“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”
― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
Under the FUBU is a Guru Untapped
— Common, Sixth Sense
Meaningful Black Manhood is about standing in the rivers of African ancestral memory and shared social history, navigating its undulating currents hand in hand with Black (African) women and children. It is a river dance that extends millennia. It is to index a particular constellation of struggles, tragedies and triumphs we've endured alongside Black (African) women in defense of our image and interest and which give contours to the meaningfulness of Black (African) manhood.
It is to identify a set of cultural footprints that other Black (African) women and men have walked together before us, leaving trails and paths for us to consider and pursue; it is to say that we are connected to multiple histories and cultures which provide us with a general design for living and patterns for interpreting a shared reality with African women and children. It means to live and work in ways that inspire African women, children and other Black men to be their best, biggest and boldest selves; to reject manipulation, discrimination and oppression, to see those things for what they are—soul cancers.
It means to work to develop ourselves as fully grown men rather than asking African women to miniaturize themselves to fit the contours our egos; it means that we don’t ask them to bow down to us but rather look for ways to help them stand up under the oppressive weigh of this soul crippling society; it means standing side by side as we look for fertile paths forward, together; it means that the only thing we expect to submit to our will is white misanthropy.
It means that we look for generous ways to work with other brothers to find ways to help each other meet the demands of meaningful manhood with a kind mastery that helps births better lives for all of us; that we model complementarity in love, work, struggle, joy, laughter and victory; that we understand that conscious, committed and continuous soul-work that leads to positive growth and development is one of the best ways to bind oneself to God in ways that makes the practice of all other religions generously beautiful.
I admit I am visionary or perhaps I’m a dreamer who prefers to dream while fully awake. I imagine an increasing army of Black men who seek to cultivate strength in their relationships rather than power. I imagine safe spaces for women and children everywhere our men are—spaces made safe because meaningful Black men are there. I imagine a time in which Black men and women will come to understand that debates about who is treated worse on the plantation is a cruel joke that has no punchline; that freedom for half a people is the same as being brain dead with a heartbeat.
African (Black) men shouldn’t simply strive to be allies with Black (African) women; we should recognize that we are the silent pause between each other’s heartbeats. The heartbeat was our first music. Our saying yes to each other was our first song; our shared future a coordinated dance—an Aqua Boogie.
Black Love is Black Power.