Lorenzo Lewis is a social entrepreneur and speaker who models his life around liberation. As the founder and former Chief Visionary Officer of The Confess Project of America, a national grassroots movement that empowers barbers to become mental health advocates for men of color, Lorenzo understands that releasing trauma is the only way to move forward.
In the barbershop, Lorenzo witnessed the intersections of poverty and violence and learned that people need more support-they need pathways to careers, wealth, and liberation. He helped create a revolution in mental health that led him to look deeper inside himself.
Born in jail to an incarcerated mother, Lorenzo struggled with depression and anxiety throughout his youth. At 17, he almost reentered the system of mass incarceration; instead, he began his journey to wellness, starting with an education at Arkansas Baptist College and continuing by facing his emotional challenges and becoming a mental-health advocate and changemaker. Lorenzo has spoken at Snapchat, Google, ADCOLOR, Stanford University, and Texas Rangers, to name a few. He is also a two-time TEDx speaker.
Lorenzo is now dedicated to the empowerment, wealth building, and wellness of others. His passion to help underserved folks like himself break into the free market led him to partner with Crown Cutz Academy founder Craig Charles to create Uplift Barber and Beauty Academy, the first barber school in the country that incorporates mental health and entrepreneurship into the curriculum.
Believing that building generational wealth is key, Lorenzo has launched several family businesses that not only generate opportunities for his wife and daughter but help everyday folks succeed. His parent nonprofit, L&J Empowerment, focuses on juvenile justice and workforce development.
Community comes first in all of Lorenzo’s endeavors—whether it’s the people he serves or the talent he hires. He believes that when you empower individuals, you empower the community. His book, Jumping Over Life’s Hurdles and Staying in the Race, threads together these lessons to tell the story of how he became the visionary he is today.
Interviewed by Winn Claybaugh, Lorenzo shares his unimaginable story of being born in prison, and then as a teenager, facing the system of mass incarceration. He also shares his insight surrounding the stigma and misconceptions of mental illness and why so many people never access available resources. Growing up in his aunt’s salon, Lorenzo witnessed that the conversations and relationships nurtured in that space could become healing environments. His nonprofit organization, The Confess Project of America, exemplifies how modern therapy needs to extend beyond sterile psychiatrists’ offices and dive into making positive impacts within the real world. Lorenzo’s story, path, and trainings can inspire and empower you to be an advocate for mental wellness for yourself and others.
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