Happy February All!
I hope that this month is off to a great start for you. With February also being Black History Month, I thought it would be great to spotlight on two young African American men that are making tremendous strides in their field all the while remaining passionate about work day after day.
For the third installment of “Millennials on a Mission”, I’d like to introduce you all to a young man that is doing extraordinary work in his community. He is not only an educator, but a mentor, an entrepreneur and quite the gentleman. I’ve been lucky to know him since we were in high school, and I am so elated to see the amazing things he has accomplished since then.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to Brandon Frame.
Raised in Hartford, Connecticut, Brandon is a proud alumnus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing and believes that his Morehouse experience has developed him into “a leader who is more spiritually disciplined, intellectually astute, and morally wise.” Those attributes (and so many more) have allowed him to be a steward of the world’s most precious asset…the youth.
Currently, Brandon is the Director of Business Partnerships & Program Development at High School INC., Hartford’s Insurance and Finance Academy, where he encourages students daily pursue careers in the industries of finance and insurance. Studying the many facets of business have inspired Brandon to not only enrich his personal brand with two websites (The Black Man Can and Final Frame Ties) but it also gave him clearer vision on making it his life’s mission to provide young black men (and women) with a positive image of what they can be in the future.
On the importance of sharing the Black man’s story NOW:
In today’s society, the story of the black man is often not told through his own mouth. In addition to my own, I had so many Morehouse brothers with interesting narratives of their past and hopes for their future that needed to be shared, but I could not find a media outlet that accomplished both goals. Author M.K. Asante once said, “Once you make an observation, you now have an obligation.” I then made it a point to create “The Black Man Can” to provide the positive contradiction to the prevailing Black male image of today. Each positive story that is told is like the stroke of a paintbrush and with enough strokes we can an honest picture of Black boys and men that will have an impact on the world but more importantly ourselves.
In January, Brandon became a published author and released “Define Yourself, Redefine the World: A Guide Journal for Black Boys and Men”. It is his hope that this journal can be an extension of the work he does with young black males daily. Created specifically for young Black me to develop a strong sense of self in a healthy manner, the journal can be used as a valuable tool in classrooms, rites of passage programs, and mentoring groups.
On educating his male scholars to silence the ‘noise’ of the scrutinizing American Media:
Media Literacy is the key to turn the “noise” into positive imagery. The fact is that young people today especially my young male scholars derive their identity from intrusive forms of mass media. In our groups, we sit down and dissect music videos and I question them to build their critical consciousness. What I’m trying to get them to understand is what it means to keep it real. Keeping it real is the ultimate barometer of one’s character, but the young scholars must know that they do not control how “real” is constructed, define or disseminated. It is because of this understanding they know the image is not real at all and then turn the noise into positive imagery.
As Brandon moves forward swiftly with many of his own personal endeavors, he wants to instill in his students the importance of learning what they are passionate about. He believes by discovering your passion and purpose, nothing ever feels like work — you are just doing what you were placed on earth to do.
On living his purpose and achieving dreams on the daily:
Benjamin E. Mays once said, “Every man and woman was put on this earth to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.” I’m lucky that The Black Man Can, Final Frame, and High School, Inc. are all in tandem and go hand in hand with my passion and purpose for life. I do get discouraged and sometimes overwhelmed, but I’m following the path God has placed me on while at the same time being reminded and inspired by Martin and Malcolm to sketch my own path. Looking into the eyes of students and seeing the hope they have for the future helps me move forward in achieving my dream.
Brandon knows that his students need me to show up in the most vibrant and authentic way possible, and that means shining brightly every day. But shining is not about him he says– it’s about lighting the path for others. “When you let your light shine, we all get to see the truth of who we are and where we’re headed more clearly. So, shine as brightly as you can…it’s a part of your gift to the world.”