By Kymberly Akpowowo
When discussing value in this country, the Black man is often overlooked and left out of the equation as it has been widely propagated that he doesn’t bring anything to the table. From the legal system to the education system, the demonization and dehumanization of Black men have been perfected in this country through various mediums, TV being one of them. What would it take to add value to the Black man’s life and overall image in America?
One man looking to add merit to the overall perception of Black men and change this narrative that has consistently devalued them is Taroue Brooks. “As long as you have some added value, you will be just fine,” recalls Brooks of his time working at BET and trust, he has the receipts to match. Throughout his career, he has brought endless benefits to his clients through his multi-purpose full-service firm, Taylor and Brooks, LLC. Starting from Gary, Indiana, Brooks’ career has taken him from an HBCU classroom to BET on a journey that has landed him in the company of some of the most powerful and influential leaders, dignitaries, and celebrities in the world. A man of many talents, he is often found working behind the scenes while positively contributing to the overall image of Black men through his philanthropic service, community outreach, and much more. With a proven track record as a publicist, event planner, marketing professional, and lifestyle architect, he is no stranger to wielding his influence to get things done and deliver stellar results. Ever the modest type, Brooks is an excellent model whom much esteem and responsibility have been given; who’s now ready to delve deeper into his power and showcase just how creative and impressive a force he can be behind the camera with his directorial debut.
Frustrated with the constant negative portrayal of Black men on television and news media, Brooks decided to take control of the narrative and focus on showcasing different images and stories of Black men. Brooks partnered with Fortune 50 leader and executive producer, D. John Jackson who’s committed to telling positive stories of Black people through his company 5J Entertainment. To further enhance the project, he also partnered with film producer and director, Daryl Pitts, who has created original programming featuring A-list clients. Together, Brooks, Jackson, and Pitts, — three awe-inspiring brothers — collaborated and gave us something valuable in the novel documentary, What About Me.
In the film, the producers set out to challenge the widespread view of Black men as entertainers, athletes, and criminals by offering a diverse perspective. It also humanizes Black men by giving them space and opportunity to share their experience of, “being Black in America.”
What About Me not only highlights both the value and the power of Black men in America but ushers in substantive change by welcoming open dialogue that can move the conversation forward within Black communities and address this country’s general treatment and perception of them.
Taking on the responsibility of highlighting the stories of Black men from different backgrounds and delivering their stories in a way that portrays them in a different light is no easy plight. Especially when that light has been dimmed or shattered altogether by a society that places unjust stereotypes on them; thereby plaguing them for generations. And, if there’s anybody up for the challenge, it’s Taroue Brooks who brings value to everything he touches. Already a masterful communications and marketing professional, Brooks continues to outdo himself, thereby elevating the game, and has done just that with this latest endeavor. What About Me, began airing in syndication this month on February 6th and will run through February 28th on your local Fox, NBC, and ABC networks. It is also streaming on Amazon Prime Video through March.