Dear black men,
We will still love you if you love flowers too
If you choose to cry
When you feel weak
We will love you if you like to wear pink
If you don’t like rap music
If you like to get your toes done
If you like your hair long or want to wear it straight
If you like to be dominated in the bedroom
We will love you if you’re quiet
If you like to be romantic
If you decide to compliment another man
If you tell your brother you love him & give him a real hug
We will still love you if you’re not “hard”, if you’re not about that street life
If you are a nice man
If you like to read
If you love to learn
We will love you if you don’t like to wear clothes or call other black men “nigga”.
If you don’t want to play or like basketball or football
If you want to be in love & stay with one woman
We will love you if you honor your emotions & choose to express your feelings.
Black masculinity extremely fragile these days. I’ve gotten cursed out by men on the internet simply for correcting them or speaking to them with knowledge in which they feel threatened & undermined.
I am sure many women (not just black women either) have been walking down the street to be cat called with the “ay yo ma” “hey beautiful” “hey baby, let me get your number” or been approached (in a situation where we were not asking for attention) to be “holla’d at”….and when we deny the said man, it quickly turns into a “you’re ugly anyways” “whatever bitch” “you’re probably a ho” etc. It literally goes from 0 to 100 in 2.5 seconds.
We have men out here killing our sisters because these women turned them down aka made them feel like their masculinity was invalidated. We need to show these men that being overly aggressive doesn’t prove that you are a man. It proves that you are hyper aggressive. Many black men resort to the extreme just to prove to us that they are men, that they are indeed masculine, that they aren’t weak.
Many people don’t realize that this has been trickled down from slave mentality where slave masters emasculated our men, showed the slaves just how little to no power they had, raped their women in front of them, & proved how they were not strong enough to save or protect their women & their family. We are living in a system that makes it extremely hard for black men in particular to be “successful” (however you define that) & provide stability for their family. Look at the drug world, mass incarceration, racism in corporate America. Now I’m not saying that it is impossible for black men to succeed, but it sure as HELL is not easy for them looking from the grand scale of things.
I don’t cater to egos, but I will respect the black man for who he is & who he chooses to be….however that may look.
This isn’t the time to come down on our men for how they decide to live their lives, even if it goes against what society has taught is what masculinity is. I understand that the country that we are in tries to break the black man every way they can (now they’ve resorted to showing us repeated images of them killing our men in cold blood to mess with their psyche even more).
Not only do we need to protect our black men physically, but we need to protect them mentally, emotionally, & spiritually. We need to hold space for them. Listen to them & not make them feel less than a man the minute emotions or what we perceive as hypo-masculinity shows up. We need to show them that being a black man isn’t what is shown in the movies or in these rap videos. We need to affirm that physical contact with another man is okay, showing love & affection towards another man is okay, smiling at or complimenting another man is okay no matter what his sexual orientation is. We need to stop being so quick to say “that’s gay”when anything other than the stereotype is displayed.
We need to embrace the black man for who he is. Black masculinity is whatever you want it to be darling.
I could go on about this forever, but I won’t. I just wanted to touch on the subject & shed light on my thoughts.
I do, though, genuinely wish that we would show more positive and varied images of black men. Have these images circulating so that these “different” black boys know that they are not “weird”, so they don’t grow up thinking something is wrong with them and suppressing their true essence. I am grateful for The Man Who Loved Flowers in his depictions of these young men. They are absolutely needed.