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The Sunday before Christmas, I went to a concert at home in Nashville by KEM. Some of you might not be familiar with KEM. He’s real grown and sexy. Grown. And. Sexy. An old school type of soul singer—though he is only in his early forties, he kicks it with the likes of Ron Isley and Patti LaLelle.
Well—sho’nuff—this Nashville born, Detroit raised Brotha showed up and showed OUT that night. It was a wonderful mix of faith and worship, humor, sensuality and incredible music. For me, it was the perfect way to unwind and enter into Christmas mode. It actually exemplified much of what I truly love about our African American culture. And more specifically, what I love about Black Men. I’m making a generalization here folks— which means that this does not apply to ALL Black Men. But indulge me and enjoy the following observations about Black Men (not boys, but guys who have grown up a bit and are settled or settling into their manhood).
Black Men LOVE their women and like to be expressive about it. Now—it might not always be expressed the way she wants it in the moment she wants it—but real talk, Black Men love their women and want people to know it. During the concert, KEM kept asking the men about their wives – and there were a lot of men in the crowd who were more than happy to sing their praises of their wives. And some who got up and did silly things for their wives. It’s not just for her to know—it’s also for the other cats to know that this treasure is with me! I think that’s true. That’s how it seems.
Black Men love to laugh, crack up, blast on each other and on the rest of us. Sometimes it’s just another expression of love. If that’s not true than my older brother must really hate me. Ha! 😉 The concert was also a comedy show. No for real–the host was Anthony Anderson. Yes—the comedian and actor in all those movies, was up in perhaps the fanciest music hall in Nashville, making wild funny jokes. It was classic. And check this—the Brotha can sing and play the piano! Who knew?! One minute Anthony went from cracking jokes about how he was turning all the women on with his surprise musical talent, to introducing a worship song about praising our King.
And who was mad about it? Not me. It was beautiful, hahaha. I’ll explain why shortly. And if you want to see some footage of the man himself, check it out here.
Black Men are serious about some Jesus. Faith and the church are a big part of Black Culture in the U.S. It’s true that there are more women than men in church. But dire shortage of black males in some churches and in our communities at large is not equivalent for a disregard of Jesus. Honestly, much of it has to do with the New Jim Crow and mass incarceration Black America is suffering from. That’s a whole ‘nother blog though. Regardless, there is a clear deference and respect given towards Jesus, especially in older generations. For some of us it translates to how we live our daily lives and for others it’s a Sunday thing. Even for those who no longer ascribe to Christ, there seems to be a deference in how they address Him in conversation with those of us who still do.
Let me tell you that KEM surprised me. I had heard that he talks about his faith at his concerts. But my goodness—he took us to church. That man is so thankful for how God has met him in life. KEM spoke about how Jesus is the love of his life. Now that there is not something I’m used to hearing from a Brotha outside of the walls of a church. Wow. After the concert his merch booth was not selling t-shirts that said “KEM.” They were selling shirts that said, “Jesus is the love of my life.” Commercialization or not, that’s deep.
Black Men appreciate sexuality in the full context of who we are as women. Remember, I’m talking about mature, grown black men who don’t anymore or never did buy into the hype that their body is a hammer and we woman are simply to be banged at will…and then brag to their bros how many of us they’ve accumulated lately. This is not about video vixens, Tip Drill or any version of songs about lollipops. Unfortunately, there are plenty of Black Men…as well as White Men, Latino men and so on…who are still in that place and see me primarily as an object to gratify their pleasure. No way around that—it’s shitty.
But that’s not what I’m talkin’ bout Willis. 🙂 I’m talking about a deep appreciation for sexuality in grown Brothas that is soooooo good. A Black Man has the ability to appreciate and affirm my body and my sexuality in the context of who I am – which often is not even associated with physicality between me and the gentleman. What do I mean? It’s hard to describe if you haven’t experienced it yourself. But…Black Men recognize that it’s not automatically dirty to acknowledge a women’s beauty, sexiness, appeal. Not only that, Black Men see those things about me as integrated into the larger landscape of what it means to be a women. My femininity isn’t only about my sex appeal—there’s a lot more to it and I think a grown Brotha imbues that awareness.
Come now, think about. Remember Dr. Huxtable—hahahaha. Watching that show as an adult it’s clear that Cliff was lovin’ his time in between the sheets. And there’s no reason to be mad about that. It wasn’t gratuitous or in poor taste. It was just good Black Love. The kind that I haven’t known myself yet, but that I observe many examples of at this point in my life.
During the concert this healthy appreciation of sexuality was at times evident by Anthony Anderson’s funny antics. Or by KEM’s references to how the men in the audience were gonna have a really really good night at home after the concert. We all knew what he meant. I found it pretty refreshing that KEM or Anthony Anderson could make some sort of sexual reference—that was not disrespectful—and transition into another topic pretty seamlessly. Faith, Marriage, Jesus, Sex…they can all be a part of the same conversation, or concert, in a healthy way.
Black truly is beautiful. Now, I’m not elevating Black Men above all other men or saying that they are perfect. What I’m saying is that I love our Black Men. I’m sad about how Black Men are portrayed and perceived. Actually I’m SICK of it. I’m taking back their story because it’s an important part of my story. And believe it or not, in this U. S. of A., regardless of your color, it’s an important part of your story. I’m thankful that Christmas with KEM gave me an opportunity to relish in the things I love about our Brothas and showcase some of who they are to me. Lovers, laughers, worshippers.
For the good Brothas in my life, mad love and respect for ya. Keep on my brothers, keep on. And to KEM. I don’t know what you been drinkin’ in your kool-aid, but Duhhhh—aaaaaaammmmm. You sure can wear a suit, sang (yes, sang) a song, and tell us that Jesus is the love of your life—anytime. Anytime bro.
If you appreciate Black Men too then tell somebody by re-posting OR saying whatever you want and using this highly original and deeply inspired hashtag: #BlackMenRock.