Book the Blaquesmith
Behind the Name...the BlaQuesmith
Innately, the world has given each individual many unique characteristics (e.g., size of our nose, feet, lips, and ears) that set us apart; however, many of these traits are beyond our control. The naming of a person, a pet, or object is important and significant and one of the first things we control to help identify us. It is significant, because a name represents what the person is meant to embody. The name of this company was chosen with the same care, consideration, detail, and love.
BLAQUESMITH was chosen for several reasons...
As Latin is the foundation of all languages, the trade of blacksmithing was the foundation for many other trades, specifically in colonial America—though this trade dates back to Ancient Egypt. The name of this trade was derived from a simple but meaningful process. Smith means to strike; and, the metal that was struck was black—hence the name blacksmith (also known as “The smith”). The smith worked in a forge (also known as a smithy). In order for the smith to be effective, he needed something to place the metal on (an anvil), something to hit it with (hammer), and something to heat it on. These were all in the forge with other supplementary instruments to help perfect his craft. The smith took great respect in the fact that they made the very instruments they needed to use for their profession
In times of antiquity, every village had a blacksmith; in fact, the smith was responsible for making everything. For example, the smith made agricultural tool, weapons for war, anchors for ships, locks, utensils, and iron rims for carriages, just to name a few. The smith was not only responsible for making things, but also fixing things (e.g., horseshoes). The process consisted of the smith drawing the metal, upsetting the metal, shrinking the metal, bending the metal, and punching the metal. Many recognized the smith as an artist, but sometimes failed to recognize the rigorous effort it took to make such a piece of equipment. The importance of the smith started to wane as the Industrial Revolution changed the context of American society.
Initially, the original meaning of the name for this company was derived with the simplicity as the true smith. The name Smith was passed on through the blood of line of my father and his father, and so on. It is true this name was inherited from a slave master; however, since it was given from my father, it is accepted with great pride. The name Black was chosen because it represented my race. It was important for me that the word black become synonymous with something good and positive. After further consideration, the name sounded right, but did not look right. Something was missing. One of the major goals of this company was definitely to help serve and unite the Black community, but the overall mission is to serve the entire human race.
After our personal names, we learn to take pride in other names that represent us in some form or fashion. For example, people take pride in the name of their school, cities, churches, nations, sport teams, and organizations. A membership that has proven to be very influential in my life has been Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. The guiding principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift have helped to create this Smith, as much as any family member, past coach or teacher. This fraternity is commonly known as the “Ques.” The mission of this fraternity is to uplift the community, the community of the world. Now, BlaQUE sounded like Black, but it represented the universal meaning that the name was designed to epitomize.
BLAQUESMITH PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSULTATION SERVICES
Just as the village smith was designed to help their communities build and repair equipment and instruments that were vital to everyday life; so is this company, so is this smith! Remember, to be successful, the smith needed something to place the metal on (an anvil), something to hit the metal with (hammer), and something to heat the metal on. Only today, the metal is much more precious and it will be hit with a metaphorical hammer derived from years of clinical training, empirical evidence, common sense, and love. The hard surface that replaces the anvil will be life experiences to determine the genesis of the true issue. The heat that will be employed to refine this metal is the truth. Only a sincere honesty about the situation, honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses, and dedication will produce the desired outcome. This Smith was designed to serve and uplift. This Smith was designed to strike. This blaquesmith is an artist of another type. This smiths’ craft revolves around the fixing and repairing of the mind, body, and soul.
About Dr. Smith
Dr. Ramel Smith was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is a product of the Milwaukee Public School system. He continued his education at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology. He later went to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he earned his Masters of Science in Educational Psychology and Doctorate of Philosophy in Urban Education with an emphasis in School Psychology.
Early in his career, Dr. Smith served in varying capacities in the Milwaukee Public School system. His commitment to improving the lives for the youth of Milwaukee remains a primary focus for the work that he does in the community. In addition to his work in public education, he has worked in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Additionally, Dr. Smith has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses at UW- Milwaukee, Marian University, Springfield College and Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology.
