Michael Taylor is a long-time radio show host, author, and the creator of the new program Black Men Rock. Taylor is committed to empowering black men by providing them with positive examples they can aspire to. Always the optimist, Taylor acknowledges there are plenty of black role models already out there, but the media typically focuses on negative stereotypes of black men. Focusing on those negative stereotypes can internalize the type of negative emotions that make it difficult to succeed.
“We have to understand that perception creates reality,” Taylor explains. He believes that if black men are exposed to successful African-Americans – those who have done well in society, have loving monogamous relationships and fulfilling careers – that will awaken positivity in black men, which will help them through their own careers, education, and social lives.
Taylor hopes to impart this positivity in black men through his Black Men Rock program, which targets members from the age of 25 to 50. The program consists of 10 lessons, all of which deal with self-empowerment and positive thinking. Taylor believes his authenticity is what sets him apart and will allow him to reach fellow men of color.
According to Taylor, “A lot of black men have never been exposed to another black man that is willing to be that vulnerable, that open.” Indeed, people can sense this genuine spirit in others. Authenticity is a key trait of some of the most liked people. “When [we] open up to [others], it touches their hearts.”
Taylor’s authenticity and vulnerability comes from real life experiences. He is able to inspire others with the adversity he has overcome. He dropped out of high school in 11th grade, but was still able to climb the corporate ladder through hard work. Even after a divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and major depression, he was able to become a success story through dedication to positivity and prioritizing his own happiness. He wants to lead by example, showing men of color that they can overcome adversity in their lives.
One of the biggest adversities out there for black men is the negative stereotypes and false perceptions propagated through the media. These negative stereotypes stick, and that energy impacts all aspects of a man’s life, according to Taylor. Taylor highlights a negative stereotype that has stuck with black men – the false fact that there are more black men in prison than in college.
“It is an illusion that has been perpetuated by the media for a very long time and people just grabbed onto it. It has never been true,” he says. True or not, constantly hearing these negative stereotypes adversely affects the psyche of black men in America.
Taylor’s mindset is, if negative stereotypes can stick than so can positive ones. He hopes that by showing black men examples of successful businessmen, husbands, and fathers they can relate to, younger generations will be inspired. He wants black people to see themselves as empowered individuals instead of victims.
“Even though most of us have been victimized in some way, we do not have to remain victims,” Taylor says. “We must change our minds to recognize that – keep changing that internal perception, that you are powerful, you are not the victim.”
Taylor’s Black Men Rock program begins on March 1, 2015 and there is a significant level of anticipation building for its release. The program will be available online along with other products and resources for black men looking to begin their personal development. Taylor’s optimism shines through his interview, and it is certainly a core component of his Black Men Rock program.
“The intention of this program is to let men know that it is possible for them to overcome any obstacle,” Taylor says. “No matter what,” he stresses, “It is possible for them to move those obstacles and live an extraordinary life.”