It’s Terrell checking in to bring you a two-part interview with two men who are very close to me in my day-to-day life. Brandon who I’ve been friends with for 14 years and Jerome who i’ve known for 2 years and he’s had such a huge impact in my career and progression as a man.
I was able to sit down with these two individually and get some interesting points of view about how they view life through their eyes. As minority men our voices are silenced by corporate America. Not to mention the fact that we also silence ourselves by certain actions we display. However, these two men have been stand up citizens in their communities, amazing parents to their children, and even better husband’s to their wives.
Meet Brandon Wilkins he’s 28 years old born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. Brandon is happily married with four children.
Terrell: How was life growing up?
Brandon: Life was pretty good growing up. Born and raised in new haven you have your shares of ups and downs. My parents were providers they always made sure the family never went without
Terrell: What was your relationship with your dad?
Brandon: My dad was my EVERYTHING! My wisdom and moral compass. He always pushed me to better myself. Growing up my father was an elder who gave his life to god after living life in the streets. He always told me I can do ALL things through Christ. He always used to tell me “You have not because you ask not”. letting me know prayer, faith, honor, and loyalty is standard in our household. No matter how hard it gets always keep god first, be true to yourself and everything else will follow.
Terrell: What was one thing you wanted to hear your dad say in life but he never did? How did it make you feel?
Brandon: I wish we could have had one more conversation before he passed. It would have been great to speak to him in his final moments but I was shocked for words. We talked about everything. His stories about when he used to be a dealer to transforming his life to live for god always amazed me. It was like the movies but it was real life situations. He showed me no matter where u come from u can always change your life for the better.
Terrell: Do you think a man crying is a sign of weakness?
Brandon: A man who doesn’t cry is weak in my eyes.
Terrell: When did you realize you were no longer a boy?
Brandon: When I had my second born and moved from the projects I was staying in. I was lying in bed on the first night after bringing my son home from the hospital and I remember thinking it can’t get any better than this. Sometimes I strive off having responsibilities because its reminds me that I’m an adult and have a family to take care off
Terrell: What was your greatest struggle as a man?
Brandon: The transition from being a single man to a married man. It’s much different from having a “girlfriend” you can’t just be like forget it I’m moving on. You have to learn to take the good with the bad and make adjustments and sometimes I struggle to adjust to adjustments lol.
Terrell: What was the hardest moment you’ve ever faced as being a father?
Brandon: Missing time with my first-born.
Terrell: What would you say is a father’s role at home?
Brandon: to be a provider. protector, teacher, and role model.
Terrell: What was your lowest moment in life and how did you recover from it?
Brandon: I would say 2011 was my lowest. I was staying with my mom, dad passed, no job, no car, barely anything. I just started to teach myself to not second guess situations and a loss isn’t a lost its a lesson. You either win or u learn. When I look at everyday life that way it keeps my mind sharp. And reuniting with my wife helped me as well because she been by my side ever since.
Terrell: How do you feel to be a black man? What does it mean to you?
Brandon: Being a black man in my eyes is so important. As a black man, I feel like it can give u that motivation, that drive knowing what your ancestors have been through and how many black men led the way to everyday life in America. Think about it when you turn on your lights in your home. That light bulb was invented by a black man. My family is a mixture of mostly Blacks and Puerto Ricans. Being able to see even my Latin side of the family identify with “black struggles” makes me realize no matter what color you are or background you came from, if u love god, others, and yourself no one can bring u down. Being a black man gives me strength, and the extra drive that I got something to prove that you could be a successful black man in America no matter where you come from.