by Hiram Jackson
I can’t say that enough, and I say it often.
The term Black excellence refers to a high level of achievement, success, or ability demonstrated by an individual Black person or by Black people in general, but this discussion is about Black men specifically.
The narratives are deliberately negative and intended to paint Black men in less than complementary colors, while in truth, Black men positively impact their families and communities without hesitation. Living in that paradigm requires that anything less than excellence or perfection may be viewed as a failure, which is blatantly untrue, and Black men rise to the level of “hero” every day and in every possible way.
Still, in 2022, we saw African American men frequently maligned by mainstream media outlets and in many other sectors that influence and shape the image of men.
These outlets and sectors far too often come to conclusions about Black men that are not accurate, often painting negative images and writing false narratives of Black people in general, and Black men specifically.
Such flawed findings often conclude that Black men are associated with crime, unemployment, and live in poverty. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that most Black men will not be incarcerated, are not unemployed, and are not poor.
The Word in Black Collaborative emphasizes Black excellence in all parts of the nation and all areas of society, while spotlighting disparities in society that contribute to the misnomer that Black men are anything, but excellent.
We are obligated to deliver the truth to our readers as seen through the eyes of the Black community. And as sobering as the thought may be, there can be no doubt that for the first time in most of our lifetimes, African Americans are confronted with a political movement that advocates for policies specifically designed to harm our interests, and, thus, the interests of our nation.
Each year, the Michigan Chronicle takes great pride in recognizing African American men in our community who inspire others through excellence, vision, leadership, exceptional achievements, and a vast commitment to empowering in a multiplicity of ways.
We are proud of the achievements of African American men in our state and beyond who are doing many wonderful things across broad spectrums of society.
Therefore, we wanted to find a way to highlight African American men’s magnificent stories, accomplishments, and achievements that were happening in Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, North Carolina, and almost every corner of the country where Black men live and work.
It was with this mindset that the Michigan Chronicle created and annually recognizes and highlights the achievements and contributions of African American men.
These men are the definition of excellence in various ways and walks of life, including community, civic, business, religion, law, politics, government, education, entertainment, and other areas.
At the Michigan Chronicle’s first Men of Excellence ceremony, we honored 50 extraordinary black men. Believe it or not, there were people — and I won’t mention names — who thought we would run out of African American men to honor.
However, with the 750-plus men that we’ve honored since the inception of Men of Excellence, I can honestly say that we’ve just scratched the surface of Black excellence among our males. There’s more — a whole lot more to honor!
During my extensive travels throughout all areas of the nation, I see strong Black men of excellence working in various fields for the betterment of themselves, their families, their communities, and their careers. Of course, there are some Black men mired in the stereotypes that are often placed on our race.
Nevertheless, I see that things are getting better on multiple fronts in the black community. Yet, more has to be done. And we, as Black men, must lead the way, first by not listening to biased reports and surveys, such as “we live in poverty,” because poverty among Black men has fallen from 41% in 1960 to 18% today. Black men in the middle or upper class — as measured by their family income — have risen from 38% in 1960 to 57% today.
Again, I say, more must be done.
Numbers matter, but empirical and visual facts are vitally and equally important. This means there are many Black men who are factually doing excellent things in every sector of this nation, and that’s what our culture is all about. We’ll go into 2023, highlighting and spotlighting Black men who exemplify excellence across the spectrum.
And trust me, there is no shortage of Black men that meet the criteria and definition of excellence in this city, county, state, or nation.
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