Sexual assault and harassment against women is an age-old epidemic that has largely remained ignored–until now. The recent string of charges of sexual harassment against high-profile men in media, Hollywood, and politics–including Russell Simmons, Matt Lauer, and Charlie Rose–has positioned the epidemic as an ongoing discussion in the national discourse.
Jay Barnett, a former NFL star, motivational speaker, and author, recently stopped by Black Enterprise to share his thoughts on sexual harassment in the workplace. According to him, the issue can be averted by teaching boys to respect women.
“If you notice, most of these cases are taking place with men who have power,” he told BE. “One of the things that my mentors have taught me is managing money, power, and sex. Those three things are critical in every young boy’s and every young man’s life. And if you can’t manage those areas, you will mismanage them and it will cost you.”
During the interview, Barnett also discussed his definition of manhood and his new book, Hello King: Claim Your Throne, which details his journey as a young, broken man who battled depression and thoughts of suicide. In 2015, when Barnett was selected as an ambassador of the BE Modern Man of Distinction series, he told Black Enterprise that he “lived through multiple suicide attempts in my attempt to overcome depression. My issues started as a teenager and progressed into adulthood.” Now, he is empowering young men by sharing his truth and giving them the tools and guidance they need to take their rightful thrones.
The former Green Bay Packer also serves as a mentor for boys and girls through his Texas-based organization, The ME and WE projects. The programs host a series of events and activities to help teenagers realize their dreams and develop a healthy identity.
Watch Barnett’s interview with Black Enterprise Digital Editor Selena Hill below.