A Founding Father Of The Black Manosphere Responds

Aaron G. Fountain, Jr. Tries To Pass Off His Personal Vendetta Against The Black Manosphere As Political Discourse

“And even as a crack fiend, mama
You always was a black queen, mama…”
Tupac, “Dear Mama”

In the week since it was published on one of the world’s largest literary platforms (Medium), Aaron Fountain, Jr.’s hit piece on the Black Manosphere seems to have generated quite a bit of buzz; last time I checked, shortly after I arose this fine Sunday morning, it has garnered over 1K “handclaps” (the Medium’s version of “likes” on YouTube or Facebook). This makes Fountain’s screed one of, if not the highest viewed/clapped piece on the “Level” publication to date.

Personally, I see this as a very good thing for the Black Manosphere – and as one of it’s widely recognized “founding fathers”, I thought that now would be a good time for a response. Because, far from the professorial calm Fountain presents to the world, I know that there is something else driving him deep within. And I aim to let all of you in on exactly what that is, after I first address and deconstruct his arguments, premises and statements per his Mar 2, 2020, “The Black Manosphere is Not An Ally To Black Women”.

Let’s get started, shall we?

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WHAT, EXACTLY, IS THE “BLACK MANOSPHERE”?
Although for those who have followed my and my peers’ work for quite sometime, this question is a bit oldhat; but if Fountain has taught me anything it’s that repetition is the mother of learning, so here goes. The Black Manosphere as it is currently defined and known today, began in 2015 by what is recognized as “the big three”: Oshay Duke Jackson; the Angryman; and yours truly. Each of us wanted to create content in the form of videos, podcasts, talk radio shows, blog and articles and the like, that would center and focus on the present-day, rank and file Black man’s concerns. Personally, my aim was to spark a real and long overdue conversation between Black men and women, by bringing up topics that have either been overlooked or ignored by what I saw as the “gatekeepers” to such conversation in Black American life – that which I refer to as “Black Vaginavision Media”. This is my tongue-in-cheek on-air way of referring to media that caters largely to Black women: Oprah (both on network television and in more recent years, her own network); Essence magazine; the “new” Ebony, which has a decidedly Black woman-centered focus; Madame Noire; For Harriet; Clutch Magazine; and a slew of social media personalities and properties that again, cater to Black women’s perspectives and points of view in these discussions. While I’m on this point, let the record show that I in no way begrudge Black women having media that is geared and caters to them; only noting that there was nothing on the other side. Seeing both a need and an opportunity, I decided to step into the void and I soon learned that I wasn’t alone.

Along with my peers, the Black Manosphere, as it became to be known (and Angryman deserves the credit for the moniker, since he was the first one to use the term publicly that I am aware of), quickly shot up in the YouTube, Facebook and other social media search engine rankings. Aided by longtime Black social media personality and Black men’s supporter in his own right Tommy Sotomayor, it wasn’t long before the Black Manosphere got the attention – and the ire – of quite a few aggrieved Black women online, some of whom had formidable social media platforms in their own right. The battle was joined when, in 2017, a group of them attempted to have the Black Manosphere run off YouTube by way of a Change.org petition. As this writing clearly attests to, their efforts failed – and then the Coalition of the Sistahood itself, comprising media personality/journalist/attorney Sophia A. Nelson, “swirling” expert Christelyn Karazin and a number of lesser-known talents, proceeded to turn on each other into a circular firing squad that makes anything Fountain says about the “boys will be boys” scuffles extant in the Black Manosphere today look downright tame by comparison.

Five years on, I can say with confidence that the Black Manosphere has and continues to grow – the very fact that Fountain exists is proof of that alone – but there is more evidence. As I write this, the owner of the Negromanosphere.com website, where I write a weekly column, is currently in Africa building a full-service production studio with which to produce content for the emerging African market. Yours truly has expanded operations, going from a 15 minute podcast in a bathroom that stood in for a recording booth, to a custom made recording studio and control room, complete with soundproofed walls and floor. I’ve begun the move off YouTube-proper by holding forth on a little-known global streaming radio website, where I average somewhere in the neighborhood of 1K-plus live listeners daily. I’ve recently secured physical office for Obsidian Media Network work, events and meetings. And I’m putting the finishing touches on my first literary effort, “The Book of Obsidian”. Both Oshay and I have been fully self-supporting in these efforts for the past five years – and our financial statements clearly show that there is a market for what we have to offer – whether Fountain likes it or not.

