There appears to be something wrong with our black men. Stereotypically, we are unworthy fathers, sex hungry simpletons, or slovenly slumping under our women. We have become all the way lackluster. We are not the leaders that we are supposed to be. We are not the family men we are supposed to be. In turn, Black men have become the “lesser being”.

Then again, I’m not buying into this stereotype. I don’t fit that mold. I know plenty of men that do not fit that mold. I have plenty of friends with varying degrees of success. Hell, at least 35-40% of my closest friends are married, have children, and hold down full time jobs (one or even two). I’m not saying that there aren’t some sorry male specimens out there. Conclusively, I know there are a variety of men to choose from.

Yet, this is rarely recognized because people want to characterize men from rap song and videos. Big mistake.

With so much “going against us” as men, I want to attack one chocolate covered lie at a time. So, here goes nothing: Black men are exactly what you hear/see in rap songs and videos.

The Problem

Part of the problem is that the negativity in hip hop is always receiving an accusatory finger. If there isn’t reference to the scantily clad women in the videos, it is the violent messages being shown [1]. Many want to disparage the images that are seen. Even worse are the lyrics, which can either display murder, ignorance, and sexual immorality [2]. The biggest problem is the misogyny, madness, and violent actions that many think hip hop is all about. Therefore, many people think of hip hop and the lowest common denominator.

Pack FM, hilariously, captured so much with one of his album covers. Who can blame him?

What does this have to do with men? Well, plenty. Since people stereotype black males by the music that they listen to, they have their expectations set. Since the music is ignorant, we should be ignorant. Since the music is misogynistic, we should be the same way. We, as black men, should also be violent. With that said, life has to imitate art.

But are all black men the gold wearing, booty chasing, thugs you see? The media would want you to believe so. Just enough to brainwash kids into believing that mess.

The Bigger Issue

The bigger issue is this: we are actually buying into these caricatures of the black male. While I understand the foolish fashion of the youth, we must understand that they are KIDS. Does this absolve them of responsibility? No. However, they are prone to do the foolish things and imitate the ignorance. Why? They are young and impressionable. They are too busy trying to “feel it all out” and figure situations for themselves.

Where does that leave the grown men? It leaves us cleaning up a mess we shouldn’t even care about or be concerned with. Many people don’t realize that rap music, in itself, is entertainment. Also, there is a pure lack of balance on the radio and in the media. Rap music has so many different factions and styles/genres within itself that the radio can’t even represent them honestly. There is even Christian rap music that has caught popularity and acclaim. Thus, rap doesn’t define Black manhood because “rap is not real”.

I even have a question for anyone reading this: where are the “real” role models for the kids at? Where are the regular people standing up to say “this foolishness on TV is not real life so let it go”? Where are the people here to say that “this is entertainment just like the crazy movies you may watch”? Where are the people to say “sit down, do your homework, and do something with life because rap is just for your listening”? In short, where is the responsibility?

Plus, I don’t hear any of this going on with the Caucasian crowd: they buy the most music anyway.

The Skinny

If you are looking for your model of black manhood, your rap video is not the place to look. It doesn’t define anything about our lives. It is entertainment. Just like some of the movies and those god awful reality shows are mind numbing entertainment, plenty of the music can be considered as such. The more people take this entertainment out of context, the more unnecessary problems we shall have.

‘Nuff said and ‘Nuff respect!