In 2007, Smith founded BLAQUESMITH Psychological Consultative Services, LLC. In this capacity, Dr. Smith utilizes a unique skill set to illuminate, educate and empower individuals and organizations. He conducts scores of workshops, seminars and presentations to businesses, governmental entities, faith-bassed organizations, and educational milieus. Dr. Smith has authored several scholarly journal articles and book chapters, edited a book and co-authored another book entitled "Building Better Men." Smith is often called upon as an expert by the local and national outlets. He has served as the resident Psychologist for the Earl Ingram show on WMCS 1290, Black Nouveau and Fresh Start Program on WNOV 860. This Spring 2015 Dr. Smith authored a 12 part series for the Milwaukee Community Journal newspaper. The series sheds light on the various issues that plague our community and provides shovel-ready interventions for all who want to help make our community a better place for our children.
Smith, affectionately known as "The BLAQUESMITH," believes his strength comes from the love and support of his faith, family and friends. He lives by the words of his maternal grandmother who taught him, "the best way to heal yourself is to help others." He does multiple service projects within the city of Milwaukee with his fraternity brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., through his company and as an Urban Campus Board Ambassador of the YMCA. Dr. Smith is a proud father, son, husband and brother.
Dr. Smith's Philosophy
Dr. Smith understands the reciprocal effect of our actions. It is a concept that is universally recognized. Christians refer to it as ‘Sowing and Reaping.” Buddhists refer to it as Karma. Agnostics refer to it as the universal law of reciprocity. The law of return is a concept that transcends race, culture, sex, religious affiliation, and other separating demographics. The foundation of Smith’s theoretical orientation is rooted in the cognitive behavioral approach, but he effectively employs an eclectic arsenal tailored made for the person or situation. His personal philosophy revolves around the fact that all sentient beings need help– in some form of fashion. And, interestingly, he has learned the more we help others, the more we really heal ourselves.
We Must Continue to Lift as We Climb
In order for one to be in a position to help others, one needs to fortify three areas in their life: The Mind, The Body, and The Soul. These entities are equally important. When any of the three are not properly cared for, one is not able to achieve their maximum potential. The training style formulated by Smith is designed to enrich your mind, strengthen the body, and edify the wounds of the soul. Dr. Smith is often referred to as the “Total Package or TP” by his family, friends and colleagues. The title of “TP” was bequeathed upon him because he embodies the Mind, Body, Soul paradigm that he presents and teaches. Full of confidence, but free of arrogance; Dr. Smith willingly accepts the Total Package title, but reiterates he is not the Perfect Package. He understands he is on a never ending journey of self-improvement and self-enlightenment that requires he continues on the arduous journey to climb this mountain we call life; yet, he understands his responsibility to continue to lift others in the process.
Men Empowering Men
The Milwaukee Community Journal
In the Spring of 2015, Dr. Smith was tapped to write a twelve-part series of articles that would focus specifically on the men our community. These articles of empowerment and reflection served to inspire, uplift and spark conversations that centered upon the struggles facing our African American men.
The Building a BETTER Man Project
About The Building a Better Man Project
Our goal at The Building a Better Man Project – an admittedly ambitious one – is to reduce violence in our culture. Our distinctive take on this issue involves an examination of how young men (who are responsible for the vast majority of violence) are socialized in that direction from boyhood onward, regardless of skin color or background, and that the key to prevention lies in changing that socialization and, ultimately, the American definition of what it is to be a man. When we consider the problem of violence, we ponder the question: “Why is there a seemingly never-ending flow of boys and young men who need intervention?” If we think in an “upstream” manner about violence, we need to work outward from the intimacy of the family circle, to the influence of the surrounding community, and then to the over-arching sway of the culture. When we consider as a goal violence reduction and an increase in pro-social behavior among our boys and young men, we need to consider a gradual and sustainable shift in this ecology, which is focused on protecting, educating, and connecting these vulnerable young people.
