205 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. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support

Taking Off The Mask Ashanti Branch

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.9 • 36 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. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support

    201. Welcome to High School - TOTM Face to Face #24 - with Wenceslao and Demarco

    201. Welcome to High School - TOTM Face to Face #24 - with Wenceslao and Demarco

    In this episode of "Face to Face," Wenceslao welcomes Demarco, an 8th grader, star athlete, and member of the Ever Forward Club. Demarco is a bit nervous but ready to take on the world of high school in the Bay Area. Listen in as they discuss friendship, boundaries, sports, bullying, and how to balance life as a teen in 2024.

    Topics include: baseball, setting boundaries, understanding/empathizing with bullies, advice/what to expect in high school, athletics, balancing school and extracurriculars authentic friendships, deciding where to go for high school

    ---

    (0:00) Welcome

    (3:00) Demarco introduces himself

    (4:30) Front of Wenceslao’s Mask

    (4:55) Front of Demarco’s Mask

    (5:15) Back of Wenceslao’s Mask(5:55) Back of Demarco’s Mask

    (6:40) The Ever Forward Club’s Adventure Card Game: boundaries, trust, and bad days

    (13:50) The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran; reading and analysis

    (17:30) Bullying, authentic friendship, empathy, brotherhood, balancing commitments, and what Demarco has learned from the Ever Forward Club

    (29:55) One more poem by Kahlil Gibran; high school advice from Wenceslao to Demarco



    Create your own mask anonymously at https://millionmask.org/ 

    Email us questions and comments at totmpod100@gmail.com 

    ---

    Connect with Ashanti Branch:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/branchspeaks/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BranchSpeaks

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/BranchSpeaks

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashantibranch/

    Website: https://www.branchspeaks.com/

    ---

    Support the podcast and the work of the Ever Forward Club: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support 

    ---

    Connect with Ever Forward Club:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/everforwardclub

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/everforwardclub

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/everforwardclub

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


    ---

    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support

    • 36 min
    200. Special 200th EPISODE!

    200. Special 200th EPISODE!

    In this special 200th Episode, host Ashanti Branch beams in from the Ever Forward Club’s new office and revisits some of the most powerful moments from the past year. This includes some parts work (internal family systems) with Jamin Heppell (ep. 159), discussion on self-love with Gael Aitor (ep. 160), and an analogy between life and repotting plants with Trevor Taylor (ep. 177).

    Topics include: parts work, internal family systems, IFS, self-love, self-hate, self-talk, positive self-talk, negative self-talk, mentoring, holding space, repotting plants, personal growth, changing environments

    (0:00) Introducing the new office and welcome

    (2:45) Jamin Heppell

    (21:45) Gael Aitor

    (31:00) Trevor Taylor

    (34:45) Final thoughts and reflections

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    Create your own mask anonymously at https://millionmask.org/ 

    Email us questions and comments at totmpod100@gmail.com 

    ---

    Connect with Ashanti Branch:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/branchspeaks/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BranchSpeaks

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/BranchSpeaks

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashantibranch/

    Website: https://www.branchspeaks.com/

    ---

    Support the podcast and the work of the Ever Forward Club: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support 

    ---

    Connect with Ever Forward Club:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/everforwardclub

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/everforwardclub

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/everforwardclub

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


    ---

    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support

    • 41 min
    199. Education Monthly #5: New Theories on Teen Mental Health, Self-Determination, and Lessons from Miyazaki Films

    199. Education Monthly #5: New Theories on Teen Mental Health, Self-Determination, and Lessons from Miyazaki Films

    Donofriend, or Donovan Taylor Hall, joins Ashanti Branch, a master educator with 20+ years of experience in schools, to talk about what they are reflecting on as educators and what they’re seeing in the halls of modern-day schools. Donovan is an experienced teacher and positive youth development expert who travels around the country speaking at schools and pushing into classrooms. Learn more about him in episode 152.

    Topics include: an Edutopia video reaction, self-determination theory, participation trophies, teen mental health, building a sense of independence and resilience in students and teens, self-reliance, autonomy, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Miyazaki, Halloween, grit, stick-to-itiveness, Do Hard Things by Steve Magness, helicopter parents, and stranger danger

    ---

    (0:00) Welcome and Edutopia video

    (4:00) Donovan and Ashanti introduce themselves.

