Last month, filmmaker Brian Ellison, anthropologist Marlon Hall, and sculptor Anthony Suber launched a series of conversations focused on the Black male experience in contemporary society called "The Black Man Project." Curated by Hall, the dinner series features a moving sculpture created by Suber with conversation centered around a documentary directed by Ellison, UnMASKulinity, debuting next year. The next discussion will take place on October 25 at 7:00 p.m. at the Google Seattle Office.
After a day spent in each community shooting for the film, the organizers host a confluence of 16 men from a variety of backgrounds in a recorded environment of listening and learning. Travis McPhail, the Engineering Lead for Maps SDK at Google, is working alongside the group to help identify men to participate in the discussion.
"An event like this will help a subset of people build connections and then go out and discuss what is shared here with other people," said McPhail.
"I'm hoping we can create a space for others that did not exist for me 10 years ago in tech.
"We are providing a space where others can accelerate their path so they can be themselves and shine."
The group, along with other experts in the arts and education, will create a curriculum to accompany the dinner series aiming to empower communities to continue the conversation long after the dinner is over. According to Mental Health America, Black men are particularly conscious of stigma when it comes to seeking help from an expert such as a psychologist.
"We have to be willing to be vulnerable in order to be whole.
"However, this cannot happen if the structure that Black men can relate to most doesn't exist," said Hall. "Gathering around the table–be it dinner with family, cards with your friends, or out on the town with friends–is something that is all-too-familiar within the Black community. We hope it feels like home."
The tour dates are as follows:
The events are hosted by The Black Man Project and funded in part by grants from the John Steven Kellet Foundation and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.