The purpose of this site (blog) is to provide a single destination for African-American men across the country and abroad who struggle with ego-driven behaviors that do not allow them to participate fully in our society and simply to live in peace. The inspiration for this blog evolved while talking with the owner of Image Kafe and many of his loyal customers over a period of years. What I saw and continue to see is men who want to have relevant, real and honest conversations about a wide range of topics, and not what most people might think we talk about in barber shops.
What are ego-driven behaviors? Here’s how you know: Have you ever felt superior or inferior to anyone? Have you ever purchased something because another person also has the item? Do you need people to affirm how you look or give you complements? Do you treat women disrespectfully? Have you tried to associate yourself with a celebrity? Did you have information that nobody else had and made you feel powerful? Have you ever gotten a number from someone and never called the person? Do you think if you only had enough money, my life would be better? Do you talk in the movies and you get mad if someone asks you to quiet down so they can enjoy the movie? Do you work out or exercise to look better or feel better? If your answer is yes to any of these questions your behavior was/is based on the ego and not about being in the Present.
I sensed a level of consciousness in these conversations, many of which I would initiate. To my delight, these benign inquiries would open up a dialogue so rich and interesting that I instinctively realized that we are missing something in our lives collectively as Black men. These discussions always felt safe, because there was such mutual curiosity about improving our respective situation or more precisely our attitude.
This spring, I was awakened by the most fascinating thinking from Oprah’s Book Club as she launched the first global web cast; she featured Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose. What I noticed quickly was the dearth of Black men on the web cast, asking questions. To be sure, I am sure there were some of us listening in, but the women seemed to be having all the fun and improving themselves. When I mentioned my observation to my wife, she said to me that “Black men are not interested in self-improvement and spirituality”. I vehemently responded that “you are wrong”. Black men are interested and you wait and see.
Call me an optimist, which I am, but what might seem to be unusual or sensitive conversations do in fact happen with Black men, and we struggle with “issues”, we are not simply taking the time to explore those issues and topics in earnest.
As I got deeper into the book, I started to reflect on the many conversations at the barber shop, which by the way, is one of the nicest places to get your hair cut in Houston. Appointments are made online exclusively, so there is no hassle and no waiting ever. After reflecting on these often times deep and productive discussions, I made the connection of Eckhart Tolle’s book and my brethren at the barber shop, and it hit me like a Category 5 hurricane. So one day, I approached Lamont, the owner of Image Kafe about the idea of starting a book club for just us from the shop for Black men who want to fundamentally change how they live, see the world and experience a level of Power they have never experienced in every dimension of their life. After sharing this idea with Lamont, and the concepts in the book, I felt deep in my bones that we need to share this with the World. Lamont is excited and both of us were amped about doing this.
So, over the coming weeks ahead, you will see our weekly video of our discussions about A New Earth, live and unedited from the Image Kafe barber shop from Houston, Texas. If you have something positive to share or an observation or resource to point us to, please leave a comment on our blog. Thanks for being in the moment and Present to share the reason for this blog. The first book club gathering is August 4, 2008 at 7:30 PM at Image Kafe.