Recently singer-songwriter John Legend stepped up to the plate in alignment with AXE to help young men redefine what it means to be a man on their own terms. This relationship with AXE that John decided to take part in is part of their Senior Orientation program under their ‘Find Your Magic Initiative’. Along side John with this initiative is author and poet Carlos Andres Gomez. Both men will help mentor young men at Centennial High School located in Columbus, OH.
With the mentorship of John and Carlos, the young men at Centennial High School will produce a creative performance piece that will challenge the views and shift the narrative around masculinity and what it means to ‘be a man’ beyond the walls of limitations created and constructed by society.
In a recent interview with Cosmo Magazine, John Legend shined a little light around how problematic toxic masculinity is for men, young men in particular. He went on to say, “growing up is an ongoing push-and-pull of you being yourself and you performing to what society expects you to be. I think the end product ends up being some kind of composite of these two factors.” He further stated, “Men are afraid of talking about their fears and insecurities. They’re afraid of expressing emotion beyond anger, dominance, or power and they’re afraid of getting in touch with their feminine side.”
As a man myself who lives and exist within marginalized communities, I know the ongoing pressures of society constantly pushing a narrative on you. A narrative created and shaped to limit men young and old on what it means to ‘be a man’. I salute John Legend along with Carlos Andres Gomez and AXE’s ‘Find Your Magic Initiative’ for providing a space to allow young men to be themselves, define themselves, express themselves, and challenge themselves to paint their own narrative around masculinity. I hope it opens up an ongoing dialogue that will further encourage other young men out there to simply find their magic and own it.