This is How We Feel: The Grief of Black Men
Black Men in America and the Diaspora do, in fact, grieve! Rarely seen and seldom heard, it is always felt and reflects centuries of enslavement, torture, oppression, and dehumanization. Reduced by curricula designed with supremacist rhetoric and told what we feel is "not real," Black men must adapt to meet unrealistic expectations of their individual strength. Yet, what is the mental and emotional cost of continually denying one's personal needs for the sake of family and community? How does one even learn to identify inherent strengths, needs, and skills if one’s father figure or family has been violently removed from life? The carefully constructed systems of oppression and lack of grief awareness in fact contribute to repeated cycles of family and community violence. The crisis is generational but it’s solvable in this day in time. Join the discussion with management and counseling professional Marcus Banks, Men to Heal founder James Harris, and Dr. T. Hasan Johnson, Associate Professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Fresno.
About Table Talk
A Table Talk is an honest, lively, and unscripted conversation among health professionals, spiritual and faith-based leaders, artists and other creative individuals to address this central question: "What does it mean to live and die well in our respective communities?" Every community and culture -- Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, Disabled, LGBTQ+, etc. -- has its own unique perspective and shared truth. We face tremendous challenges in dealing with serious illness, dying, grief, discrimination, and inequity. At the same time we search for space to connect, flourish, remember, and celebrate.
Many of us describe more than one of these groups as home, and many of us have experienced oppression based on multiple aspects of our intersecting identities: race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and more. At present, we have few spaces to talk about these questions freely, in ways that make sense for who we are. That’s why Reimagine launched Table Talk. While this ongoing series is explicitly created by and for underrepresented communities, we invite people of all backgrounds to join us to witness, listen and learn. Ultimately we are creating space rooted in the principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in order for everyone to thrive.
The Black Table Talk series is led by Reimagine’s Senior Director of Development Stephanie Rivers in consultation with staff and community collaborators.
Marcus Banks-Bey is a management & counseling professional (Army CPT-Retired) with a demonstrated history of providing executive, spiritual coaching & counseling services. Skilled at solution-focused counseling, leadership development, conflict resolution, crisis management, public speaking, and nonprofit program management, Marcus is currently working on his doctorate in Clinical-Neuropsychology at California Southern University Costa Mesa, California.
Prior to this, he spent over 20 years in the United States Army where he earned an M.Div in Professional Chaplaincy from Liberty School of Divinity and a BA in Criminal Justice from Kent State University.
Marcus’ purpose is to continue to nurture the relationships he has with his Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness, and Finances (THE 5X5) and show others how to do the same, by cultivating the confidence to overcome obstacles and achieve success by becoming mentally and emotionally prepared for the unexpected challenges daily life seems to commonly present.
His new book, Dig Deep, is due out in June 2021.
James Harris is a graduate of the former St Paul’s College and holds a BA in Psychology. After his freshman year, he joined the Army. James has eight years of service with an honorable discharge. He also has two deployments, one to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. After his military duty, he earned a MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) from South University. He is soon to be a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). He is a member of Chi Sigma Iota, ACA, RACA, and sits on the board of NAMI-CVA.
Today James is a multi-entrepreneur in Richmond, VA. From the therapeutic standpoint, he works in inner city community-based services and private practice, and sits on FAPT team meetings at school. He has started an international movement called Men to Heal which is assisting men to focus on their overall wellness, mental and physical health. Feel free to stroll his page to purchase a shirt, get familiar, or to see him with celebrities, athletes, and politicians who are in support of the movement. James conducts speaking engagements for various companies and has done engagements in many states and five countries via Skype. He is the owner of The HEALing Hub (@the_healing_hub-rva) which offers outpatient therapy, massages, yoga, mindfulness, financial literacy seminars and feeds the less fortunate every third Saturday. James just authored his first book Man Just Express Yourself which is an interactive guide for men, young and old. His Men to Heal YouTube channel provides insight on physical and mental health in relation to men and families. IG: @men_to_heal
Dr. T. Hasan Johnson is an Associate Professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Fresno. He earned his doctorate at Claremont Graduate University, his M.A. at Temple University, and his B.A. at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He founded numerous Fresno State programs including the Africana Studies Online Teleconference on Black Male Studies, the ONYX Black Male Film Festival, The Black Popular Culture Lecture Series and Online Research Archive (curator), The ONYX Black Male Collective, The Annual ASHÉ: Sankofa Black Film Festival, The Annual Africana Studies Black Gender Conference, The African American Edge Initiative (co-founder), the Africana Studies Black Elder Project, and The Hip-Hop Research & Interview Project.
He is the developer of the concept of “Black Masculinism” and frequently publishes on anti-Black misandry, anti-Black male heterophobia, intra-racial misandry, and White supremacy. His first book, You Must Learn!: A Primer for the Study of Hip-Hop (2012), examines the socio-political histories that contribute to the development of Hip-Hop culture and creates new theoretical frameworks for understanding its development.
His forthcoming book, preliminarily titled She Hate Me: A Case for Black Masculinism, Black Male Studies, and A New Paradigm for Studying Black Males, focuses on creating a new paradigm for studying Black males that challenges widely accepted stereotypes regarding Black males with contemporary data and new conceptual theory.
Dr. Johnson has made contributions to esteemed journals such as The International Journal of Africana Studies, Spectrum: A Journal for Black Men, and books such as Jay-Z: Essays on Hip Hop's Philosopher King, Icons of Hip-Hop, and Dropping Knowledge: Hip-Hop Pedagogy in the Academy. He also created his own academic blog and was conferred for both the Provost’s Award for Promising New Faculty and the Inaugural Fresno State Talks! Lecture Series Award in 2013. Dr. Johnson was awarded the prestigious Ford Dissertation Diversity Fellowship in 2006.