Conversation at Night | How Society Affects Men’s Mental and Emotional Health  | Season 1 Episode 6

Conversation at Night | How Society Affects Men’s Mental and Emotional Health | Season 1 Episode 6


thank you for joining us on this episode
of conversations at night and I am your host Irene Sidede on tonight’s episode
we’re gonna be talking about masculinity and some of the struggles in which men
face in society we do have a guest today his name is Ronnie a ward kings and he’s
determined to change that narrative so stay tuned to find out what he has to
say today we’re going to be talking about a
topic that many people might agree many people might disagree with because
there’s two sides to every story I do want to talk about men and the
challenges that men face in society so we would you start with that mmm well
first of all that topic has so many different layers for one I would say
that especially with men of African descent whether you’re from the
Caribbean whether you from the States whether you’re from the UK doesn’t
matter it’s becoming more of a global awareness and I would definitely say
mental health is the number one issue especially amongst black men and with
their children as well because many people are not aware it can become a
generational issue if you don’t tackle it now I would probably say for me
personally it has become a priority and I’ve noticed more and more of this issue
as I grew up I started to notice this within my father and even with my uncles
even now to my grandparents so it’s my grandfather and you start to see little
patterns and I will tell anybody look for the red flags like right now because
you don’t want to take this into relationships friendships partnerships
potential marriage as well because if you don’t start to identify those as we
say triggers or red flags it’s going to slip under the cracks one of my mottos
is the internal work is God’s work and what I mean by that is if men especially
young men right now if they start to notice those patterns from their fathers
and they don’t get a grip on it now it will start to continue do something
about it now where let me go sit down and talk to somebody about this issue it
could be a confident it can be a counselor it can be someone who you
confide in for me I would say it started at the age of 12 I had anger management
issues those anger management issues came from
both sides of my family me coming from the Midwest here moved here to Florida
and I started to notice that a lot of young men they started to have anger
management with that anger management comes through a lot of traumatic
experiences for me was like I had a lot of my friends that were murdered very
early whether it’s through gang affiliation whether they were violated
sexually mentally and even it doesn’t have to be something in the form of a
physical thing it could be mentally it could be emotionally and how the way a
person talks to you verbally those are also attacks to you as well and if
you’re not careful it will stifle or suppress a person’s self-esteem you know
I noticed that within my family as well you know so it’s a lot of different
layers okay so with men facing all these attacks like you’re saying dealing with
sexual abuse or dealing with abuse that’s you saying or seeing something
and they’re growing up what would be a step for them to actually start
communicating like okay this is what I’ve been through and how can I not
follow the same steps that I saw somebody else doing I’m gonna fall into
the trap like you’re saying I’m just shutting down
being quiet about it right right um I have to give credit to my mother my
mother identified my anger management like I said again at the age of 12 and
she also noticed that was experiencing many different situations that came
across my table personally from school to home or no playing with certain
friends in the neighborhood things like that and you know from time to time I
would encounter adult-like situations and from there she taught me the power
of writing so for me writing is my superpower and since I am a poet and
writer you know for me I would tell any young man and even down to someone who
is even considered an elder I would tell them please write don’t underestimate
the power of writing because what my mother did for me was she instilled me
to sit down and write my feelings out and my emotions out on a blank canvas
and when you stop for a second you go back and take a look at it then it’s
like not only were you able to vent and give release but you also bring a
clarity and an awareness to what has happened in this situation regardless of
how bad it was not traumatic it was it’s gonna help you to get through certain
steps for you to say okay this is where I was in this moment okay now that I’ve
placed it on the table now I’m able to move forward because of what a lot of
times people don’t realize is that they’re honing all that stuff in so you
were able to find a tool to help you express yourself yes do you feel like a
lot of men have access to those tools yes absolutely
I guess my question is why is it that they struggle so much to use those tools
I think and I say this in my own personal experience and again coming
from a household where my father was just
