Like mammals need air, people need a purpose in life. This is especially true for men.
“He who has a ‘why’ to live for, can bear almost any how,” states a quote attributed to German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
How much more true is this notion for African-American men, who are frequently victimized by racial discrimination and violence and collectively experience the worst quality of life outcomes of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S.
So it follows that having a purpose can be life preserving for Black men.
Recently Black Men’s Health pursued this idea with Pastor Darrick D. McGhee, whose life is a study in adversity, perseverance and purpose.
In a wide-ranging virtual discussion, McGhee talks about how he went from dodging violence and gangs in South Los Angeles to becoming a minister, lobbyist and entrepreneur in North Florida.
He not only shared his path, but he also had valuable advice for Black men who have found it difficult to find their purpose and connect with family.
“There are some men who are angry,” said McGhee. “Who’ve never been told in their adulthood, never been told in the entirety of their life, that they are loved, that they are (someone worth) being proud of.”
“Those things matter,” he said.
More than anything, says McGhee, Black men must heal for themselves, families, and the generations coming behind them.
“To the brothers who are out there like myself who have had to overcome some major things in life, we have an obligation to reach back, grab hold and pull forward,” he said.
“We can’t make it about us alone.”
Tap into this inspirational discussion with Pastor McGhee below.
Childhood and Education
2:43 — Elder Darrick D. McGhee on his relocating from Peoria to Los Angeles as a child.
6:08 — The impact his grandparents had on him.
11:44 — McGhee on his academic journey and how he ended up becoming the student body president of his high school class.
Going to College and Discovering His Life’s Purpose
14:29 — How McGhee ended up attending Florida A&M University.
18:35 — When his life’s purpose began to come into focus.
22:08 — How a major car accident changed him and got him in alignment with God.
25:13 — McGhee on how God used people in his life to show him his purpose.
Advice for Black Men on Purpose, Family and Brotherhood
30:22 — The challenges Black men face with regard to purpose, family and spirituality, according to McGhee.
36:55 — McGhee breaks down the story of Jacob and Esau from the Bible and how it relates to the realities of Black men.
45:18 — Why Black men need to embrace brotherhood.
50:17 — His advice for young men who struggle with self-esteem and family.
59:52 – Advice to the overcomers: the young men who grew up without fathers and have been through significant adversity.