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VISUALS

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 Spiffy, 2018

Spiffy, 2018

 
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BROTHERS LOVING BROTHERS

Respect yourself, my brother,
for we are so many wondrous things.
Like a black rose,
you are a rarity to be found.
Our leaves intertwine as I reach out to you
after the release of a gentle rain.
You precious gem,
black pearl that warms the heart,
symbol of ageless wisdom,
I derive strength
from the touch of your hand.
Our lives blend together
like rays of light;
we are men of color,
adorned in shades of tan, red,
beige, black, and brown.
Brothers born from the same earth womb.
Brothers reaching for the same star.
Love me as your equal.
Love me, brother to brother.

– LLOYD VEGA

 
 
 
 "Hip Hop" by Earlie Hudnall Jr.

"Hip Hop" by Earlie Hudnall Jr.

 

MAKING OURSELVES FROM SCRATCH (excerpt)
by Joseph Beam

The gay life is about affectation, but style is not imagemaking. Style at best, is an attitude, a reaction to oppression, a way of being perceived as less oppressed, a way of feeling attractive when we are deemed unattractive. The most beleaguered groups – women, people of color, gays, and the poor – attend most intently to style and fashion. But is it important to know who tailored the suit Malcolm X wore when he was killed? For a people who fashioned beautiful gowns and topcoats from gunnysack, it's nothing, nothing at all, that we can work some leather, fur, or gold. The lives we lead are richer than Gucci or Waterford; our bodies more fit than Fila or Adidas; our survival more real than Coca-Cola. 

As African-Americans, we do not bequeath dazzling financial portfolios. We pass from generation to generation our tenacity. So I ask you: What is it that we are passing along to our cousin from North Carolina, the boy down the block, our nephew who is a year old, or our sons who may follow us in this life? What is it that we leave them beyond this shadow-play: the search for candlelit romance in a poorly lit bar, the rhythm and the beat, the furtive sex in the back street?

What is it that we pass along to them or do they, too, need to start from scratch?

 
 Dana, 2018.

Dana, 2018.

 
 
 
 
 
 Nadav Kander portrait of rising Olympic star, discus thrower Lawrence Okoye

Nadav Kander portrait of rising Olympic star, discus thrower Lawrence Okoye

 

TRUE CONFESSIONS
by Isaac Julien and Kobena Mercer

Our social definitions of what it is to be a "man," about what constitutes "manliness," are not natural, but are historically constructed and culturally variable. The dominant definitions of masculinity, accepted as the social norm, are products of a false consciousness imposed by patriarchal ideology.

The present repertoire of images of black masculinity – from docile Uncle Tom to Superspade heroes like Shaft – have been forged in and through the histories of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism. A central strand of the "racial power" exercised by the white male slave master was the denial of certain masculine attributes to black males, such as authority, dignity, and familial responsibility. Through these collective historical experiences, black men have adopted and used certain patriarchal values such as physical strength, sexual prowess, and being in control to create a system of black male gender roles in which macho tactics are used to cope with the repressive and destructive power of the plantocracy and the state.

The stereotype of the black "mugger" is paradoxically perpetuated by the way black male youth have had to develop macho behaviors to resist harassment, criminalization, and the coercive intrusions of white male police forces into their communities. The apparent incorporation of patriarchal values into black male gender identities is a contradictory process. In sports, for example, there are concrete advantages to be gained from appearing to play up to white expectations.

 
 Mohammed, 2018.

Mohammed, 2018.

 

SACRIFICE

Had my father known
when he cast forth his offering
to the sea of my mother's womb
what creation their joy would bring
would he have welcomed the
man/she child in its birth
heralding my duality as natures
zenith (in human form)
and blessed the son he held for all to see
keeping my sister/self obscured, until
i understood my second destiny–
or would he have shuddered at
the fate his loins possessed
and retracting from those clashing thighs,
let the seeds that bore such strains
meet their end upon the ground

– ADRIAN STANFORD

 

 
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 Inside Out. 2018

Inside Out. 2018

 
 

"...the sexuality of black icons is deemed inappropriate for public discussion, and thus, electric fences are erected around these issues, fences of silence, confoundment, and denial. This is done in an attempt to prevent black icons from being undressed to discover whether they were really kings, queens, or ordinary tramps. And these fences are most surely erected to keep the icons "unsullied" by issues of sexuality, and erected to prevent black gays and lesbians from claiming historical affirmations and references for our desires."

– Essex Hemphill (In response to an attempt by George Bass to stop American audiences from seeing "Looking for Langston" by Isaac Juilen) "Undressing Icons", Brother to Brother

 
 Pluto, of course. 2018

Pluto, of course. 2018

 Interim. 2018

Interim. 2018

 
 Rajan, 2018.

Rajan, 2018.

 Rajan, 2018.

Rajan, 2018.