The Rooted & Rising CollectiveImage by: Movember
8 March 2022

The Movember-funded program addressing mental wellbeing for Black men

3 minutes read time

“Growing up in Rockford, Illinois, I was all the things that a regular Black boy from the hood was not supposed to be,” recalled singer-songwriter ALONZO.

“I was flamboyant and I was into the arts. I didn’t look like anyone else I knew, and I didn’t sound like anyone else. I was not interested in most of the things people in my school were interested in.

“Yet, I’ve risen against the odds, fought for my dreams, and gone from being a sad, angry little Black kid who was always in trouble at school, to becoming an artist who has travelled all over the world performing sell-out tours.”

ALONZO, an America’s Got Talent semi-finalist and the first lead singer to be approved to sing on the “4 U” Prince Tour, is now determined to spread the word to other young Black men that fulfilling their potential should not come at the expense of their own physical and mental wellbeing.


“It’s no secret that historic and systemic racism has created an environment where Black men are significantly more likely to experience trauma in their upbringing,” he said.

“So often as Black men, we’re working so hard to be better than anyone thought we would be, that we neglect our self-care. I think it’s important that we change that.”

" I think it’s important that we find a balance between being a strong Black man and being human. "

To spread that message, ALONZO has joined the collective of 10 emerging Black male digital creators, aiming to shape the way their audiences think and act on their health.

The Rooted & Rising Collective, proudly funded by Movember, is an 11-week creative training program designed to enable these creators to grow their businesses and create digital content that inspires young Black men to practice self-care.

“For young Black men, like the Rooted & Rising cohort, it’s vital that they take care of their mental wellbeing first,” said Dr. Derek Griffith, Rooted & Rising expert advisor and founding co-director of the Racial Justice Institute at Georgetown University.

“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.”

ALONZO agrees.

“I think it’s important that we find a balance between being a strong Black man and being human,” he said.

“Being able to express my emotions has allowed me to become a better artist.”

“My manifesto to Black men is to allow themselves to ‘feel,’ because if you can feel, you can heal, and that is what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to heal from intergenerational traumas and traumas in our own lives. My hope is that we can all start taking care of ourselves because we deserve it, and we need it.”

Joining ALONZO are creators Benjamin Abiola, Princeton Brown, Richard Cannon, Justin Coleman, Vaughn Dabney, Xavier D'Leau, Jesse Martin, Dennis Williams II and Bradford Wilson.

To learn more about The Rooted & Rising Collective, and the 10 brilliant and inspirational creators, go to