The context behind this article is the pure frustration I have with many a black “man”. Is it me or are many of them becoming more and more passive? Everywhere I go, I see black women cheering each other on and building community but rarely do I see black men doing the same. Now don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean they’re not out there but my question is where are they?

John Boyega, Michael Dapaah, Sena Mortoo and Joshua Umoren to list a few black males shaking up their relevant industries. If I’m being honest it was easier for me to compile a list of black women than it was to compile a list of black men. So what does this mean? Black men aren’t doing anything? Black men don’t have potential? Black men aren’t successful? NOT AT ALL!

Now, I’ve written this post over several weeks and initially it was going to focus on the general narrative that although black men are often perceived as passive many of them are actually not. I was going to back it up with a number of statistics that supported my hypothesis that black men are successful but unfortunately, I couldn’t find any. Now this isn’t because black men aren’t successful, I truly believe it’s because as a society we’re so focused on portraying our black men in a negative light. The media is an obvious source of this misrepresentation of black men, whom they constantly portray as criminals and bad fathers. When in reality, the majority of black men I know are not criminals and personally my father was an amazing father!

But is it just the media that is misrepresenting black men? Do we all need to take a look at ourselves as well? I’m sure many of you have heard the term Yoruba demons… and I’m not going to sit here and act like I haven’t laughed at a Yoruba demons meme because I have! I’ve laughed hard! But could this be part of a larger problem? We come up with these terms and scenarios but are we inadvertently creating a self-fulfilling prophesy? Let’s not even get started on the whole “men are trash” thing because YES… there are men that are trash! But again, by painting ALL men with the same brush, aren’t we creating a self-fulfilling prophesy? If we don’t expect better, we won’t get better.

So, what about the black men that really are Yoruba demons, bad fathers and/or all round trash? Well, I’m not saying that all black men are saints because let’s be honest they’re not (but neither are all black women or white people or Chinese people or Indian people, you get the gist). There is definitely a lot that many black men can do to improve mainstream representation of themselves. However, I feel the focus should be more on building community and ensuring future generations of black men are presented in the best light possible, by not only mainstream media but the black community in itself.  How can they do this? Lead by example and take responsibility for nudging younger black boys in the right direction with a more hands on approach.

This article isn’t to take digs or knock black men, on the contrary it’s to encourage black men to strive for more, strive for better, break down barriers and stereotypes like many black women are already doing. We need to be the ones to change narratives and if black women were born to be queens surely black men were born to be kings. So rise up young black men and claim your throne.

-Paula M


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