“Face Of Darkness” To Screen At “DJEMBE,” An Interactive Dialogue On Mental Wellness For Men

Meghan Reid June 07, 2014

DJEMBE -Final Flyer - June 2014 (2)

Jun. 6, 2014 – NEWARK, N.J. — The Akoma Newark Sister Circle, a group of women from various industries living in or around surrounding area of Newark will present the inaugural “Djembe (http://djembe2014.eventbrite.com/),” An Interactive Dialogue On Mental Wellness For Men of Color, at the Center Stage Cuts located on 402 Broad Street, Newark, NJ, next Saturday, June 14, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The RSVP-only (http://djembe2014.eventbrite.com/) event will focus on the recent shootings within the Newark community and growth in the suicide rates among men in urban areas. According to The Federal Bureau of Investigations, in 2012, a large percentage of the victims of violent crime such as murders/suicides, rape cases, robberies, and aggravated assault cases in Newark, NJ were men.  Reports also suggest that Black boys are more often depressed because they believe their physical safety is always being threatened.  The link between depression and violence is one that the “Djembe” platform hopes to eliminate in order to heal and restore the African American community in Newark, NJ.

The inaugural “Djembe” event will feature two panel presentations on promoting inner peace, vitality, and psychological wellness among men.  The first panel will discuss, name and (re)-define what mental illness is, provide basic stereotypical beliefs and phrases about mental illness and ways to debunk them.  Guest speakers on the panel include: Al-Tariq Best—Founder—FP YouthOutCry Foundation; Archange I. Antoine—Founder –Savviors & Associates; Jesse Pierre—Minister—Divinity Missionary Baptist Church; Tyrone Hartman—Life Coach & Author, “From Boy to Man”; Vincent Bonds.

The second panel will feature testimonials from five young men who share their experiences and journey through mental illness.  Guest speakers include: Darren Arthur—Spoken Word Poet and Writer; Kenneth Todd Nelson—Director and Executive Producer –“Faces of Darkness” Documentary; Nate Crawford—Social Worker—Bridgeway and Partners of Hope, PC; Naseed Gifted—Creative Director, Writer and Educator; Shaheed K Woods—Spoken Word Poet, Writer and Actor; Ali McBride [Moderator]—Senior Investigator—New Jersey Department of Corrections.

The inaugural “Djembe” will also include a screening of the documentary “Face of Darkness,” a film created to raise awareness of the incidences of depression among African American males.  Specifically, the documentary 1) highlights pathways in which depression has affected the African American community over the last decade, 2) explores the growing epidemic of suicide among the African American male population, and 3) identifies ways to minimize the stigma of depression, 4) illustrates the impact of depression when it goes untreated.

According to Sophia Domeville, Djembe Event Producer, “The importance of the Djembe Project as an interactive conversation between men of color, is HUGE especially within our community. The thing I hear the most is we lack awareness and information. As a people we have gone through so much physically, spiritually and emotionally where talking about feelings were not important. There is such a stigma about mental illness that if it’s not discussed or nurtured properly the cycle will continue. I hope with our project it will spark a new conversation where Mental Illness is not acknowledged as an illness but awareness.”

This year’s inaugural program is being organized in collaboration with Center Stage Cuts, and sponsored with the generous support of:  Bright Mood, Inc., Face2Face Africa, Fatherhood Inc., Health Corps., MUI-The PR Company, Phoenix Aficionado, Inc., SophiaDomeville.com, The Black Man Can Organization, The Carib Diva, Inc., The Royal Men Foundation, HLS Juice Bar & Grill, and S&K Sweets, Inc.

Visit http://djembe2014.eventbrite.com to RSVP and be kept up-to-date with announcements and news for “Djembe.”



AKOMA NEWARK SISTER CIRCLE is an active community of over 100 Queens and counting who actively share the accomplishments of those in Newark, the Greater Tri-State area, and around the globe who are making strides to uplift their communities. This group is also a forum for open discussions on entrepreneurship, health, wellness, and more! Visit www.akomasistercircle.org for more information.

CENTER STAGE CUTS is Barbershop for men and women. Created to offer a different type of experience for barbershop patrons. Center Stage Cuts is proud to offer a mix of grooming, entertainment and local retail – Cuts & Culture.  Visit http://www.centerstagecutsbarbershop.com for more information.

DJEMBE is Dje which translates to gather, and be which translates to peace. Drum circles are increasing in popularity as a platform for medication, team-building and alternative therapy for a number of diseases.  Storytellers and healers find the djembe’s brilliant and expressive voice the perfect complement to their art. The instrument is used to reconcile differences between the men of a community.  Through usage of the drum as a symbol for connecting the community as “One” we plan to gather community activists, local leaders, Newark residents to create an environment where young men of all age groups feel safe to openly discuss issues that affect them.

Last Edited by:Meghan Reid Updated: September 15, 2018


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