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LOCAL VOICES: Redefining Black masculinity – the new ‘Carefree’

Now, according to some eerie pipsqueak psycho-babble, Black males don’t yet know who they are in terms of their masculinity The so-called “carefree” Black male as attributed to the mannerisms and fashion statements of actor Jaden

Now, according to some eerie pipsqueak psycho-babble, Black males don’t yet know who they are in terms of their masculinity

The so-called “carefree” Black male as attributed to the mannerisms and fashion statements of actor Jaden Smith, is having some difficulty catching on in two demographics — among his teenage peers and among “old school” baby boomers and older. Whoever hatched this egg are a mite too early; traditional Black masculinity isn’t ready — may never be ready — to concede the traits of a “real man” as defined by God, who made him in the first place.

There is a way that a man should look and behave. It was passed down the timeline by our fathers, forefathers, great-forefathers, in perpetuity.

Idiosyncrasies by societal norms, like flowers adorned in hair styling, define the new "Carefree" Black male.

Idiosyncrasies by societal norms, like flowers adorned in hair styling, define the new “Carefree” Black male.

Young Smith’s example may be his own personal redefinition. In fairness he never affirmed dresses, skirts, and flowers in his hair as the new Black masculinity; others have done that for him. It should be underscored — “others” outside the skin of a Black male. A feature article appearing in another digital news medium set off a tsunami that arrested the attention of the Compton Herald’s readers, thanks to social media. We felt compelled to engage the issue

The attempt to redefine Black masculinity is met mostly with scorn, here. As noted, Black masculinity is entrenched as the sable earth — time stamped and eternal.

Read, here, some of the opinions of others.

Dunn Eric. “The next time mainstream or ‘half’stream’ presents an image, idol, or identity that erroneously represents or represses the Black male, reflect on the portrayal(s) that have been and are associated with our race. Now you’re actually going to have a conversation — that I can or should take seriously — from someone who says god is a ‘she’ (I purposely wrote that in lowercase) because the Bible uses ‘god’ as in ‘of this world.’ Anything but a man is perfectly okay with those who continue oppressive ways. [Jaden Smith] is only redefining himself. And by the way, what dictionary is he in?

Renae Taylor-Johnson. “Why would [Black masculinity] need redefining? I think being a ‘Man’ is pretty much across the board. There isn’t a different definition for each race.”

Deborah Jackson. “I hope he’s not redefining Black anything!”

Debra Craft-Trepagnier. “Is he Black?”

George Bell. “[This is] Neo-Paganism at its best!”

Ezra Nero. “Who is he [to redefine] masculinity? Not in my neighborhood. This is white bull—-!”

Evelyn J. Greenwood. “Love your description!”

Azel Pickett. “You couldn’t talk that s— in Compton back in the day.”

Ezra Nero.  “You can’t get away with it, today!”

Azel Pickett.  “Ezra, I know that’s right. Keeping it real.”

Ezra Nero.  “True.”

Renae Taylor-Johnson. “I do find it interesting [regarding] the number of comments for this particular post, as Jarrette [Fellows Jr.] posts on a number of weighty subjects that go without comment, but judging this young Black man is receiving numerous comments. Perhaps we should all just take a step back and realize what we say about this young man says more about us than him. Perhaps the fact that he is financially set for the rest of his life makes us feel a certain way. Perhaps we do not want to see another do well, is what’s happening here. Because he is young and without struggle, we condemn his every move. Sure he is eccentric, but that’s no reason to judge him. If he feels the need for self-redefining, live and let live.”

Danita Green. “I totally agree!”

Dunn Eric. “As an educator, I [strive] to be a role model for young men. I would never leave a comedy concert and say, ‘I want to be just like those guys,’ but I try to be funny every now and then. Society has almost ‘made’ us assume guilt when we perceive or feel out of sorts with another’s character. Then we are judged as being judgmental.

“There are many Black American males, young and old who are sagging, smoking, banging, among other things and they are deemed thugs,ghettoish, and criminal, purely from their appearance by the mainstream and others. But they have seen these portrayed and paraded with no intent of making it big in Hollywood or elsewhere.