Book: “Building a Better Man: A Blueprint for Decreasing Violence and Increasing Prosocial Behavior in Men” published by Routledge
Feature article: The American Psychological Association’s national magazine “Monitor"
Television: The Building a Better Man Project is featured in a special on Milwaukee Public Television
Radio: Lake Effect (National Public Radio affiliate WUWM)
Special Education Practices: Personal Narratives of African American Scholars, Educators, and Related Professionals (Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World)
by Festus E. Obiakor (Editor), Ramel Smith (Editor)
Special education is a vibrant, complex, and controversial field that continues to garner widespread attention from policy makers, researchers, practitioners, and educators. It is a field whose primary goal is to provide an appropriate education for students with special needs, a disproportionate number of whom are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds. In this book the authors bring together critical perspectives and historical viewpoints on special education by a group of distinguished and well-recognized African American scholars, educators, and related professionals. These authors raise important questions, challenge assumptions about traditions and conventions in special education, and provide insights into how to reach and teach underserved African American children and youth in special education. (Imprint: Nova)
AsQue the BlaQuesmith answers a need ...
The WCM Quarterly Thursday, October 08, 2015
By 2007, licensed psychologist Dr. Ramel Smith had come to the realization that there was a great need to get more mental health information out to the public. Too many people with mental health issues were not walking into a doctor’s office. For some, it was a transportation issue. For others, the cost was prohibitive. Still others did not want the stigma of mental illness.
Then Dr. Smith learned about MATA Community Media and he got an idea for a monthly show. At first Asque the Blaquesmith stuck solely to mental health issues, covering depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and the importance of exercise. Over the last eight years, the half-hour show has evolved to talk about issues that affect people’s everyday lives such as managing money, building relationships, and communicating effectively.
Asque the Blaquesmith also goes on-location to events happening around the city. Dr. Smith has interviewed the cast of Clybourne Park (a sequel to Raisin in the Sun) at the Milwaukee Performing Arts Center and talked with candidates for the Milwaukee School Board.
Perhaps the relationship he cherishes most is the one with the Milwaukee Public Schools. Asque the Blaquesmith has promoted and covered the flag football fundraiser for MPS and has started a scholarship program that rewards eighth graders, seniors, and college students for academic achievement and involvement in activities.
Asque the Blaquesmith can be seen on channels 14 and 96 in Milwaukee on Wednesdays at 7 pm, Thursdays at 1 pm and Saturdays at 11:30 am. It is also carried on AT&T’s channel 99, a clickable web-based platform on the line-up.
A Blueprint for Decreasing Violence and Increasing Prosocial Behavior in Men
Authors: William Seymour PhD, Ramel Smith PhD, Hector Torres PsyD
Building a Better Man presents a theory and science based discussion of masculinity in modern America, but it also does much more than that―it interweaves a diverse group of compelling personal stories with an exploration of aggression and masculinity in the socialization of boys and men. Where other programs tend to subtly denigrate men as perpetrators and focus on stopping the problematic behavior, Building a Better Man tries to understand the external forces that impinge on the developmental experiences of boys/men and broadens the scope of inquiry into their behavior by reviewing a range of external societal forces that contribute to the problems. Clinicians and group leaders will find that the approach laid out in Building a Better Man leaves clients feeling understood more than judged, which provides a different motivation for change and can set treatment on an entirely different and infinitely more productive path.
"Building a Better Man offers a practical and evidence-based program that will be a lifesaver for men caught up in the downward spiral of masculinity-driven violence. The authors’ approach leaves clients feeling understood and accepted, even though they might have committed violent acts. This book is a must read for every therapist working with such men."
―Ronald F. Levant, EdD, ABPP, professor of psychology at the University of Akron and editor of Psychology of Men and Masculinity
"Building a Better Man challenges men to rethink what it means to be a real man. It is a highly readable and practical guide that reveals the many costs of tough, aggressive masculinity. Building on the positive features of masculine power and assertiveness, the authors provide a roadmap to develop the insight and skills of a new, socially responsible masculinity that accepts and works with strong and powerful women in constructive ways."