    (6:00) Self-determination theory, helicopter parents, losing ability to build community, and Halloween

    (15:00) The participation trophy origin story, and valuing “productive struggle”

    (19:30) Miyazaki and Avatar, and what we can learn about youth wellness/mentorship from these films

    (25:00) Mentoring with curiosity instead of mentoring to “fix and solve” immediately

    (26:00) Allowing students to sit with silence and discomfort

    (29:00) Offering children advice instead of telling them what to do

    (32:30) Emotional language and articulating feelings/needs clearly - for both young people and adults

    (45:30) Final thoughts on providing room to explore and being transparent, vulnerable, and curious as an educator/parent/mentor



    Connect with Donovon Taylor Hall:

    Website: www.donovantaylorhall.com

    Instagram, TikTok, Youtube: @donofriend



    Join our 5k Challenge: https://charity.pledgeit.org/20thAnnualEF5KChallenge 

    Create your own mask anonymously at https://millionmask.org/ 

    Email us questions and comments at totmpod100@gmail.com 

    ---

    Connect with Ashanti Branch:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/branchspeaks/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BranchSpeaks

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/BranchSpeaks

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashantibranch/

    Website: https://www.branchspeaks.com/

    ---

    Support the podcast and the work of the Ever Forward Club: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support 

    ---

    Connect with Ever Forward Club:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/everforwardclub

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/everforwardclub

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/everforwardclub

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


    ---

    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support

    • 50 min
    198. Football, Fathers, & What it Takes to be a Great Teacher

    198. Football, Fathers, & What it Takes to be a Great Teacher

    This week we welcome David Reese, a high school English teacher with an unparalleled zest for life, to the show. David, the youngest of ten children, has been surrounded by strong women and extraordinary men throughout his life. With 7 sisters, 2 brothers, and a large extended family, David has always been inspired by the compassion, hard work, and humor of those around him.

    Topics include: father figures, football, high school sports, men’s work and boys’ work in high school, transformative activities that teach students compassion and empathy, changing a school’s culture, modeling and encouraging vulnerability in the classroom(0:00) Welcome

    (2:55) David introduces himself

    (5:30) Ashanti's sister is recovering from health problems

    (7:27) Front of David’s Mask - Sense of humor, Passion, Fascination

    (9:21) Front of Ashanti’s Mask - Funny, Serious, Travel

    (14:36) Back of David’s Mask - Disappointment, Despair, Shades of Inner Turmoil

    (21:02) Back of Ashanti’s Mask - Anger, Worry, Shades of Inner Turmoil

    (23:38) Exhausted teachers, and the Oberlin High School Men’s Work Project

    (36:05) David and his father

    (42:28) A transformative activity re: physical touch

    (51:30) Closing

    ---

    Connect with Oberlin High School:

    Website: https://www.oberlinschools.net/our-schools/oberlin-high-school

    ---

    Create your own mask anonymously at https://millionmask.org/ 

    Email us questions and comments at totmpod100@gmail.com 

    ---

    Connect with Ashanti Branch:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/branchspeaks/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BranchSpeaks

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/BranchSpeaks

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashantibranch/

    Website: https://www.branchspeaks.com/

    ---

    Support the podcast and the work of the Ever Forward Club: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support 

    ---

    Connect with Ever Forward Club:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/everforwardclub

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/everforwardclub

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/everforwardclub

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


    ---

    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support

    • 55 min
    197. Four Years to Life - with Antwone Johnson, Author, Speaker, Coach - Growing with Diirt

    197. Four Years to Life - with Antwone Johnson, Author, Speaker, Coach - Growing with Diirt

    In this episode, host Ashanti Branch welcomes Antwone "Diirt Da Dreamsaver" Johnson, a motivational speaker and entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to helping individuals understand the importance of continuous learning and education. Through his organization, Growing with DiiRT, he inspires others to take charge of their own destinies, emphasizing that education is key to achieving one's dreams.

    Topics include: survivor’s guilt, perfectionism, grieving, college tours, the public school system, leadership, stages of grief, history, African American history, oppression, and depression

    (0:00) Welcome

    (4:00) Antwone introduces himself.