All of which begs the question that Fountain raises in his piece: if indeed the Black Manosphere is little more than the White Manosphere in blackface; and if the White Manosphere is only a step away from the Alt-Right; and if the Alt-Right in turn, is only a step away from that “Basket of Deplorables” as Hillary Rodham Clinton put it four years ago; then that brings us to a harrowing conclusion Fountain and those of his ilk have to grapple with, if they have even a modicum of intellectual honesty…

That the Black elites have failed.

See, if you follow the daisy-chain above, you will have to come to the conclusion I’ve also laid out above. Why? Because that was the conclusion analysts and pundits came to in the days and weeks following Donald Trump’s historic election (For more on this, see “Donald Trump’s victory is nothing short of a revolution”, Nov 6, 2016, The Guardian; “Failing elites are to blame for unleashing Donald Trump”, May 17, 2016, Financial Times; “Liberals struggle to understand Trump victory”, Nov 10, 2016, The Hill. There are many, many other examples of citations in the national and indeed, global news media; simply Google it!). I call it historic and not only due to the “Deplorables Vote”, which has already been established and documented also comprised the White Manosphere and Alt-Right; but also because a record number of Black men turned out in favor of Trump as well (And in the interest of full disclosure – I am one of them). Back in 2016 the estimated percentage of Black men voting for the GOP candidate hovered around 15%, a number not seen since Nixon; and current polling numbers place that support somewhere between 25 and 40-plus percent(!). Either number could, if it materialized at the polls this November, mean a landslide win for Trump the likes of which we haven’t seen since Reagan beat Mondale in the 1980s.

Trump’s electoral win at the hands of the White Manosphere, Alt-Right and Basket of Deplorables was rightly seen as a referendum on the track record of the (White) elites – Left AND Right – and the poll results were overwhelming. So, if indeed this is the hill that Fountain wants to die on, so be it – then he will also have to concede, that the very existence a “Black Manosphere” in the first place is a tacit admission that Black elites – and Fountain, being a doctoral student of History at Indiana University Bloomington will soon be one of them – HAVE FAILED. Which brings us round robin for why I and my peers created the Black Manosphere in the first place – because the Black Elites, almost all of whom are rabidly on the Left, I might add, either overlooked and more than likely mocked, marginalized and attempted to demonize the rank and file Black man and his concerns.

This was borne out in a discussion I had with Brown University academic and the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Economics Dr. Glenn Loury, who was a special guest on my live show last fall. He openly admitted that the focus on Black women and by extension, the fractious nature of relationships between them and Black men, lay at the heart of what he saw as the “dystopian” reality that is Black America today (“A Discussion About Reparations With Prof. Glenn Loury”, Feb 4, 2020, YouTube), as well as admitting the utter failure, for whatever reasons, of the “Ebony Tower” (That is, Black academics and scholars) to correctly assess what besets us as a Black people today. And, as anyone with a bit of knowledge in the natural sciences knows well, that nature abhors a vacuum. Something would fill the void.

Don’t hate because the Black Manosphere stepped in to do the job that Black America’s elites couldn’t, Aaron.

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ADDRESSING THREE CORE CLAIMS
While it would be impossible to meaningfully address Fountain’s nearly 2K-word mess of gross generalizations, factual inaccuracies and rank intellectual dishonesty, it is useful for me to deconstruct three major claims his article puts forth about the Black Manosphere. Let’s take each one in turn:

First, let’s deal with the title of Fountain’s piece: “The Black Manosphere is Not An Ally To Black Women”. But wait – why SHOULD the Black Manosphere “be an ally” to Black women? To what end? And for what purpose? Perhaps the better way to approach and even provide some answers to these questions is to ask whether Black Feminists are “allies” to Black men – and if so, where is the evidence? Nothing I’ve read in the nearly 50 year history of Black Feminism (taking the Combahee River Collective which started circa 1974 as a starting point in the modern era) suggests anything of the sort – and indeed, casts Black men writ large as the very adversaries Fountain accuses the Black Manosphere does of Black women. A few modern instances proving the point will suffice.

