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Ashanti Branch Speaks on Healthy Paths to Manhood

Truckee, May 15
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INFO: Truckee High School, May 15, 6 p.m., free

By ALAINA REICHWALK  |  Moonshine Ink

When you see young boys playing on the playground, you will observe them perfectly at ease with themselves, their needs, and their feelings. They laugh easily, offer hugs to friends, express their needs, and at times cry when hurt. As they grow older, they begin to care more what their peers think, and aim to fit in. Showing their emotions becomes less accessible and acceptable. This doesn’t mean they don’t experience all the same feelings, they just learn to keep them inside, hidden. As a result, many boys cruise through middle school without sharing the challenges that they inevitably face, either socially or personally.  

Through middle school and into high school, this change becomes more pronounced and often destructive. Some things you may notice in your own boys is that they become easily frustrated, have more difficulty talking about their feelings, acting tough in situations where you know they are hurting, and having more difficulty communicating in general. Many of them reject their feelings and believe they have to be stoic to fit in. Some might say this is typical pre-teen and teen behavior; however, studies indicate that it’s more complicated and has a lot to do with the greater culture in which they are marinating. 

Still today, it is common to hear someone say to a boy, “big boys don’t cry,” or “man up.” This list can go on and on. These messages are reinforced in sporting teams, television shows, and on social media.   

Positively Rolling is an innovative program offering character development to seventh grade boys in many local schools, that allows them to discuss through conversation and art the successful path to manhood.

On May 15 at Truckee High School, Ashanti Branch, of The Mask You Live In documentary, will be coming to Truckee to speak about boys, masculinity, and the challenges our boys face growing up in a culture where they have to hide many parts of their emotional world.  Positively

Rolling worked with TTUSD, Tahoe Safe Alliance, and Tahoe Truckee Suicide Prevention to secure Ashanti as a speaker.

Ashanti co-created the Ever Forward Club and believes “all young men have the desire to be fully alive — to be loved, respected, held in high regard, held to high expectations, held accountable for their actions, and supported to help achieve their goals.”

The Mask You Live In can be viewed online on Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, and more. The film addresses common issues adolescent boys face in America.

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February 14, 2019