Thursday, March 20, 2014
The Blaque Male Image
In celebration of Woman's History, Blaque Magazine published an article promoting the idea of understanding a wo(man) better which included the above image of black men wearing heels. Blaque Magazine online is an urban lifestyle web magazine geared toward professional women and men in South Africa. Although this cover appeared in the August 2013 it has resurfaced due to the growing effeminization of the black male climate growing within the Hip Hop and black/brown communities. In February of the same year I wrote an article for Socyberty.com entitled "Hiphop Culture 101; in Defense of Lord Jamar" that articulated the cultural stance of Hip Hop Preservationists. Because we now find ourselves addressing the same issue, often with much more fervor, I wanted to take a moment to add-on further to this topic and share some ideas of what we can do about it.
First and foremost it's important to understand the context of the situation. As black and brown people, we are not the major stock holders, institution establishers, media moguls, government authorities, or military force in America. We are disproportionately the minority when it comes to actual power dynamics. We have the potential to be much more with our solidarity, yet collectively we are still not self actualized as a group. There are various pockets of us being progressive in our own way, and some black millionaires sprinkled in here or there, yet as a whole, we are still a very poor, disenfranchised, underclass group of people in America. At the same time, black and brown people are also the most religious and conservative, especially Bible Belt black and brown people. Given this context, much of the outrage amongst black and brown people with the above image and effeminization agenda is two fold: 1.) Many of us know for a fact that we collectively lack the media might to push such an agenda, therefore it's the idea of the major stockholders in America not ours and 2.) As the descendants of Bible Belt black and brown people who held sacred religious and conservative ideas about the roles of males, females, family, community and sexuality, we still value these mores. It also must be mentioned that chronologically speaking, Europeans and their American descendants have not generally held the same sense of sacredness for religion or conservative ideas as a group. This does not mean that none have, it just means that when you study any of their societies whether its Greece, Rome, Germany, Britain, America or etc. this high degree of civilization was never the practiced status quo. In fact, these cultures were usually highly hedonistic and provided social mores for a societal underbelly to happily coexist. And culturally speaking, for every one black or brown person you find practicing these customs, you'll find eleven Caligula's that taught them.
Now, given this context, many black and brown people are simply offended seeing and hearing others speak for us, especially on issues that outright conflict with the chronology of our people and our cultural status quo. Additionally, some of us a further offended when we see our own people knowingly or unknowingly parading an agenda or getting paid to promote hedonistic customs that betray our cultural legacy and genetic survival. In terms of homosexuality, this is understandable in a practical sense because another generation of human beings cannot exist without sexual reproduction, which requires a man and a woman. Among other things in considering black and brown people as a group, the concern with the effeminization of the black and brown man and this society's advocacy of homosexuality is this: Can it undermine the reproduction of our future generations? If young males [and females] are not taught about their gender role and sexual distinctions, is it possible they won't be prepared to produce and maintain a family? Regardless what our sexual orientation may be, these are important questions to ask ourselves as human beings seeking to exist.
I recently posted a video entitled "Them" vs "Us" about the growing climate of division within our community that is not the most beneficial posture to take as a group, especially given the context I explained above. History, yes His-Story has shown us that any time a group of people allowed a segment of its own population to be ridiculed, ostracized, persecuted, single out and demonized by outsiders, destruction soon followed. Why? Because their own people allowed it to happen. Some of our own people feel that what happened to Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and countless other young black males at the hands of whites was understandable and justified; they were thugs, wore sagged pants, playing that rap music, and etc. In South Africa, many African Nations sat back and allowed the Colonialist whites to persecute and murder the Indigenous blacks because they looked at the ANC as rebel rousers. Even during the time of Segregation here in America, not all black people were down with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During those protests when the National Guard turned dogs and fire hoses loose on our people, those black people sat at home talking amongst other blacks about that's what them n*ggas get. The same incidents happened amongst the Indigenous People or so-called Native Americans when they allowed the white man to take advantage of their tribal disputes, pit one against the other, and them have them both sitting on Reservations when it was all said and done with. Europeans themselves are not immune. Yes there were undercover Ashkenazi Jews who helped Hitler destroy their own people, and many Irish had to fight some of their own people from starving to death during the Potato Famine in the 1840's. One consistent theme you'll recognize in all of these incidents, and various others I didn't mention, is whenever internal differences exist it exposes a militaristic vulnerability that opportunistic outsiders will take advantage of. A great exercise that will confirm this fact is to research the history of the country where an American Embassy exists. These are the same vulnerabilities being exposed within our community today, as this Homosexual vs Heterosexual, "Them" vs "Us" environment appears to expand. The reason I mention this is to encourage those of you reading this to take it a step further than just being mindful of the Eurocentric sexual propaganda being promoted through their [American] mainstream media. It's theirs, and they use it the way that they want including speaking for us even if we didn't say anything. Therefore, one of our goals must be to empower ourselves with our own media outlets to use our voice. One of my God Brother's Starmel Allah, author of the book The Righteous Way, and various other black and brown people are doing just that. As a sign of pride and solidarity for black manhood, Starmel has organized a photo shoot for 300 Men at NYC's Times Square on March 25th. The purpose of this initiative is to provide more images of black masculinity for our youth within our present day Hip Hop Community who are being constantly bombarded with confusing sexual messages. Messages such as the mainstream androgynous fashion trends of London's Men's Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2013-2014 collections that are being promoted by prominent black and brown celebrities.
In closing, We also must be mindful of what appears to be, via their mainstream media, growing internal differences within our community where it's becoming an environment of "Them" vs "Us" amongst our own families and communities. These internal differences are not only based upon the mainstream media's propaganda, but it's from the perspective of a mainstream media that has historically kept us a part [segregated], while simultaneously using us to make itself rich from our labor [consumerism]. Many of the things we see and hear throughout the media are being used against us, whether its black Homosexuals in a prominent position objectifying/dissing men like the show Fashion Queens, or black Heterosexuals making headline news for what was considered an anti-gay slur like when Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000. My view is that our survival as a people depends upon our solidarity, period. As I implied above, like it or not, we genetically need each other for our future generations to exist. All of us, regardless of our sexual orientation, play a significant role in various industries so we also need each other to maintain an existence. We are still family at the end of the day, and don't have to like everything we choose to do, yet we should still not allow our differences to be the reason we neglect one another and allow anything to happen to each other -even if one of us are doing something to put ourselves in jeopardy. We should still care enough and have enough humanity to do what we can to protect each other, even from ourselves. As civilized people, it's our duty to look out for one another, especially when our people aren't willing/able to look out for themselves. We don't have to agree on everything or accept everything we do. All Heterosexuals don't agree about or accept everything, nor do all Homosexuals. We can agree to disagree. It doesn't serve our best interest as a group, to be so divided, that if thousands of black and brown Heterosexuals begin dying off black and brown Homosexuals wouldn't care, or if black and brown Homosexuals were rounded up and marched into death camps Heterosexuals would allow it. We need each other, more than outsiders need our divisiveness.