straight up and down an athlete you know my father had a promising future and
that future got cut short but I think even in that situation me looking back
at it my father did not take the time to actually get help he had the access even
down to my mother because my mother she went to school for psychology he didn’t
utilize it so it was more of he began to mask a lot of his issues through pride
religion many other things on top of that you know so I would say that most
men they love to stick out their chests you know like a rooster at a farm but it
doesn’t help because what what what it triggers for me and what it helps me to
recognize is is that this is a broken individual that’s in front of me and
again they do have access to it I believe that they choose not to utilize
that those resources that’s interesting that you say that because I feel like a
lot of men and specifically black men in general yes you know there is the tools
but I think that it’s it’s hard for them to access those tools because they’re
taught from a young age like you know you’re a man you’re supposed to be this
and this and that you can’t show emotion you can’t talk
about your emotions you came over here you know it’s just a lot of pressure and
weight that they have to carry so they don’t know how to really go ahead and
actually use those tools if you know right right so I guess what is it that
we can do especially as black people to support our men
like to push them towards taking advantage of those tools I believe that
we have to continue to create a loving space and I also believe that you have
the power to actually create that door or create that table for them to say
come in my brother I know you need help I know you don’t want to say it and let
them know that I’m not here to hurt you I’m not here to cause harm I’m not here
to cause pain I’m not here to cause any more trauma that you have ever
experienced in your entire life thus far but I think also we need to do as people
of African descent and just not not not just effective like being from African
descent just a human being period you know to let them know that you’re loved
and to know that you are of value and I know you believe in the power of healing
yes I think for well of course you know most man is going to be a different
process you know because everybody’s as I’d say their heart where the brain they
all have different processes they all have different stages then they deal
with for me personally I like to work out I like to go run all right to lift
weights I like to create a like a peaceful mood you know even if it’s just
thirty minutes but I take time to myself and sit down pray meditate reflect be
able to write being able to again creating that positive peaceful space
that I need to understand of one let me bring awareness to the situation
to let me figure out what my next step is to get to that solution that’s what
we need to do again everybody’s different but however if it’s paining
let that be your safe haven if it’s pottery let that be your safe
haven if it’s – right let there be a safe haven whatever it is that you
create as your safe haven that’s between you and yourself that’s
it and I think forgiveness is another powerful tool do you feel like that
affects a little boy especially in the black community a lot I know a lot of
black boys grow up without their fathers mm-hmm so how do you feel like that
affects them in the long term the answer is yes it does I think is vice versa you
know a mother and a daughter relationship just as much as that
daughter needs her father it’s the same thing with the father-son relationship
you know the son needs his mother for certain things but also the son needs
his father for certain things as well – going through that adolescence they
address I say that coming-of-age process I can personally say for sure and again
I can only use examples of what I’m talking about because it’s my own
experience but I can tell you that my father was effective very effective very
deeply at the age of nine he actually witnessed his dad walking away from him
say I’ll never forget it his dad was actually walking to a
restaurant with one suitcase in his hand had a meal then he went to the the
railroad station got on the train and went straight north to New Jersey this
is at nine years old my father’s the second oldest out of eight siblings so
for him to experience that I know it hurt him deeply and the issue that came
about it because I asked him I said well what happened and what cost this
situation we’ll come to find out that my grandmother was cheating on my
grandfather and because of that he walked away from the whole entire
situation and from that you can’t tell me if you put two and two together it
don’t come out for because I know that my father was affected by it it
it was hard for him to be transparent and knowing how to see it how to
communicate yes how to communicate and just say if I’m hurt
say you hurt if you hurt you deeply say it that’s the only way you’d be able to
come to your place of freedom say it confession is always the best place you
have to even for your own safety and for your own mental state especially say it
tell somebody how you feel about it but I know that over the years I could tell
