The panelists: Prudential Annuities executive Benjamin E. Robinson III; digital and technology consultant Navarrow Wright; Emery Snipes, the son of the late Eric Garner; the Rev. Anthony L. Trufant; actor and musician Rotimi; and the moderator, Tinypass executive Kweli Washington. (Derrick Davis/The Root)

On Wednesday The Root kicked off its manCODE discussion series for 2015 in New York City at the event space 404. Before an audience of about 180 men, the panelists engaged in a no-holds-barred conversation about career, relationships, family, finances and entrepreneurship.

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The discussion was equal parts candid, hilarious and insightful as each panelist opened up about the fulfilling aspects of being an African-American man and also divulged some of the shortcomings, insecurities and vulnerabilities that some black men face.

Attendees sipped on cocktails gifted by Maker’s Mark Bourbon. The event was sponsored by Prudential Annuities.

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With African-American male lives capturing national headlines over the past several months, the stage was set for a fruitful conversation.

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A closer look at the event’s signage displayed in the foyer of the 404 event space in New York City.

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Ronald Andrews, a senior executive at Prudential Annuities, delivers opening remarks before the panel discussion.

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The panel dives right into some of the most pressing issues affecting African-American men.

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ManCODE panelist Benjamin E. Robinson III shares his perspective during the discussion.

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ManCODE panelist Rotimi talks about his first-generation experiences as a Nigerian American.

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The panel engages with an audience of African-American professionals, business owners, blue-collar workers, fathers, sons, husbands, boyfriends and students who were eager to fellowship alongside other black men.

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Attendees listen attentively as the panelists open up about their experiences navigating corporate America, growing up in working-class communities, and becoming husbands and fathers.

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Attendees respond to the candid and humorous commentary dished out by the panel.

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An attendee takes notes during the panel discussion.

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An attendee reads the event brochure detailing the panelists’ career paths.

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Attendees ask the panelists questions during the Q&A portion of the event.

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Attendees were encouraged to push the envelope on ideas and perspectives introduced during the panel discussion.

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ManCODE panelist the Rev. Anthony L. Trufant describes some of the things he has to consider as an African-American man in the workplace.

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Attendees speak up about wanting to move the ball forward on issues affecting African-American men, and being the change they wish to see in their communities.

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Attendees listen during the Q&A portion.

Derrick Davis/The Root

A bird’s-eye view of the packed room.

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Attendees get on social media to share news about the discussion using the hashtags #TheRootManCode and #PruSalutesMen.

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Attendees network during the reception and sip on the finest cocktails, gifted by Maker’s Mark Bourbon.

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A bartender whips up drinks during the reception.

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A closer look at the bourbon-infused cocktails served during the reception.

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ManCODE attendees looking dapper as they pose for a photo.

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A closer look at the attendees’ gift bags.

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Prudential executive Ronald Andrews; manCODE panelist Navarrow Wright; Prudential executive Dorinda Walker; manCODE panelist Emery Snipes; The Root Publisher Donna Byrd; manCODE moderator Kweli Washington; Prudential executive Mammen Verghis; panelist the Rev. Anthony L. Trufant; The Root Vice President of Sales Don Fries; and The Root Director of Sales Michael Clark.

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Attendees decked out in their Sunday finest.

Derrick Davis/The Root

Ronald Andrews, Donna Byrd, The Root Managing Editor Lyne Pitts and Mammen Verghis.

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Signage from the event’s sponsor, Prudential Annuities, serves as a backdrop during the reception.

Derrick Davis/The Root

An attendee putts on the green during the post-panel reception, where four mini-golf mats were available.

Derrick Davis/The Root

Panelist, actor and musician Rotimi conducts an interview with The Root.

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The Root interviews moderator Kweli Washington.

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Attendees mingle during the reception.

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An attendee and Rotimi pose for a photo.

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Panelist Rotimi and The Root’s Donna Byrd.

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Attendees’ smiling faces during the reception.

Derrick Davis/The Root

Attendees hang out during the reception.

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The Root’s Donna Byrd, The Root Marketing and Events Strategist Makeda Saggau-Sackey, and Prudential executives Dorinda Walker and Alicia R. Alston.

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Attendees gather for a photo.

Derrick Davis/The Root

The Root interviews panelist Benjamin E. Robinson III.

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The Rev. Anthony L. Trufant speaks one-on-one with an attendee after the panel discussion.

Derrick Davis/The Root

The Root’s Makeda Saggau-Sackey, panelist Rotimi, The Root’s Don Fries and The Root Staff Writer Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele.

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Guests gather for a photo with Rotimi (second from right) and The Root’s Michael Clark (far right).

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