When you hear the word support, what comes to mind? Be honest. Do the thoughts vary depending on whether support is given versus being received? How about we start with the actual meaning of the word. By definition the word support, used as a verb, means to endure bravely or quietly, to promote the interest or cause of, to pay the costs of, to hold up or serve as a foundation or prop for, or to keep something going. In short, the act of support can be financial, moral, emotional, or physical. Personally speaking, I’ve learned that support, much like a double-edged sword, has a two-sided impact. However, in contrast, support doubles up on the positives. Think of support like a two-sided spoon, allowing the primary receiver and giver to both be fed. Oh, this is good stuff, right?! So good that my new understanding of support has inspired one of my agreements for this decade which is to be more serious about whom and where I provide support. With only four months into 2020 and honoring this agreement, I’ve already been able to prove my understanding of support being mutually beneficial as true. This confirmation is fueled by me acquiring, cultivating, and developing connections with amazing people. These people are entrepreneurs, brand owners, community figures, and sheer doers. This means that if they aren’t leading or providing anything, they are super resourceful by connecting me to someone/those who are. These connections and people I speak of create, host, and facilitate opportunities and moments that give directly and immediately back to me.
Recently I supported four events that started off with me just wanting to support what I thought were cool concepts and to my surprise, I walked away with constructive information that will forever change me.
The first event I attended was Charlotte, NC’s first annual award ceremony for African American fathers called Black Fathers Rock.
The ceremony serves the purpose of recognizing black fathers who are positively impacting their communities while being present and active dads. The event is hosted by my fraternity brother, past roommate, author, co-host of Trending on WCCB, Ryan Jor-El. February 23, 2020, marked the third year for this award ceremony. During the past two years, because I had a conflict in my schedule, I didn’t attend. This year I almost faced the same issue but because of my new agreement for the new decade, I decided to move things around on my calendar so I could attend. I’m so glad I did. It was such a growing moment to experience the energy of those who showed up to celebrate black men. Coming from humble beginnings, prior to that moment, I had never witnessed black men be celebrated in that way. Each award recipient was allowed a moment to speak after receiving their award and hearing their words moved me to tears. The whole time I kept asking myself who would I have been if I was able to see black men this way as a child. Much of what I do as a dad and person is fueled by the moral and values instilled in me by immediate family. I didn’t have many examples of black manhood or fatherhood as a child. Experiencing the award show not only gave me a beautiful black cultural event to attend, but it also motivated me to go beyond just doing what I believe is right. I walked away with greater pride in providing an example for the next generation of black boys that will soon be men.
The second event I supported was Dapper Conversations, hosted by a men’s style brand called Black Menswear. More specifically Dapper Conversations is the kickoff to the main event of a weekend of gathering for a positive cause.
The main event is a men of color flash mob. The purpose of the weekend festivities is to help change the negative perceptions of the African American man. The visionary NeAndre Broussard is accomplishing this goal through two community-building pillars: a flash mob photoshoot and a social media influence/engagement. I was extended the invite to attend through my Instagram page. The flash mob is when men of color in different cities are invited to come out for a group photoshoot. The men that gather tend to be from different walks of life, cr8ing a bond that’s brewing the national perception of black men. This flash mob has covered cities like Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, Charlotte, and Tampa. Due to my hectic schedule, I was not able to attend the flash mob but was front and center for the conversation.
Much like when attending Black Father’s Rock, I was deeply moved. I had not been around that many black like-minded men since my college days. It reminded me of why I joined my fraternity. To solidify that thought even more, many of the guys in attendance are members of my fraternity. During the conversation, we discussed topics ranging from the importance of how the black man is seen and how his image supports his value beyond the surface. Much like the amazing images that Black Menswear shares of the black man, the event was classy, packed with substance, and one that I hope continues to grow.
The third event I attended was the Live in Color, color psychology workshop. Unlike the other events, I somewhat stumbled into this event. I learned about it through Facebook. I was actually updating my Facebook status and noticed the event title. Initially, I thought I read the 90s hit show Living Single lol but after I clicked and read the description, I realized it was something even more interesting. The event description stated that we all have a story to tell and the world needs to hear it. From there I wanted to learn more, but it was the research share about untreated trauma significantly increasing the risk rank from 7 to 10 as the leading cause of death in the United States that sold me. Unsure as to what I was getting into, I had the urge to persuade someone to attend with me, but decided that if no one showed interest after sharing it on Facebook, I would go anyway. I did and to my avail, my attendance has started a positive shift in my overall life. While there, we used a variety of writing and interactive activities to open our truth chakra (known as the throat Chakra).
We also dealt with and started the trauma healing process. Moreover, we explored how our life experiences have shaped who we are and how we speak our truth. The facilitator asked us a few questions but what stood out the most is when she asked us what lie we have been telling ourselves our whole life. Prior to attending the workshop, I’ve never been asked that question before so I never took the moment to explore that within. Once I did, it revealed a stronghold that I still have not decided if I will work to remove. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t seek this event, that my experience was so enlightening or if it's just the content being that impactful. Either way, I’m excited to continue the work and healing from the trauma I was able to identify while there. I’m also excited to continue work with the facilitator by welcoming her as a guest on my podcast. I enjoyed my time there so much that I would like to share what she's doing with all those who support the CYO movement.
The fourth event I attended was Thoughts of a Praying Man: Live Conversation Series.
This premise of the series is to provide an open floor laced with a conversation that challenges and adopts different perspectives while understanding the value of diverse thinking. The discussions were held at different event spaces in Charlotte, NC with a live audience. The discussion I attended was held at the Explicit lounge in the Music Factory of downtown Charlotte. I appreciated the ambiance, the quality of attendees, and the perspectives shared by the guests. The topic matter was also interesting and spoke to my current life experiences. I would definitely plan to experience another.
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