It is no secret that Black males enter the world with many odds against them. According to a statistical profile courtesy of Educational Testing Service (access here), a black boy born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in his lifetime.
For many of us reading this post, the bright eyed brown boy born in 2001 is our son, nephew, or brother, which sends chills up our spines as we envision the boy we pampered, played with, and protected confined in a controlled jungle.
One of the most stunning statistics about Black boys listed on this statistical profile is that 57 percent of Black boys between the ages of 9-13 live with a single mother, while only 17 percent of White boys between these ages experience the same. The Black male role model is missing in the home, resulting in young Black males often being misguided and/or not informed about what it takes to become a productive and responsible adult man.
There are individuals who learn of the disparities that Black males face and simply shake their heads, and then there is 2009 Morehouse Graduate Brandon Frame. Mr. Frame has created the Black Man Can Institute so that he may be a solution to the aforementioned problems.
The Black Man Can Institute consists of workshops, complete with numerous guest speakers, designed to educate minority boys on important life skills. Topics discussed during the workshops include financial literacy, being well dressed and even something that is not often discussed: dealing with the police.
Mr. Frame’s success as a mentor to our little Black brothers has led to his appearance on talk shows like “Here and Now” on ABC 7 New York, as well as in magazines and newspapers such as Jet and Rolling Out.
He completed the fall tour for “The Black Man Can Institute” in November of 2013, in which he traveled to: New Haven, CT, Baltimore, MD, New York City, and Atlanta, GA. Brandon set aside some time to answer a few of my questions about his work and his thoughts on what he believes our Black males are lacking the most.
Leah: Briefly describe what the main goals of “The Black Man Can Institute” are and what inspired you to create this powerful program?
Brandon: The main goals of TheBlackManCan Institute are to uplift, motivate, inspire, empower and educate young men of color. I was inspired to create this program because, first and foremost, it is my passion and purpose to be in the education and youth development field. Additionally, everyone from educators to parents, are discussing what needs to be done for young men of color. I wanted to take a grassroots approach and address these issues in the various communities across the country. I want to provide the positive contradiction to the prevailing negative Black male image of today on the worldwide web and on the ground.
Leah: What or who was the motivating force in your life that allowed you to beat the statistics of the average Black male?
Brandon: My Grandfather, who was in my life until I was in the 7th grade, laid the foundation that I stand upon today. It’s as if he knew he was not going to be around so he gave me life lessons at an early age. Additionally, out my mother’s 5 children, I’m the eldest. I knew that I had to make the right choices because my siblings were looking up to me and watching my every move. I had to be a role model before I even know what it meant to be a role model. Lastly, I started to fall astray when I was in high school, but I had older Black men come into my life and share words of wisdom that put me back on the right path so I would not become a negative statistic.
Leah: What is the biggest thing missing in the lives of a lot of our young black males, which is ultimately holding them back for reaching their full potential?
Brandon: There are many things we can point to, from the media to the lack of positive men in households to the lack of positive self-identity to poverty. I want to call attention to the core competency of being consistent. Young men right now truly do not know what it means to be consistent. It starts while they are in school and at home, and as they get older it will manifest in relationships with family, friends, and women, too. Mentoring is the most immediate and practical way to build this competency in young men. Through mentoring we can help young men understand and take the steps necessary to be consistent in all walks of life.
Brandon is kicking off his second “The Black Man Can Institute” tour on February 22, 2014 in Washington D.C.! Visit www.theblackmancan.org to learn if he will be in a city near you. Take your brother, cousin, or godson for a healthy dose of male empowerment!
The World is Ours Blogger,
Leah C. Powell