Before you read, take a moment and listen to this song. Listen twice-thrice- if you need, but let the lyrics resonate with you before proceeding. (Click ‘listen in browser’.)
Did you listen? Are we in the same space? Good.
I listened to Kewayne’s track– his mama named him Kewayne… Imma call him Kewayne–an innumerable amount of time to assist in reflecting on my own understanding of the black man’s love. I allowed my heart to hear “Just Like My Ex” rather than my mind. Because [sis] my mind told me ‘FOH, I’M NOT YA EX AND IM NOT YA FUCKING THERAPIST!!!’, but my heart acknowledged that Kewayne bravely displayed his lyrical journal of brokenness.
Relationship Post Traumatic Syndrome:
Ex: Nah, not only does the term “ex” describe little Rayjohn from Uptown who said he wanted your kids and wanted to marry you. However, cheated on you and found love elsewhere. Or Keisha, from the East Side, who crept with homeboy from the rival neighborhood, but manipulated you into thinking you were tripping. Yes, I’m sure that hurt. It may have shaped your perception but those types of exes aren’t the root of our trauma. These disappointing encounters are only the salt on the wound. Someone hurt your heart, created a void, or made you question yourself long before Rayjohn and Keisha.
Ex: Anyone who has set a precedent in your life that threw you off track. Exes are the people who were placed in our lives to build us up. They are the individuals who either strengthened our perception or made it harder to overcome the insecurities they created. The ideology that Black male emotion should be censored, contained concealed is bullshit, but also a source of protection that I respect. This track, conversation with the men I’ve featured, and my own experiences have brought me to this conclusion:
They are hurt.
They are healers.
They have been miseducated about what love looks like… feels like.
They have been mis-loved, have extended and experienced love in ways that they acknowledge were ineffective because of that miseducation; primarily by family, community, relatives, friends.
So peep, I’m not here to define, interpret, or translate what pain and love represents for men. I’m certain neither I nor the other women in your life know how affection manifests for you. The Black Man & His Astounding Capacity For Love has opened my eyes to several things; I couldn’t help but reevaluate the way I’ve understood, or misunderstood, how and why [black] men choose to love us the way they do. Women, we generalize and label what the man’s capacity of love is… when in all actuality we don’t understand them and have not sought understanding. We’ve sought reconciliation, and healing, and extended ultimatums in return for promises to ‘do better’, ‘love harder’, connect with a clearer mind and that has only been to our own benefit. THE END. We’ve wanted their histories as leverage, we’ve wanted their stories so we could find out where we fit in, repair and be reverenced as the one “who made his change all possible”. Raise ya hand if you sought to “fix” a man before. Raise ya hand if it didnt work. Raise both hands if it worked… and another woman profited off of your hard work.
Women we are nurturers by nature so when we peep a need, we tackle it with a solution. But quiet as it’s kept, we got some self-fixing to do and need not mesh our trauma with our romantic partners. And whole time, each man I collaborated with implied getting over his own emotional plight…. on his own timing.
In short sis, I challenge you to mind your business. Don’t fix shit. Instead, push your man to reach his own emotional heights. Support him, hug him, love him, create the safe space, but calm down. You’re still fixing yourself…. how are you gonna fix him?
No shade. (Well, probably shade. But to me too.)
The purpose of this project was and is to spark MALE DIALOGUE.
Because Black male emotionality isn’t taboo. Men, embrace and encourage emotional expression in your fellow brothers. Hearing them out could save their lives.
Lennie, Kurtis, Jiggs, George, DeVon, and Marcus I am so thankful for you. I appreciate your bravery beyond what you know, and big up to the people strong enough to love you.
The magic these men created has inspired me to be the best facilitator of love and healing I can be. I hope you were inspired too.
Black men, love hard, forgive (others and yourself) and talk ya’ shit.
P.S. Comment below and tell me how fire that song is!