7.27.17 Thoughts: “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution”

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Her tattoo, New Orleans, 2013

1. Change. The world and all of it’s inhabitants aren’t immune to life’s waving of the evolutionary wand. Some are very reluctant to open their minds to new experiences and whether they want to admit it or not, there’s always some form of suffering that follows. My view of manhood and how men should function in society was once skewed but my environment and peers. I wouldn’t say that I was homophobic but amongst the homies and other guys that I encountered in barbershops and in the street, you’d think that being gay was the worst thing since Blade: Trinity (that movie was super duper whack!). It wasn’t until I started to have friends from the LGBTQ community that I truly understood the need for solidarity. And around that time, I started to get in touch who I was as a person which led to discovering that masculinity wasn’t what I perceived it to be; Masculinity is way more complex than the propagated images of macho gun toting dudes that scream and enforce the lie that crying is for “pussies”. Being a man in 2017 requires respect and responsibility and that was instilled in me very early by my father and late grandfather. I hope to build upon lessons taught and be lifetime student of myself and my gender.

2. What’s intimacy? What does being “intimate” mean to you and what does it do for you? I think that men lack an understanding of it and that can negatively affect our relationships. We are afraid to cry out of fear of being ostracized by our “friends”, we get embarrassed to tell our significant others that we love them in front of “friends” as to not expose our emotions in order to avoid being called names that would question and mock our masculinity. I tried to be all thuggish thuggish bone (my jeans and t shirts were big as FUCK!) with my demeanor even while knowing that it all was lie and I’m grateful that that was only a short lived phase that I quickly discarded. I appreciated listening to records like “Bonita Applebum” by Tribe and Andre Benjamin’s The Love Below album because it gave me examples of intimate honesty in a genre of music where sensitive thugs were told they needed hugs. How could expressing one’s feelings be a cause for emasculation at the hands of their peers? It’s a childish way of being; There needs to be an intimacy class of some sort when men can learn about themselves and that emotions are OK to have. To quote Lauryn Hill, “How you gon’ win when you ain’t right within?”

3. I love the Ummah remix of “Sometimes” by The Brand New Heavies. Siedah Garrett held down the vocals while Q-Tip came in with the smooth ass verse as per usual. This is a jam…

“Talkin’ ’bout a revolution, or maybe just a change of mind
Working on my constitution, I began to realize
I’ve been doin’ wrong forever, trouble was my favourite game, yeah
Breakin’ hearts I tought was so clever
But, I’m the one who got hurt playin'”

4. Having women in my life keeps me from being a hairy savage that lives in a cave and grunts as his preferred form of communication. I used to be under the impression that I couldn’t be friends with women but that all came from the frustration that I felt from being in the “friend zone” but even that was wack on my part. As I lived and rid myself of those foolish ways, I’ve come to love women more and more but I strongly DISLIKE whenever I see on social media (OF COURSE!) that men are garbage or BLACK men are garbage. Whenever I say not ALL men are deserving of such generalizations, they turn their harpoons on me and to be honest it isn’t fair but I understand their anger. Both genders have their issues but treating each other like public enemies does not but widen the gap between us. As a member of the male gender, I can only speak for myself and the friends and children that I could possibly bring into the world. Change happens when it happens and instead of throwing us all under the bus, educate and those that are open to the message will listen and spread the word.

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