that it progressed over and over and over again and again this is part of
that conditioning and it wasn’t just him that was effect that all of his brothers
and sisters were affected did how did his trauma affect your relationship with
him it affected my relationship with my father on many levels there were certain
things that I want to discuss with them but I couldn’t so I went to somebody
else about it even down to like I said he was always a sports fanatic so that
was his way of communicating but I needed more than just that
because when your son goes through his coming-of-age process and now he’s he’s
actually a man now it’s like can we actually sit down and have grown folks
talk from man to man can we have this talk without you hollering or feeling
like someone is trying to overstep their boundaries or you feel like someone’s
invading your personal private space it’s very sad when a person chooses to
not heal because we all have that right we all have that opportunity to heal
from that you don’t have to be this way the choice the choice different to be
better to do better correct yes so what’s a lot that that a young man can
achieve when they actually put their guard down
and say you know what this is beyond me and I need help
but I think a lot of men struggle with like what you’re saying like making that
choice cuz it’s like we’ve just discussed it’s all programming mm-hmm
and you’re taught this is what masculinity is so rockets you don’t do
this you’re not a man or you’re not man enough right and if you do the opposite
let’s say like if you show emotion it’s considered feminine and something mm-hmm
yeah man cries automatically you’re told or you’re acting like a woman all right
but you just correct yes the sad part about it is is that again
yes I feel that it’s wrong it is now being placing a negative light to
thinking that men especially black men should not cry or show emotion you know
to saying that yeah I’m still human I have feelings I have certain things that
I want to express it’s not no I’m not like some vending machine I want you to
cry now I want you to smile you know me as I no no it doesn’t work like that we
were not built this way we are able to express ourselves and at least let the
other individual respected on the other side and saying again we’re creating
that what that peaceful Haven to say it’s okay to do that release and then
move forth because I’m gonna tell you what usually happens when a young man
especially a young black men when they’re not able to show that side
emotionally there is a disconnect disconnect also brings disorder and God
forbid if he gets into a relationship it’s going to be very toxic not only is
it toxic but there is a lot of emotional baggage that the other person or the
other party cannot see because they cannot see it
the relationship is going in the wrong direction and it’s actually aligned I’m
glad that you brought that up because I have a lot of female friends who do
complain that in their relationships they don’t feel like the men are open
emotionally yes and they get frustrated in that because they don’t know how to
get it out of them what you’re talking about it’s a it’s a really tight
double-edged sword that would say for example and I just had this I’m glad you
brought this up my brother him and his girlfriend
they’ve been together for quite some time now and a situation – popped up and
she expressed herself about the situation and when I finally heard the
entire story I went to the side and I told my brother I said listen you’re
gonna have to open up and talk to her if you don’t you’re going to lose her okay
and again it all stimulates back to the root of the matter I’ll tell it to
anybody male or female once you begin to identify the root to that issue in that
person sometimes it’s in their family as well because you can go further back
start there and then work your way up there’s one main ingredient in any
relationship that any woman wants I don’t care what coach you come from what
color you come from doesn’t make no difference the one thing that women
always want in a relationship it’s two words emotional support nothing more
nothing less they know that oh he has to provide yes he has to protect yes he has
to get the groceries and stuff like that right but emotional support is what’s
missing in a lot of relationships because if you really look at it that is
your partner that’s your teammate you’re not in it by yourself I think a lot of
times also that mo some men are still in the mindset as a
bachelor as well it’s like you cannot have that bachelor mindset going into a
relationship man you’re sharing your world with somebody else so that’s where
the levels of respect responsibility and then also hmm accountability yes
plays a huge part that most men don’t want to do why because they actually
watch their father or they watch their grandfather or they watch some mentor in
their neighborhood where the positive or negative they watch that person you know
because a lot of time is like if they’re not getting what they need to get at
home they’re gonna go on as you say the block and find it for themselves maybe
in a negative context but however they think that’s the right thing to do how
