I stay on Instagram a lot, for research purposes of course. Sike, let me stop playing. I’m on there checking out phat asses. I also follow a few regular people and men’s fashion pages. One day an interesting image came across my feed. It was a split picture of four Black men. On one side of the picture it showed four muscular men with their shirts off wearing nothing but shorts. On the other side it showed the same men wearing lab coats. The caption read, “If you saw the picture on the left you wouldn’t think that these same 4 men are pharmacists. That’s the problem.” The person who had a point.
On one hand it wasn’t a bad thing. For all the talk about obesity in Black women many Black men are not too far behind. We need to be in the gym as well. On the other hand I see the point of the message. Globally Black men are recognized for their bodies. The muscle picture by itself is normal. Many women will go crazy over the bodies. Indeed, many Black men develop large followings on social media based on their bodies. We’re more than our bodies. The image of the brothas in the lab coats need to be shared as well.
A big issue in this culture has always been the depiction of the Black male. The images have historically been negative. The reason is that Black men had very little control over the media presentation. Our images were either something to make the mainstream population comfortable or used to scare the same population. A great example of this was the 1915 film by D.W. Griffith, “Birth of a Nation” which glorified the Ku Klux Klan. Negative images of Black men are still promoted to this very day. Unlike the situation in 1915 we can present more positive images via social media.
There was a time when in order to promote any type of media one would have to go through the editors of major media outlets. These outlets were gatekeepers who always promoted the agenda they deemed fit. The beauty of social media is that anyone with a decent Wi-Fi connection can promote any image they want. There are no more excuses.
We have the means to promote the images of Black men doing positive things. The images could be businessmen on Instagram or videos of Black men cleaning up a community on YouTube. It could brothas sharing positive images on this very site, the Black Juggernaut, the Negro Manosphere. No longer do we have to wait for “them” to do something. We don’t have to march and beg “them” to show us in a positive light. We can do this ourselves.
The beauty of it all is that it doesn’t take a lot of money. We also don’t have to focus on one area. Other than the phat booty women I come across on Instagram, there are plenty of positive Black male images. On my feed alone, I will get something for motivational speakers, fitness professionals, fashion designers, and community activists. All of these men have decent followings. We can step this up. I am issuing a challenge to all the Black men reading my words.
Regardless what you are doing whether for yourself, or for the community, share it on social media. If you’re the dude who cuts the grass for elderly neighbors share pictures of that. If you work at a food pantry share images of that. No positive image is too small. This is something every Black man with a smartphone can do. Even supportive women can share pictures of the positive things the Black men in their circles are doing.
For more than a century Black men allowed others to control our images. We the power now to change that reality. Let’s do it.
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