The 3rd Annual State of Black Men in America event took place on Wed., Jan. 24th, where participants gathered to discuss healing and brand imagery. Held at the Southwest Arts Performance Theatre in Atlanta, the event featured eight successful men, with ties to the community, to serve as panelists. The program was hosted by Brothers United of Atlanta and sponsored by the Q Parker Legacy Foundation.
The conversation focussed on past and present instances of how Black men are depicted in America followed by a discussion and a Q&A.
The State of Black Men in America panel featured radio personality Willie Moore Jr., former NFL player and entrepreneur Stevie Baggs Jr., and Gary Davis founder of Next Level Boys Academy. Also participating as panelists were Clark Atlanta University’s Dr. Gerry L. White (Professor of Social Work) and Dr. Christopher Bass (Professor of Psychology), Pastor James Mason of Birmingham Bible Church, attorney Antavius Weems, and therapist Harrison Davis. Marketing expert Kervance Ross served as the moderator for the event.
As a subsidiary of the Q Parker Legacy Foundation, Brothers United of Atlanta was founded by Q Parker of 112. Originally created to empower men in the entertainment industry, it is a male support group that offers a safe environment for men to discuss their struggles. These men come to receive support and find answers to address many different aspects of their personal lives. The group holds its at Morehouse College and has weekly prayer calls.
One of the latest hot topics was the H&M scandal, which concerned a black boy wearing a “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” hoodie in a promotional photo. Though there was a general outcry of disappointment and anger towards the Swedish retailer’s actions (or lack thereof), there were different opinions on how the issues should have been handled.
Each panelist provided perspectives as well as possible solutions drawn from their personal experiences. that they practice in their own lives. Some felt economic the route enabled the most power, others suggested grassroots efforts and therapeutic practices.
Members of the panel did stress the importance of members of the black community having a unified response to some of the more blatant forms of racial discrimination and insensitivity, and battling the strategy of divide and conquer.
The possibility of having a group of people to battle each cause in the name of winning the war of equality for African Americans seems ideal. Instead of a united voice, there would be an army with a regiment designated for police brutality, unfair incarceration, education, employment, and even gentrification.
The biggest takeaway from the events is the accepting the fact that the African Americans as whole have been through a lot and still have a long way to go. But somehow, as a community, African Americans have maintained the ability to overcome and survive. During this process, blacks have shown an ability to build strength, gain support, and transition from surviving to thriving.