John Legend is starting a program to help teens redefine what it means to be a man

Many think that there’s only one right way to be a man, namely, to be tough and emotionless. However, there’s no “right way” to be a man, and the idea that men shouldn’t express their feelings is incredibly dangerous and unhealthy. It’s for this reason that John Legend and poet Carlos Andrés Gómez are teaming up with Axe for “Senior Orientation,” which will connect both men with senior boys in high school in Colombus, Ohio.

Both John and Carlos will act as mentors to these teen boys, and will help them create an artistic performance that will be shown at an event this fall.

Carlos, a former teacher and social worker, developed a curriculum for Senior Orientation that aims to help these teen boys redefine masculinity on their own terms.

In an interview with Mashable, John speaks of the program and says, “It’s encouraging creativity, encouraging individuality, rejecting things like bullying and behaviors that belittle other people.” By tapping into their artistic side and recognizing that they’re allowed to feel their feelings, these boys are urged to drop their toxic views of masculinity for something that holistically serves them.

John says,

"I think [fear] is the case with a lot of toxic masculinity. It’s fear of powerlessness, fear of being replaced or displaced or not being dominant and then lashing out in a way that is violent ... And I think there’s some sense of grievance that you see particularly with those who are marching in Charlottesville where they feel like something’s been taken from them and they’re trying in the most heinous ways and the most toxic ways to reclaim some position in society."

We’re here for this, and for John and Carlos for helping to transform what masculinity means to men today.

Filed Under