We are proud to be publishing a feature interview of Judd in our fall 2021 issue, which should come out in early November. You will learn more about him, his writing, and Solid Initiative then.
On June 8th, Ty lost his cousin Najee to the senseless violence that seems to be gripping our nation at the current moment. Najee was only twenty years old, and was much loved by family and friends, who are grieving their terrible and unexpected loss.
This posting is meant as a tribute to Najee, to his talent, to his energy, to his life, and to everything he was and might have become. He will not be forgotten.
The poem and foreword were written by Ty’Sean Judd; the audio file is of Judd reading one of his poems. I hope you will take a few moments to read Judd’s poem and foreword and to listen to his poem.
Let me say here, it has been a true pleasure and an honor to work with Ty this year. I have so much faith in his talent, in his integrity, and in his efforts to support disenfranchised kids in his community. I have learned so much from my collaboration with him. My life has been enriched. I only wish I could have met his cousin, too.
If Freedom Was Free
by Ty’Sean Judd
Power wouldn’t be abused
or misconstrued as holiness and
we wouldn’t allow ourselves
to be controlled by the more
It’s torture for a lion
watching measly scraps
of food dangle from the
hands of a man he’s more
while wishing to hunt.
Just to limit his tenacity,
the zookeeper savagely
files down the sharpness
of his teeth in order to
further ensure the cat is
In reality the lion’s coordinates
lock him into inferiority.
If freedom was free,
the 1 percent’s superiority
wouldn’t be locked in
Truly, if Freedom
was free, there would be
no limits and everything
wouldn’t come with a fee.
I’ve observed freedom.
Life’s matrix helped me see
it’s something we won’t
ever achieve unless we
create more, while having
patience with the ones
who have not yet
Foreword from Golden Handcuffs
We are all incarcerated by vices and they are all connected.
How can we help our brothers and sisters in oppression while suppressing
our own effectiveness?
There is no respect for the neglectful, seeing
As the blind make for the best targets.
It’s expected of us to never break free.
As we move along the sea of confinement
We must decide between being caged
Fools, rebels, or revolutionaries
While confiding in one another,
Which is the hardest.
Listen to the audio recording of Ty reading his poem “Unarmed.”