It’s easy to say that men ain’t shit. A lot of them aren’t. Bill Cosby, Kanye West , Nas, R. Kelly and too many other names fall into that category. Still, that isn’t the message of today’s sermon. Maybe a few verses but I want to uplift those who are a service to the Black community, both real and reel.
I consider myself fortunate to know so many good men that cut across race, ideology and all that. In particular, I know good Black men who weather the worst stereotypes and attacks against their characters. They’re my brothers, friends and even strangers who offer a kind word or helping hand just because. When my father died last week, there was such an outpouring of support. There were so many calls, texts and hugs. I even got a Black Panther teddy bear. It was meant to be a belated birthday gift and showed that I was in his thoughts before this grief. He didn’t bring T’Challa Jr. (yeah, I know) into my life for sex or anything like that. It was a gesture of kindness and one that I don’t take for granted.
I don’t think I’m special because I know decent Black men. None of what I’m saying is brand new information. We all know good, Black men exist. The proof is in our everyday lives and all over culture. It’s across our TV dials and theaters for years, even before I was born. We been knew. Which is why I don’t get the persistent lie that the Cosby’s of the world have been our only saving grace when it comes to dispelling negative perceptions.
Cliff Huxtable was a positive image of the Black man of an accomplished, faithful and provider of his family. There is not now a plot to denigrate that memory. No one is going after Bill Cosby and his legacy because he tried to buy NBC or because they want to ruin the only thing we had. I laugh in the face of Phillip Banks, Carl Winslow, James Evans, Michael Kyle, Julius Rock, Lester Jenkins, Ray Campbell, George Jefferson and newly minted Randall Pearson. President Barack Obama was the very best of these men come to life and showed out as an example of a Black man who cherished and provided for his family. Let Cliff go and if you can’t, at least recognize that he’s not the only go to.
We’re also being demanded that we give Kanye a break for his embrace of MAGA because he’s an alleged free thinker and called out George Bush a lifetime ago. It’s now 2018 and the conscientious rapper of today is Kendrick Lamar. He’s not perfect. Nor does he need to be but Lamar does speak truth to power without debasing Black folks in the process. Chance the Rapper also corrected himself for jumping into the conversation without understanding what his co-sign meant.
T’Challa, King of Wakanda, also ruled the box office. He valued the women in his life from Shuri, Okoye, Ramonda and Nakia. Killmonger had the flash and a few good points but T’Challa stood in his truth without sacrificing women and giving into his base impulses. He remained good at heart and Black excellence personified.
There are so many Black men that we can take pride in. We don’t need to pledge fidelity to the bad ones because they used to hold the banner for the culture.