Tag Archives: African American Men

“All About Love: New Visions” (bell hooks) Final Discussion

Hello everyone! Thank you soooo much for participating in our previous discussions on bell hooks’,  All About Love! This space is solely created to get in depth with the final portion of the text. On twitter, we usually send out a series of tweets tell you how we feel about the book, but we never really get to know what’s going on in your head too much. So, we want to try something a little different. We are going to pose a few questions about the book to start the discussion off, but we want all book club participants to get the discussion rolling and connect with each other! Answer a question, comment on an opinion, create your own question, do it all!
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Questions to ponder:
Chapter 9: The Heart Of Love
-Hooks discusses the idea of “privilege of power” through the patriarchal system. In what ways does patriarchal thinking affect both men and women in relationships? Have their ever been a time when you felt that a relationship was hindered because of a reflection over power or control?
“To know love we must surrender our attachment to sexist thinking in whatever form it takes in our lives.”
Chapter 10: Sweet Love
“Sexual pleasure enhances the bonds of love, but they can exist and satisfy when sexual desire is absent.”
How do you feel about hook’s strong statement? How can this be applied to the normalcy of casual intercourse?
Chapter 11: Loving into Life and Death
“All the worship of death we see on our television screens, all the death we witness daily, does not prepare us in any way to face dying with awareness, clarity, or peace of mind. “
We never really talk about love and how it correlates to death. So how did this chapter show realization to your personal lost loved ones and the fetish that our society has over death?
Chapter 12: Redemptive Love
Probably our favorite chapter, learning how to heal a broken, misused heart to love again.
“No matter what has happened in our past, when we open our hearts love we can live as if born again, not forgetting the past but seeing it in a new way, letting it live inside us in a new way.”
What stuck out in this chapter for you? What have you learned about redeeming your own past for your own hearts sake?
Chapter 13: When Angels Speak of Love
Love and spirituality: How can those factors relate to each other? And more importantly, why is love the central commonality in all spiritual intents and religions?

Feel free to answers the questions or post final thoughts on the book in the comments section below or tweet them to us on twitter! (@AfroMadu)

Am I My Brothers Keeper?

I was recently at an event at my University about use of the N-Word, when a question was raised: Why do we greet each other with ‘Whats up Nigga?”, when it used to be “Whats up BROTHER?”. The host responded saying that it was just a change in the times. I respectfully disagree. There is no way that time has changed the word Brother to Nigga. The times are the same it is our mentality that changed. Personally I still refer to many of my peers as Brother, so am i behind on the times? I think not.
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As a people we have somehow fallen into a mindset that we are no longer apart of a large family fighting the same battles. We now see each other as competition, incapable of compassion for this pseudo-enemy that we have fabricated in our minds. There was a time where everyone was referred to as your Sister or Brother, now if you say it, you are looked at as eccentric. As if just the thought of you being equal with another person of color is this obscure concept to be shut down. There is nothing wrong with climbing a ladder and reaching down to help someone that slipped.
Unknown-28“Nigga” displays a sense of inequality no matter how you spin in. When we get out of the ‘crabs in a barrel’ mindset as a people we will then be able to thrive. Someone somewhere instilled the thought that if you do not make it on your own then it does not count, however that is not now nor has it ever been the case. Most of us do not have trust fund or any huge bounty awaiting us to come of age, all we truly have is each other. If you look at the news they do not care, where you are from or what you have as far as they are concerned we are all the same. It is not just the hoodlums that are being murdered by those sworn to protect, it is the student, the teacher, the lawyer, whoever unfortunate enough to adorn the influx of melanin that was bestowed upon us in the womb.
If we do not see each other as equal then why the hell should those in power? Last time I check there was no identifier that makes you better than another, so if you are on a pedestal, I pray it is so you can kneel upon it to gain the leverage needed to pull up another. The shines of your success will never, dim that of another’s but if you cross the path of another who has yet to find their light, then by all means use your light to illuminate their path so that they too can become a lighthouse to the many lost ships out there. So in short, Yes, I am my Brother’s keeper. And my Sister’s as well.
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As Always I Love You, God Loves You, LOVE Yourself,
Man of Madu

The Shunned.

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Step in the shoes of men who are viewed as criminals….

Seen so generally but never as an individual…

Scrutinized without any word or action….

