BE Modern Man: Meet “The Protestor” DeRay McKesson

From a traditional classroom to the streets, McKesson believes that the same principles should be cultivated to achieve success in your vocation. “(1) Push yourself to imagine new realities,” McKesson tells BE Modern Man. “In the work of social justice, if you cannot imagine it, you cannot fight for it. (2) Refine your idea to its core and believe in it. Skill, combined with deep belief, can empower you to do and withstand almost anything. (3) Don’t forget joy. Your proximity to and from joy will likely be your strength (or your weakness) as your journey continues.”

As the mainstream media continues to portray African American stereotypes as truth, McKesson hopes that his work will free people from mental chains. “I am hopeful that in the protest space, we have all begun to acknowledge the many identities present in blackness, and the many experiences that have always been a source of strength in resistance.”

With the media focusing much of its protest coverage on the rage and anger of a few citizens, the challenge is changing the overall narrative. “In blackness, we have always faced issues of erasure: either our stores are never told, or they’re told by everyone but us.  In the context of Twitter, and other social media platforms, we have been able to connect with each other differently, and have been able to tell our own stories in real-time in ways that have pushed us to re-imagine community in blackness, and have empowered us to disrupt mainstream, monolithic, images of and in blackness.”

The team commends DeRay for standing up for a cause he believes in, and fighting in a different way. Through his use of social media and a content-rich website, McKesson is providing a story that is much different than mainstream media. It’s a story about protestors coming together, uniting productively, and allowing people to see and hear a different voice.

It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow and join the BE Modern Man conversation at #BEModernMan and  @blackenterprise