Ironcially English teachers in a certain urban school were criticized years ago for having their students read this poem because it was "immoral." Obviously the critics missed the satire, here.
To echo the opinion in Post #1, this poem is yet relevant today. There is a 50% chance that a black male will make it to adulthood nowadays. How relevant, then, is Brooks's last line?
I absolutely think that this still applies to life today. If you look at the percentage of young black men (which is who Brooks is talking about in this poem) who have the problems she talks about, it is clear that the poem still applies.
The poem is talking about young men who stop doing the things that will help them succeed (like going to school) and instead make choices that are destructive. Maybe it's not gin that's the big problem now. Maybe it's crack instead. But the point is still the same. Too many young men (especially of color) end up getting themselves in trouble (even to the extent of dying young) because they stop doing things that would be productive and instead turn to things that seem "cool."