D. John Jackson on 'Walking the Tightrope as a Black Man in America'


D. John Jackson is a man who has found purpose in educating and entertaining people of color. He is the founder of 5J Entertainment, a storytelling company committed to educating, informing, entertaining, and promoting positive messages in different forms of media for African American men, people of color, women, and other marginalized groups as well as a Fortune 50 leader and vice president with global responsibilities that include strategic planning, engineering, data science, and artificial intelligence. Mr. Jackson is a creative force behind the What About Me documentary and the author of the best-selling book What About Me: Walking the Tightrope as a Black Man in America.

At a young age, D. John experienced a unique set of circumstances that eventually placed him in a position to start making speeches on various topics that sparked his interests. Those experiences would open his eyes to speaking and conversing with larger audiences. As he grew older, his unique connection with audiences became more evident and by the time he reached college, public speaking was a core component of his portfolio. As his career progressed, he had the chance to coach and mentor others and once the remaining puzzle pieces fell into place, he realized he wanted to use his voice, stories, words, and experiences to help others navigate life. D. John says, "My purpose is bigger than me and it is incumbent upon me to use my resources and gifts to pour into others." He has always had the desire to tell his story to a broader audience for many years and pour into the world what his parents had poured into him. Although he made notes, curated them with care, and wrote various elements for his book over the years, life always got in the way. After one of his speaking engagements, there was a lady standing in the lobby waiting for him with tears in her eyes. She told him she had originally decided not to attend the forum but changed her mind and that he changed her life with his words. That was when he decided he had to get What About Me: Walking the Tightrope as a Black Man in America completed. The film, What About Me, was born out of a burning passion and sense of responsibility to inspire and expose African American men to the indomitable power, spirit and will they possess. The documentary is a riveting look into the experience of African American men and their history in America. Black men and boys have endured extreme racism and prejudice in every aspect of their lives from, economics, jobs, politics, and even social existence to this very day. Yet, we are still succeeding. However, the struggle continues and our stories, emotions, and traumas need to be explored, heard and discussed. This film, coupled with his book, is a catalyst for men to share their stories and conversations while creating a roadmap and trailblazing a path for those young men following in all of our footsteps. Our men and boys are looking for leadership, mentors, and strategies to help them navigate the many challenges they will face in their lives as African Americans. His desire is that not only Black men and boys, but all people of color, women, and any of today's marginalized group today can gain hope and inspiration from these bodies of work. D. John says, "It is extremely important for us to tell the stories and control our narratives of many rarely seen and untold stories of Black men and boys. No one can tell our stories the way we can and truly understand our experiences, challenges and our vantage point. I have two sons and I feel personally compelled to inspire, connect and encourage Black men to remain strong and seek out each other