Students said the “I AM A Man” Forum was both informational and inspiring for students at Florida A&M.
Panelists discusssed all issues African-American men and women face. From the media depiction of African-Americans, to preserving the state of “black love”, panelists were open and vocal about their views.
Panelist Steve Perry, an educator and CNN contributor, spoke about the image that is perceived about blacks in the media.
“We are sending out horrifying images of ourselves as killers and pimps,” said Perry. “We’ve got to stop giving them something to talk about.”
Perry also discussed how African-Americans can sometimes have difficulty encouraging others to move forward.
“Nobody puts black people down like black people,” said Perry.Students sat and listened to recording artist Wale, Enitan Berola, a FAMU alumnus and author, Panama Jackson, a Morehouse alumnus and co-founder of VerySmartBrothas.com, and Steve Perry gave their opinions and views about African-American men and what they need to do for encouragement.
“It was all about showing each other love, looking out for each other, and being consistent about it,” said Royce Lovett, 21, a local musician and Tallahassee native.
Jackson spoke passionately about having strength with in the community.
“If we support one another, everyone will do better,” said Jackson. “We are not going to make it as a people if we don’t help each other.”
When asked about the role that the media plays in the black community, Wale said, “We should try uplifting the positive than the negative images.”
In a question and answer session, one student asked a question about color.
“It’s not about light-skinned and dark-skinned,” said Wale.
Panelists said they were impressed by the large student turnout in FAMU’s Grand Ballroom.
“This is my first time being at FAMU and I know there is no better place for an event like this to happen,” said Jackson.
Many students shared the same feelings.
Iman Sandifer, 19, a second-year history education student from Hallandale said, ” I think it was a great event, it was great to see us black men in a positive light.”
“The forum was an eye opener for young black men,” said Dae’ja Bailey, 18, a first-year nursing student from Hartford, Conn. ” I enjoyed the relationship discussion and I could really relate to what they were saying.”
Steven Pargett, 20, third-year public relations student from Los Angeles said, “I think that the forum was a great success, I’m happy to see our school participate in an event like this.”
After the discussion came to a close, Wale gave FAMU students a performance.
“It was great way to wrap up an amazing event, and I really enjoy Wale’s music,” said Rose Calitxe, 20, a second-year nursing student, from Palm Beach.
The FAMU Health Clinic, FAMU’s National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Student Senate, FAMU College Democrats, Progressive Black Men and FreedomTheory.com presented the event.