BE Modern Man: Sam Sylk
I’m blessed to be a voice in the community through my radio show, which is heard on 93.1WZAK in Cleveland, Ohio. Each year I host an annual coat drive, called Winter Wraps. Over six years we have given away more than 7,000 coats.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?
Wow; there is so much, I don’t know where to start. I’m proud of me and my wife building an empire with our restaurants, Sam Sylk’s Chicken & Fish.
HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?
In 2012, I lost my job and closed my business. I thought I would never open another because I was so depressed, but I didn’t give up. I took what I went through to become better. Now, I own Sam Sylk’s Chicken & Fish in four locations in the Cleveland area. It’s the same with radio; being let go several times taught me to build my brand as a radio personality and to stay connected with my followers.
WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST MALE ROLE MODEL AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM HIM?
Hubbard Jones, from Chicago, is my friend’s father. He was the guy on the block that everyone looked up to. He took us camping, to church ballgames, etc.—such a great man.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
You have to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe, how will anyone else believe in you or what you’re trying to do? And be consistent!
HOW ARE YOU PAYING IT FORWARD TO SUPPORT OTHER BLACK MALES?
As both a radio personality and an entrepreneur, I pay it forward by being available to listen and give advice. When I was coming up, we had men (what some may call O.G.s—LOL) to drop some knowledge on us, and I feel it’s my duty to mentor young men and give back. For example, I’ve hired three young, male high school students, and these are their first jobs. Employing them gives me a chance to be a positive influence on them.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE MANHOOD?
Manhood is being a leader and a role model for someone. We have to protect our families and community.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?
Overcoming obstacles and being there for my family and community.
BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community, and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (www.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://www.blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.