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Positive Vibes & Bright Ideas

We have become used to reading and perhaps focusing on negative headlines about young black males.However, recent events in both my work and personal life have made me realise how much talent we have among young black males.

Unfortunately, not enough time is spent celebrating or acknowledging the great things that these young people do.

It was great to see that BBC television programme The Voice UK had its first black male reality winner this year. Hackney-born Jermain Jackman became 2014 winner with his amazing voice and talents. His demeanour and attitude were ones to be proud of as he humbly celebrated his success.

From the beginning of the show there was something special and unique about this young man. He was a black man that not only wanted to live his dream of being a singer but had ambitions of bigger things. Breaking stereotypes beyond belief he intends on pursuing his interests in politics and becoming the first black Prime Minister in the UK. His mentor Will.I.Am was extremely proud of his mentee and believed that no-one else deserved it more.

News headlines like these are rare but, like Jermain, I want more good news stories about young black men to hit the headlines, because there are many that we could celebrate.

According to the 2011 REACH media monitoring report, seven out of ten stories about young black men and boys in mainstream news are related to some form of crime, compared to four out of ten stories for all young men and boys. Of course this could have a negative impact on the way these young black men perceive themselves.

From my perspective, I would like to see more mainstream news reporters share positive stories and, when possible, black organisations in both the community and voluntary sectors promote the positive work and outcomes they see from young black males with whom they work.

Recently on the Routes2Success Programme (our project that aims to inspire young black males to reach their full potential in education and employment) I have seen lots of talent. The workshops and events that the role models have held have had positive vibes and we have seen many bright enterprise ideas from young black males from around the country.

These young men thrive from being able to meet and discuss their futures with successful black professionals. It is clear that a positive atmosphere and vibe breeds positive young black men. 

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