By Ariel Chrysann
AFRO Intern

Of all the obstacles we face everyday, some are more challenging to overcome  than others. Dondre Whitfield, a man with over three decades in the television and film industry, has also made a name for himself as a public speaker and an author. You might be familiar with his roles on the Cosby Show, the Real Husbands of Hollywood and Queen Sugar, but off camera, he has had to overcome many mental and physical hurdles. He shares his journey with you in his book, Male vs. Man: How to Honor Women, Teach Children, and Elevate Men to Change the World. 

Through his life lessons, Whitfield aims to inspire, guide and transform males into men, while also helping women better select a companion. Whitfield said he wants to make their journey easier and says his job is to make the experience better for the “brother behind him” by leaving each place better than he found it; so the next brother behind him can prosper, not suffer.

Through his life lessons, Whitfield aims to inspire, guide and transform males into men, while also helping women better select a companion.(Courtesy Photo)

Growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., Whitfield’s father was not active in his life, but his mother taught him how to be responsible and conscious. “Male vs Man” defines a vision of his that took quite some time to develop. He wanted to give people information that he didn’t have when he was growing up. He wanted to pass forward a pathway. “We were all built to be communal, to contribute to one another and build; to be each other’s help mates,”  Whitfield explained.

Individuals with a Y chromosome identify themselves as men. Whitfield’s comprehensive message shows the distinction between the two: a male looks to be served, while a man looks to be of service. The awareness of truly knowing one’s role in life and the best setting to thrive in is the key to surviving the obstacles that come your way. In his book, he explains how the ideas about manhood are often changing with culture, which can be confusing for young males. “Being a male is my gender and being a man is my job,” said Whitfield 

“In order to be a man you have to have purpose and precision. Every man’s purpose on the face of this Earth is to serve the women and children in his life and his precision is about how well he serves them,” he continued. “Hold yourself and others accountable, but avoid shaming and judging others.” 

“It’s interesting,” Whitfield shared. “Three letters can build you or diminish you, could be G-O-D or E-G-O.” His ego interfered with his matriculation into manhood, but having a relationship with God helped to build him. 

“You have to have a band of brothers that are going in the direction you want to go in. You have to surround yourself with people who are either already in the space that you are traveling to or are headed to a like minded space.” An example he shared was how all of his friends are either married or in committed relationships. Their values don’t conflict with his and the decisions they make doesn’t compromise his way of living. It’s by design not a coincidence because boundaries are important, they protect us.

Seek help, accept help and be of help is what Whitfield’s journey has taught me. He touches on the things he knows people will be able to benefit from immediately. “I want to increase them, and have them come to a space of mental, emotional and spiritual health and wholeness,” Whitfield said.