―Stephanie A. Shields, PhD, professor of psychology and women’s studies at Penn State University and author of Speaking from the Heart: Gender and the Social Meaning of Emotion.
"This book, written by three outstanding psychologists, provides the reader with a powerful comprehensive model of masculine development and explains how timely, constructive interventions can reduce and prevent the violence that affects American society at all levels."
―Joseph L. White, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology and psychiatry at the University of California–Irvine
"These authors from diverse backgrounds are to be applauded for their work with men and for developing a model that specifically addresses male violence. This needed contribution to the field has practical utility for mental-health providers, organizations, and parents, as well as men who want to have better lives."
―Jay C. Wade, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Fordham University
"Building a Better Man is a valuable and timely contribution to the literature on the psychology of men. Through personal stories, analysis of male socialization, and a variety of practical methods for helping men change, the authors offer us a blueprint for how men can reduce aggressive and violent behavior and attitudes and form a more positive concept of masculinity. I highly recommend this book for anyone who works with men in clinical or community settings."
―Holly Barlow Sweet, PhD, editor of Gender in the Therapy Hour: Voices of Female Clinicians Working with Men
Warriors have a mission and only death prevents them from accomplishing their agenda. Only when we see the life or death option do we push ourself beyond the limits. If it is not worth dying for, then the mission is trivial. Find your purpose and go after it with great ferocity.
October 28, 2015 by The BLAQUESMITH
Psychologist ‘Blaquesmith’ Reaches Out to Black Youth
by: Shantella Y. Sherman Special to the AFRO
Nov 24, 2015
Ramel Smith — “Blaquesmith”– began pushing for holistic, cognitive behavioral approaches to reach the youth in 2007.
Whether faced with fears of being harmed, post-traumatic stress from witnessing violence, or being unduly cast as the nation’s boogeymen, young Black males have had few mental health professionals advocating for their behavioral and emotional well-being. That is, until Ramel Smith, a psychologist, who goes by the name “Blaquesmith” began pushing for holistic, cognitive behavioral approaches in 2007.
Designed to enrich the mind, strengthen the body, and edify the wounds of the soul, Smith’s platform seeks to intervene as early as possible in the lives of young people to ensure they form a positive view of themselves.
“The human brain is 90 percent developed by the age of five with the early experiences on the infant brain forming lasting lifetime effects,” Smith said in an interview with the AFRO. “If something is not purposely done to help reverse the past pain, those situations can haunt a young person for a lifetime,” said Smith, citing research conducted on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). “Even African Americans who have been educationally and financially successful still show the scars of living in a society with such racial hegemonic ideologies.”
But as parents increasingly grapple with social stigmas that negatively label their children – many of which take root in schools and develop through the school to prison pipeline – fewer tools seem available for positive reinforcement. However, that is not true, according to Smith, who serves as the sports psychologist for the NBA Milwaukee Bucks.
“Parents must teach their children self-love, a history of their true origins, and try to help them avoid the traps that are set to increase the probability for failure,” said Smith, who despite being an honor student, was placed in remedial mathematics and reading classes as a child. “Our current school system and a lot of our psychological interventions are outdated and oftentimes are implemented by individuals who have difficulty relating to the situation that many of their clients face. The school to prison pipeline is real and the feeder for the Prison Industrial Complex; therefore, the more young men falsely identified with educational or emotional difficulties, the more they are removed from the educational system and into a sense of survival that includes being unemployed or underemployed.”
Smith’s theoretical orientation refocuses the attentions of those harmed by life away from self-harm and revenge to ways of helping others. His latest book, “Building a Better Man” offers a practical examination of manhood and the loss of rites of passage, now replaced with violence and misogyny.
“The question is how to live in the now and not the past. How do we become an agent of change in an environment that only understands violence? We go back to the philosophy of love. We introduce love where there was hate. We introduce peace and forgiveness where there was chaos and vengefulness,” he said. “Young people have a beautiful ignorance and sense of invincibility that needs to be used and just channeled in the right direction.”
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