‘The Lives of Men’ is Reclaiming the Black Narrative
With a limited presence in mainstream television and social media, the real Black man narrative often goes untold. His story becomes restricted to fearful encounters with the police or community destruction, men of color are judged before having the opportunity to reveal their true self.
Jason Rosario is seeking to fill this gap. In January he launched the Lives of Men, a lifestyle website that provides men color a digital space and interactive community working together to redefine Black masculinity.
“There was this essence of vulnerability and authenticity that I thought was lacking. I want men to look at themselves and be OK with being in touch with their feelings and admit it to themselves that they’re not quite sure about their path in life and need help. We want to be the compass that helps men of color navigate those journeys.” Rosario tells the Grio.com.
Rosario grew up as one of five in the Bronx, raised and reared by a single mother. While his mother did her best, Rosario soon realized that his mother could only do so much and go so far. Through trial and error and modeling other men of color, Rosario became what he considers a man.
His vision is for The Lives of Men to act as instructional tool and inspiration to young males, specifically, those not afforded a consistent male role model.
Rosario continued with his interview with the Grio, “The fact that [my father] wasn’t present taught me what I didn’t want to be. There were things I didn’t want to repeat or perpetuate.” Rosario says. “Once you get a clear idea of what you want to be, and don’t have models around that, it becomes a challenge to start to walk that path. It’s a very lonely road sometimes because you have all the imagery of hyper-masculinity and aggression.”
The Lives of Men include a video-focused online experience that guides the readers through topics like fatherhood, the effects style has on one’s self-esteem, dating and even homosexuality.
Ultimately, Rosario's mission is for his website to serve a reminder to young Black men by presenting men of color who looks like them and who are also successful. “There’s always an opportunity. There’s always a different path to take,” he says. “I want that young man to come to the site, feel empowered, feel inspired and feel like there’s nothing he can’t do.”