By Reginald Williams,
Special to the AFRO
Kelly Edwards stands about six-foot-one. He weighs north of 300 pounds and for many, Edward’s physical presence comes off as a little intimidating. Though in a workshop filled with behavioral health specialists, his voice didn’t align with his girth, or so, the facilitator thought.
The facilitator said, “You have such a soft voice for such a big man!” She then asked why. Edwards responded “being large, I’m careful with the tone of my voice, so that I don’t make people uncomfortable.
Edwards’ belief that it’s his responsibility to make others comfortable is where many men, particularly Black men, find themselves—either saying nothing or softening the tone of their message to cuddle someone else’s feelings.
Johnathon and Leon Davis, Jr., understand the muted challenge faced by Edwards and Black men like him nationwide. The father and son dynamic duo launched, “Black Men Vent Too,” a podcast where the purpose was to inspire and help Black men understand who they are so that they can fulfill their true God-ordained potential. It’s a platform that allows Black men to tell their stories unapologetically and it’s truly a place where they can vent.
How interesting, that the podcast is titled “Black Men Vent Too” and not just Black Men Vent. The “too” in the title boldly implies that it’s acceptable for Black men to vent like everyone else. Being cultured in a western ideology that does not allow boys, Black or White, to cry because it is perceived to be a demonstration of weakness, Black men often suppress their emotions. Depression and chronic issues are the long-term consequences of that emotional repression.
Davis believes that men vent, but unfortunately, no one listens. “LeBron
] was told to ‘shut up and dribble,'” explained Davis. “When venting, we are perceived as weak. When that attitude is persistently pushed in the presence of Black men’s spirits, suppression becomes a typical response.”
Davis’ dad added that often, men don’t vent because of their efforts to maintain the macho image of being strong.
Like so many podcasts, the show was spurred into existence due to COVID-19. Pre-pandemic, Davis Jr. opened his home to have conversations with young men. Once a month, he would host an evening meeting with seven or eight young men, while food and a listening ear served as the provisions.
“I wanted them to talk about their issues and about their life.” Davis Jr., a minister of 17 years, continued. “I just wanted to share with them from my perspective just a little bit to help them along the way.”
When COVID-19 reared its infectious head, the gatherings stopped. The gestation period during quarantine had the duo independently thinking of avenues to continue driving those enriching conversations. Gathering in their driveway, Davis and Davis Jr., in conjunction with Mrs. Davis and Joshua, the youngest Davis, developed the vision. Following a four-month procrastination period, the podcast debuted.
”Black Men Vent Too” has recorded more than 50 episodes and airs every Monday at 11 am CST. Each month represents a new season, a new topic, and far-ranging conversations that include fatherhood, depression, grief, marriage and relationships, and the absence of happiness.
The subject of discussion for August is “Raw Venting.” On a recent episode – “BMI: Raw Venting in a Black Man,” with guest, Marcus Johnson shared his frustration about happiness and how Black men too often don’t experience it.
According to Davis, the “Raw Venting” episode is venting on steroids.
“With venting, you may say some stuff; stuff slips out. Venting should never come with restrictions or boundaries,” explained Davis. “With our platform, we’re not under stepping or overstepping. If we’re bringing brothers on to vent, we know Black folk use colorful words. We’re not advocating that, but if you have some things stirring up your emotions, you might use some colorful words.”
Based in Nashville, Tenn., ”Black Men Vent Too” brings that unique southern flavor.
Davis, 26, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi with a degree in Exercise Science, brings that millennial flare, while his dad, pursuing his Masters in Pastoral Studies, adds the “OG swag.”
“I like how God gave us this vision because we never perceived it to be a father-son duo. We just wanted to be two dudes trying to give back to our community, and we wanted to do it from a younger and older perspective,” explained Davis Jr.
Davis added: How often do you see a father and son in the same room doing something like this?
“With our guest, Davis puts his spin on the issue, and I add mine. I try to give a little wisdom, and then he ends up giving me some wisdom too. We’re all learning from each other, but in the midst of it all, it’s just like we’re sitting at the barbershop. We talk, it’s organic, and nothing is scripted, we just go at it.”
Both gentlemen desire to have their voices heard worldwide. However, if they’re not able to partner with some major media platform, experiencing the joy of a Black man telling them that ”Black Men Vent Too” changed the trajectory of their life, would be so rewarding.
Followers can hear “Black Men Vent Too” on the following platforms: Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Anchor, Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube.
Reginald Williams is the author of “A Marginalized Voice: Devalued, Dismissed, Disenfranchised & Demonized.” Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit amarginalizedvoice.com for more information.
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