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Barack Obama and Stephen Curry Speech About Manhood

Barack Obama and Stephen Curry Deliver Poignant Speech About Toxic Masculinity

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 19: Former U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry speak in conversation during the MBK Rising! My Brother's Keeper Alliance Summit on February 19, 2019 in Oakland, California. MBK Rising! is bringing together hundreds of young men of colour, local leaders and organisations that are working to reduce youth violence, create impactful mentorship programs, and improving life for young men of colour. The My Brother's Keeper initiative was started by President Barack Obama following the death of Trayvon Martin. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Teaching impressionable young boys and young men about gender norms and expectations can be a challenging topic. Messages about what it means to "be a man" and to self-identify as a man start at an early age, and the older kids get, the more complex and, often times, confusing those messages become.

Whether the beliefs are that boys shouldn't cry or that they should flaunt their manhood in ostentatious ways, they can make what's healthy and what's unhealthy hard to parse.

To offer some clarity on restricted definitions of masculinity, Barack Obama and NBA star Stephen Curry spoke to a room of 100 boys at the My Brother's Keeper alliance (MBK) earlier this week. Obama began by speaking about what it means to be a good person, and of course, a good man. He referenced visual cues many young men see in popular culture — guys dancing with lots of girls or draped in expensive jewellery as a means to flaunt success — and then challenged the room to rethink these behaviours. "If you are very confident about your sexuality, you don't have to have eight women around you twerking." His speech was met with tons of applause, and after the reference to twerking, tons of sweet laughter.

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You can see the entire town hall ahead, or the shorter clip which focuses on confidence.


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