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MANifest: A manhood development experience

"Sure they can learn to tie a tie, but we also teach them how to untie a noose."


           MANifest is a workshop series modeled after a rites of passage process to guide young men towards their highest potential and power. During MANifest participants will engage in a variety of interactive multimedia discussions that help them discover their purpose, cultivate communication skills, and define success from a holistic cultural, historical and sociopolitical perspective. The curriculum incorporates hip-hop and literacy as a vehicle to explore the values, roles, expectations, struggles and opportunities of manhood, grounded in an African-centered mental health framework. Together we will watch videos, listen to and read popular hip-hop songs to interrogate the messages they promote about masculinity, identity and success. Workshop participants will be asked to engage with the music as critical consumers, instead passive recipients, to increase their ability to comprehend concepts embedded in the images and lyrics. Discussion topics include sexism, Black culture, emotional intelligence, economic sustainability, fatherhood, power analysis, mass incarceration, and much more.


Overall Goals:

  • Create opportunities for critical thinking/feeling, to enhance social and political awareness

  • Self-awareness, develop insight into personal values and purpose

  • Learn to honor women - prevent violence and add value in relationships

  • Develop deep appreciation for lifelong learning using literacy and diverse education opportunities


Specific Takeaways:

  • understand the influence of popular and mainstream infrastructure on our daily lives and decisions

  • improve the value of literacy

  • understand consensual intimacy and be able to identify how to create safe space

  • connect purpose to individual goals/plans to a larger community vision. Learn to consider money and careers from more holistic perspective

  • understand capitalism’s influence on how we conceptualize race and gender

  • be able to identify and critically evaluate the personal, media and institutional sources of your ideas about manhood

  • improve ability to understand and articulate emotions and how they interact with their thoughts and plans

  • enhance skill set and will to be able to challenge peers with problematic behavior and ideas

  • value self-care: hygiene, health, spirit. In order to be able to care for others: children, elders, less fortunate

  • understand the impact of historical trauma on current social and political circumstances

  • enhance skills (i.e. communication, conflict resolution, discipline) to develop and maintain healthy relationships

  • gain better appreciation for the historical contributions of African people throughout the diaspora



Program Description:


Target population- Black boys and men aged 15-24

*Preferably joined by adult men in their life (fathers, uncles, coaches, ministers, etc.)

Group size- 10 to 20

Time commitment – 2 to 3 hours per unit


Unit 1> Introductions. What’s going on in the world now that makes these conversations urgent?

Unit 2> History and culture. Where did we come from?

Unit 3> Systems analysis and activism. What can I do to improve the community and world?

Unit 4> Valuing women. Why are women so important to us?

Unit 5> Relationships and communication. What are the ingredients of healthy relationships?

Unit 6> Sexism and consent. How to develop intimacy with safety?

Unit 7> Identity and purpose. Who am I?

Unit 8> Emotional intelligence. Why are emotions important and how can I learn to use mine?

Unit 9> Healing. How do I deal with the stress and traumas of life?

Unit 10> Family. Who are my people, how did they influence me, and what kind of family do I want to create?

Unit 11> Education and economics? What does school and money have to do with achieving excellence?

Unit 12> Vision and Planning. What is success for me and what habits do I need to obtain that?

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