New book combats negative images of black men, celebrates leadership and perseverance
Andrea Blackstone | 10/23/2020, 6 a.m.
In mainstream media, positive stories featuring black men and boys are often presented less frequently in print and on television. Newspapers like The Baltimore Times play a critical role in chipping away at preconceived notions of people of color. During National Book Month and beyond, authors like Dr. Larry White, Sr. are joining the ranks of individuals who strive to celebrate the upward trajectory of black men through literature, while inspiring others to join a positive movement. Taking action to accomplish goals such as embracing empowerment and entrepreneurship; exhibiting leadership; tackling inequities; revitalizing communities; giving back; representation in the classroom; and strengthening family households are all elements connected to White’s call to action for black men to “lean in.”
White is widely known as the CEO and founder of VIPeVENTS Concierge, LLC. The author of four books, Navy veteran and business leader who gives back to the community hails from Anne Arundel County. While the world is struggling to navigate through a perplexing pandemic, the visionary felt that it was an ideal time to offer a hope- filled literary journey through an anthology called “When Men Lean In We All Win: Revitalization, Education, & Representation.” Including White, 15 authors from Chicago, North Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia were hand selected to share reflections of black excellence. Their talents range from engaging in entrepreneurship, military service, and movie production to community leadership, while positively impacting the world.
“We have a lot of experience from being a chef to being best-selling authors, so we’re just trying to set a great example of who black men really are, and not the depiction of who you see on the six o’clock news,” White said. “I knew that their (the co-author’s) stories would be powerful, because in a time of a pandemic, peaceful and non-peaceful demonstrations, there’s a lot is going on... So this book, “When Men Lean In We All Win” is medication. It’s a sign of relief that there are some people out here that care about you. Even during the pandemic, we’re still trying to speak to empower and encourage people. They can be better.”
White explained that he had an idea for the book’s title after watching a NBA (National Basketball Association) Cares project. NBA Cares serves as the league’s social responsibility program. White decided to turn one of his workshops into a television show before orchestrating his latest literary project. White said that he wants men who need to step their “leaning in” game up, to do so. He aspires to present men as role models for youth and other black men who may not be connected with the same kind of platform.
Vincent O. Leggett, an Annapolitan who is the founder and president of the Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation, is one of the elders who contributed to the book. The admiral grew up in Baltimore and migrated to Annapolis in the eighties. Leggett’s anthology story is entitled ‘Black Families Matter: Inspiring Men Into Action In Troubled Times.’
White reminded that for over 30 years, through documenting blacks of the Chesapeake Bay’s maritime and seafood processing contributions, Leggett has empowered people in the state of Maryland. The historian who has written two books about these subjects knows a great deal about pressing forward while leaning in to achieve more than just professional ones.
Leggett added that men who participated in the book project have had a wide variety of life experiences, but one thread that runs through each of theses narratives is overcoming difficulties. “With myself, as well as my other contributing authors, we had ups and downs and fell down, but we got up and want to pass on a legacy that others can learn from, so they don’t have to make all of the same mistakes or wrong turns that many of us made,” Leggett said, mentioning the importance of knowing how to navigate society’s system.
White added that “When Men Lean In We All Win” provides insight about how economics work, in addition to personal and business development.
“So we’re looking for this book to be a rite of passage for these young black boys to say if Vince Leggett can write his third book, and Dr. White can write his fourth book, this can be you as well,” White said.
Books may be ordered via https://www.vipeventsconcierge.com in the ‘Purchase Your Book Now’ section. The Kindle version is also available on Amazon. Multiple book launches will be held. A hard launch will be held on Nov. 7, 2020, and a virtual launch on Dec. 12, 2020, due to COVId-19.