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For brothers only: watching television the other night, I knew things were changing when I saw a Brother giving White folks financial advice.

IT'S the hottest show on television, the subject of beauty shop talk all across the country. Indeed, as of late, it's been almost impossible to escape the buzz surrounding Desperate Housewives, the offbeat drama that follows the lives of several suburban women in their attempt to find family and personal happiness.

But, truth be told, there's a more interesting kind of talk taking place in gyms and barbershops in 'hoods from coast to coast. It's coming from a crowd that I call the "Desperate Homeboys," a group that is also making waves and deserves just as much attention.

You see, when it comes to these homeboys, being desperate is a good thing. Throughout the country, there are Brothers in a mad hunt for their better selves. And while the plight of these Brothers who are desperately searching for happiness and life's true meaning might not be as sexy as bleached blonds sashaying to PTA meetings in slinky outfits every week I maintain that it is no less compelling.

It is compelling because never before have there been so many Brothers so serious about improving their lives. It's an attitude of restlessness, a feeling of discontent, the desire for more out of life.

Spend some time in any barbershop, and it's easy to see the transformation. The barbershop was once a place where Brothers would sit around all day talking about who was the biggest playa. Now the talk between cuts is who has the biggest house, the biggest 401k, the best plan for the future.

More are homeowners now than ever before. More own real estate, stocks, other investments. More are business owners and sit on their local school board, city council and planning commission.

Brothers are working harder than ever, many times jumping at opportunities to enhance their careers. They want their piece of the American Dream, and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it.

Just look at the past presidential election, more African-American men voted than ever before. For a group that has often assumed its voice or vote didn't matter, this past November signaled that the times are a changing.

An increasing number of Brothers are no longer content with just living for the today. Their time horizon now extends beyond their plans for the weekend. Don't get me wrong, we still like to have a good time. And won't stop buying nice things. A true Brother will always take pride in looking good.

The desperate homeboy is realizing that there is more to life than who's got the biggest toys. He is evolving into a person who is combining book sense with his street knowledge. He is taking his 'hood survival skills off the block and into the workplace, taking his innate passion and applying it to his relationships, his faith, and his community. You don't have to look far to find a desperate homeboy. You see them enrolling in college, singing in the church choir, becoming involved in their children's school activities.

You can see this shift in relationships, too. I see more and more Brothers seriously looking for that right lady. And when he finally finds her, he's not letting her go. Look around! More Brothers are marrying now than a decade ago.

In short, Brothers are living a more well-rounded lifestyle. We are a diverse group of people, able to achieve amazing things when we use our skills, our God-given gifts, to the fullest. We are no longer buying into the idea that sports and entertainment are the only ways for us to make it big. We are realizing that we can excel in whatever area we want. There's a whole world out there just waiting on us to tap into it.
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Title Annotation:Desperate Homeboys
Author:Chappell, Kevin
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2005
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