Although he did not meet his own father until he was 18 years old, Brandon Frame never rejected the importance of strong male influences in childhood development.
Now, with his website The Black Man Can, which highlights noted and overlooked Black men doing positive things in their communities, Frame is gearing up for his 2nd annual The Black Man Can Awards.
“The vision and mission of the awards is to honor men who are positive contradictions of the stereotypical Black male today,” said Frame, 25.
Highlighting more than 60 distinguished men in 12 categories including Campus Kings, Boys II Men, Faith, Journalism and Law, the Black Man Can Awards was birthed from a conversation with Jasmine Crowe, founder of Black Celeb Giving, a website highlighting Blacks working in the nonprofit sector.
“Jasmine also has an awards for non-profits,” said Frame. “She said we need to do something for Black men. We worked together and came up with the vision and mission of the awards.”
The pair, in partnership with Hip Hop Gives Back, held the first awards in 2012. This year, there are more categories and nominees.
This year’s nominees include Roswell, N.J. Mayor Jamel Holley; Rob Hill, Sr., author and motivational speaker; New York Knicks basketball star Carmelo Anthony; singer, songwriter Ne-Yo; and Michael Tubbs, the youngest elected official in the country.
Online voting runs from May 13 to May 31, allowing individuals from across the country to help select the winner of each category. Participants can vote in an online poll or via Twitter. Winners will be announced on Father’s Day, June 16, via Facebook and Twitter. Winners will receive a gift bag full of various products, website badge and a crystal Black Man Can Awards trophy.
The oldest of his mother’s five children, Frame said he grew up “working-poor” in Hartford, Conn. His mother, Angela Frame, had him during her freshman year at Connecticut State University, where his father, Glen Kimbourgh, was the star running back. Frame said his mother always instilled a positive foundation in him with the help of his grandfather and grandmother.
“My mom was always the one who went without,” said Frame. “We were evicted a few times.”
Frame said he turned to journaling as an outlet to express the hurt he experienced from having an absentee father.
“I journaled as an outlet when I was younger,” said Frame. “I wrote letters I wanted to mail to my father, but didn’t. I wrote about the kind of man I wanted to be. It was therapeutic.”
At Morehouse, Frame said he learned about the diversity of Black men. He said at Morehouse there were hipsters, preppy guys and even skateboarders, but there were also men there who some would categorize as “acting White,” but who knew more about Black history than anyone else.
“Morehouse was a school specifically for Black males,” said Frame. “I know who I am and my passion and purpose for my life and Morehouse was a catalyst to take it to the next level.”
Frame’s passion for journaling eventually led him to launch TheBlackManCan.org.
He went on to write his first book “Define Yourself, Redefine the World: A Guided Journal for Black Boys and Men.”
“Mainstream media isn’t knocking down the door to tell these stories showing positive Black images of men and boys,” said Frame. “So I have the obligation to be the number one source for Black boys and men.”