First, let me first start by saying I stand 1000% behind the title of this blog. Unfortunately, we live in a society where men (especially BLACK MEN) cannot make certain statements without the aroma of a toxic stigma or phobia unwarrantedly entering the conversation. This past year I fell in love with BLACK MEN for the first time in my life. I would like to coin 2019 The Year of Brotherhood! Last year my love for BLACK MEN went to a whole new level. I started my year off reading a book from Naim Akbar called Visions for Black Men and rereading Message To The Black Man which was written by the late Honorable Elijah Muhammad. I had no true pattern to my reading selections last year but these books are two that have been strongly suggested to me by two influential brothers in my life Mawuli Davis and Ray Harps-Muhammad! I also had the opportunity to read and watch a stage adaptation of the book Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The common denominators for all three of these books were one they were written by super-intelligent black men, two they were written specifically for black men and they were written to create a paradigm shift in black men. I can truly say all of these books accomplished their mission in my life. 

This past Summer like every summer for the past four years now we started our Father/Son learning series UPCEN Fellows which was created by some of my brothers. As normal, we created a space of learning for our sons, nephews, mentees and other young men in our community. We have done this several times but this year felt different. Last year the energy was electrifying. This year our numbers were growing in a way that we hadn’t seen before. We were seeing upwards of 150+ BLACK MEN every week on a MONDAY NIGHT! This is no lightweight accomplishment and we understood that this was a clear sign that black men were hungry for a space to call their own. Typically we start UPCEN Fellows in the beginning Summer around May and end it in August but last year under the leadership of Mawuli Davis we decided to keep it going and to rebrand as The Black Man Lab. 

The Black Man Lab is a safe & sacred space where an intergenerational gathering of Black Men work together to become “warriors, healers, and builders” In the “Lab” the elements of authentic manhood are shared with all generations of Black men. 

Black Man Lab Objectives
1

To create a loving, encouraging, and culturally supportive environment for Black men that inspires self-actualization and community building.
2

To provide young Black men with access to successful, socially engaged, and politically conscious men willing to engage in honest intergenerational conversations and relationships.
3

To encourage the building of brotherhood, comradery, and friendships among Black men that embrace our cultural and historical lineage and traditions as men of African descent.

The Black Man Lab allowed me to love on BLACK MEN more intentionally than I have ever loved them before. I listened to them, I served them, I checked in on them, I supported them, I hugged them, I allowed them to cry, I allowed them to share their deepest pain but most importantly I gave them the freedom to be vulnerable without judgment. Last year I can say I truly saw the BLACK MAN for the first time and we are powerful and mighty beings with more potential than we could ever imagine.

Last year my love for Black Men and The Black Man Lab was like an explosion of excitement that I could not contain. I found myself speaking to every brother that crossed my path and inviting them into this safe space which to me felt like The Black Man’s Church! I became an evangelist for Black Men’s success. I wanted to increase our knowledge about health, wealth, career options, building/leaving a legacy, best practices for fatherhood, how to be a better husband, how to love, how to forgive, etc. 2019 showed me that Black Men are the key to our communities salvation. For years our sisters have stood strong in the gap holding their positions in our community and often having to overcompensate for our lacking presence. 2019 showed me that we can build an army of warriors, healers, and builders in our community if we create a safe space where men can learn from brothers like Baba Wekesa Madzimoyo. 2019 showed me that we have the potential to completely change the world by focusing on building and changing Black Men. Lastly, 2019 showed me that loving Black Men is loving myself and I believe self-love is the ultimate form of liberation. 

As we start 2020 I would like to personally invite other brothers to join me at The Black Man Lab every Monday at The Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA located on 2220 Campbellton Rd SW, Atlanta, GA 30311. For more information visit blackmanlab.org or email us at info@blackmanlab.org. 

Support the movement and keep The Black Man Lab going by donating via cashapp ($theblackmanlab)

Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • Cheryl Bloomfield says:

    This is excellent. Minor editing needed. A link to the website would be nice. And maybe a donation link.

  • Tiffani says:

    This is absolutely beautiful and well written! Eldredge, thanks for being a beam of pure light during such a dark time for Black men! Very powerful stance, I support you Black man!… Excited to see more content.

    • Tina Blazer says:

      When I first saw the title, I thought to myself … please spare me. I assumed that this was another article written by some woman looking to attract a man by praising the masses, but to see this article written by a BLACK MAN that was not ashamed to state his love for black men. I had to read this! I love what the Black Man Lab is contributing and hope that this grows to more cities than the metro Atlanta. Any place where men can express love and support in an healthy environment has the power and ability to heal our broken homes, facilitate healthier relationships and community.

  • Wow!! Amazing!! This was well written with a few grammatical errors, but I’m not the grammar police lol. I appreciate your transparency and your passion to unite the black men and to get them to fall in love with themselves and each other. I admire your calling and know 2020 is going to amazingly Auesome!!

  • Kye Wilson says:

    Congratulations Eldredge! Your blog entry is perfectly written!

    I am so excited to see how much the Lab and you have grown over the past months. You stay so excited about it that you make me excited about it and I have never attended a session.

    I wish you much continued success. Surely many other men are as excited to attend each week as much as you are. I can only imagine the invaluable impact that the sessions are having on all of the attendees in the area of relationships, , support and love.

    You are truly rebuilding our community.
    Thank you from me and the other women who benefit from your hard work.

    Kye

  • Johnathan Estes says:

    Happy New Years Bro,

    Love the site, the blog is super dope. I’m proud you bro. Keep up the great work, you got my support. Continue being great.

  • Tareva Ruffin says:

    Love your content! Continue to uplift, support, encourage, educate, and LOVE our black men. Your passion is electrifying. Keep up the great work!

  • Gabrielle Arrington says:

    Congrats and great work, Eldredge!

  • Edythe Parrish says:

    Congratulations on an astonishing accomplishment. Showing love to your brothers is a victory in the hood. Keep up the amazing work.

  • Not only is the increased membership reflective of our release from the 400 years in captivity year curse which ended in August 2019. This article expresses the mindset of the direction we all need to be headed!

  • Mike Washington says:

    This is awesome! It is refreshing to read and see this taking place in ATL!

  • Shawn says:

    I know that our black women love us and respect us despite the negative attention that shows otherwise. Black women will love us and respect us even more when we can carry our own weight, be more responsible and lift the heavy burden of resistance and struggle from their shoulders.

  • Shawn says:

    “loving Black Men is loving myself and I believe self-love is the ultimate form of liberation. “…………….I could not agree with this statement more. Black men need to be taught how to love. Learning how to love others begins with self-love.

  • Do you know Mondale Robinson with the Black Male Voters project? If not, yall should connect!!

  • Moise Michel says:

    This was beautifully & eloquently written King! You wrote the sentiments that I’ve felt within the past 2 years! I’m extremely proud of you King & continue being GREAT!!!

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