The Made Man Foundation will recognize 28 local Black male leaders for their community contributions during its honoree reception on Nov. 29, at Piper Glen Country Club. Charlotte is a stop on The Made Man Experience Tour, which includes eight U.S. cities and nine African countries.
“In addition to celebrating and elevating Black male leaders in Charlotte, I believe our mentoring program will have a lasting impact in this community by positioning our honorees to share their leadership, guidance, expertise and experiences with local students. It is an opportunity to build brotherhood and challenge the status quo,” said Ky Dele, founder of The Made Man Foundation and event organizer.
I spoke with three of the honorees as they prepared for Thursday’s event.
Shaun Corbett, founder, Cops and Barbers Foundation
How did the Cops and Barbers Foundation come about?
With the Cops and Barbers foundation, [it was] using all the information we [gathered] during town hall meetings. We took the data and addressed some of the issues we heard from each community like young men not having things to do after they graduate high school, young men not wanting to go to college [and] job placement. We took what we had and tried our best to address those issues. This is not a focus group or a board of directors telling us what we need. These are requests coming directly from the community.
A haircut is almost a rite of passage for Black males, why did you decide to make a difference in such a unique way?
It’s my responsibility. A lot of times as community members — especially small business [owners] — we don’t realize it’s our responsibility to take care, provide, give back, instruct, [and] inform our community. Being a barber, or any other small business owner, I think it’s our responsibility to be that guide.
You’ve mentioned how the shooting of Mike Brown helped influence the creation of your foundation. What did that shooting personally mean to you?
At that time, my oldest son was 18. The seed had been planted from the Trayvon Martin case, but when the Michael Brown [case] came, it was like “Yo, this could be my son. This could be somebody that I know son.” It really hit home. It made me understand that the community policing that [the community] speaks of is nonexistent.
Tory Dandy, senior executive agent, CAA Sports
You started out as a football player. What made you want to become a sports agent?
Actually, I did not know I wanted to become a sports agent. [During] my junior year in college, I got injured. I had shoulder surgery, so my senior year I didn’t play. One of my teammates was getting recruited by agents, and he didn’t know much about agents. He knew I wanted to get into athletic administration at some point. He asked me to help him with his process, and I did. I sat through the meetings and vetted agents and found it very intriguing. He ended up signing with a smaller agency. I did an internship with them when I was getting my MBA, and it took off from there. It happened by circumstance, but I’m glad it happened.
You represent multiple professional athletes. What’s the top piece of advice you give them?
Almost 80 percent of professional football players go broke after two years of leaving the game, so first and foremost, I tell those guys to take care of money and finances. It’s an epidemic when you start looking at professional sports as a whole, but specifically the NFL.
How did your mentor, and fellow sports agent, the late Eugene Parker inspire you to do your job?
Eugene used to always say that we are very fortunate and blessed to be in these young men’s lives. So, we want to do what we say and say what we mean because that’s our obligation. That has always stuck with me. We are fortunate and blessed to be a part of this amazing experience that these young men go through. From being a young man to becoming a man [and] wealthy, it’s quite a process to help guide them through that. It has certainly been instrumental and crazy, but you got to do what you say and mean what you say.
The merging of sports and politics is a controversial topic. How do you advise your clients concerning their political views?
I tell my guys to always be smart, but also be themselves. I think it’s very private and intimate in that regard, but I always tell those guys to stay true to themselves and believe in what they believe in.
Rodrick Banks, vice president – community development officer, Wells Fargo
How important do you feel financial literacy is to African-American communities?
It’s vitally important to all communities, but particularly to African-American communities because of the wealth divide that we see here in this country. Being able to share financial literacy and financial education, particularly at a young age, is so important. [I get to] to educate our people around the importance of saving and managing money and creating wealth, whether that’s through careers or entrepreneurship.
What’s a key piece of financial advice you can share?
A lot of folks don’t like the word budget, but I would say have a plan for your money. Regardless of how much you have, have a plan for how you’re going to spend your money — hopefully before you get the money. A lot of us try to come up with plans after we have access to the dollars, but it’s important to have goals to know how you’re going to spend it.
Learn more about these men, along with the other honorees, at the reception on Nov. 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Piper Glen Country Club. Tickets are $60 and available at themademan.org/charlotte.
Jonathan Limehouse is a journalist whose passion is to find good and impactful stories. He’s an avid sports fan who can be found at numerous sporting events around Charlotte.