FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2021
The five episode series features local Black men who share their personal stories that resonate with viewers.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - The Charlottesville Alliance for Black Male Achievement (BMA) seeks to disrupt the stigma for Black men and mental health with the launch of its “How U?” video series. Youth Opportunity Coordinator, Daniel Fairley, who leads BMA, collaborated with filmmaker Clarence Green, and the Charlottesville Department of Human Services Family Services Specialist, John Thompson on this project to connect viewers with local Black men who embody resilience and hope.
The name, “How U?” evolved from the simple phrase, “How are you doing?” The title emphases the individual and how people take care of themselves. According to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, African-Americans are 20 percent more likely to have serious psychological distress than their white counterparts are. Additionally, suicide is the third leading cause of death for Black Men between ages 15 and 24.
According to Black Men Heal, research shows that men feel pressure to conform to traditional gender norms such as toughness, fearlessness, and invulnerability to pain. Unfortunately, many Black men often suffer in silence because of fears that being vulnerable goes against masculinity ideals.
“As Black men, we are often told that we need to act a certain way: ‘be tough’, ‘be a man’, ‘stop crying’ from a very young age,” Fairley says. “Black men are faced with a lot of hard things. So, the How U? Podcast aspires to be a part of creating healthy outlets and creating open spaces for dialogue.”
“According to the Journal of Negro Education - Black masculinity has been shaped by dominant White culture, media and stripped from its Afrocentric roots. This narrative has been racially traumatizing for young men their entire life,” says Gene Case, LCSW, CEO and Owner of Counseling Alliance of Virginia. “For Black masculinity to be reshaped and added to all Black men's experiential reality, we as mental health professionals, educators, civil servants, and the average person must create spaces where the totality of the Black male voice is supported and validated. Institutions and employers can develop counter spaces to affirm healthy attitudes, values, and beliefs about Black men, increase structural diversity, and train social justice-minded employees to unhinge Black masculinity from all the years of falsely depicted realities and expectations.”
The video series features local Black men who share their personal stories that resonate with viewers. Antwon Brinson, Chef, Founder and CEO of Culinary Concepts AB, is featured in one of the episodes and discusses his experiences that led to his success and keep him motivated.
“One of my favorite quotes is by Confucius; ‘The man who says he can, and the man who says he cannot...Are both correct.’ In most situations, we have a choice. Sometimes that choice can set you free and others can create a barrier, preventing you from achieving your full potential,” Brinson says. “My story isn't that different than many of the people listening. The choices that I made in my life has shaped me as a person.”
Two episodes are available on YouTube and the next episode will be released Monday, February 8, 2021. The Charlottesville Alliance for Black Male Achievement social media platforms alert people when a new episode is set to release. (@BMACville on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook) “How U?” is a five-episode series.
For more information about resources supporting mental health for the Black community, visit Counseling Alliance of Virginia - CAVA - www.cavahelps.com, Central Virginia Clinicians of Color – CVCCN – www.cvccn.org and Your Life Matters Cville - Your Life Matters Cville
Youth Opportunity Coordinator
City of Charlottesville