F7LN: Fredi Nyashia's 7 Loves..Nstruments of Nspiration
Beloved Black Men..You Will Know!
I often talk to my Black brothers, and no matter if single, married, divorced, young, or old, I’ve listened to them express feeling undervalued, ignored, hated, unsupported, and attacked. The way society and media in general often depict, negate, ignore & minimize them & their greatness has been something I often speak of and have been truly passionate about for years. I dare not make light of the plight of us women nor various issues that have plagued our communities, and yet it is not often enough that I see the championing of Black men.
And I don’t mean in the sense of our reaction to the school-to-prison pipeline or to Trayvon Martin, Laquan McDonald, and other deplorable killings. I’m talking about proactively acknowledging, uplifting, and creating spaces online, in media, in our homes, at work and our communities, for Black men to be positively represented, heard…loved.
Late last night I was playing the song “U Will Know” by Black Men United, that I’ve loved over the years and always has touched me and sparked me to write this post. There are a few people that inspired this as well, but I will speak to that.
Outside of Father’s Day and a few headlines that acknowledge them, it seems rare to see Black men celebrated, their challenges discussed or addressed, perspective respected, and to see us women simply being proud, acknowledging all that they do, supporting, and spiriting them on to continue in the path God created for them.
My big brother from another mother, Khalid (a social worker, counselor, & mentor for young brothers, sisters & families) throughout the years, honors a Black Woman of the Month/Week on his Facebook page, by putting a collage of photos of a specific woman to celebrate. Last week he posted for seven days “Celebrating Black Men Week” while posting about Black Dads, Black Celebrity Men, Dr. King, and more. I couldn’t help but think, why don’t I see more of this…intentionally celebrating and honoring Black men, and even everyday fathers, brothers, uncles, and the like.
Though the first year I started this blog in 2012, among my first posts was “My Love Letter To Black Men”, yet as in anything that I’d like to see change of more of, I recognize I must be willing for it to start with me.
Listening to the song, I got teary-eyed thinking about my god-nephew, Tyler, who is raising a young 1 year-old son. It moves me to see him, at age 21, seeking to be the best man he can be, especially for his son. And I also think about my nephew, Darius, who I couldn’t be more proud of, a college graduate, now married, raising his 3-year old daughter. For all you powerful men raising children, mentoring our youth, studying in school, being activists, writing books, supporting wives & families, ministering in church, serving our country, coaching teams, operating businesses, teaching, creating, empowering, inspiring, loving and so much more, these lyrics I pray that despite life’s ebbs & flows, inspire & encourage you. And that you know how valuable, valued and loved you truly are.
Your dreams ain’t easy Just stick by your plan To go from boys to men You must act like a man When it gets hard, y’all You just grab what you know Stand up tall and don’t you fall
And you will know.
And even still…in the song, it is stated “you must act like a man” and then “stand up tall and don’t you fall”. What does that truly mean? My challenge is that we typically think of a certain strength and character of men (versus being a boy), but that doesn’t mean you can’t show hurt, pain, tears, anger. There is a certain strength in being comfortable in expressing how one feels, and to be honest, often we as women don’t always allow for you to do that. And at times we ALL fall. Those are the learning opportunities in life. Though we may try not to fall, which speaks to doing the best we can, but when we do fall, look and embrace the lesson from it, as well as the journey of life itself and then truly YOU WILL KNOW.
Dedicated to the one who has been the most influential man in my life, my dad, Fred Holloway.