Lies dictate the fate of these men…

Premature accusations ridden with past fears that have no weight…

Yet they are supposed to fight a fight unseen by their own eyes…

Blind…

While already seen as an enemy, nowhere to flee…

A target embedded in them since birth…

Another gangsta born to caged or slaughtered in the streets…

Few weep as the sheep could careless…

In their eyes these men don’t deserve life…

While their mom’s only sees the innocence within…

Maybe a new king or shabazz within…

Take a walk in the shoes of men who don’t know what fair is…

Shunned because of skin they had no choice to bear….

Can you see it thru their eyes…?

Take a peak…

Read between the lies…

Time has passed but where is our change?? Centuries behind due to the chains…

Yet in our history we started as kings…

Now the only thing worth chasing is fame…

or playing a simple ballgame…

The only way I won’t be looked as the same.…

If only money could change everything….

Because in their eyes we’re all the same…

Just another colored man fiending for hoes and bling…

It’s Assimilate or gain nothing…

Maybe then the target will change…

Will these men ever be loved In this world?? Or Are we born to be slain?? Extermination of the past kings and queens…

A generational genocide yet no says a thing…

It started with our leaders now all we know is pain…

 

…….The Shunned……

Sincere

The Barbershop: Shape-Ups and Short-Cuts to Life.

The barbershop. The “town hall” for most inner city African American men. Where you walk out a little sharper in every aspect of the word.

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The barbershop is similar to a gathering around a fire place, or even a conference table. New stories to tell, accomplishments to share, or controversy to discuss. From the Eagles quarterback issues, to the Stand your ground law in Florida, everything is discussed in the barbershop.

Barbershops are almost like second families. This explains the guilt African American men feel when they “cheat” on their barbers. Not only do you catch up on the latest news, but you gain a relationship- a trust with someone. Putting this person in charge of the first thing a person will notice about you before you say a word. Your grooming can make or break an encounter with anyone, and for the African American male your barber is in control of that.

Not only are there discussions and haircuts taking place in the barbershop. But for young black boys some morals are gained.

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When you go to a barbershop there are certain rules that you adhere to:

Rule number 1: Address the entire as shop as a whole upon arrival.

That’s includes the barbers AND people waiting for a cut. Not doing so is deemed as disrespectful. But this rule can also be transferred into the workplace, always acknowledge the presence of other people in the room. You never know who may be there.

Rule number 2: ask a SPECIFIC barber “how many he has”

Neglecting this rule can have you waiting for hours, time that could’ve easily been saved if you just clarified who you wanted to cut your hair. If you’re just sitting there quietly everyone will assume that you have already spoken to someone. This rule I learned from experience.

Rule Number 3: Be CLEAR in what type of haircut you want

Learn the types of haircuts there are to get. You just saying “yeah that’s fine” to anything can leave you looking like buckwheat for 2 weeks. This rule I’ve also learned from experience.

The 4th and final rule to ensure a positive barbershop experience is:

TIP THE BARBER!!!
If you like what a barber has done show your appreciation in your payment. Give them an incentive to want to cut your hair again. (You never know those tips can possibly determine whether they’re cutting their last head of the day or if they will be ending with you.)

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If you look closely these rules resonate everyday in your life. The way you engage in conversation as you enter a room says something about your presence. Very important in job interviews. Your clarity in haircut description can also transfer into the workforce. When you need tasks completed efficiently and the way you imagined, details can ultimately get you a promotion, or get you fired.

Lastly, the tip is also a life lesson. Display your appreciation for any service you receive. A sure fire way to receive the same service a second time, or a third time. People always appreciate recognition of their good work.

To the African American man the barbershop is a pseudo-sanctuary. Life lessons are learned, opinions are formed, and beautiful relationships are built. So the next time you walk into your local barber shop let “shape-up” take on a whole new meaning.

Leave the Excuses and Become an Example.

The downfall of the Black Man, I believe is our reliance on the excuse. Instead of using the stereotypes as fuel to break the chain of mediocrity, we tend to use it as a crunch. We fear what is outside of our comfort zone and therefore never venture out.  A wise man once said, success awaits, right outside of our comfort zone.

As Men, we try so hard to do things on our own and that contributes to our downfall. Success has always been and will always be a team sport. You can not climb a mountain without gear, the road to success is no smoother and no less steep.

When we fail, as all do, that is not the time to blame the system. This is the time revise your game plan and outwork your past self. The you of yesterday is your greatest opponent.

