Open any newspaper, any day, in any city or turn to any television channel, or read any magazine and the image that is projected to you concerning men of color the majority of the time is negative. Either some robbery has taken place, a shooting has occurred, or a brutal fight has happened. This is just not a recent occurrence either, this has been the case for years. However for some reason it seems to be happening now more than ever, maybe this is because of the popularity of social media and the use of the internet and smart phones. Now one would think with an African-American president in the year 2015 things would be very different. I really believe that most people thought that after nearly two full terms with President Obama race relations would be much better than they currently are. In fact with the events that have taken place over the last few years with Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and several others as this list continues to grow with what seems like weekly, race relations seem to be worse than ever.
Not only do race relations seem be bad but the image of today's African American male seems to be as well. Now, African American men have made tremendously strives in society today but we are not being shown their accomplishments. What we are being shown are the ones committing crimes, involved in gang activity or fighting on YouTube. All races have these issue but if you just looked at most of the media you would be inclined to believe that it is all committed by one race. If the public is fed this negative information of black men constantly over and over every day, then it is obvious that people will have that fear of black men, that negative mindset of black men and image of black men as criminals, thugs and gangsters because that is what they are being shown repetitively.
That is why I was so happy to see Black Enterprise come up with the BE MODERN MANinitiative. Where they highlight the achievements of African American men all over and let them share their stories of how they overcame struggle, adversity and made a difference in their lives and that of their families.
The BE MODERN MAN rally cry is "ITS OUR NORMAL TO BE EXTRAORDINARY". That is a very powerful statement. It is not our normal to be criminals, it is not our normal to be unemployed, it is not our normal to be below average, however, it is our normal to be extraordinary!
When Black Enterprise contacted me to Modern Man, I was beyond thrilled and humbled to be mentioned with men like Paul Brunson, Alfred A. Edmond Jr, Lenny Green, Dr. Thomas McBride Jr., Jay Barnett and Randolph Brown. There are several other great men being honored with this distinction as it continues to honor men weekly. How wonderful to be a part of something that can change the perception of black men all over the world. Each man has a story that can help effect the lives of the next generation of black men. Instead of merely seeing mug shots on television, our youth will see men in suits, men in business, men working together for a greater good. These men will be their fathers, brothers, uncles and people they can relate to. The impact of seeing those images and reading those stories will give them hope for their future. The vision and potential this has to impact young black boys' minds and dreams is enormous.
Congrats to Black Enterprise for stepping up and being creative and taking the lead. Every race has great people, every race has great thinkers, and every race has incredible people making a difference in society. However, it is a great time to see the great work men of color are doing right now. And what do you know, it is not even Black history month!