Last summer here in Philly, during a Black film festival, Tarana Burke, avowed Black feminist and founder of the #MeToo movement, accosted Black film legend Spike Lee for nearly a half an hour, supposedly about the portrayal of Black women in his films. As Lee rightly pointed out, Burke was wrongheaded for zeroing in on a few films of Lee’s instead of taking a look at the body of his work, something trained folks in the arts know a bit about. But Burke, who’s a Professional Grievancemonger, would have none of it – it didn’t matter that she was woefully unqualified to have a discourse with Lee about his body of work and life in film, all that mattered was that she was a Black feminist and that Lee had a lot to answer for (“Spike Lee & Tarana Burke Have A Heated Discussion Over His Portrayal of Black Women in Films”, Aug 4, 2019, YouTube). When I recently posted an opinion poll to my nearly 10K listeners on my YouTube channel, asking whether they thought Tarana Burke was anti-Black male, OVER SIXTY PERCENT responded in the affirmative, WITH LESS THAN TEN PERCENT voting in the negative. Another clear and present example is one self-styled Feminista Jones, who for years has assailed Black men on social media – her weapon of choice has been Twitter – and finally got her comeuppance, ironically enough, on a gossip website aimed at Black women called Lipstick Alley (“#FeministaLoans: Twitter Activist Feminista Jones out here begging for $250”, Jul 18, 2017). There are many, many other examples, and it all goes to the point that Black men certainly don’t see or feel that Black feminists view them as “allies”. Anything but, in fact.

The second claim that I would like to examine by Fountain, comes from his citation of yours truly and my writing about verbal and emotional abuse on the part of Black women to which I personally bore witness witness to. Instead of determining the veracity of my claims, he instead uses this to build on his false narrative about the Black Manosphere. However, is what I said – about Black women committing various forms of domestic violence – true?

Tommy Curry, former professor at Texas A&M University and currently a chair of Black masculinity studies in Scotland, argues in his excellent work, “The Man-Not”, that Black domestic violence is hardly a unidirectional, “Black man=aggressor, Black woman=victim” affair; but rather, the violence that goes on between domestic partners is BIDIRECTIONAL. Indeed, Curry notes in his book that Black males experience much higher rates for domestic violence than their White counterparts.

But wait, there’s more! In a Nov 5, 2013 article in The Atlantic covers the very real problem of gay and lesbian domestic violence (“A Same-Sex Domestic Violence Epidemic Is Silent”): both bisexual and solely lesbian women experience and perpetrate violence at a rate significantly higher than straight women. And this is seen especially among Black bi lesbian couples – which means, that not only is my claims per Fountain’s article valid, that it is MORESO than commonly believed. And yet, Fountain doesn’t see fit to investigate this matter further? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised; it wouldn’t be the first time that a Black (male) feminist would be patently disingenuous.

The third and final claim that I would like to roundly debunk is the Shawn James citation in Fountain’s piece. Contrary to the way he presented it, I happened to be there when the event to which Fountain refers went down: I had invited James to come on my live show to cordially debate Babatunde Umanah, on the question of what has become the SYSBM (which stands for “Save Yourself Black Man” – the idea that because the pickings for suitable mates in Black America are paltry for Black men, the latter should consider seeking mates beyond Black America’s confines. More on this can be found in the excellent work, “Don’t Blame it on Rio”, by Jewel Woods – and something that holds precious little interest for Fountain, despite his supposed interest in “sex tourism”. Hmm.) movement. Baba and Shawn went at it mano a mano for several hours and it was clear that James was completely out of his depth on the topic of Black men traveling abroad for sexual and feminine companionship and even love. That James’ strident tone and uninformed opinions on the matter certainly didn’t help – and neither did his own admission that he had what most would consider a loser existence, given his age in the mid to late 40s.

This James affair was particularly difficult for me because I had personally befriended James when he was in a tough spot in his life financially; I appealed to my audience on his behalf to help him and we did. So, far from the idea that we were hanging James out to dry, as Fountain would have ignorant readers believe, in truth James got what was coming to him in a fair and equal debate with someone who had been traveling globally for years and has a significant other from a country other than his own in Umanah.

But don’t take my word for it – listen for yourself. Perhaps you won’t be as “bored” as Fountain was, because the debate failed to deliver on the sensational and outrageous that Fountain seems to delight in – so he had to go and make it up (“Obsidian Radio Mixlr – Do Black Men Have A Right To Love – Fri, Aug 30, 2019 FULL FOUR HOUR SHOW” & “Obsidian Radio Mixlr – Addressing The Shawn James Fallout – Thu, Sep 5, 2019 FULL FIVE HOUR SHOW”).

