Mississippi Man’s Podcast Aims To Inspire Men To Be ‘rEal’

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Josh McGlawn is committed to bringing together men from all walks of life and work on their mental, emotional and spiritual development with his video podcast, Real Talk for Real Men.

McGlawn is one of five Heartland Forward Builders + Backers in Oxford and he received a $5,000 grant to accelerate his idea of reaching out to men everywhere.

McGlawn is a member of the Young Professionals of Oxford board and heard about the program during an YPO event. It sounded like something he would be interested in, so he applied with help from the Lafayette County Oxford Chamber of Commerce’s Jon Maynard and Allen Kurr and became a part of the cohort.

“Builders + Backers came along with their Idea Accelerator program and it was perfect timing,” he said. “It pushed me to a whole ’nother level.”

This podcast may be a new idea to McGlawn, but he is familiar with being an entrepreneur.

“I’m kind of a jack of all trades,” said McGlawn. “I do so many different things. (My brother and sister-in-law) call me a serial entrepreneur. All my life, I’ve had my hand in so many businesses.”

The serial entrepreneur currently works full-time at his family’s construction business and owns his own renovation business as well. With many years of experience under his belt, McGlawn wanted to try making a podcast about toxic masculinity and other issues plaguing men in the community.

In June 2020, he created a men’s group on Facebook that laid the groundwork for what the podcast could be and, half a year later, McGlawn created his podcast and published it’s first episode.

“I came up with the idea of Real Talk with Real Men to give me an outlet to talk about (men’s) emotions and feelings,” he said. “It’s the kind of things we don’t get to talk about because it’s sort of taboo.”

McGlawn describes Real Talk as a ministry or organization that discusses a wide range of topics such as mental health, marriage, business and much more.

The podcast features guests who are experts or very knowledgeable in those topics and can bring a different perspective to the table and that the audience is receiving the right information. McGlawn wanted other men to have mentors like he had in his father and friends and have access to outlets that allow them to be more open.

“We don’t have a safe space for us to talk about stuff because the stigma surrounding men says it’s not OK for us to express,” he said. “We have to be hard, tough and it’s not OK for us to express our emotions. I want to say, ‘It is OK to talk about real problems, whether that is at home or at work.”

McGlawn said the biggest takeaway from making this podcast was learning that progress comes slow.

“My co-host Marquel ‘Steadfast’ Smith told me, ‘Don’t despise small beginnings. Don’t be afraid to start small and build it up,’ because I tried to shoot for the stars on the first day, but I had to learn to trust the process. It’s not going to happen overnight.”

McGlawn’s next step is to keep the podcast running for as long as possible and replicate the model everywhere to address issues of toxic masculinity and stigma against men everywhere.