On December 15, 2006, the Pursuit of Happyness was released into theaters. This movie grossed over 300 million dollars worldwide. It starred Oscar nominated actor Will Smith. Now we all know Will Smith, whether it was the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, to rapping “Summertime”, to starring in the Men in Black trilogy. Will Smith is arguably one of the greatest actors of our time. This movie was inspired by the true story of Chris Gardner, a San Francisco salesman struggling to build a future for himself and his son. If you haven’t seen the movie, here is the cliff notes version of movie.
Life is a struggle for Chris Gardner. Evicted from their home, he loses his woman; and he and his son must endure many hardships. Eventually he lands a job as an unpaid intern at a prestigious brokerage firm. He refuses to give into despair, to failure, to pain, as he struggles to create a better life for himself and his son. At the end of the movie, he out performs all the interns, promoted full-time at the company and goes on to be a billionaire wall-street legend.
But why was this movie so well received? Now I’m no professional critic…but I am persuaded this movie showed how tough it is to be a man. The many roles and hats men must wear daily. The constant pressures, obstacles, and attacks of everyday life. This movie hit home for so many men. As a critic put it simply, this movie showed “…being a man is no joke”.
Just like this movie, today’s men must wear many hats. Not only are we father’s, husbands, brothers, and sons, but we are called to be providers and leaders. We must possess responsibility, integrity, character, resiliency, humility, and compassion. As men we learn things do not go as planned. But even in times of failure, hurt, and pain, we must persevere for not only us, but for the people we are connected to.
So this is my charge to all men, in particular black men. It is evident that society needs positive, strong men to lead in this life. Our families need us. Our community needs us. Our jobs need us. So when you see a brother (young or old) who is down, pick him up, encourage him and remind him that failure is not an option. That we need him, you need him.