Frederick Joseph is an activist, a philanthropist with over 10 years of marketing experience, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Black Friend and the forthcoming title Better Than We Found It. An award-winning marketing professional and media representation advocate, Joseph has been recognized for the International Literacy Association’s 2021 Children’s & Young Adults’ Book Award and was named in 2019 to Forbes 30 Under 30 list. In his new personal and poignant collection, Patriarchy Blues (Harper Perennial), Joseph examines the culture of masculinity through the lens of a Black man.
What does it mean to be a man today? How does the pervasive yet elusive idea of “toxic masculinity” actually reflect men’s experiences—particularly those of color—and how they navigate the world? Throughout Patriarchy Blues Joseph contemplates these questions and more as he explores issues of masculinity and patriarchy from both a personal and cultural standpoint. From fatherhood, and “manning up” to abuse and therapy, he fearlessly and thoughtfully tackles the complex realities of men’s lives today and their significance for society, lending his insights as a Black man.
An agent of change, Joseph is highly lauded for his honest and at times vulnerable approach, which lends for an opportunity to foster continued learning and unlearning with the goal of creating a more equitable society for current and future generations to come.
Joseph was the winner of the 2018 Comic-Con Humanitarian of the Year Award and a member of the 2018 Root 100 List of Most Influential African Americans. He was the sole creator of the largest GoFundMe campaign in history, the #BlackPantherChallenge, which ultimately generated over $43 million dollars in earned advertising and media for Disney and raised over $950K and allowed more than 75,000 children worldwide to see 'Black Panther’ for free. He is also the creator of the largest individual Covid-19 support effort, the #RentRelief campaign, which has raised over $2 million dollars. In addition, Joseph was a national surrogate for the Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders presidential campaigns.
Joseph consistently writes about marketing, culture, and politics for the Huffington Post, USA Today, NowThisNews, The Independent, amongst others and is a current contributor at AdWeek. Currently, he resides in New York.
Praise for Patriarchy Blues:
“[A] scorching treatise on toxic masculinity. Joseph’s critiques of “the patriarchy... both overt and ingrained” are razor-sharp, but it’s the clear-eyed reckoning of his own place within it that tethers the soul of his book: “As a Black man I should not be above reproach... simply because I also face oppression.” This potent work makes a systemic issue immensely personal.”
“Joseph covers a great deal of ground, taking on rape culture, White privilege, victim blaming, the rights of sex workers, and the fact that “the Black American experience is not monolithic,” always returning to the intersectionality that governs how people are defined and, too often, oppressed… A well-reasoned, wide-ranging plea for a new conception of personhood and justice.”
“In Patriarchy's Blues: Reflections on Manhood, Frederick Joseph deftly peels away the layers of innocence we all attempt to cling to when confronted with our own complicity in harmful paradigms, providing a blueprint for how we might be able to reclaim ourselves by replacing the horrors of domination with projects of radical compassion, empathy, vulnerability, and self-inventory--which is to say, finally become human. Joseph has learned a great deal from bell hooks here, and I think she would be proud because Patriarchy Blues is such a moving, inspiring, rigorous vision for living.”
--Robert Jones, Jr., New York Times bestselling author of The Prophets.
“Fred Joseph puts it all on the line, exposing the disparate forms of patriarchy that are entrenched in our lives. With tremendous vulnerability and humility, Joseph peels back the layers of his life to demonstrate that disrupting patriarchy starts with interrogating the self. Again and again Joseph reveals that understanding oppression through an intersectional lens is critical to achieving intersectional justice. Patriarchy Blues ruptures the space and challenges readers to ask themselves a simple yet complex question: “How did I get here?” The answers are complex and messy, but Joseph urges us not to look away. Tapping into the deepest part of our humanity depends on our willingness to sustain a steady gaze. Patriarchy Blues is a roadmap for dismantling the interlocking systems of white supremacy, heteronormativity, and toxic masculinity that work to degrade us.”
--Sonja Cherry-Paul, New York Times bestselling author of Stamped (For Kids)
“Patriarchy Blues is an incisive, provocative, and challenging call to action. Through his own turbulent and tender life story, Frederick T. Joseph shows us what patriarchy costs all of us and precisely what’s at stake if we don’t dismantle it. This book is pure fire, the forging kind, the healing kind.”
--Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
“Sometimes we read books that just stay in our minds. Other times we read books travel to our hearts and our minds. Patriarchy Blues by Fred Joseph is just that: it is a courageous, vulnerable love song about being black and man and free. Creatively weaving narrative, poetry, and reflection, he brilliantly opens up the possibility for our collective liberation. He manages to give us history, culture, theory, joy, and most of all: love. This is a book about how to grow up and grow up in love. Words best describe this work: Painful. Searing. Instructive. Liberating. Honest. Courageous. This will be a book I read again and again and then when he is old enough, give to my son as an epistle of love.”
--Dantè Stewart, author of Shoutin’ In The Fire
“Frederick’s perspective is poignant and necessary and the questions he poses about intersecting identities are stunningly urgent. In a world filled with despair this book gives me hope.”
--Liz Plank, author of For The Love of Men: From Toxic to Mindful Masculinity