    (8:28) Front of Ashanti’s Mask - serious, passionate, driven(12:25) How the vision might overwhelm people

    (16:27) Front of Antwone’s Mask - gratefulness/gratitude, work ethic, mannerisms

    (21:13) 4 years to life - preparing young people for life after high school

    (25:33) Back of Ashanti’s Mask - worry, fear of failure, grief

    (29:10) Antwone’s childhood

    (31:05) Back of Antwone’s Mask - perfectionism, survivor’s guilt, grieving stages, self-discovery

    (37:03) Antwone’s collaboration with the Village Method

    (40:08) Why college tours for underserved young people are important

    (41:38) The public school system has failed

    (45:18) Closing thoughts from Antwone and how to get in touch

    ---

    Connect with Antwone Johnson:

    Website: https://thevillagemethod.org/ 

    Website: www.growingwithdiirt.com 

    Social Media: https://www.instagram.com/diirtdadreamsaver/

    ---

    Create your own mask anonymously at https://millionmask.org/ 

    Email us questions and comments at totmpod100@gmail.com 

    ---

    Connect with Ashanti Branch:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/branchspeaks/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BranchSpeaks

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/BranchSpeaks

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashantibranch/

    Website: https://www.branchspeaks.com/

    ---

    Support the podcast and the work of the Ever Forward Club: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support 

    ---

    Connect with Ever Forward Club:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/everforwardclub

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/everforwardclub

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/everforwardclub

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


    ---

    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support

    • 51 min
    196. A Bird in a Cage - TOTM Face to Face #23 - with Wenceslao and Lucian

    196. A Bird in a Cage - TOTM Face to Face #23 - with Wenceslao and Lucian

    In this episode of "Face to Face," Wenceslao, a high school sophomore, welcomes Lucian, a 7th grader who has been part of the Ever Forward Club since the 4th grade. Lucian shares his experiences and personal growth through the club, emphasizing the importance of expressing feelings and building trust within the group.

    “When you don't speak or speak up, the thought is like a bird in a cage; you have it in there, but you’re just not willing to let it fly. Let it out.”

    ---

    (0:00) Welcome

    (14:00) Lucian introduces himself

    (15:26) Lucian’s Mask

    (15:40) Wenceslao’s Mask

    (17:07) Playing the Adventure Card Game

    (20:26) A poem from the Prophet

    (23:06) QnA about Lucian's experience with the Black Boys Circle

    (30:54) Closing

    ---

    Create your own mask anonymously at https://millionmask.org/ 

    Email us questions and comments at totmpod100@gmail.com 

    ---

    Connect with Ashanti Branch:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/branchspeaks/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BranchSpeaks

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/BranchSpeaks

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashantibranch/

    Website: https://www.branchspeaks.com/

    ---

    Support the podcast and the work of the Ever Forward Club: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support 

    ---

    Connect with Ever Forward Club:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/everforwardclub

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/everforwardclub

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/everforwardclub

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


    ---

    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/branch-speaks/support

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
36 Ratings

36 Ratings

JRoseland ,

A breath of fresh air for anyone looking to explore what it means to be a man today.

Ashanti fosters a safe space for men to have real conversations about the things that matter: challenges, heartbreak, dreams, and everything in between. Through insightful interviews, the podcast dives deep into topics like modern masculinity, vulnerability, self-love, and developing a strong mindset. It's a must-listen for any guy looking to go beyond the mask and live a more authentic life.

PAtoAZtoALB ,

Imagining what could be…

One of your lady listeners chiming in here! Thank you for bringing authentic conversations among men and giving them space to be true and real. Thank you for giving the world a glimpse of what CAN be if we all took off our masks more often. I’m imagining the power of community. I’m imagining the love of connections. I’m imagining the eradication of fear and therefore oppression! Can you see it? I believe it’s possible and the work of Taking Off The Mask is bringing it to the surface. Deepest Gratitude.

JKC217 ,

Fantastic and important

Great host, great guests (LOVED the one w/ Jason Kyle but hey I’m biased), AND, important conversations that propel us forward and make our world a better place. Thank you Ashanti for all that you do!

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