Meet Armand Carr, the Founder of All Tied Up, an organization that promotes positive development of masculinity in young boys. With the charge to “respect yourself, respect your brothers, and respect your women”, Armand has the vision to not only help participants learn how to tie a tie, but to have the “tie mentality”. Armand recognized that a lot of young black boys and men did not have the ability to look in the mirror and say I love you because men hearing and saying that was not a learned behavior. He also recognized that Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch were the most common love languages for the boys, yet those two expressions were practiced least between each other as black men. He illustrated that even while hugging, men put their arm in between their bodies which blocks the opportunities for their hearts to connect (literally and figuratively).
Therefore, he hopes to debunk the limiting narratives that black boys and men carry to challenge black men in being comfortable in emotional expression, intimacy, and checking personal sexuality while interacting with other black men. Armand seeks to build recognition that there is no correlation between emotional expression and sexuality, and in fact, endeavoring into heightened emotional expression helps black boys and men to blossom in their full force purpose.
The Birth of All Tied Up
Armand mentioned that during the time he was on the radio air, a woman called to ask for backpacks for her football team. After telling her that he had an organization for her who gives backpacks, they discussed logistics and learned that the boys on her football team wore sagging pants and comfortable clothes for away games. Armand knew that as a black man, appearance was essential to present the first representation of self-respect to the opposing team. Sitting in his closet, he saw his plentiful collection of ties and it sparked an idea. He offered to bring all of the ties to the woman who called and donate them to her football team. This is what sparked to start an organization that focuses on giving ties to young men but also building the gentleman within the participants. Armand saw the necessity in helping black men to first discover their passion which then discovers their superpower. He recognizes that black men are sometimes so busy trying to keep up with the “them”, that they are keeping from the “us”.
Relationship with Father
Armand mentioned that he had the opportunity to meet his biological father one time before he passed away in 2014. Armand did mention that his stepdad was abusive towards him and his mother while he was growing up and put them through a lot. Sometimes he wondered why he went through this, but he now recognizes that it was to prepare for him being a father to his son. After deciding to get a divorce, Armand’s mother raised him and his two siblings while juggling being in the Navy. Armand learned from those experiences that he was taught to survive, but not how to prepare. Therefore, he realized that he had to go back and have this conversation with his stepdad to heal those holes in his heart that these experiences have caused and then give the positivity to his son that developed from his healing.
Armand recognized that in the process of healing those wounds, he had things to identify, which took facing a lot of truths. Armand mentioned that he originally got married because he was lonely, and therefore landed him with someone who was verbally abusive. Because of his choice to not communicate his emotions, Armand suffered numerous health issues which led him into the hospital with a blood clot in his lungs. He then had the wake-up call that the best thing to do personally and for his children was to leave the marriage, even though this would be hard with co-parenting. Nonetheless, he took on this journey to change his life patterns, get into an organic romantic relationship, and developed a healthy and positive perspective in life.
Moments with Son
Armand sees fatherhood as a rewarding experience and a positive transformation from the things that he experienced and endured as a child and as a young adult. Armand noticed that his son at nine years old does the same thing as he used to do when he was nine years old—both good and bad. He saw this as an advantage because he knew what was effective and what worked. He mentions that young guys (and men) just need attention and stimulation for their brain, so he makes sure that his son is always learning. An idle mind is when boys start to get into trouble, so Armand always is sure to invoke discovery, questions, and exploration.
Armand loves to provide stimuli for his son that is positive and informative, or creative. He recognizes that this is what men needs to thrive and that it is not a disease to need continuous activity and stimuli. He mentions that it is a different type of discipline—literal discipline of the mind and behavior.
Armand also has learned in fatherhood to spend individual time with his kids. He recognizes that each of his children have their own unique needs and structure of attention, so he advised that parents should always give their kids individual time to ensure that their needs are met.
Armand demonstrates a touching and passionate commitment to building young black boys and gentlemen, which complements his intentional journey of self-development. Armand hopes to continue such initiatives that not only lead men to dress the part, but to live in the mentality of being a gentleman. All Tied Up has truly tapped into the potential superpowers of black men while developing the superhero within Armand.
To learn more about Armand and All Tied Up, visit their website at www.alltiedup.org , follow on IG @alltiedup_bayarea , or follow on FB at All Tied Up.