One of the more enjoyable, informative and enlightening OFF THE CUFFS I had at the 2015 SC Book Festival came from the co-author of the book titled The Makings of a Man, Michael Holoman. He co-authored the title with Gerard Droze, who stands to the right in the photo, and another co-author who I didn’t have the opportunity to meet, Jabari Price.
Along with the Board of Directors for The Makings of a Man was author of I: The Emolian Empire and a part of The Makings of a Man literacy program Daniel Nelson III, and I had a great OFF THE CUFF with him as well.
It was Michael Holoman who gave me much insight on the book and the foundation.
“The Makings of a Man came about…the three of us are good friends with different backgrounds. I come from a single mother home. Jabari from a single father home, and Gerard from a two parent home. We met a little further along in life and all had the same ideas about what manhood was about.
We decided that we were going to limit the excuses that people were making about difficulties becoming a man because there are no role models. So we decided to put our heads together and write a book about the things that were common, things that made sense about what makes a man.
What makes a man is his character. It’s not about what you have in life. It’s about who you are in life.”
There were some great T-Shirts to go along with The Makings of a Man, and Michael Holoman went on to reveal about more coffee mugs, bookmarks and fliers, along with their blog and website.
Holoman being a man with much insight , I furthered my conversation with him about the overall state of black people, black men, women, and youth, who have been publicly brutalized by police in various states around the country.
“It’s a shame. That’s the main thing. We do a podcast every two weeks called The Board Meeting, and on our podcast we discuss that [police brutality] a few times. There’s so much that needs to be done foundationally to fix that issue because you can’t fix how somebody thinks about you.
The biggest thing that we can do really is begin to form more of a bond, begin to work together more. That’s a task in itself because we have been split up, and we think that if one person is getting ahead then we shouldn’t help them. Or we feel like “oh, they feel like they’re better than us.” Sometimes, the people that do get ahead actually do feel like they are better than you when in all actuality they are not better than you.
We talk about that in the book also. We discuss that every man carries [its/his] same weight. There are six weights to manhood – provider, protector, grower, leader, visionary and a servant. And if you’re a man, and you know what your weights are that you carry, then it doesn’t matter what you title is. You know that you all carry the same weight.”
Often the things required to be considered a man—in the truest sense of the word—are passed down from generation to generation, from man to man, by word of mouth or example. Be it a father, grandfather, uncle, brother, or a man from the neighborhood, most men learn how to carry themselves as men from watching other men or hearing other men speak of what it takes to actually be a man.
In “The Makings of a Man”, Jabari Price, Michael Holoman, and O. Gerard Droze set out to not only put these things in writing, but to deconstruct society’s image of a man and explore the reasons behind why characteristics such as planning, communication, checks and balances, leadership, the ability to face life’s storms, and consistency are so vitally important to the fully developed man.
Whether you’re 25 or 95, every male, from time to time, must evaluate himself to be sure they’re exhibiting “The Makings of a Man”. Whether you are seeking to bolster your own character or strengthen the character of someone else, this book is a must read. — synopsis taken from Amazon
Holoman went on to tell me about the various projects they do in the community.
“We have a mentor program we started based on our book. We have a curriculum for it, which we go out and mentor to the youth in the area. Also every year a Principles of Manhood Symposium right before school starts back, and what we do is expose kids who are more disenfranchised to people in the community who look like them. So we show them that there are options available to them because so many of our kids, all they ever really see is hustlers and ball players and they think that’s going to be their lives. We show them doctors, lawyers, businessmen in the area, that look like them and came from the same circumstances and overcame it. It opens up more options, and they start believing in themselves more.”