Movember is the leading charity changing the face of men’s health, focusing on mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. #Movember is coming soon! To sign up to participate or to make a donation, please visit movember.com
The Movember Rooted & Rising Collective brings together creators to elevate their businesses and to produce content that supports better mental well-being for young Black men.
Picture this. 10 emerging digital creators, all black men, brought together to elevate their businesses, nurture their well-being, and create content that inspires young Black men to live happier, healthier and longer lives. This innovative collaboration—The Rooted and Rising Collective—is being launched by Movember, the leading global men’s health charity.
The 11-week creative training program provides support for each participant’s creative, business, and personal goals. The partnership is helping these young creators produce 2-3 short films which highlight the benefits that self-care practices can have in the lives of their young Black male audience. A stipend was provided for each participant and Movember has invested $1.2 million into the project.
The program wrapped with the release of an inspirational range of films combining the creators’ personal stories and distinctive voices with some of their learning from the program. Details about the individual creator’s work is below.
Aims to educate and support the health and well-being of young Black men ages 15-24.
The program was designed and run in conjunction with social impact company SecondMuse and led by expert advisors, Chris Denson and Dr. Derek Griffith. Denson is an award-winning innovation advocate, marketer, host, and humour-inspired content creator. Dr. Griffith is a Founding Co-Director of the Racial Justice Institute at Georgetown University, Founder and Director of the Center for Men’s Health Equity, and Professor of Health Systems Administration and Oncology.
“Creativity is power, and mental health is the engine that increases it tenfold. These ten young men, are in a true sense, powerhouses. It’s been an honor to get to know them and a pleasure to watch them evolve their craft, their businesses, and their mindsets. From comedy to filmmaking, vlogging, music, fitness and everything in between, we’ve been inspired by their elevated work, and I’m sure their collective audience of millions will be equally impacted by it as well,” said Chris Denson, Rooted & Rising advisor.
“For young Black men, like the Rooted and Rising cohort, it’s vital that they take care of their mental wellbeing first. By building simple, actionable self-care ideas into their work, these creative entrepreneurs can build thriving and impactful businesses and model and inspire their audiences to thrive as well,” said Dr. Derek Griffith, Rooted & Rising advisor.
The first Rooted and Rising Collective cohort includes:
Jesse is a writer, producer, and actor with credits ranging from comedy to drama on multiple award-winning projects. Currently, a staff writer on Richard Jefferson’s ‘The Sports Gap’, Jesse also has a body of accomplished original work such as the film ‘Blind Currency’, the co-written film ‘Black Theory’, and original TV pilot ‘Columbia’. Jesse performs stand-up comedy around LA and NYC, having hosted and performed at shows with comedians and writers from ‘Comedy Central’, ‘Conan’, ‘The Daily Show’, and more. As an actor, Jesse is SAG-Eligible and has appeared in multiple Co-Star roles on Investigation Discovery, the feature film ‘The Fearless Two’, and commercial advertisements for GQ, Uber Eats, and Degree for Men among others.
Xavier D’Leau is a blogger, vlogger, social commentator, and digital content creator living in Los Angeles, CA. He writes about the everyday musings of what it is to be a Black male in a large city at XavierDLeau.com. Xavier takes his social commentary to his Spotify Partner podcast, Jade + XD. He’s also a multi-award-winning producer for the second season of the web series Quarter Century and a featured speaker at the 2015 TEDx Conference.
Benjamin Abiola is a multi-hyphenate creator based in Los Angeles, CA. Ben co-directed and wrote his first short film ‘The Break In’ under his production company Don’t Wait Create. Ben has since written, directed, and starred in many award-winning films like: ‘The Spot Is Mine’, ‘The Ticket’, and ‘December 21st’. Don’t Wait Create is a digital production company that independently challenges the status quo. In lieu of waiting on industry validation, the company writes and produces original content (films, commercials, and sketches) while collaborating with artists on both sides of the lens to produce high-quality, reel-worthy content.
Richard Cannon was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. He graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and TechnicalState University with a degree in Journalism. During his time in school, he started creating content for social media and upon graduation relocated to Los Angeles, CA to pursue a career in the film industry. He has produced over 500 pieces of original work and founded his own production company, Booming Productions. Cannon’s content consists of dramedy and special effects. His message to the world is to “believe in your creativity.”
Quiet during the day, quite loud after work, Justin Coleman is a content creator with a passion for knowledge, comedy, and horror. From Los Angeles, CA, Justin has always been intrigued by writing and directing movies and taught himself how to use various video editing so ware to make his own content to share. Justin found success in creating videos on TikTok centered around short comedy sketches based on random facts found online, leading to several sponsored deals and promotions. As someone who values mental wellbeing, Justin’s ultimate goal is to create content that relieves stress by building a sustainable brand and career out of producing comedy and horror content.
