Reported by Malcolm Morrow
Eleven-year-old super prodigy Malik Kofi is a multi-talented child that is about to take the world by storm. Malik’s musical talents leave audiences entranced as he plays with vigor, skill and knowledge well beyond his young years. He plays numerous instruments including drums, piano and guitar; but he is most passionate about honing his skill on the cello. “Malik is a musical prodigy. He has advanced technological and interpretative abilities as a child. Beyond that he also puts in the hard work to develop those talents, says Craig Hulgren, a cellist in the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Kofi’s teacher for the past five years.
Kofi was born in Birmingham, AL and has been raised by his grandmother Ruby Cox since birth. Cox says that she could see something special in Malik and decided to home school him and his older brothers so that his advanced skills could properly develop. It all seems to be paying off in a big way. Cox also says that she stays in tune with the lesson plans of the top boarding schools in the country because she believes, “In order for them to compete with the best in the world they need to be able to perform at a certain level.”
Cox also has Kofi on a strict vegan diet because she thinks that, “Junk food is like any substance abuse. Kids that eat junk don’t focus, can’t sit down, are noisy and disruptive and are not imaginative.” They also don’t have access to a television or the internet in their home, Cox says that they research things in books at the library and CD’s and DVD’s. She believes having no technological distractions around helps him to be more imaginative and focused. Malena Cunningham, a filmmaker, heard about Malik and felt obligated to tell his story on film. “If Ruby Cox wasn’t the type of grandmother she is, he’d be a bright, frustrated, African-American child, lost in the system because he didn’t have the right push from a parent, Ruby saw in her children, especially her grandchildren, and in particular Malik, the ability to help them grow. She has nurtured and given them opportunities despite their socio-economic background.If we had more parents, not just grandparents, who were as tenacious as Ruby, we wouldn’t have a generation of lost children.”
I agree whole heartedly with the sentiments of Ms. Cunningham. I’m glad that Malik’s story will be told on a large scale because so often gifted children are not given the proper recognition they deserve. The first screening of the film entitled Little Music Manchild: The Malik Kofi Story will be held in April and all of the funds raised will go towards Kofi’s music lesson expenses. They are hoping to shop the film around at various festivals and maybe get a distribution deal. I hope that they due because this young man’s achievements should be known on a national level.
Malcolm Morrow, a Your Black World Network contributor, is a senior, criminal justice major at The University of Southern Miss