BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Barbershops are the unofficial public forum for black men.
You can talk about sports, relationships, politics, or just joke around.
At the Kroc Center in Biloxi, a barbershop-style chat dealt with a serious matter: solidarity between black men and empowerment.
"It's always disheartening to me to see what Martin Luther King sacrificed his life for, and us to see what we turned out to be. I don't think that's the end of us, I just think that's the condition we found ourselves in," said a speaker at the event.
The portrayal of black men in society hasn't always been positive.
In the audience sat ambitious young men, eager to pick up the torch to blaze new trails and change the narrative.
"My dad always tells me don't be a follower be a leader. Don't follow in the steps of somebody else," said 12-year-old Clemon Jimerson III.
When many of his friends want to play in the NBA or NFL, he says he wants to be an aerospace engineer. He has big dreams because he has a strong support system.
"I have a lot of idols that I look up to, like my dad my grandfather, and a lot of other people that I really look up to" said Jimerson III.
Unfortunately, not every boy has that.
Clemon's father, Clemon Jimerson Jr., works for the Harrison County School district.
In his job, he serves a mentor and role model to young men and women every day. He says not an easy task.
"I believe we definitely have work to do as far as continuing to expose them to role models and serving as role models," said Jimerson Jr.
The theme of this weekend's events is "The Village," meaning that achievement, growth and success is a collaborative effort.
"Beyond the parents, beyond the educators, as a community we have to come together as a whole...and just continue to pour into our young people because they definitely are our future," replied Jimerson.
As we celebrate the life of Dr. King on this year, it is important that we remember words he spoke 50 years ago.
"Our goal is to create a beloved community," he stated. Fifty years later, those words still ring true.