In 2017, I wrote a couple of pieces titled “Random Thoughts on Black Men.” In those articles, I questioned why some brothas fear dogs, why some brothas wear socks with sandals, some brothas feel the need to Hotep, or our colorism towards darker-skinned black women. I’m revisiting these thoughts once again. Today, I will give three random thoughts on what I appreciate about myself and my fellow black men. Since black men are often harshly critiqued in this society, even by members of our own community. This isn’t to paint a picture that black men as a whole are angels. We benefit from male privilege. But racism makes our male privilege more complicated. Brothas can always do better, and many of us are doing better in our families, communities, and on the world stage. I just thought I’d show us brothas some love.
As a black man, I’m aware of the false stereotypes that hinder black men in America and worldwide. However, I still wonder about things when it comes to black dudes. Today, I’m gonna talk about three things that I will celebrate about being a black man. Salute fellas!
Swagga Like Us
Black men have an undeniable swagger about us. Now, in high school, my swag was zero percent. I was a late bloomer and discussed that in great detail in my black nerd post. But as a grown-ass man, I got my swagger back. My dating life improved a helluva a lot in my 20s. I’m married these days, but I had fun as a single man. But enough about me, let’s think about trendsetters like Idris Elba, Sammy Davis Jr., Prince, Sidney Poitier, or Kanye West. Men who made other brothers step up their game and bring it. Hell, Obama is known as the cool Reagan. Even if you don’t agree with his policies or politics, he stood head and shoulders above his political peers in style and confidence. No one on the corner got swagga like us, brothas. It’s why no matter whatever country I visit, I see men of various cultures adopting style from brothas. Just think, playas from West Africa started wearing fresh suits and sharp dress shoes without socks. Now everyone is rocking that style, no matter what GQ tells us.
Influence on the culture
The impact on society that black men have had can’t be understated. This takes nothing away from our sistas, and they are often the ones who are by our side and support us the most. Men like Malcolm X who spoke as the voice of the voiceless during the Civil Rights Movement. He was a man that also had impeccable style and presence. Huey P. Newton, the founder of the Black Panther Party, was a style icon and revolutionary. The Black Panthers were cool, strong, and militant. The black berets, leather jackets, and black-gloved fists were a bold statement not only fashion-wise but also politically. Unquestioned black love and pride! Men like the iconic Fred Hampton and Bobby Seale rose to prominence during the black power era despite all the controversy surrounding Huey and the Panthers. They also changed the political landscape in the United States.
Then there’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a.k.a MLK; his impact on society can never be ignored. He questioned an imperial power thrist for war and conquest, inspired countless peace activists, and stood at the side of working-class men and women. He was a man who was killed for his beliefs. We celebrate MLK day in the U.S every January. The man’s legacy will live on. Like King and X, Nelson Mandela made an impact on the global stage and changed the course of history. South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions of any nation on Earth. Unfortunately, society has yet to catch up to these various men’s ideals of civilization. And we didn’t talk about black men’s influence on pop culture and music. Hip-hop remains a global phenomenon and has continued impact on youth culture since it was first created by black and brown youth in 1970s New York City. The rest is history.
Go to any black barbershop in the United States. Brothas are gonna be talking shit. It’s all in love, tho. I was always of a smaller stature, so I had to learn how to shit talk from an early age because bigger kids would try me. But black folks will roast the hell of each other. The family get-togethers are always a time where shit-talking commences. Think about growing up in the Wayans household. Or think about legendary comedians like Richard Payor, Dick Gregory, Paul Mooney, and Eddie Murphy. All brothas that you didn’t want to trade jokes with at all. Nowadays, you have brothas like Kein Hart, Hannibal Burress, and Katt Williams. Black history across the globe is one of slavery, colonization, and loss. But it’s also one of triumph and overcoming the odds. Humor is what made our people laugh through all the pain. These three random thoughts are only a few reasons why I love being a black man. One final thing is I can also say Nigga, but you can’t if you ain’t black. Sorry, niggas!