Sometimes I Cry: The Toxic Hypermasculinity Of Black Men

Sometimes I Cry: The Toxic Hypermasculinity Of Black Men

We are beautiful human beings who refuse to be seen as racist objectifications conceptualized by a white racial framing.
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Sometimes when I'm alone
I cry because I'm on my own
The tears I cry are bitter and warm
They flow with life but take no form
I cry because my heart is torn
and I find it difficult to carry on
If I had an ear to confide in
I would cry among my treasured friends
But who do you know that stops that long
To help another carry on
The world moves fast and it would rather pass you by
than to stop and see what makes you cry
It's painful and sad and sometimes I cry
and no one cares about why. –2Pac Shakur
















Black men are hurting. As black men trying to survive in America, we demand that we are respected as human beings. The toxicity that we know as hypermasculinity has affected my melanated kindred and me for eons. Since slavery, we have been repudiated of our freedoms and civil rights, stripped of our identities and have been demonized as sub-humans who are incapable of having emotions. Black male hypermasculinity has been utilized as a culturally hegemonic tool, which reinforces negative stereotypes of black men across the Internet, the news, magazines, and the radio.


I will profess one of my experiences of black hypermasculinity, a few of its corrosive aftereffects, and lastly, emotions. Emotions are integral to what makes you and me human. Emotions are a facet of black humanitarianism. Growing up, I was both a hyperactive and reticent child. Though I had days where I kept most of my feelings to myself, I was a very sensitive person. At the end of the day, I was always smiling:


Throughout my academic life: elementary, middle and high school, I hardly interacted with my classmates. I rarely talked to my parents. From when I left for school to when I got off the school bus, my mom would ask me how my day was.

I was often irritated and upset with myself. Reluctant to say anything, but aching to explain how my day was, I gave brief responses to her like “fine” or “don’t worry about it.” My mom would look into the languor in my eyes. She in a worriedly frantic tone of voice, would ask me what was wrong.

"Please, tell me what's wrong. You know I love you. You can talk to me anytime," She'd say.

Before I would get the chance to speak, she'd impulsively urge me to give her a hug. I would irritably refuse to hug her. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even look back at her to respond. I’d willingly glare straight. I was afraid of saying anything to her. I was afraid she wouldn’t understand.



I was afraid that if I uttered words concerning my feelings, I’d get so panic stricken that I’d start whimpering. It would worry her even more. I had made myself believe that even if I told my mother what was bothering me, there would be nothing she could do about it.


I hated crying. I hated feelings. I hated them both so much that I’d internalize my own feelings and condemn myself for crying or for the simple fact that I had feelings. I held the preconceived belief that having emotions depicted me as a weakling.


Today, I can still recall hearing rude, dismissive remarks such as “get over it,” “be a man,” “grow a pair,” “stop complaining” and “don’t let it get to you.” I can proudly say I am more open about my feelings than I was five-plus years ago. If I always repressed my emotions and pretended this racist, judgmental society has never affected me socially, economically, institutionally, racially and psychologically, I’d be perpetuating the myth of black hypermasculinity. Today, as black men, we are still stigmatized by both our black community and our white counterparts.


But why?

Gangsta rap, being one of the most prominent subgenres of rap music, is predicated on an essentialized, and limited construction of a hyperbolized black male subjectivity. But what is black hypermasculinity? Black hypermasculinity is a social construct represented by a white male patriarchal perspective.

This construct exaggerates black men as over-domineering, super-powered, callous, deranged, insensitive and animalistic brutes. Black hypermasculinity is the racist, deprecating term used to dehumanize the validity of black humanitarianism.

Some black men might exhibit more “masculine” traits than white men, however, that does not make a black man more or less viable than his white counterpart. In the mid-'90s era of hip hop, the music industry has reinforced the idea of black hypermasculinity, and still to this day, it manifests itself through aggressive verbal battles, and physical disputes.

In gangsta rap etiquette, several rappers in their fluid and eloquent, but rugged, braggadocios and brash lyrics, have engaged in hyperbolic masculinity. Moreover, it dictates a volitional desire for violence. Rhyming about their virility, strength and exaggerated invincibility, imagined or real deaths of a competitor that induces no remorse or sorrow. These characteristics alone negatively reinforce the personification of black men in gangsta rap music in American society.

In spite of white businessmen perverting the aesthetic of hip-hop culture, delineating the art form as “criminal” and “nihilistically self-fulfilling”, essentially, with emotively charged lyricism expressed by 2Pac, Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Raury and Capital STEEZ, and the like, have successfully dismantled the myth of black male hypermasculinity. And like these iconic figures in hip-hop, it’s our obligation to do the same.

In this society, we as black men are condemned for showing our feelings, let alone admitting that our feelings exist. Our white counterparts demonize and denounce our humanity. Some whites are surprised by the fact that we are no more human than them. By our own black community, we been mocked, teased and dismissed for exhibiting our humanness. This must end.


In order to dismantle this ongoing stigma, we must show our emotions. We must show our vigor. We must show our happiness. We must show our anger. We must show our loneliness. We must show our melancholy. We must show our guilt. We must show our bitterness. We must show our tears.

Crying is a natural response to our pains and our joys. Our cries should be resonant ones, cries of cathartic release, cries of our brethren who are weaponized wherever we go, cries of our brethren ruthlessly being murdered near their homes, in the streets, with no logical, justifiable premises as to why. We must show feelings because feelings are an integral facet of manifesting humanness.

We are human beings, and we demand that we are respected as human beings. With that said, I urge you, black men of America...to cry.



Cover Image Credit: http://www.ew.com/sites/default/files/i/2015/04/06/the-game.jpg

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Poetry On Odyssey: I was I am

A poem for those struggling with who they were.

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it seems almost like a page

in someone else's book now


how there was

a time that i thought

i could have been happy

with someone like you


a million years before

i knew who i was

and that i should mean so much more

than i ever did to you


i almost can't remember

the way you held your elbows or

the way you said the letter o or

the way you told me goodnight


it seems now

that all i can recall

are my relentless tears and

the fear that this was the love

that everyone spoke about


the fear that this

was what id have to live with

for the rest of my life


i remember those late nights

just you and i

you always got what you wanted

i was always too afraid to upset you

looking back i wonder why

i couldnt leave you then


but you kept me

my misery maintained until

i felt like nothing


that night was the record scratch

When I knew my life

Shouldn't be like this.


It wasn't until I finally broke our ties

That I started to remember

Who I am.

But my mind is clear now.

I can remember

How strong I am,

How perfectly happy I am

On my own.


It seems almost like a page

In someone else's book now.


You're finally fading away.

I just wish my scars could fade as quickly.

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