“Image or the definition of image has an impact on both the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ Just because a man puts on a wig or a dress doesn’t mean I have to follow suit. regardless if I’m broke or rich. Start with preserving and restoring and uplifting the Black community rather than thinking what brand of clothing a young man is wearing to make a statement of impact or redefinition, especially for Black males.

“Can a man just be a man without falling prey to what’s erroneously considered as bigoted or intolerant if we remain mute and ‘accepting’ because of gender bending? Is [Jaden Smith] Scottish? Remember, celebrities are paid to wear, speak, perform, etc. But life doesn’t always have to imitate art or another’s image. He will do well regardless of what he is wearing or what is imprinted on his forehead. He is the son of Will Smith. But, no need to copy or imitate those things, though.”

Chuck Hicks. “Look up the definition of “masculine.” Whatever you want to call him, he’s not masculine. This is not judgmental. You can’t call a vegetable a fruit and claim to have redefined it! Why do we agree with this “eerie pipsqueak psycho-babble” BS because it’s politically correct? Also, why are they claiming that he’s redefining Black masculinity and not just masculinity in general? If you can’t see what’s going on here you’re brain dead.”

Diane Hampton Powell. “I think [Jaden Smith] is trying to find himself and that cannot be generalized to all men or all Black men.”

Bryan Manson. “Well said, Diane.”

KC Long. “Right. Nope, not in my manly book.”

Arthur J Gray. “ ‘Eerie pipsqueak alien psycho-babble!” Well, stop beating around the bush — tell us what you really think about it! Ha! I do agree it’s absurd that he (a boy) can ‘redefine’ Black masculinity!”

Dunn Eric. “Shammy. Chime in and comment from a collegiate or university perspective. My response, of course, isn’t surprising. I’m going to hold off and try to remain serious and not assume someone left for or arrived to a costume party.”

Damien Cox. “Agreed, Jarette. [Jaden Smith] is defining himself, not an entire gender. And as much as his ‘style’ is being pushed on our young men, it is not something that should be emulated.”

Anthony Jackson. “Masculinity is a bull—- construct built by White men to maintain patriarchy and world dominance and yet many brothas, with only White patriarchy as their model for ‘manhood,’ have bought into that bull—. F— that!

James Frost. “The definition of masculinity is having to do with maleness and having the qualities associated with being a male and that is a construct of White men. How? I’m waiting….”

Anthony Jackson.  “According to who? What are the qualities associated with being a male? Mass shootings? Violence toward one another and especially females? Mutilation of females? Female dominance and sex slavery? My point is dialectical, your definition is problematic. It ignores a whole lot that is corrupt and vile with masculinity while focusing only on perceived qualities that are ‘desirable.’ We sick. Name a mass shooting done by females. I’ll wait.”

Salina Gray. “Standing ovation, Baba Anthony!”

Kyndall Allen Brown. “I totally agree with your point, but there was a woman at the University of Alabama a few years ago who conducted a mass shooting.”

Anthony Jackson. “Kyndall, thanks for the correction.”

Kyndall Allen Brown. “It is still an anomaly.”

Ural Garrett. “[Jaden Smith] is a carefree young Black man. Today, we need that now more than ever. Black men aren’t monolithic. Let’s stop this traditionalist vs. progressive BS. Maybe it’s time we all start to really understand each other more.”

Jane Creighton. “[Jaden Smith]  has no standing to [redefine Black masculinity. He needs] to behave like [a child! He is] off-putting.”

Anne Wolfstein. “My middle schoolers have not embraced this ‘mainstream’ yet.”

Albert Nero. “You have got to be kidding.”

Candace Cooper. “I would not be presumptuous enough to weigh in on the topic of what defines masculinity. Especially, Black masculinity. My image of this comes from my father [RIP 1985] who fits my personal description — ‘tall, dark, handsome, smart, strong, and kind.’ But, Jarrette Fellows Jr., your phrase ‘eerie pipsqueak alien psycho-babble’ is one to remember! LOL! Nevertheless, standards may change and I bet there are some young girls out there that think ‘[Jaden Smith]’ is the man.’ Hard to imagine … but I’m sure it is true.”

Toni Jean Randall. “He is the son of a very wealthy couple. He can afford to redefine all day.”

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.

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