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 PHILLIP J. ROUNDTREE
Name: Phillip J. Roundtree
Profession: Child and Adolescent Therapist, and Mental Health Advocate
One Word that Describes you: Transparent
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Being recognized as one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction reinforces the importance of my contribution and commitment to destigmatize mental health across communities. I count it as an honor, and privilege, to be recognized by platforms that are dedicated to empowerment.
What are some examples of how you have turned struggle into success?
I was suicidal from the ages of 17 to 31, five to six times per day, which was a direct result of living with undiagnosed depression and anxiety. Despite my affliction, the trauma of losing a sibling, and various other traumas, I was still able to successfully obtain two graduate degrees while being an active father to my daughter. The latter may be my biggest success.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
In my relationships with others, whether professional or interpersonal, I look for the quality of transparency. I firmly believe when one is transparent, it allows for vulnerability, which is critical in developing healthy, reciprocal relationships.
What are some of the immediate projects you are working on?
I’m currently securing more speaking engagements, with upcoming engagements at UNC-Chapel Hill, Providence College, etc. In addition, I continue to promote mental health-related merchandise on my website, www.quadefyllc.net, which has a purpose of destigmatizing mental health. Lastly, I continue to freelance write, with my most recent article, “Black Boy Rage: XXXTentacion and Mental Health,” appearing on www.allhiphop.com/opinion
What is the best advice you ever received?
My old psychology professor Dr. Cambon Kamara once told me that “in life, you change to get something or to keep something.” This resonated immensely and has become my personal and professional mantra. We can’t continue to think, feel, and/or behave in the same way and expect a different result; that’s insanity.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
There’s nothing more noble than a man who desires to make a difference, however, there are mechanisms in place to stop that from happening. Thus, it’s important you stay focused on your purpose, continue to hone your skillset, and make sure you’re protecting your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I tend to listen to inspirational music from the ghetto philosopher, Young Jeezy, and engage in positive self-talk, reminding myself of my worthiness and purpose.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
After speaking at a conference at the University of Texas last year, I had an additional two days before my departure. I sat in my hotel room and relaxed. I didn’t answer the phone, didn’t count calories, I just chilled. As a mental health advocate, I recognize the importance of self-care. I’m still trying to find that balance for myself.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Easy. I’d love to go to South or West Africa to reconnect with the spirits of my ancestors. I’m certain the experience would be life-changing.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
I don’t view my mental health advocacy work as being an “extraordinary impact” to society. I simply view it as me offering the world all of me via advocacy and my personal/professional experiences. I’m no motivational speaker, but a “seed planter,” planting the importance of mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness wherever and whenever I can. Hence, why I’ll speak to a group of two or 200, giving them all the same energy. I’ve worked too hard on my wellness to keep this information to myself. In the words of Jay-Z, “Phil did that, so hopefully you wouldn’t have to go through that.” I firmly believe that we aren’t here to live, but to thrive, and in order to thrive, our wellness “quad” has to function congruently, at optimal levels.