98 episodes

Taking Off The Mask is an experience of getting real. Providing young men and men a space to have real conversations about life, challenges, joys, heartbreak, dreams, failures, and whatever is ready to be revealed.

Taking Off The Mask Ashanti Branch

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.8 • 17 Ratings

Taking Off The Mask is an experience of getting real. Providing young men and men a space to have real conversations about life, challenges, joys, heartbreak, dreams, failures, and whatever is ready to be revealed.

    E95. Tu David Phu (re-release) - “Just You, Your Paddle, and the Water”

    E95. Tu David Phu (re-release) - “Just You, Your Paddle, and the Water”

    “If anything, you’re on a journey. And if you want to use a metaphor of a kayak in a river, don’t worry about who’s looking on the shores. It’s just you and your paddle and the water.” - Tu David Phu

    Ever Forward Club’s Ashanti Branch is joined by Tu David Phu. Tu is a renowned chef. You may recognize him from Bravo’s television show, “Top Chef”, or write-ups from the San Francisco Chronicle, or his documentary that aired on PBS, “Bloodline.” Tu boils life down to “living and loving righteously”. And he does this through filmmaking and “food justice” - whether it be sharing the therapeutic powers of cooking with incarcerated men, serving the Asian American community, or being a champion for sustainable cooking. His attitudes toward justice, masculinity, and power narratives were shaped at a young age. Enjoy learning about Chef Tu’s masks in this episode!

    (2:10) Ashanti’s introduction.

    (5:40) Ashanti and Tu discuss how America’s definition of masculinity is defined by violent Eurocentric narratives, which differ from many cultures around the world.

    (10:30) Then, Ashanti and Tu look back on their childhood, and how narratives and systems that emasculate certain young men and boys strip them of their authentic identity.

    (27:40) Tu shares some of the masks he encounters in the world of food and media, and how he is trying to live by what he preaches.

    (32:20) Tu and Ashanti discuss the relationship between sports and the dominant masculine culture, and how it shields young minds off from a world of possibilities, careers, successes, and passions.

    (40:40) Ashanti and Tu make their masks together.

    (47:25) Tu shares the front of his mask - I am big and strong, I have tattoos, I am a chef - and the back of his mask - I cry, I do a baby voice with my puppies, I’ve experienced abuse.

    (54:50) Ashanti shares the front of his mask - funny, serious, dedicated - and the back of his mask - fear of failure, momma is so important to me, worry about being enough.

    (59:10) Tu shares how you can get in touch with him.

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    Connect with Tu David Phu:

    Website: cheftu.com

    Watch “Bloodline”: cheftu.com/watch

    Social Media: @cheftudavidphu

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    Create your own mask anonymously at www.100kmasks.com

    If you are interested in being on the Face to Face podcast, email us at everforwardclub@gmail.com

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    Connect with Ashanti Branch:

    Instagram: instagram.com/branchspeaks

    Facebook: facebook.com/BranchSpeaks

    Twitter: twitter.com/BranchSpeaks

    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ashantibranch

    Website: branchspeaks.com

    ---

    Send in a voice message:

    anchor.fm/branch-speaks/message

    ---

    Connect with Ever Forward Club:

    Instagram: instagram.com/everforward

    Facebook: facebook.com/everforwardclub

    Twitter: twitter.com/everforwardclub

    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/the-ever-forward-club

    • 1 hr 2 min
    E94. Giving Youth A Voice - with Nicholas M., Youth Outreach Worker

    E94. Giving Youth A Voice - with Nicholas M., Youth Outreach Worker

    “As a guy, I want to be able to express my emotions. I would hate for other youth or young men to feel like they can’t do that. It’s such a narrow way of being. You miss out on such a huge experience if you don’t get to talk about how you’re doing.” - Nicholas M.

    Ever Forward Club’s Ashanti Branch is joined by Nicholas M. As a Youth Outreach Worker, Nicholas provides 1-1 support to youth in the community. He meets his youth where they are, whether they just need some mentorship or they are dealing with anxiety and depression. Nicholas’s own mask, and the reason that supporting and mentoring youth resonates with him, is informed by his upbringing in South Africa. Now that he is in Vancouver, B.C., he’s navigating a new culture and honing in on what he expects from himself and what he’s looking for in friendships. Enjoy the conversation!

    (1:25) Ashanti’s introduction.

    (6:40) Nicholas introduces himself, his work, and his hobbies.

