Agyei Tyehimba was born and raised in the famed 'Sugar Hill' section of Harlem. His parents - George and Adrienne Stith - gave him the best of both worlds. His mother emphasized the importance of character development, education and charity, while his father developed street sense and a love for Black history and culture. As a child, Agyei, then known by his born name Quentin, excelled in football, student government, and poetry.
During his undergraduate years, Agyei delivered opening speeches for such
notables as Nikki Giovanni, Naim Akbar, Kwame Ture, Martin Luther King III, and
Susan Taylor. Agyei's work at Syracuse University caught the attention of
student organizations at neighboring universities who began inviting him to
speak about his experiences and to provide political consultation. This led
Agyei to become a professional motivational speaker in 1990. His topics included
student activism, racism, and the urban drug epidemic. The author delivered
presentations at Syracuse University, Cornell University, Colgate University,
Morrisville College, and a number of colleges within the State University of New
In 1995, Mr. Tyehimba began graduate studies at Cornell University's prestigious Africana Studies & Research Center. He became President of the Africana Graduate Student Association and coordinated a student activist conference featuring Kwame Ture as the keynote speaker. Mr. Tyehimba wrote and successfully defended a thesis about the movement to create Black Studies Departments on college campuses in the 1960's. As a graduate student Agyei gave presentations to teenagers residing in the Louis Gossett Jr. Residential Center for Youth, a detention center for troubled female teens in Lansing, New York. Inspired by the Million Man March in 1995, Mr. Tyehimba and a number of other concerned men in Ithaca, New York founded the October 16th Rites of Passage Program. This organization of Black men provided structured and developmental mentorship, recreational and educational activities for a cohort group of Black male teens over the course of two years. As the educational coordinator, Agyei created and facilitated activities to help the teens develop life management skills like time management, fundraising, budgeting, decision-making and career planning. Under the mentorship of Dr.James Turner, Agyei earned his Master's Degree of Professional Studies in Africana Studies.
Agyei taught 5th and 8th grade Social Studies in New York City public schools for 4 years. In the year 2000, Mr. Tyehimba co-founded the Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy (KAPPA) Middle School. Between 2002-2003, Tyehimba taught African American Studies at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). Among other classes, Professor Tyehimba taught Ancient African Civilizations, African American History 1619-1865, and Modern Black Political Thought.
From 2003-2005, Agyei coordinated an after school program for high school students in the Bronx, New York. In addition to providing college application and admissions assistance, he helped students gain summer employment in the fields of their choice and developed workshops to help them develop life management skills.
In 2002, he approached legendary kingpin Azie Faison about writing his life story. Mr. Tyehimba's goal was to steer youth away from drug dealing and other counterproductive activities. In 2007, Simon & Schuster published their book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, which received national press and continues to be commercially successful.
In addition to teaching, Mr. Tyehimba has provided numerous workshops to help parents understand and exercise their rights and to advocate for their children's academic success. Agyei currently coordinates Boys To Men, a group providing mentorship and life management skills to middle school boys between the ages of 10 and 13.
Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler
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by Azie Faison, and Agyei Tyehimba
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Atria (August 7, 2007)
Agyei Tyehimba has co-written a book entitled Game Over: The Rise and Redemption of a Former Harlem Hustler which was released on August 7, 2007. Published by Simon & Schuster, Game Over chronicles the life of former Harlem hustler Azie Faison.
Clip from Azie's documentary Game Over
Faison told his story through a major motion picture (Paid in Full) and a street documentary (Game Over). The story of Azie, Rich Porter, and Alberto "Alpo" Martinez, has also been told in FEDS Magazine, The Source, The Village Voice, and a number of other periodicals.
Much like the classic autobiographies Manchild in a Promised Land, Down These Mean Streets, and Makes Me Wanna Holler, this book tells the story of a young man's struggle for meaning and identity in the 'hood, how the streets seduced him, and his remarkable transformation from drug dealer to writer and youth advocate.
This book explores the New York City drug game during the Ronald
Reagan years, the forces that led so many urban youth to enter the drug
game, the lavish lifestyles of Azie and his partners, and the personal
tragedies that confronted them all. Readers will learn about the massive
corruption of law enforcement and their complicity in urban drug
trafficking. Readers will also learn about how Azie turned his life
around, creating a documentary and motion picture about his life to
steer youth away from his former path. This is a must read for high
school students, parents, college students, social critics, Hip Hop
enthusiasts and professionals in all walks of life. Agyei Tyehimba
recently appeared at the
Book Fair on a panel discussing his book.