EXCUSES are no longer acceptable for lack of drive. Too many people blame not having a father growing up for the bad decisions. Personally I  do not see the correlation. During my peak development as a young Man around 10-13, I lived over a 100 miles away from my father and saw him once in those three years. So I could have gotten out of control and said Im going to make long lasting bad decisions but instead, I began reading.

I knew that I did not have access to a strong Black Man, I read up on some, learning what they did as young Black Men to become great. In 7th and 8th grade when I was the only one in my class reading for recreation, I was not only reading extra thick Harry Potter books to grow my reading skills, I also was reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X . By 8th grade I was reading on a 12th grade level. Im not gassing myself, I am just giving an example of how to not become a victim of your circumstance.

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Next point is EXAMPLE, we are Men, as Men we take on the role of leader. Our decisions affect those who watch us. If you go around sagging your pants and calling Women out of their names your little brother, cousin, whomever is to think that, that is what Men do. That is not acceptable. We are the mold for our youth and that responsibility must be taken seriously! There are too many kids that have been to too many funerals because their “ROLE MODELS” want to make irresponsible decisions that affect dozens.

It is never too late to succeed.

I love you, God loves you, Love yourself,

Man of Madu

Becoming Smarta in Sparta.

images-36My Brothers, as Men we are taught to be Warriors, Providers,Conquers and to Sacrifice. But when have we been taught to maintain our temple? We have been taught to hit the gym and make sure our outside are at their prime. But when have we been taught to keep our inner sanctuary as clean its stone exterior? For me, Never. I was taught like many of you that if anything happened, to “Walk It Off” or “You’ll Be Alright”. I recall spraining a finger playing football, and continuing playing with the opposite hand and breaking my ankle and having to walk without aid, up a giant flight of steps and then to the nurses office. But the time for that is over. Ill be alright is no longer an acceptable answer to many of the quarrels that happen within our bodies. We have no choice but to start taking care of ourselves, and sorry to break the news to you but Gram Grams gumbo will not fight Cancer by any means.
Black men lead American cases as the most diagnosed and most Cancer related deaths. This is unacceptable! We must do better if not for us. For our future Queens as well as future princes and princesses. This fallacy of the indestructible black man has to stop! Not now, but RIGHT NOW!
Here is a little story from my life, my dad is a Pastor of his own church as well as works a full time job, so needless to say he is pretty busy. One thing about my dad is he always visited the doctors office regularly. So flashback about nine months ago he goes to doctor for a routine check up, and he is referred to a specialist. Eh no big deal. So time goes by, the appointment for the specialist is never made, life goes on. Now fast forward to early March, dizzy spells set in, fatigue, but you know he is a very active 54 year old man so that does not come without it side affects. So he goes to the doctor and is immediately reserved a spot in a hospital because he has just been diagnosed with Leukemia. Boom. Just like that. Whole world changed. Now he was fortunate enough that they found a match for a blood marrow transplant is a local hospital, which for men of color is not always an easy task.
So back to my original point MEN we can no longer afford, to let our Pride stop us from seeking help. The price has gotten to high. We can no longer afford to say ‘Ill be alright. images-37We can no longer afford, self-diagnosis. Why? Because WE can no longer afford to lose our black men. With every life battle loss, we lose a preacher, a teacher, a father, a mentor, a brother, a husband. If we are to be soldiers, then we must take every precaution to stay on this earth as long as we can. If you have insurance, USE IT. I know some of us dont, but then it is your responsibility to find free clinics to make sure your fire is not extinguished before it can heat the heart of another.
My Brothers, WE must love ourselves how God has love us in order to reach each and every personal mountaintop that we may have.
Hotep.

Taking the “why” out of the Y-Chromosome

Being a Man is not a Destination but a Journey. There is no one path, speed or direction. Allow me to be your Atlas, Walking Stick and Rest Stop.
Growing up I was fortunate enough to have many greats instructors, when it came to Manhood. I gained various perspectives on love, responsibility, work ethic, etc. But biggest lesson was that Knowledge without Application is Sustenance without growth. You can be the smartest man in the world but if you do not display this knowledge by ways of fellowship, academia or what have you, then what is it worth?
As everyone has something to gain, we also all have something to give. Share your stories, anecdotes, Pop Pop’s style guide, whatever you want! Let your blessings become blessings to others. Lets us grow together as Men and as people. THIS IS A CONVERSATION, not a lecture so if whether its a Amen or a Hell Naw! let you voice be heard!
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“One man with courage makes a majority.”
–Andrew Jackson