BE Modern Man is an integrative program that honors the essence, image, and accomplishments of today’s man of color. With features of today’s leaders, executives, creatives, students, politicians, entrepreneurs, professionals, and agents of change—these men share the common thread of creating a new normal while setting the bar in tech, art, philanthropy, business, and beyond. The BE Modern Man is making a positive impact, his way, and has a story to tell.
BE MODERN MAN MICHAEL BOAKYE
Name: Michael Boakye
Profession: Filmmaker and Brand and Marketing Consultant
One Word that Describes you: Multifaceted
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Wow, I’ve never really been in the limelight for anything I’ve accomplished this far in life, and it’s still not necessarily a goal of mine. I’m elated to be recognized amongst other black men who are making strides in breaking down age-old barriers, and challenging what society is determined to maintain as far as the statutes of limitations on black success is concerned. It’s an honor and a privilege.
What are some examples of how you have turned struggle into success?
Coming from an immigrant household where my parents toiled and sacrificed to maintain a roof over me and my brother’s heads on the south side of Chicago brings many iterations of how struggle has been turned into success. For many of my peer’s growing up, college wasn’t a viable reality to be achieved. I feel like every single day struggle is morphed into success by merely collaborating with young creators who have dreams and ideas that nobody has ever taken the time to hear, and trying to find ways to help them bring those ideas to life. Whether its scripts they’ve been sitting on and don’t know who to talk to about getting something produced or a startup idea they never knew where to begin to bring it to life. The struggle of the young entrepreneurs around me is equally my own because a win for them opens a door for me that I never knew existed.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
In my relationship with others, I don’t have many demands, genuine consideration and reciprocity is my biggest thing. I also like the types of people who are happy to help others in whatever capacity they have the resources to without completely disadvantaging themselves. Nobody is born with every answer to their immediate questions or every key to the locks presented before them. It’s up to us as individuals to provide to each other with what we’d hope others of wisdom and opportunity would also provide to us. This is the cycle that brings about elevation.
What are some of the immediate projects you are working on?
I am currently producing and directing a series of projects in both short and long-form content mediums, but there are two I’d like to put on the radar that are very important to me as well as the subjects they touch on.
The first is a documentary about the Bucket Boys in Chicago, of which I’ve tapped director Bradley Murray to direct. I have found him to be a visual genius in his approach. Very often, the Bucket Boys are overlooked, but they are, to me, the heartbeat of the city and their stories are inspirational, colorful, and heartfelt. I hope to not only bring light to them but also more recognition to the art form in general that they have seamlessly mastered.
The second project is a web series called African Black Sheep. The script, written by award-winning writer Michelle Sam, is already award-winning and recognized in a few festivals both domestic and internationally. This story is one that has also not really been explored as it touches on the story of a first-generation West African girl and her plight to achieving what she deems success and not just what her traditionally rooted parents approve of. This narrative touches home for me as a first generation Ghanaian-American myself, but what’s cool is that it’s also a dramedy. I’m super excited to see how the viewers will receive it and all its nuanced and sometimes taboo subject matter.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
“Money comes and goes, but people die every day. Put your genuine relationships first and be good to people regardless of what they can do for you,” [my] Moms.
What advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Remember the road that has been paved for you by the suffering and inconveniences of others, and humble yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask people who know more than you for help, and operate under the pretense of selflessness. Do research into ways you can be of impact in your community based on your area of interest and be consistent and persistent in your pursuit of the resources you need.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
I believe through my efforts in philanthropy, having started the not-for-profit “Global United Diaspora” with a group of other young professionals from across the globe. Global United Diaspora focuses on improving the lives of people in Africa and the diaspora utilizing our skills in various professions and industries. I have been able to make some extraordinary impact and affect the lives of people who live by means that are far more extreme and daunting than myself.