do you feel about the representation of black men in the media which way should
I go with this yes absolutely absolutely I feel that the time that I spent in
journalism from college into adulthood and transitioning over into film I think
society they just want to gravitate or they just want their appetite wet for
any kind of information they don’t care if it’s misinformed they don’t care if
it’s good or not I’m not really feeling what they’re doing and how they are
criminalizing black men in general because it actually lets weigh it on the
scale and apologize I’m not trying to make it
a black and white issue but however why is it that a black man who I guess
supposedly gets in trouble with the law he has a punishment that is more how can
I put the punishment is more criminalizing him
than he or more severe than an actual Caucasian individual and they don’t put
too much light on that person maybe for a stint maybe for a short period of time
but it’s more severe it’s more dextra mental to a black man until his mindset
you know I know everybody was talking about the whole Harvey Weinstein
situation and now I talked about our Kelly and then they went into Bill Cosby
and all that stuff as well too but it’s like you can have your opinion that’s
all well and good but however if you look at it from a legal justice criminal
system level no it don’t add up to change the narrative when it comes to
the idea of masculinity and having an open space for the nonprofit that I’m in
the midst of creating right now I did it as a test run back in December of 2018
is called refuel and pretty much we feel started as a loving non-judgmental space
that I triggered it not retriggered but I actually geared it towards artists
first but then I went back and I said hold on the men need it right now and I
created that space to where it became a conference line where I told them they
can ask questions he became a prayer line it became a support line he became
an affirmation line it became so many different channels but I wanted men from
different walks of life because now you’re starting to see that oh other
people starting to talk about now maybe I’m comfortable to talk about it now so
I did this as a test run back again December 2018 I did it for about three
months just to kind of get a bus to see where the man in mocking
tea were and if they were open to do this and I’ve got some great responses
and I’m going to continue to move forward with it and I actually laid out
different topics I did it where it’s a little bit different where we’re talking
about not just psychological but also spiritual as well because again a lot of
times it affects the spirit spirit affects the mental state so I feel like
it’s a combination of both you know and just continuing to create those
relationships with the men and to have a platform where they are comfortable and
talking about whatever they have dealt with it doesn’t matter if you were
affected at 9 years old 225 doesn’t matter I still feel and
believe that we need to continue to have these different platforms to where they
are loved support it comfortable enough to release themselves ask questions
every male that was on the line I made sure that they wrote this information
now and again coming from experience coming from divine wisdom and just
seeking God in that direction to where where you want me to go and how do you
want me to talk to the men because I can only go with my own experiences to share
with them to let them know that hey you may have not been there where I’ve been
what we both have been in those tumultuous situations thank you audience
you know where they could find your website if you have one or how they can
get involved in the nonprofit mm-hmm a little bit of what other stuff you do as
well apart from your nonprofit oh okay all righty
my name is Ronnie Hawkins and if any of you beautiful people out there would
like to get involved with the men’s platform refuel please email me at
refuel the call at gmail.com that’s our E fue el the call refuel the
call at gmail.com I will answer don’t worry I’ll get back to you as quickly as
possible also I’m the founder of paint with words incorporated you can find me
at WWE NY com that is my website Ronnie Hawkins on Facebook right H on Twitter
and I am underscore ro nyi on Instagram so I do a lot of things but feel free to
reach out to me and say hello and especially with refueler call because we
need more volunteers and more help for our men out there or my acting stuff you
can also look me up and I am DB as well so you see on my credentials and all
that good stuff as well I just finished doing a documentary called growth in the
four which was produced and sponsored by PBS and W UCF award-winning documentary
and now it just been picked up by Amazon Prime thank you for watching this
episode I do hope that now you are able to change the narrative when it comes to
masculinity and you’re also able to help your male friends counterparts when it
comes to the struggles that they faced in society I am your host Irene Sidede and
make sure to LIKE comment and subscribe and share this video to keep the
conversation going thank you and stay tuned for the next
episode you you

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