All of which begs yet another question: Exactly what, is Fountain’s motivation in all of this? As he notes in his piece over on Medium last week, he was “tracking” the Black Manosphere before he stumbled upon “Skyler”, so we can’t use that as his excuse. He claims to be interested in the Black Manosphere as a result of Eliot Rodger and (Black) “incels” – but after extensive correspondence with him via email – among other things – I’m not convinced. I think there are deeper, much more personal motivations Fountain has for all this…and that will form the basis of the final section of this response.

SHAMELESS PLUG AD BREAK: Like what you’re reading now? Wait till you see my very first book, “The Book of Obsidian: A Manual for the 21st Century Black American Gentleman”, which comes out Summer 2020! Here’s YOUR chance to help me bring the dream to life, by supporting “The Book of Obsidian Fundraising Campaign”! All the details are over at GoGetFunding.com. Now, back to the article!

THE PERSONAL TRULY IS POLITICAL, AFTER ALL
Because I always like to know who I’m dealing with, shortly after our email correspondence began back in Jan 2020, I did a bit of background research on Fountain and what I found was nothing short of Dickensian. In a Jun 21, 2015 Facebook post, Fountain writes a moving tribute to his recently deceased dad, filled with hardscrabble tales of deprivation, want and poverty. His dad, despite his bad lot in life, was nevertheless a stand-up guy who tried very hard to do right by his kids (Fountain has a younger sister).

Unfortunately, if there was one major mistake Fountain the Elder made, it was in his choice of the Black woman who would give him his kids.

Fountain, Jr. reports in his tribute that he was placed in foster care at a very early age and, while living with his wayward mom, had attended no less than FIVE high schools while his dad wrangled with her in the courts as to who would get legal custody:

“After legal disputes over child custody, my sister and I ended up living with our mother from 2002-2007. For personal reasons, I won’t discuss my time with her. But to make a long story short, I attended five different high schools when I lived with her and would go on to attend three more.”

Whoa – let’s step back for a minute and analyze this. I don’t think anyone reading this would say that living under such conditions at such a tender age would NOT have a serious, marked impact on one’s psyche; indeed, there are full-on adults who deal with the lingering effects of mental, emotional and quite possibly physical trauma that situations like that which Fountain describes of his life still have to deal with. Can we honestly say that Fountain really is well-adjusted?

Repeated attempts to reach out to Fountain to have a sitdown with him by numerous members of the Black Manosphere have fallen on deaf ears – and putting that together with his less than academic bearing and what we now know about his formative years by his own hand, really do raise questions, now doesn’t it? I know it does for me.

Perhaps even more telling, is this: that Fountain has such a burning interest in a sector of the internet THAT ROUTINELY TALKS ABOUT BLACK WOMEN LIKE HIS MOTHER. Could that have anything to do with his interest? Could it be, that he simply cannot bring himself to deal with the fact, that his own mom IS like the kinds of Black women – the “Black Female Fuckery” – that is par for the course in the Black Manosphere? Like my earlier comments on Black female domestic violence and abusive behaviors, could there be a “there”, there? And if so, why doesn’t Fountain grapple with that, instead of displacing it onto others? Isn’t it ironic that the very entity that deals with the kinds of topics that Fountain knows so intimately that he dare not speak them publicly, he seeks to excoriate out of existence? When one sits down to really think about this, one gets the inescapable impression that Fountain’s own motivations here come closer to the psychological than the historical and academic.

And indeed, speaking of the former, this is something that is by no means new; the great suspense film director Alfred Hitchcock understood this all too well when he made his 1960 classic, “Psycho”. The lead character, Norman Bates, had deepseated “mommy issues” that manifested in odd and strange ways – and yes, I am suggesting that our man Fountain may not be at all that far off. Looked at in this way, it certainly puts Fountain’s odd and strange behavior into perspective – doesn’t it?

Now adjourn your asses…

MOA

Mumia Obsidian Ali is a citizen journalist, podcaster, talk radio show host, newly minted dating coach and soon to be book author. You can catch his daily live shows on Mixlr, and his podcasts on YouTube and Black Avenger TV, as well as his weekly dating coach column at the Negromanosphere website. He’s also a semi-professional pest.

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