Early on in his educational career, Brandon Frame considered himself a young man long on potential but short on maximizing it. He played basketball and football and had aspirations of becoming a sportscaster.
Then, a classmate interested him in Morehouse College; he enrolled and found himself at the school’s signature event for freshmen during New Student Orientation – “Welcome to the House.”
The brotherhood and cultivation of leadership changed Frame’s perception of himself forever.
“All the times teachers told me I was capable of better work, all the times where I was trying to figure it all out, all the times somebody told me ‘you can do anything you put your mind to’…‘knowledge is the new currency’…all those cliché statements,” said Frame.
“It all made sense after ‘Welcome to The House’. At that point, the light bulb came on that I could actually accomplish anything I put my mind to.”
Since that moment, Frame said, he has pursued excellence with impeccable effort because every teacher he had told him what he was capable of.
The capability for excellence is what Frame, the pioneer of The Black Man Can Institute, says he is all about.
Frame, who considers himself “a renaissance man with a social conscience,” said he strives to be a role model, scholar and gentleman with an aim at rebuilding and manifesting empowerment.
According to theblackmancan.org website, the Institute was created in April, 2010 “to actively promote a positive black male image” through “uplift[ing], empower[ing], educat[ing], motiv[ating] young men of color.” Its purpose is to “provide comfort and support for boys of color.”
“What [The Black Man Can Institute] is is a one-day mentoring institute where we bring in men from different parts of the country to facilitate workshops with the boys,” said Frame. “All the boys receive a copy of ‘The Black Man Can Journal: Define Yourself to Redefine the World’, [which is] a guided journal for boys and men of color.”
The journal is a compilation of essential questions, interviews and quotes divided into sections from education to culture, leadership and fatherhood. According to Frame, it is an effort to help readers develop critical consciousness, develop a positive identity and learn how to process emotions through written reflection.
Participants also receive neckties and learn how to tie them and receive a certificate of completion.
The seeds for the Institute began with a mentoring program Frame started in his Morehouse days. From there, he said he started to see the impact he was having on the male and female students.
“I started to feel a sense of ‘this is what I’m supposed to do with my life’,” Frame said.
He told a story about a student of his from East Atlanta. During a debriefing, the student mentioned the only place he knew like Morehouse was jail because of the large black male population.
“That really made me think hard and long,” said Frame. “M.K. Asante, one of my favorite scholars, says, ‘Once you make an observation, you have an obligation’. All these other things that I’ve created are stemming from that quote.
“Black men need to have their stories told, and young boys of color need to see positive images of them and hear these narratives.”
During his senior year at Morehouse, Frame said he had more than six job corporate job offers his senior year. He turned them all down to take a position at a junior boarding school in West Newton, Massachusetts.
By forgoing $65,000 a year, Frame claimed he knew if he followed his purpose and passion, it would put him in a better place down the road.
“I just had to stay diligent,” he said. “I had to stay consistent.”
Now that he has found a way to effectively reach the youth, Frame said the community must continue to do so through providing them with exposure to “as many things as possible” – from the arts and architecture to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs.
“What we must have a hyper-focus on for all kids – rural, urban, suburban, above average income, low socioeconomic status,” said Frame. “We must make sure we focus on the acquisition of basic skills. You can provide as much exposure as possible. You can show them that anything is possible.”
To do that, Frame said, one must first acquire a strong set of basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills and build on those.
“What I do when I’m reaching back is making sure we’re able to provide exposure,” he continued, “as well as building on the need for strengthening basic skill sets to a level that will allow people to be functional once they actualize and realize that their dream, whatever that may be.”
Frame said the next phase for him, in addition to all the projects he was working on, is making sure all of his ideas have long-term sustainability. One of them is an award-winning television show, titled “Building Minds Forever.”
“[My] goal is to position the work to a place of transcending time, so that when I’m not on the earth anymore, the work I’ve done and my impact on people will remain immortal,” Frame said. “As you continue to build and put these ideas into play, we always must remember the ideas are much bigger than you.
“Just like Albert Pike, he once said, ‘what we have done for ourselves alone dies with us. What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal’.”
Brian L. Thompson has six novels in print, including his highly-successful science-fiction teen series, Reject High, Brian continues to shape his career as a storyteller who fuses high-concept plots with down-to-earth characters. Brian formed Great Nation Publishing, LLC. – an independent publishing company aimed at promoting creative projects with integrity. His published works include historical fiction novels The Lost Testament (2010), and The Revelation Gate (2011), with the latter landing on Amazon’s Top 80 List for Historical Fiction-Africa.