- unusually cool. As the sun set over the QueensBridge structure that led into the largest metropolis in the world, Jamal could only think of one thing- his turn. For Jamal Washington, life was all about getting a shot at what one does best. For this reason, he has been very intentional about the people he hangs out with and the things he does during his downtime.


It wasn’t long ago that Jamal was like most other 20-year olds his age-“gittin’ dem digits from a girl, watching videos on BET or MTV2 (the other rap station), and watching the world grow grass under his feet. But ever since his older brother, Justin, died in a drive by while hanging with some friends on the block, life has been different. Justin was a good older brother and no one, including Jamal and his parents, and sister, Chantalle, ever thought they would be commemorating the 4th anniversary of his death.


Jamal woke up that day, like other days, and had his usual run-in with Chantalle, a 16-year old who was preparing to start her junior year at Van Buren High School. Even with their name-calling and occasional slaps to the back of the head, they knew they had each other’s back. Today was the day that Jamal was to present his business plan in class for a fictional product or service. Little did the professor know, that Jamal had been working on this for the past 4 years. Nah, Justin’s death wasn’t for no reason, as a matter of fact it fueled Jamal to become an over-acheiver. Late nights at the library, self-help tapes, multi-level marketing programs, blah…blah…blah. You name it, Jamal has tried it. But today, Jamal was stepping out there and revealing something he hadn’t shared with the world yet.


Jamal’s father yelled upstairs, “Man, hurry up and get out the bathroom! You know I gotta get to work!”


“Thomas, he just got in there!”, snapped Mrs. Washington. Betty Washington had grown protective over Jamal over the past 2 years. She had watched her little boy- her only little boy now- grow up into a young man, and at times, it surprises her just how much he’s like his father, Thomas.


“Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a Good Times episode”, Jamal muttered as he hurried washing up, so he could just get out of the row house and make his first million.


So Jamal left the house- quick, fast and in a hurry- and took the train into the city. With ten thousand things on his mind, he wasn’t as aware of his surroundings but he could get to school with his eyes closed at this point. First of all, he and his girlfriend have been fighting. Lela thinks Jamal’s got some honey on the side, because he’s been pushing her away lately, and no matter what she tries- surprise interludes, his favorite meals- he’s not letting her in. Everytime it seemed like she would call it quits, Jamal would beg to be patient with him, and that she was the only one who truly understood him. They’ve been together for 2 years, and even with his faults, Lela had very few friends who’ve had a man this long.


Secondly, Jamal hates his part-time job at the Office Warehouse. His boss, a 25 year old graduate from some school in Massachusetts, appears to be a slave owner “come-back-in the-flesh”. She seems to have it in for Jamal, and he doesn’t know why. And while Jamal believes in hard work, he doesn’t know how much more of this he can stand.


Jamal, makes his way off the train, and practically runs to his class. It was the same math class, with his odd-ball professor who seems to think letting the hair grow out his nose and ears is just fine. Jamal goes through his morning and heads to lunch at Subway’s as his daily routine went. And why would today be different?


Little did he know how different it would be. Jamal had no idea what this day would bring…


(Next episode Sept 25, 2005)