BE Modern Man: Jason Rosario
Producer, media personality, public speaker and author; 39; Founder, The Lives Of Men
Twitter: @jason__rosario; Instagram: @jason__rosario
My work with The Lives of Men stands at the intersection of identity, self-actualization, and masculinity. My goal is to inspire men to do the self-reflective work necessary to live healthier, more fulfilled, personal and professional lives—becoming the best versions of themselves in the process. That work toward healthy manhood has to be done while confronting the widely accepted notions of what society teaches us about what it means to be a man. The impact has been more and more men taking a step back and realizing that their worth isn’t tied to what they produce, but rather how they show up in the world.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?
Besides being a proud father to a college-bound daughter, I am most proud of having been able to make my mother’s sacrifice in raising me pay off. She raised five of us alone in the Bronx, N.Y., as an immigrant woman and she did her best to give us every opportunity to transcend our circumstances. All the work I do today is a product of my upbringing, so while I’m proud of the platform I’ve built, none of it would be possible without her.
HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?
Having a daughter at a young age was a struggle. At a time when most of my peers were graduating from college and starting their careers, I was doing the same and preparing to have a child. I had no choice but to go from not knowing how I would manage, to developing a focus, and a work ethic that still drives me. I knew what my siblings and I went through growing up and I didn’t want that for her. So my greatest fear/struggle of not being able to provide for my kid has turned into my biggest motivator/success.
WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST MALE ROLE MODEL AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM HIM?
My greatest male role model was my father. Not because he was around—he wasn’t a consistent presence in my life. He taught me a lot about the kind of man I wanted to be through his absence. Toward the end of his life, we were able to make amends and I forgave him for doing the best he could with what he had. Sometimes we forget that our parents are human as well and they are as imperfect as we are.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE MANHOOD?
I feel like this is the million-dollar question. There are so many answers to this, and everyone has their own definition. My personal definition is constantly changing, but here it is:
Healthy manhood is the ability to be clear in the vision you want for your life and convicted in the path you’ll take to get there. It’s the ability to know when to be strong and stoic and when to be tender and vulnerable. It’s not enough to know how to be those things; the key is knowing what is required and when. To me, healthy manhood has very little to do with what you provide materially; the true measure of a man is what you provide emotionally and spiritually to those you love.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
The best advice I’ve been given is: When cultivating relationships, try to make more deposits than withdrawals.
HOW ARE YOU PAYING IT FORWARD TO SUPPORT OTHER BLACK MALES?
I think it’s important to share the lessons you’ve learned with young people. Soon after launching The Lives of Men, I became a vendor through NYC’s Department of Education. I created a curriculum for young men focused on masculinity, and developing healthy emotional relationships. I’ve also taken on some mentorship relationships with men who’ve reached out and want support as they navigate various stages in their lives. It’s been a rewarding experience.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?
What I love the most about being a black man is our resilience. It takes a special emotional and spiritual strength to navigate a world that isn’t set up for him to succeed. Despite the odds, we’ve been able to become captains of many industries—politics, sports, business, medicine, technology, media. Another thing I love about being a black man is that, until recently, I didn’t realize how sensitive we are. That might sound “soft” but in fact, is a unique ability that allows us to love deeply. That is an expression of healthy manhood.
WHAT PRACTICES, TOOLS, BOOKS, ETC. DO YOU RELY ON FOR YOUR SUCCESS?
One of my motivational rituals is to envision where I want to be 30, 60, and 90 days from today. I sit and meditate on it until it feels real, and until I can identify all the senses associated with having accomplished that goal.
I wake up and try to move around a bit before starting anything. Meditation and visualization are important parts of my process. The one thing I cannot do without is my journal. I carry it everywhere. Its where I write my thoughts, ideas, inspiration. If it ever came into the wrong hands…LOL!
I’ve always considered myself a man on a journey—not one of self-discovery, but one of self-REcovery. In other words, there is nothing in me that needs to be discovered, instead, I like to believe that I have everything I need to fulfill my purpose while I’m here. My job is to peel those layers of socialization and trauma back enough so that I can tap into the purest form of myself.
BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community, and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (dev.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://dev.blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.