It’s 4:44 Am and the snooze button has been broken from being pounded too many times. Eyes open in the darkness, Black men are staring at our ceilings putting the pieces of our hearts together. Maybe Ghostface was the first to get it lit with his introspective, relationship rant records. And then maybe Drake took it a step further with his Drakiness. Maybe This Is Us currently has us in our feelings. Whatever it took, we should be excited about the arrival of “The Black Male Emotional Awakening.”
Without question, sports, media, entertainment, and Hip Hop inform the dominant swag of the Black community. Considering such, recent biographies by Kevin Hart and Charlamagne The God, paired with the admired wokeness of Colin Kaepernick, and wisdom of Hov, indicate a paradigm shift in the emotional alertness of Black men.We’re finally confronting our Dads’ Daddy issues and the trickle down effect they’ve had on us. The infidelities, the emotional voids, the disappointments – they’re finally open for discussion.
In I Can’t Make This Up, Kevin Hart recalls his father’s indiscretions, substance abuse, and inability to accept responsibility for his destructive behavior. Believing our big, swinging sex organs will solve all our problems leads to frequent failures and setbacks. Though the book is hilarious, (I recommend the Audible version for added hysterics), it’s amazing to see how his father’s faults play into Hart’s adult decision making.
Similarly, with full candor, Charlamagne reveals how he went from being a gifted and talented nerd to sharing a jail cell with his father in Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes To Those Who Create It. Products of the cocaine 80s, many of us can relate to the pitfalls that ensnared us, our fathers, family, and friends. Only now are we analyzing what it took to overcome those obstacles, lead productive lives, and stop hurting the people who love us the most.
We’re finding ourselves.
Historically we’ve dedicated massive amounts of energy to the professional sports that celebrate our physical prowess, yet do little to advance our collective uplift. Colin Kaepernick changed all of that by taking a knee. Suddenly I don’t care about the NFL, which has blackballed Brother Kaepernick for drawing attention to racial injustice. In A Bronx Tale, Sunny tells C, “Mickey Mantle don’t care about you. Why should you care about him? Nobody cares.” Black men are finally starting to realize the NFL and NBA, don’t care about us, no matter how many millions they shower on us to piss away in the breeze of an average sports career. Colin Kaepernick has travelled back to Africa to reconnect with our ancestral roots and find purpose amidst the massive illusion we’ve been sold in America. We’re ready to give up our sports worship to preserve our dignity.
Not only are we sick of being tricked into subservience, we’re sick of tricking off our money too. A decade ago Hov made us stop wearing jerseys in favor of button ups. Today he’s telling us to put the money phones down and invest in assets. And it’s connecting. That’s what happens when people reach emotional maturity. Rational, practical decision making replaces foolishness.
Overcoming emotional immaturity has even allowed us to begin dismantling homophobia. If you would have told me at any point in the last two decades Jay Z would be a gay rights advocate I might have laughed. Yet here we are in 2017 and it only seems logical. On “Smile,” the third track on his latest album, Jay raps:
Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian
Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian
Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate
Society shame and the pain was too much to take
Cried tears of joy when you fell in love
Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her
I just wanna see you smile through all the hate
One of the most notable characteristics of emotional immaturity is the inability to accept other peoples’ differences. For far too long Hip Hop embraced toxic masculinity, which celebrated misogyny and championed homophobic rhetoric. I’m guilty one hundred times over. Soul searching brings us into agreement with Jay who highlights his own flawed thinking on women and gay people. Our families and lives are incomplete without them; it’s about time we see them as equal human beings worthy of our full respect, support, and admiration.
I know what Sistas are thinking right now: “We’ve been telling you this for years!” Yes, you have and your patience is appreciated. We can’t thank you enough for making us take A Seat At The Table to drink Lemonade. Black women have been reading books, gaining insight, and finding ways to heal and improve, while us Negroes have been debating top ten emcee lists into our mid-thirties. You’ve been traveling the world, collecting hella stamps on your passports without us. Sistas got book clubs, and running groups, and fitness bootcamps to heal mind, body, and spirit. You’ve been going to college and graduate school at much higher rates, making guap, starting businesses, and holdin’ us down. Meanwhile we’ve been stuck in a box of emotional immaturity grappling with our daddy issues, making bad decisions, and breaking your hearts.
But we’re coming out of the fog.
We’re talking, rapping, and writing about our emotional growth. Certainly that was my motivation for putting out I Am A Black Man: The Evolution Of A Dangerous Negro. Having our third eye open isn’t enough. Opening our hearts to get on one accord, heal the Black community, and liberate ourselves from economic oppression is essential. Only then will we be able to neutralize White Supremacy. So Black man, continue to get those feelings off your chest so we can turn our attention to being productive. It’s now 4:45 and we can’t afford to go back to sleep.