Empowering Conversations & Visionary Plans For Disadvantaged Youth Emerge at Men’s Talk Conference in Long Island

Men's Talk Conference in Wyandanch Long Island panelists featuing Godson Michel Blue Surge Marketing Agency, Gerren Nixon, Suffolk County Police Department Thomas DiLena, Marcus Duffin Town of Babylon


In a dynamic convergence of community leaders and entrepreneurs, the Sir Shave Barber Parlor became more than just a grooming haven; it transformed into a hub of impassioned dialogue and strategic planning at the Men’s Talk Conference. Organized by Gerren Nixon, the founder of the Urban Arm Wrestling League, the fourth installment of this event galvanized a diverse panel of influential figures to engage in thoughtful discussions aimed at enhancing the future prospects of disadvantaged children, particularly within the Black and Hispanic communities on Long Island.


The 10-man panelist discussing issues regarding youth on Long Island.

High-powered, professional panelists


The distinguished panel, boasting a formidable lineup of accomplished professionals, brought a wealth of expertise and insight to the discourse. Godson Michel, President of Blue Surge Marketing Agency, Sean Ringgold, celebrated actor known for his roles in Netflix’s Luke Cage and BET’s The Family Business, and Marcus Duffin, Deputy Commissioner of Human Services for the Town of Babylon were among the esteemed panelists.

Joining them were Keith L. Banks, owner of Sir Shave Barber Parlor, the Honorable Fernando Camacho from Suffolk County Family Court, John Rasberry, a seasoned barber, Thomas DiLena, member of the Community Relations Bureau at Suffolk County Police Department, Jordan (JD) Thomas, and William Certain, founder of Spin The Yard. Moderating the discussions was Isaiah J. Grigg, the esteemed founder of MusicBreeds, who skillfully guided the dialogue towards actionable solutions and meaningful outcomes.


Addressing inequality on Long Island


Throughout the event, the 10-man panel engaged in robust exchanges that underscored the urgency of addressing systemic inequalities and fostering avenues of opportunity for underserved youth in Suffolk and Nassau County. Emphasizing the importance of vocational training, mentorship, and apprenticeship programs, the panelists charted a course towards empowering the next generation with the skills and support necessary to thrive in an ever-evolving society.

Impacted towns frequently mentioned throughout the discussion included Wyandanch, North Amityville, Brentwood, Bellport, Hempstead, Freeport, and Central Islip. A 2019 study conducted by Newsday states how, “Segregation was built into Long Island from its mid-20th century birth as an iconic American suburb.” The detailed reports explains how a history of redlining has created hyper-segregation that impacts communities like those aforementioned today.


Thoughts and impact


When asked about the response to the event, Gerren stated, “I was extremely humbled by the amount of support the Men’s Talk event received. I’m excited about the growth this platform has garnered in only a year of existence. I truly felt the need for this platform is necessary and the love it receives and commitment from numerous panelist is a reflection of how necessary it is”.

Reflecting on his experience, Godson Michel expressed, “Personally, I was glad to have taken part with this group of gentlemen. I’m a lifelong resident of the Town of Babylon. Offering internship opportunities to students looking to pursue a career in advertising or marketing would be a fulfilling way for me to give back to the community.” His sentiment echoed the collective sentiment of gratitude and solidarity shared by all those present. As the event concluded, attendees departed with a shared resolve to not only continue the conversation but also to amplify its message and advocate for those whose voices too often go unheard.

The conversation served as a catalyst for collaboration and collective action, igniting a shared commitment to effecting positive change within communities often overlooked or marginalized. Participants left inspired and invigorated, armed with a renewed sense of purpose and determination to translate dialogue into tangible impact.

Continuing the conversation

As the echoes of Men’s Talk Conference resonate, the legacy of this transformative gathering serves as a testament to the power of dialogue, collaboration, and collective action in shaping a more equitable and inclusive future for all. For those eager to join the movement or contribute to its ongoing initiatives, further information can be found through the Urban Arm Wrestling League’s website or by reaching out to Gerren Nixon directly.

In the pursuit of a brighter tomorrow, the conversations sparked at the Men’s Talk Conference 4 remind us of our collective capacity to effect meaningful change and uplift those in need. Together, we stand poised to make a difference, one dialogue at a time.


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