New Docuseries Helps to Celebrate 10 years of the Male Empowerment Network (MEN)

A new six-part short film docuseries is being released aimed at raising awareness of the Male Empowerment Network (MEN) at Kent State, along with commemorating 10 years.

An initiative through the Student Multicultural Center, the Male Empowerment Network supports men of color on campus both academically and through personal development. Advisor of MEN and Director of the Student Multicultural Center Mike Daniels says this has led to some great things.

“We have had the opportunity to contribute to higher graduation rates for the students who participate in the Male Empowerment Network,” said Daniels. “[Not only do we] assist students in obtaining internships and job offers post-graduation, but we also provide a space for students to develop within their understanding of themselves as men of color.”

While the official 10-year celebration took place during the fall semester, the coronavirus pandemic forced a change of plans. That pivoting led to a virtual celebration, culminating in a docuseries which premiered on February 9. The docuseries, featuring various topics and speakers, will help to establish MEN’s humble beginnings and the direction it wants to go in the next decade. The docuseries is being directed by one of the members of MEN, Ramone Hardy, a sophomore digital media productions major.

“I am beyond honored and humbled to have the opportunity to direct this docuseries,” said Hardy. “I know how important of a project this is, as well as how much MEN the organization means to folks like Mike Daniels; I am so appreciative to have the trust placed in me to bring this project to fruition.”

Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. N.J. Akbar is one of the speakers for the docuseries. He believes this is an important milestone and it signifies the strength and stability of support for men of color at Kent State.

“When MEN started, there was a need that men of color sought for which the Male Empowerment Network answered,” said Akbar. “It assisted them in providing community, brotherhood and a safe place to seek advice, encouragement, empowerment, and support to continue achieving their dreams.”

MEN has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade, even garnering attention from former Kent State student Steve Harvey. The well-known talk show host paid it forward in 2019 by awarding eight of Kent State’s incoming freshmen with scholarships covering the total cost of attendance. It’s that kind of growth which has led to MEN becoming a desirable spot for men of color on campus; since it first began in 2010, over 500 students have significantly engaged in the program.

“Students should consider joining MEN for the community that you will find; our motto is, “The Brotherhood Starts Here,” said Daniels. “MEN is where you can find your people and branch out, as we connect with so many different organizations and resources.”

Akbar agrees.

“MEN survived because students who needed it invested time into it and grew it to be what it is today,” he said. “This only means the future is destined towards a journey of inexhaustible dreams fulfilled.”
 

To learn more about MEN, visit www.kent.edu/smc/MEN

Register for the docuseries episodes and discussion events.

To make a contribution to the Male Empowerment Network, visit its foundation page.

POSTED: Friday, February 26, 2021 - 10:23am
UPDATED: Friday, February 26, 2021 - 3:22pm
WRITTEN BY:
Matt Lupica