In recent years the American media has become increasingly obsessed with showing emasculated images of black men. These images have infiltrated television media, movies, music and fashion. Inundating young consumers with a distorted perception of what it is to be a black man.
The softer effeminate unisex image of black men is more marketable, less threatening, and generally more palatable to white America. Effeminate black men are used as a marketing tool for beauty supplies, clothing, music, and much more. This image is used to reflect the broad diversity of a product and has become widely over used.
As a conscious black man, I believe this relentless campaign has the potential to further destabilize the already fragile black family unit. since the end of slavery, 1865, America began to methodically control and or genocide it’s black population. We were criminalized by the Jim Crowe laws, unjustly imprisoned and sold into corporate slavery and lynched but when we fought for civil rights our leaders were publicly assassinated and then our communities were flooded with illicit drugs, which in turn justified the mass imprisonment of more black men. Ours is a history of uphill battles in a country that has never seen us as equals. In this war for our very humanity here in America new weapon has been unleashed and it is the emasculation of our men in the media. This is not a new tactic…
In early film history, going as far back as the silent movies, blacks were depicted as subservient, their faces covered in black paint and their lips highlighted with white makeup, i.e. black face. This was early medias outward projection of how the black man was viewed by this country. This disrespectful image was agreeable to a racist nation who sought always to keep blacks under foot and today this trend continues, but instead of using black face to humiliate and degrade us, now it’s the barrage of feminine black men, often wearing tight women’s clothing as many of the hip hop artists do today. The black man has always been unfairly seen as a threat.
The media and the music industry has effectively neutralized that perceived threat by creating a more marketable black man, the effeminate black man with a softer voice overly concerned with fashion and materialism. For me though, the most disturbing part of this trend is the potential effect on the young man who are the future of black America. These boys who have lost their fathers to the war on drugs and mass incarceration as well as other wars that we face will look to the medias demeaning examples of us and aspire to be like them which will in turn leave another generation without real men and true role models.
There are many who will see this as anti gay rhetoric but I assure you I am not anti gay or homophobic. I believe a persons sexuality is their own. I am only speaking out against these false exaggerated media images of todays black man the same way someone would object to the use of black face.
I believe we owe the black boys of this nation as many positive uplifting and powerful examples of what it means to be a real man as possible. We must be aware that what comes through the television or internet has a strong impact on the minds of the youth. We have to lay the foundation for the next generation by revitalizing the archetype of the true black man in the media and in our daily lives.