"What About Me" Documentary Shows an Unfiltered Perspective of Black Men in America
If you’re a Black man in America, chances are you have a firsthand account of the negative experiences we have gone through. If you've had the luck to not have, unfortunately, you know a friend or family member who has. Not only do we have these experiences but the images portrayed in the media for centuries have been less than flattering.
Gone are the days where Black men have to remain unseen. Gone are the days where we don’t take our image and future into our own hands. Taroue Brooks (publicist, event planner, and lifestyle architect), D. John Jackson (corporate executive) and Darryl Pitts (producer) are three Black men who have joined forces to executive produce and create a documentary that digs deep into the image of the Black man in America. Collectively, they have been both in front of and behind the scenes while witnessing the injustices that we have come to know as all too common in America. They pooled their resources to bring the voice of the Black man to the forefront with What About Me.
What About Me is a first of its kind documentary featuring the voices and perspectives of African American men beyond the limiting image of being entertainers, athletes and criminals. What About Me shines a light on the silent majority, the powerful stakeholders in the community that have been alive and thriving for decades. In the documentary, you get the chance to hear from business leaders, attorneys who fight for social and civil rights, actors, those impacted by social justice and the young men growing up today.
For years, the expectation has always been for us to possess strength and courage while never having representatives that show you anything is possible has caused many Black men to be enraged. They also aim to change many narratives such as Black men not showing up in their community. We had the chance to ask Taroue Brooks, creator and co-executive producer, a few questions about the project.
What inspired you to develop this documentary?
Honestly, I was exhausted from watching the news every day and seeing that we are only represented by entertainers and athletes and we are constantly being mistreated by the police. I decided that I wanted to do something to control the narrative to control who we really are.
Who is this documentary made for?
It was created for the world to see. The same people who watch the news and see how misrepresented we are, are able to see who we really are in America.
Where did the title come from?
It speaks to the subject matter. When you think of the U.S.A., we as Black men are an afterthought. The question “What about me”? Is one of the purest and most vulnerable questions to ask when you need to hear what I have to say. It reminds mainstream America that they have left us out. It's an elevated level of communication from conversations that have been had in the past.
The individuals who are apart of the documentary, how were they chosen?
Initially, the documentary was going to be about 4 teenagers Nate Tinbite, Tyson Dowdell, Thompson McLeod and Trey Causey who had bright futures but I realized they haven't had full life experiences. I knew I needed to make some adjustments. The focus was now to focus on Black men of different variations who exist here in America. From polling with Terrance Woodberry to civil rights with Todd Belcore and Lathan Word who was convicted and spent 12 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. We talk about everything that proves how much a part of this country we really are.
If there is one message that you want people to take away from this documentary, what would it be?
Given the 400 years of trauma that we have endured, America should be concerned as to how we show up. The fact that we can even stand given what we have experienced is nothing but a miracle and shows our endurance. Black men are the most feared on this earth. We are brilliant, we are creative, and we are resourceful, loving, committed, and loyal. We are here.
What About Me will be airing in syndication starting February 6th – 28th on your local ABC, NBC and FOX networks. Check your local listings for times and dates. Check them out on social media on Instagram and Facebook.