    (8:55) Nicholas shares the front of his mask - friendly, kind, quiet. Then, Ashanti shares the front of his mask - passionate, serious, hard-working.

    (13:15) Nicholas shares the back of his mask - insecure, self-doubt, lonely.

    (15:00) Ashanti shares the back of his mask - overwhelmed, anger, self-doubt - and talks about how he dealt with a difficult workshop.

    (21:05) Nicholas shares how he processes anger. And Ashanti relates to it through some work he’s been doing at a juvenile detention center.

    (30:30) Nicholas sheds some more light on the work he does and how he was drawn to it.

    (36:55) Nicholas looks back on his upbringing in South Africa drew him towards working with youth.

    (43:30) Nicholas looks back on watching the documentary “The Mask You Live In” and shares his final message for young people. Then, talks about his friend and family groups and where he goes to take off his mask.

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    Create your own mask anonymously at millionmask.org

    If you are interested in being on the Face to Face podcast, email us at everforwardclub@gmail.com

    ---

    Connect with Ashanti Branch:

    Instagram: instagram.com/branchspeaks

    Facebook: facebook.com/BranchSpeaks

    Twitter: twitter.com/BranchSpeaks

    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ashantibranch

    Website: branchspeaks.com

    ---

    Send in a voice message:

    anchor.fm/branch-speaks/message

    ---

    Connect with Ever Forward Club:

    Instagram: instagram.com/everforward

    Facebook: facebook.com/everforwardclub

    Twitter: twitter.com/everforwardclub

    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/the-ever-forward-club

    • 57 min
    E93. A Writer Walks into a Speaker… - with Jason Rogers, LA-Based Writer, Olympic Medalist in Fencing

    E93. A Writer Walks into a Speaker… - with Jason Rogers, LA-Based Writer, Olympic Medalist in Fencing

    “Public speaking has always made me very very nervous, on a neurological level. So there’s a part of me that feels safe when I’m writing because I can spend a really long time working through one sentence. And also I can make sure that it’s padded by all of the caveats…” - Jason Rogers

    Ever Forward Club’s Ashanti Branch is joined by Jason Rogers. Jason is an Olympic medalist in fencing and a regular contributor to Men’s Health magazine. As an Olympic medalist, he spent most of his life conforming to unhealthy expectations of manhood. Now, he spends his time undoing these expectations by writing about the evolving state of masculinity. Jason and Ashanti share their masks, analyze the phenomenon of “public vulnerability”, and create space for a writer and a speaker to share where they lack confidence. Enjoy the show!

    (2:00) Ashanti’s introduction.

    (8:40) Jason introduces himself and his work. Then, he and Ashanti look back on how they first connected.

    (11:45) Ashanti shares the front of his mask - serious, funny, caring - and he examines the cracks in his mask that come from his childhood.

    (19:30) Jason shares the front of his mask - nice!, confident, easygoing - and how he found himself performing for the approval of others throughout his life.

    (24:00) Ashanti shares the back of his mask - doubt, overwhelmed, fear - and opens up with some of the struggles of his work.

    (29:00) Jason and Ashanti take a step back and ask the question, “why do we share publicly?” “Why are we publicly vulnerable?”

    (32:40) Jason shares the back of his mask - selfish, judgmental, stressed - and how these elements of himself are habits within him that he is reconciling.

    (35:30) Jason and Ashanti come back to the idea of public vulnerability.

    (40:45) Ashanti examines how, as a public speaker, he struggles with writing. Then, Jason examines how, as a writer, he struggles with public speaking.

    (50:45) Jason shares a final message and how you can get in touch with him.

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    Connect with Jason Rogers:

    Website: mandateletter.substack.com

    Instagram: instagram.com/jasonrogersusa/

    Twitter: twitter.com/JasonRogersUSA

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    Create your own mask anonymously at millionmask.org

    If you are interested in being on the Face to Face podcast, email us at everforwardclub@gmail.com

    ---

    Connect with Ashanti Branch:

    Instagram: instagram.com/branchspeaks

    Facebook: facebook.com/BranchSpeaks

    Twitter: twitter.com/BranchSpeaks

    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ashantibranch

    Website: branchspeaks.com

    ---

    Send in a voice message:

    anchor.fm/branch-speaks/message

    • 56 min
    E92. Dr. Steve Perry - on Learning New Emotional Languages

    E92. Dr. Steve Perry - on Learning New Emotional Languages

    “We all grow up with an accent. We all grow up speaking a language, an emotional language, and the longer we stay in that emotional language the harder it is to learn a new one.” - Dr. Steve Perry

