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THIS IS PART 1 OF A TWO-PART SERIES…

I recently took a DNA test.

While I have always been extremely proud of my Jamaican heritage, there is a whole other part of my history that was stolen from me and erased. I am in diaspora; part of a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. While I have always been aware of the fact my ancestors were trafficked from Africa and forced to labour under brutal conditions entirely for the benefit of the British Empire, who they were and where they came from has always been completely unknown to me. I, like so many other individuals of African descent, suffer from a disconnected sense of identity.

The DNA test was as much about finding out where my ancestors came from as it was an attempt to reclaim a connection to the hidden parts of my identity that were stolen away long before I was ever born.

Lewis Persaud recently penned an article titled, “Griots: The importance of documentation” (click here), where he writes about the crucial role they played in preserving the history of many West African societies. He argues that it was this very connection to their rich history which helped to maintain these ancient cultures, and as people of African descent, it is through “retaining a sense of self in a world designed to strip you of it…” that we begin the process of building a strong and stable community.

Lewis and I recorded this episode at the end of last summer in the wake of the global outrage which erupted following the death of George Floyd. Several other extrajudicial killings of black people and racially charged incidents prior had stoked the flames of discontent for many and kickstarted a wave of Black Lives Matter protests all over the world. One of those incidents was the slaying of Ahmaud Marquez Arbery who was hunted down and executed in the street of a suburban Georgia neighbourhood by three white men. It took 74 days for his killers’ arrest, and only after the video of his killing went viral.

It is now exactly one week shy of a year since Ahmaud was killed, and his family continue their wait for justice.

It also currently happens to be Black History Month in the United States. And with the recent news of one Utah school originally agreeing to parents’ demand to exempt their children from taking part in Black History Month learning before backtracking after a backlash on social media, the question I ask is, what happens now that the protests have ended? What do we need to do as a people to move this fight forward?

I think the beginnings of an answer lies in first grounding ourselves in a strong sense of identity, because as Marcus Garvey once exclaimed and as illustrated so beautifully by Lewis in his article, a “people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”.

On this episode, Lewis and I talk about reclaiming our identities, the true nature of racism and what is required in dismantling the structures it has built.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

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There is an ancient story from the Bible about two men, David and Johnathan, who formed a friendship so deep their connection is described as though their souls were knit together. Though their friendships ended tragically with Jonathan being killed in battle, the story of David and Jonathan’s friendship helps makes a case for strong personal and intimate friendships between men.

Most people would agree that verbal and physical expressions of love are not exclusively or even primarily sexual in nature. Friends often embrace, kiss and touch each other in affectionate ways, but do men feel that these expressions of platonic love with their male friends threaten to convey unintended sexual connotations?

Even when there is no threat of these expressions of love being perceived in a sexual capacity, there often remains an awkwardness present as a result of the infrequency of which of these expressions are made, and so we shy away from them even more.

On this episode, Jamie, Donald, Kwame and RJ discuss the case for bromance and we as men can build better quality friendships with each other.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

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In the midst of a wave of Black Lives Matter protests that swept the globe in 2020, last August marked the second annual Black Pound Day; its aim being to encourage support from people to buy from Black-owned companies (both local to them and online).The power of black and other ethnic consumers represents a significant proportion of the marketplace with an estimated spending power of £300 billion per year in the UK.

While black people are avid consumers, we generate and hold very little wealth comparatively speaking. A recent report by the Runnymede Trust titled, The Colour of Money: How racial inequalities obstruct a fair and resilient economy, highlighted this fact.

Kenroy Malcolm is an aspiring property investor and runs a YouTube channel where he provides tips and tricks to help his viewers save money as well as charting his own wealth-building journey. He is part of a small minority of black content creators in the personal finance space online who are keen to inspire and encourage others

On this episode, Kenroy and I talk about why wealth-building is not just important, but an essential part of creating economic freedom. We also talk about his own personal finance journey and his inspiration for YouTube.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

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For the last year, we’ve been gripped by a global pandemic. Figures in the UK currently stand at more than 2 and half million confirmed cases and 75,000 deaths. Despite having endured two previous national lockdowns and the shifting goalposts of localised restrictions updated almost weekly, we’re now entering a third national lockdown with no end in sight. Some of us have been held hostage to fear of the virus, many have lost friends and loved ones, but all of us have suffered severe disruption to our lives and plans.

On this episode I interview Chukwudi Ugbomah and we talk about what it was like trying to plan a wedding during a lockdown and crossing the threshold into marriage.

Chukwudi and his then fiancé did not live together prior to getting married, and so had to practice social distancing for much of the first half of 2020 and the period leading up to their wedding. The transition from bachelor to husband was a particularly profound, and so we discuss what that journey has been like for him.

Chukwudi was one of the very first men I interviewed back in season 1 of the podcast where we talked about his preparations for marriage. You can listen to it here: Ep. #2 – Legacy, Money and Managing Conflict. Back then, reports of the Coronavirus had only just begun to emerge out of Wuhan, China and we couldn’t have imagined just how much our lives would have been affected by it in just a few short weeks afterwards.

While for many of us, it may seem as though our lives remain in a state of perpetual limbo, Chukwudi’s story encourages me to believe we can still hope for new beginnings and I hope it does the same for you too.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

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Comparatively speaking, sporting careers are short and somewhat fleeting. It is not uncommon for professional athletes to feel a sense of loss of identity when retiring from a career in sport. Identity helps us to connect with others as well as to our sense of self. For may of us, our identities are rooted in our relationships as well as the activities we take part in.

