ABOVE: NABJ Members, Mentors, and Mentees
This past weekend, the Houston Association of Black Journalists (HABJ) partnered with the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) for the 3rd Annual Black Male Media Project.
HABJ brought together some of the city’s most influential men, who served as mentors and who provided guidance to minority males from 13 to 18 years of age. The event was held at the Houston Forward Times, located in the city’s historic Third Ward District.
The concept, an NABJ initiative, was conceived by current NABJ President Sarah A. Glover. The goal is for ALL ABJ CHAPTERS across the United States to have an event in their areas on the same day that will uplift and inspire the younger generations of Black males. Individual chapters across the nation are holding unique sessions, with some providing free haircuts, taking young men to tour news/radio stations, having panel discussions about Black men and how they are portrayed in today’s society, etc.
HABJ selected leaders from all walks of life, including media professionals, business and community leaders and law enforcement to participate in the engaging event, rallied around the young men and educated them on how to be successful in life. The young men learned how to dress for success, as well as learned how to effectively tie a tie – the perfect Windsor knot. They also learned how to conduct themselves during a job interview, open a bank account, network and much more.
Local mentors and influencers included KRIV Fox 26’s Isiah Carey and Jonathan Martin, KPRC’s Khambrel Marshall and Brandon Walker, KTRK’s Chauncey Glover, KHOU Director of Local Programming and Community Marketing Dale Lockett, CW 39’s Shanon Lanier, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jeff McGowen, Dr. Leartis Lister – owner of Concierge Chiropractic; Phil & Derek’s Restaurant and Jazz Lounge owner John Cruise; JPO Richard Evans, K.G. Smooth, Quentin Stubbs, Brannon Nealy, Marcus Bowers, Davis Smith, Levi Ismail, and more. The local project was led by HABJ board members Freddie Willis, Kevin Lightfoot and Tyrone Willis.
“I am so excited about HABJ’s involvement in the Black Male Media Project,” said HABJ President Nakia Cooper. “During a time where it seems that a war is being waged against Black men of all ages, nationwide, I feel that the youth need to be armed now with knowledge and mentored now by successful Black men who look like them, have been where they’ve been and can empower them with the tools they need to help them get where they are trying to go in the future. Positivity, love, hope, respect and pride is what we are providing.”
NABJ Region III Director Ken Lemon offered a hand in helping to groom Houston’s young men, including donating ties for the cause. He says it is time to change the narrative.
“The ultimate importance is – no one tells the story of a community better than the people who live in that area. We need Black males in this process to tell the story of Black men in America,” said Lemon. “We want to make sure Black men are viewed as contributors to society and not just pictures in a mugshot.”
All ABJ chapters are using the hashtag #InspireBlackMen.