    Ever Forward Club’s Ashanti Branch is joined by Dr. Steve Perry. Dr. Perry is an educator, bestselling author, and the Founder and Head of Schools of Capital Preparatory Schools. Using his powerful voice to fight for disadvantaged children and families for over thirty years, you may have seen Dr. Perry on CNN and NBC, or with Oprah, P. Diddy, and Steve Harvey. Dr. Perry believes that the success of a life is not determined by where you start, but by where you end. He also believes that how you deal with your emotions is a major indicator of success. Some of these emotional languages are programmed deep within us - and, in this episode, Dr. Perry shows how he has found power in regulating his.

    (2:20) Ashanti’s introduction.

    (9:35) Ashanti and Dr. Perry take the time to appreciate one another, and Dr. Perry introduces himself.

    (13:35) Dr. Perry reflects on a conversation he had with his son and what buoys the negative behaviors perpetuated by masculine archetypes.

    (18:35) Then, he and Ashanti discuss killing and murder through the lens of people’s inability to deal with their emotions.

    (25:10) Dr. Perry explains the power of acknowledging the limitations of your own personality.

    (28:05) Then, Dr. Perry tells the story of a fight that broke out at one of his schools and how awareness of your own emotions helped confront the situation.

    (32:35) Dr. Perry shares some words about humility and tells the story of a speaking engagement he had with an audience of ex-offenders.

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    Connect with Dr. Steve Perry:

    Website: drsteveperry.org

    Facebook: facebook.com/DrStevePerry1

    Twitter: twitter.com/DrStevePerry

    Youtube: youtube.com/c/drsteveperry/featured

    Instagram: instagram.com/drsteveperry

    ---

    Create your own mask anonymously at millionmask.org

    If you are interested in being on the Face to Face podcast, email us at everforwardclub@gmail.com

    ---

    Connect with Ashanti Branch:

    Instagram: instagram.com/branchspeaks

    Facebook: facebook.com/BranchSpeaks

    Twitter: twitter.com/BranchSpeaks

    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ashantibranch

    Website: branchspeaks.com

    ---

    Send in a voice message:

    anchor.fm/branch-speaks/message

    • 37 min
    E91. The Enneagram Test - with Samuel Trejo Aburto, Seeker for the Evolution of the Being

    E91. The Enneagram Test - with Samuel Trejo Aburto, Seeker for the Evolution of the Being

    “I always want to avoid the pain as quickly as possible. But, guess what? You have half of your life - trying to get away, run away… And, when you try to work on that, you are now saying, ‘No, I’m not going to run away. I’m going to stay in my body. I’m going to be with that person I don’t want to be with, or make that war I don’t want to make. I’m going to grow consciously.’” - Samuel Trejo Aburto

    Ever Forward Club’s Ashanti Branch is joined by Samuel Trejo Aburto. Samuel is passionate about “the evolution of the Being” on all levels. He’s passionate about individual Beings - what he refers to as internal engineering and healthy lifestyles - by applying theories such as the Enneagram Test to his life and his work. He’s passionate about the engineering of our planet - contributing his thoughts to NGOs focused on sustainable, non-motorized mobility. So, if you’ve read this far, you can tell Samuel is a high-minded individual. However, these high-minded concepts are very grounded in their application… We hope you enjoy learning about Samuel’s “internal engineering” :)

    (1:35) Ashanti introduces Samuel and shares his thoughts on the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.

    (14:10) Samuel introduces himself. He talks about Puebla, Mexico, and what it means to be a seeker for unification according to Hindu teachings.

    (19:40) Samuel shares the front of his mask and how he applies the Enneagram Test to the front of his mask. Samuel, according to the Enneagram, is often an “Enthusiast” and a “Perfectionist”. Then, he breaks down Ashanti’s Enneagram and shares some thoughts on why it’s important to surround yourself with people from different age groups.

    (30:45) Ashanti shares the front of his mask - funny, dedicated, caring - and describes the “interceptor” that filters his feelings and changes how he presents himself.

    (38:50) Samuel shares the back of his mask - to avoid the pain, anger, emptiness.

    (42:50) Ashanti shares the back of his mask - worry, fear, burnout. Then, he and Samuel analyze how fear operates in the human brain.

