This story covers a year in the life of forty-four-year old T.J. Sloane: a 21st Century black man sitting at the top of a global empire. The narrative that powers his life, however, shackles him to the same fears and uncertainties that confronted generations of black men before him; conflicts about his acceptance in American society; oversized fears of being disrespected, ignored or snared by the predatory criminal justice system. He perceives professional obstacles that are not always true according to his interpretations. When tragedy strikes he is forced to work through these uncertainties. He, therefore, must reexamine the lessons he learned in the hard-scrabble town of his youth. But the answers he needs continue to elude him.
Even though T.J.’s early life was short on hopes and dreams, he moved ahead with the influence of the woman who raised him, and until this past year, the unwavering trust of his life-long friend, who was like a brother. He cannot, however, transfer this trust in establishing a permanent relationship with either of two women, each holding her place in his heart. Only when a new woman, unexpectedly, enters his life with the power to change his narrative, does he see a path to move beyond past obstacles and hidden pain.
The conflicts, fears and hopes of this man are not dissimilar to those of other men, regardless of race or culture. They struggle emotionally, often in vain, to make their lives relevant while meeting the challenges of the ambiguous roles thrust on them at this time in history. T. J.’s story speaks to every man’s yearning for a path to dignity and self- determination. His story, however, is layered with the unique history of the struggles of being a black man in America.