Bradford Wilson is an award-winning actor, filmmaker and former college golfer. Focusing on his love of golf, he shares his unique perspective on social media to bring conversations such as Blackness in golf and diversity and inclusion in golf, mental health, and much more to the forefront. Bradford co-created a podcast, ‘Group Golf Therapy’, where interviews are conducted with current and former professional golfers and golf industry professionals, not about how well they play, but about how they are doing. As a prominent golf personality and host, Bradford’s sights are set on turning ‘The Bradford Wilson Golf Show’ into a digital series.
Alonzo is a small-town boy with a voice that can move the world. As an America’s Got Talent semi-finalist, Alonzo was the first lead singer to be approved to sing on the ‘4 U’ Prince Tour. In the Fall of 2020, Alonzo debuted ‘Sexin’ You’ at #21 on iTunes, which went on to become his first Grammy contending single. In 2021, Alonzo released his debut album “Enough” reaching #14 on the iTunes Rock charts. With a background that includes four sold-out tours across Asia and singing background vocals for Christina Aguilera, Alonzo continues to push the boundaries of the independent artist. Powerful, determined, and fearless, he is a singer, songwriter, dancer, and unmatched performer.
Vaughn Dabney is a best-selling author and so ware engineer of 14 years. Vaughn has made recent headlines by living in a tiny home he built inside a delivery truck. His home, which is powered by solar panels and includes a kitchen, full bathroom, and a Murphy bed, has been featured on NBC’s “Today Show” and “Open House”. Vaughn’s latest company, Unoma Haus was launched in September 2020 which designs and builds high-quality, solar-powered van conversions for people to rent and live in. The company’s focus is on community and building cities and hubs based on regenerative building, experiential living, and the human connection.
Follow Vaughn Dabney on Instagram
Princeton Brown is an award-winning music producer, songwriter, audio engineer, and recording artist. He has worked with Grammy-winning recording artists as well as won awards for soundtrack film productions. Princeton is also an educator teaching skills in music production and business for music creatives. As a full-time working music creative, he strives to give back to the community through educational content on social media and YouTube. Princeton is a firm believer that the power of sound and music can bring peace and healing to the world, for music is the language we all speak.
Dennis Williams II
Dennis Williams II is a writer and director who first studied theatre as a playwright in college before getting his first gig as a comedy writer for ‘Funny or Die’. Currently, a staff writer on Richard Jefferson’s ‘The Sports Gap’, Dennis’s credentials include creating an award-winning short, ‘Note to Self’, creating, writing, and directing the comedy ‘Payroll’, writing and directing ‘Clout’. He was chosen as a LinkedIn Top Voice in both 2016 and 2017, and was 1 of 8 fellows accepted into Vanishing Angle’s ‘Short to Feature Lab’. Dennis has been recognized for his unique story of overcoming homelessness and is now mostly focused on the pre-production of his feature film Unicorn.
Public Media’s WellBeings.org and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) are also supporting the initiative.
Movember is also a proud partner in the Well Beings campaign with WETA/PBS and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI is providing additional financial support for the stipends to the Rooted and Rising participants. NAMI is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the country, and they will be sharing their expertise in mental health and wellbeing, and mentoring the members of the Rooted & Rising Collective. Well Beings is a multi-platform, multi-year campaign created by WETA Washington, D.C. to address the critical health needs in America through original broadcast and digital content, engagement campaigns, and impactful local events. Well Beings and NAMI will be promoting the work of this extraordinary cohort of young men among their constituents, on their website and across social media platforms.
“We are extraordinarily proud to voice our support for Movember and the Rooted & Rising Collective as they uplift young Black men across America to address mental health in their communities,” said Tom Chiodo, spokesperson for Well Beings, and Matt Raymond, spokesperson for NAMI. “As we continue to fight stigma and raise awareness for the critical need for mental wellness and self-care, we are looking forward to seeing the Rooted & Rising Collective grow and leave a lasting impact for generations to come.”
This post is sponsored by Movember.
Photo Credits: Movember
Movember is the leading charity changing the face of men’s health on a global scale, focusing on mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
The charity raises funds to deliver innovative, breakthrough research and support programs that enable men to live happier, healthier and longer lives. Committed to disrupting the status quo, millions have joined the movement, helping fund over 1,250 projects around the world.
In addition to tackling key health issues faced by men, Movember is working to encourage men to stay healthy in all areas of their life, with a focus on men staying socially connected and becoming more open to discussing their health and significant moments in their lives.
The charity’s vision is to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. To donate or learn more, please visit Movember.com.