Over the past several days, I have watched the fear of black men on social media increase from murmur to shouting in regards to Billy Porter’s red carpet tuxedo gown (designed by Christian Siriano) at the Oscars this past Sunday. I would like to start by saying that I have never been a black man, but I have been surrounded by them since my inception. I love you, and I am firmly aware that what I am about to say is NOT going to be received well by some of you.
Black men, much like black women come in all shapes, sexual preferences, and sizes. Your fear that your masculinity will be compromised by images of gay black men in public is a fear based notion. It is high time that you realized this. You are afraid, that everything you were taught on how to be a man and maneuver through this life will somehow be TAINTED by those who embody a lifestyle you don’t understand or choose not to.
For decades the imaging of black men in the media world wide has been slated based on the images that those in power chose. So, you’ve been considered a black buck (hyper- sexualized and a rapist), you have been a common criminal, a savage, a visceral animal, a president, a king, a leader, a servant, an activist, a con-artist, a TV doctor-turned serial rapist, an athlete, a cannibal, and a man in a dress. One could make the argument that many of these images are based on a lack of understanding of who you are in the negative, and some of the positive ones also make it a challenge to move through your everyday life. So I ask the question, black men, WHO ARE YOU? Are you just one of these things? If I had to guess from what I know, your designation is not based on what the media shows us, but it is based on what you show us.
Your power is within, and your grace needs work. It doesn’t matter who wears what, it never has. Your need to posture your masculinity as a badge of honor is short sided and quite frankly bigoted making you no better than your oppressor. Homosexuality is not contagious. Clear thoughts, open-mindedness, progressive thinking, and negative thinking can be. In this life, we don't get to choose our family, our ethnicity, our economic standing at birth, or how the world sees us, but we do get to choose our own thoughts and ideals, and the impact we will forge to future generations.
Black men, why must you continue to belabor the point that you are strong? We already know this. You live on the defense in a world that doesn’t understand who you are, and where you belong in it. But as apart of that defense you tend to live in this fear of gay black men because they don’t fit the picture of what you all were told you should be.
So .. take a moment to scroll back up a bit and read those perceptions again. Did your family raise you to be those things? Hopefully not. They raised you to be strong, to have integrity, and to take care of your people in all that you do. Guess what, Billy Porter is STRONG ENOUGH to rock a tuxedo gown, knowing his brothers would feel threatened.
His exact thoughts were: "People are going to be really uncomfortable with my black ass in a ball gown, but it's not any body's business but mine.”
Black men, tell me about a time when your presence made the people around you uncomfortable. When someone looked at you like you were less than. When you were in fear for YOUR life because people hated you for no apparent reason. Now scroll through your thoughts and ask yourself, how your current actions and fear are propelling your privilege in this scenario. Don't worry, I'll wait.
XOXO Capt SistaGurl Out!