Following his own advice on maintaining transparency, Barnett shares a story about his greatest setback that almost stopped him from continuing his storied success. “The Green Bay Packers told me that they were going in a different direction and that I did not fit their system,” the former NFL athlete confessed to us. “It took me a while to overcome the feeling, as I believed that I did everything right, yet came up short. I felt I was a failure. Eventually, I had an epiphany that pulled me out of my slump. Just because I didn’t fit in their system, didn’t mean it was over for me. God opened my eyes to a bigger purpose that I quickly embraced.” By surpassing that obstacle and gaining wisdom and confidence as a result, Barnett achieved success in learning one of the most valued rules of life, “Through every step back, God is waiting to push you forward tenfold.”
A professed Christian and follower of the Word, Barnett’s narrative is similar to many young African and African American boys who are in the United States. Having had no father, being driven to play sports or be athletic, no solid direction, angry, or just plain resentful for not having any of life’s luxuries, Barnett sees his life as a testament of “not being a product of an environment, yet making the environment a product of himself.” “The key is defying the urge to quit and take a different path that is less traveled,” Mr. Barnett said. “My story, I hope, will change a young person’s mind and force them to continue pushing toward their purpose even if they haven’t discovered it.”
For these things, as well as his stellar authorship of the book Find Our Lost Kings and Queens and Letters to a Young Queen, Jay Barnett has been selected as a BE Modern Man. He says, “I am humbled and blessed to be considered as a BE Modern Man. I believe the definition of this distinction describes the key elements that is needed to succeed in any area of life whether it be business, relational, or family. I believe a BE Modern Man is needed more now than ever — the presence and representation of a confident, ethical man of excellence should be in demand.”
The BE Modern Man team salutes you, Jay Barnett, for contributing positive images of African American culture to the masses. Your mission of encouraging the young to fight through depression and praising our Creator’s name in the Arts frames us in an enthusiastic light, and is meant to be celebrated and appreciated.