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by Dr. Boyce Watkins
The story of the black male in America is as complex as any other demographic. Some of them are headed to the heights of heaven and others have been condemned to the depths of h**l. My participation in the Janks Morton film “Hoodwinked” (along with Steve Perry, Marc Lamont Hill, Jawanza Kunjufu and Ivory Toldson) was both a passionate and edifying experience, as I was reminded that there are many points of hope and light to celebrate when it comes to what our boys are doing.
But, as much as there is to celebrate, we’d be lying if we didn’t admit that stories of black male success are poisoned by the backdrop of mass incarceration, miseducation, unemployment and explosive amounts of violence. For too many black men, the principles necessary to build these men into adequate husbands and fathers later on down the road are missing, leading to a deadly imbalance in the African American social ecosystem that is ripping our community at its core. Many black women can’t find husbands because the man who would normally be raising her kids is in prison, uneducated, financially destitute or dead.
That’s why we created the Building Outstanding Men and Boys (BOMB) family empowerment series. Our goal is to visit as many cities as possible to allow experts to share tools and tips that help parents and mentors to build and develop strong boys that will grow into empowered and responsible men. We are also seeking to help grown men become better men and for all of us to accept our responsibility to lead other men toward positive choices, rather than negative. The greatest deterrent to a black man’s success should NOT be another black male.
We are going to kick off the tour in Louisville, KY on October 27th, where I’ll be joined by Pastor Kevin Cosby, Dr. Ricky Jones, Dr. Mary Stoddard and also my own father (a 25-year veteran of the police force, who will speak to black male interactions with police), where we will discuss the principles necessary for men to be strong leaders of their families, their communities and their own destinies. We are also scheduled to visit Morehouse College on the 8th and 9th of October. We want parents and mentors to understand the critical importance of raising, teaching, training and structuring their boys to become strong and reliable men later in life.
The bottom line is simple: Too many black boys are being taught the wrong things. Too many are taught to dribble basketballs and throw footballs, but never get the educational tools to succeed. Too many are taught how to puff weed at the age of 15, but never learn how to get a job. Too many are taught how to “make it rain” at the strip club, but never taught how to start their own business. Finally, too many are taught how to murder one another, but never learn how to protect, lift, build and be accountable to those they love.
Many of our boys lose their future before it even begins, and it’s up to us to say, “Not anymore.” That’s what this tour is all about.
Dr Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of YourBlackWorld.net. He also stars in the Janks Morton film, “Hoodwinked,” with Steve Perry, Marc Lamont Hill and Jawanza Kunjufu. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. To find out how your organization can bring this tour to your city, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.