On this episode, I interview Mark Richardson, a former world class 400m runner and Olympic silver medalist. During his athletics career, Mark experienced some amazing highs but also some incredible lows. And while his exploits on the track remain firmly affixed to the pinnacle of Great Britain’s track and field Olympics history, athletics is just one part of his story.

Mark’s specialism, the relay, is an appropriate metaphor for life itself. Most of us are in a state of constant growth and development, our sense of self undergoing several metamorphoses throughout our lives.

Change isn’t inherently bad, but it can be destabilising, especially when you’re not prepared for it. While Mark’s transition out of professional sport was a challenging one, it wasn’t debilitating.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

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We live in a world saturated with images of unrealistic and unattainably perfect bodies. While its impact on women has been documented at length, there is very little social commentary on the effect this has on men.

Men have historically been taught to suppress certain feelings and emotions and so we often lack the emotional vocabulary to communicate the deep inadequacies that challenge the very nature of our perceived manhood. We we do possess the vocabulary, we often are not afforded the spaces to express these vulnerabilities.

Body image is a broad term which encompasses a whole range of ideologies. In this conversation, Jamie, Daray, Nate and Dan explore some of these concepts as well as our sexuality as it informs our identities as men, and whether size really does matter.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

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Jason Osei, a native Londoner, left the UK to play American Football in Europe before moving to America in 2012. With four conference championships under his belt, twice voted all-conference player and graduating from university with honours, Jason has clearly struck a winning formula.

The secret to his success isn’t particularly secret however. Jason shy’s away from any suggestions of being especially gifted in any particular way that makes his success any less attainable for the average individual.

“From grit to greatness…” a statement Jason proclaimed in a 2017 ad campaign by Texas A&M Commerce University, where his image was featured on Dallas-area billboards, television ads, online and at the local airport.

Success often requires a combination of patience, effort and self-discipline. These are attributes which must be nurtured and developed to create an environment under an optimum outcome is most likely achieved on a consistent basis.

It takes work and hard graft which sometimes goes immediately unrewarded, but serves as a foundation to build upon.

His days as a collegiate American Football player are over, but Jason isn’t slowing down. He is undefeated as an MMA fighter and is currently a championship winning semi-pro tag-team wrestler going under the moniker, ‘The Summit‘.

The summit is an apt metaphor for the journey to success. It’s arduous and uphill all the way, but with every step you take forward, you’re one step closer to your goal. The process shapes you in immeasurably valuable ways; it shows you the weaknesses that hold you back and each new victory serves as motivation to keep moving forward.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

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This is the final episode of a 3-part series titled, ‘Paternal’. It is honest, funny and heartfelt. If you haven’t listened to the previous episodes, then I’d recommend you click the links below to do so now:

  1. In the Beginning
  2. The Beginning of the End

Last year I wrote a blog post titled Am I Enough… It was my attempt to articulate more than 20 years of hurt and anger for what I perceived as my father’s unwillingness to fight hard enough to keep me in his life.

Maybe it’s unfair to have placed all of that at his feet. Maybe in some situations, regardless of best efforts or honest intentions, collateral damage is just an unavoidable consequence of relationship breakdowns. Maybe there are innumerable shades of grey that I had never been able to consider before.

Whatever the reality of the situation, it was my commitment to breaking the cycle. And I think the conversation you’re about to hear is our commitment to each other. A commitment to be better men.

On this episode, my father and I talk about the impact of our family’s breakdown and our struggles in forging our own identities in manhood.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

NEW EPIOSODE OUT NOW: Paternal - The Beginning of the End.

This is the second episode of a 3-part series titled, ‘Paternal’. It is honest, funny and heartfelt. If you haven’t listened to part 1, In the Beginning, then I’d recommend you click the link to do so now.

When I was 9 years old, I had a teacher called Miss Bryant. In class one day, she noticed I had become withdrawn and subdued. She took me aside to ask what was wrong and after some prodding, I explained that things at home between my parents weren’t great. It wasn’t long afterwards that I moved to a different school, largely owing to the financial pressures under which my newly single mom now found herself.

A couple years later and entirely by chance, mine and Miss Bryant’s paths crossed again. We talked for a little while, and she asked whether things had improved at home. It was difficult to find an answer. I mean, things were certainly different; my father was no longer living with us and the volatility of my parents’ relationship had now moved into a space far less accessible to me. But I couldn’t honestly say things had improved. We just had different challenges now.

For me, chief among them was trying to help mom pick up the pieces of our broken home.

On this episode, my father and I talk about the circumstances that led to the breakdown of our family and our father-son relationship.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

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My parents split up when I was about 10 years old. The last eighteen months of their relationship was, as I perceived it, a traumatic, disruptive and chaotic mess.

In the years that followed, my relationship with my father broke down. There were many reasons for this, but it mainly boiled down to the fact that I didn’t feel emotionally secure in the situation to continue loving him as I did before, and I didn’t feel like he put enough effort into providing that security for me.

On this episode, my father and I have a direct, real-time conversation with each other for the first time in over 20 years.

We talk about his childhood, the abuse he suffered at home and the circumstances under which I came into this world. This is the first episode of a 3-part series titled Paternal. It is honest, funny and heartfelt.  

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.