    (49:20) Samuel explains why he believes it takes ten years to change a habit or a characteristic within yourself. And he explains how it first takes accepting the habit as part of you. The habit he was able to tackle was gluttony.

    (1:00:15) Then, Samuel shares a major turning point in his life.

    (1:08:05) And finally, Samuel shares how you can connect with him.

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    Connect with Samuel Trejo Aburto:

    Facebook: facebook.com/INPASER

    Facebook: facebook.com/englishconversationclubpuebla

    ---

    Create your own mask anonymously at millionmask.org

    If you are interested in being on the Face to Face podcast, email us at everforwardclub@gmail.com

    ---

    Connect with Ashanti Branch:

    Instagram: instagram.com/branchspeaks

    Facebook: facebook.com/BranchSpeaks

    Twitter: twitter.com/BranchSpeaks

    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ashantibranch

    Website: branchspeaks.com

    ---

    Send in a voice message:

    anchor.fm/branch-speaks/message

    • 1 hr 11 min
    E90. Tilling The Soil In Your Heart - with Brandon Clift, Champion For Men's Mental Health, Podcast Host: The ManKind Podcast

    E90. Tilling The Soil In Your Heart - with Brandon Clift, Champion For Men's Mental Health, Podcast Host: The ManKind Podcast

    “More often than not the mask is a survival mechanism for me. It’s serving a purpose to allow me to get through this interaction, this engagement, this party, this wedding that we’re a part of… It’s just enough to get me through, so long as I have a ritual and a way to take it off when I’m around the ones that matter.” - Brandon Clift

    Ever Forward Club’s Ashanti Branch is joined by Brandon Clift. After reaching a supposed level of “success”, Brandon reached a point in life where he needed to leave everything he owned behind. He left Australia and found the power of men's work through the ManKind Project. And through his travels, he has helped grow and establish men's circles all over the world. He now hosts the ManKind Podcast, which “breaks the old molds of modern manhood to prove there is more than one way to be a man.” We hope you enjoy learning about how Brandon seeks to break the molds of his own masks!

    (2:10) Ashanti’s introduction.

    (8:10) Ashanti and Brandon reflect on how they first met and all of the memories they’ve shared, which include film screenings, trips to Australia, and encounters with the Gold Coast police.

    (15:20) Ashanti shares the front of his mask - funny, serious, hard-working, caring - and why he wants to start leading with care.

    (20:10) Brandon shares the front of his mask - confidence, grounded, engaged.

    (28:40) Ashanti shares the back of his mask - pain, fear, doubt - and reflects on why he’s been avoiding making a doctor’s appointment.

    (32:20) Brandon shares the back of his mask - doubt, numbing, disengaged/lazy - and explores how each item on the back of his mask conflicts with an item on the front.

    (39:10) Brandon and Ashanti analyze why men are constantly being pressured to project strength and to prioritize thinking over feeling.

    (49:40) Brandon shares some final thoughts on encountering discomfort in conversations and doing the work. Then, he shares some information on the Mankind Podcast.

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    Connect with Brandon Clift:

    Website: brandonclift.com

    Podcast: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/mankind-podcast/id1555955858

    Facebook: facebook.com/thebrandonclift

    Twitter: twitter.com/inthezone_365

    ---

    Create your own mask anonymously at millionmask.org

    If you are interested in being on the Face to Face podcast, email us at everforwardclub@gmail.com

    ---

    Connect with Ashanti Branch:

    Instagram: instagram.com/branchspeaks

    Facebook: facebook.com/BranchSpeaks

    Twitter: twitter.com/BranchSpeaks

    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ashantibranch

    Website: branchspeaks.com

    ---

    Send in a voice message:

    anchor.fm/branch-speaks/message

    • 57 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
17 Ratings

17 Ratings

Sin of Gratitude ,

More than Emotions

I really mess with this podcast because it delves deeper into emotions than we usually see. Bringing people on board and speaking about difficulties especially as men, helps create more understanding that’s it’s ok as a man to have emotions and speak about them and ask for help

kaye dubs ,

conversations we didn’t know we needed

appreciated the vulnerability of both ashanti and his guests. really opened up questions for self reflection and how we see each other

jchang914 ,

Deep conversations with diverse voices

I love all the different men of all ages and backgrounds that Ashanti brings on the show. It combines to give a powerful and precise sense of where we are as a culture.

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