The reason why, as a black man, I encourage other black men to pursue their passion is mainly from seeing my father's friends. Brothers of the heroine and crack generation, the ones who had failed as men and would come around our house to sit and talk with my pops and to grasp some great feeling of passion from the past.
I remember a cousin of mine that would come by often and ask for a glass of water from the water cooler my parents payed for each month. (In most American cities not named New York you gotta pay for good, clean water.) This cousin would drink that water like it was elixir. And he'd always comment on how great the water was at our house.
I doubt that the water was really that great, instead I think it was the feeling of peace that sorta vibrated throughout our house. It was like a sanctuary in the neighborhood. Where folks came and felt so comfortable so immediately, that they would fall asleep on the couch even if it was their first time coming over. My point is that I've seen a lot of black men turn cold because they regret so much of their past.
I can't speak as intimately to the experience for black women, but from my perspective it seemed like the worst hell, to be still a roaming soul when you're pushing 50 years. I really don't think it matters what we do as black men, as long as we choose a direction that comes from the heart. You can't go wrong. The alternative, from the examples my eyes saw growing up, is a living hell.