SYSBM: The Hidden Self-Love Movement

The Hidden Self-Love Movement For Black Men
The Hidden Self-Love Movement For Black Men

“Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself
If you don’t respect yourself
Ain’t nobody gonna give a good cahoot, na na na na
Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself”
-The Staple Singers

“And when you’re with your friends, I glide to the side
Until the spotlight is mine and never sabotage a good time
But when they’re not around, the fights commence
I’m the one you’re against and it doesn’t make sense
Cause I’m the one that you claim to love for life
But all I get is gray hairs and strife
And I can play some ole stuck-up rapper role
And get foul every time you lose control
But that’s not my order of operations
So I should win an award for lots of patience
Cause that’s all a fella can have
With a girl who’s shootin’ up his world like Shaft
And I don’t think that I can take it anymore
I’m lookin’ at the front door”
-Main Source

Let’s be honest – when we as Black Americans hear the words “self-love” you immediately think, “Black women” and the battalion of experts of varying stripe that cater to them. The premise, as it is de facto defined by the aforementioned and wholeheartedly accepted by millions of Black women nationwide over the past few decades at the least, is that Black women should (even must!) stop putting everyone and everything before themselves; that their self-care, self-esteem and self-respect is a sine qua non of their well-being and happiness. “Self-love” has been so closely associated with “Black women” over the past few decades, that it is kinda alien to think of it in any other way. From Michael Baisden and Oprah Winfrey at the close of the last century to Derrick Jaxn and Stephan Labossiere in the new one and everyone in between, “self-love” has been a staple of “Black Love” discourse that has, again, come to mean in working terms, that Black women must look out for themselves and “get their best life”. Some would even go so far as to say, that this “self-love thing” is “for Black women only”.

You know, “self-love for me, but not for thee”.

And then the SYSBM movement came along.

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Before I “go in” in this section, let me say that for the record, I am in no way against the notion of “self-love” and all that it has come to entail for Black women; indeed, after listening intently to the messages of the aforementioned names above, neither I nor anyone who fancies themselves as a thoughtful person could be against anyone, in this Black women, being for what is best for their physical, mental and emotional well-being; that they can and should make time for themselves, their dreams, hopes and aspirations; that they should limit, if not cutout altogether, “toxic people and situations”; and that they should “live their best lives”.

I am merely saying that self-love is for Black men, too.

In my previous column, “What Do Older Black Women Have To Offer In The Black American Dating Marketplace?” (Nov 18, 2019), I discussed the Black American cultural notion of “Black Love” as relates to the Black male role:

“In a series documenting the supposed triumph of “Black Love” on the Oprah Winfrey Network in the summer 2018, 64 year old Tina Knowles not only emasculated her second hubbie, veteran actor Richard Lawson, she eviscerated him on international television. The look on the long suffering Lawson’s face really said it all as to how much he’s had to endure in the name of “Black Love”. Of course, Lawson was soon seen to be the one in the wrong as is so often the case in Black “communitah” life, because Black women – especially those who attain “big mama” status – can never, ever, do any wrong. It didn’t matter that Knowles’ overbearingly bitchy behaviors were on display for all the world to see – no, that was only a “strong Black woman” we saw and Lawson simply wasn’t “man enough” to take and deal with it. That, last time I checked, Lawson remains with Knowles to this day instead of taking his mic off, getting up and walking out mid-interview, only reinforces this truly dysfunctional “communitah” view. Black men in general and older Black men like the now-72 year old Lawson are expected to take what can only be described anywhere else normal outside of Black America as abuse – verbal, mental, emotional, psychological and even physical. And the expectation arises from the fact that Black women like Knowles were somehow “survivors” of select fuckboys like her first hubbie, Michael Knowles. You see, because Knowles was a serial cheater and Tina has had to bear the brunt of all that, it then gives her the right to be a bitch – and a “good” Black man like Lawson should have to grin and bear it. That’s A1 DUMPING and it’s deeply ABUSIVE, as all the world got to see on television in the summer of 2018 – and yet, the demand that “good” Black men put up with Black women like Tina Knowles not only persists, but it has seen a decided uptick in the time since.”

Going further, in a column that preceded the one cited above (“Damaged Goods: DO NOT USE”, Nov 4, 2019), your correspondent detailed in historical terms, the underpinnings of the Black male role in “Black Love” writ large:

“One major reason why the notion that Black men writ large “ain’t shit” has such powerful cultural force in Black American life, is due to the so-called “Race Man” of a bygone era. Writing in his classic work, “Streetwise: Race, Class & Change in an Urban Community”, a powerful volume that details the deep and profound change that Black communities underwent in the late 1980s and 90s due to a myriad of forces, not the least of which being the drugs trade and gentrification, Yale University professor Elijah Anderson documents the following:

“It may be that such rewards are related to what Cayton and Drake (1962) called
the “race man.” In the days of the traditional segregated black community, the race
man was one who felt an intense responsibility to “the race,” to the point of view-
ing most events, especially public ones involving white society, as having definite
implications for the well-being of blacks. To such men it was important to present
their race in a positive light, particularly to whites. The traditional old head in the
present-day black community embodies a significant amount of the race-man ide-
ology. His attempt to help young boys is also a way to help the black community. It
demonstrates to whites that black people are decent, law-abiding, and respectable.

In the old days young boys would gather around an old head on a street corner
or after Sunday school to listen to his witty conversation and moral tales on hard
work and decency. They truly felt they were learning something worthwhile from
someone they could look up to and respect. One of the primary messages of the
old head was about good manners and the value of hard work: how to dress for a
job interview and deal with a prospective employer, how to work, and how to keep
the job. Through stories, jokes, and conversation, the old head would convey his
conception of the “tricks of the trade.””

This is where the present-day notion on the part of many in Black America – among both Black women AND quite a few Black men(!) – that a particular type of Black men is socially, economically and even morally responsible for “da communitah” as a whole – and this notion shows no signs of abating anytime soon. The “race man” was seen in a very real sense as a surrogate father to the wayward boys of da communitah and it was his charge to raise them up. Of course, the select fuckboys – they were referred to as “rolling stones” back then – were never quite called into account for their “hit and run/love em and leave em” ways.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, huh?”

Indeed, they do! And today in our time, this “race man” notion remains strong – not only among Black women, but a not insignificant number of Black men, as social media personality and “Pro-Black Family Man” Lenon Honor so aptly demonstrates in his numerous videos online. Here’s one, dated Jun 17, 2019, titled, “Manhood Training ~ The Idea Of Serving And Protecting ~ Becoming A Man Without Your Father” on YouTube, where Honor goes on at length and in detail, about his view that a Black man’s principal (and only?) purpose in this life is to be “of service” to his family and by extension, his community. On its face, I don’t have a problem with that – but the problem I DO have, is (1), that one gets the distinct impression that this isn’t a volunteer army, but rather one is dragooned into “service”; and (2), that there is very little that a Black man today gains from the enterprise, as I noted in the aforementioned column:

“While it barely requires even asking, we nevertheless press on and consider exactly what is in it for today’s put-upon “race man/cleanup man” – given the sheer recriminations, thanklessness and even out-and-out hostility such stalwart non-select bros have to endure, from Black women, their kids and even the wider communitah at large. One is hardpressed to think up anything redeeming or enticing individually for such a brother – and notions from yesterday of having “pride in the race” ring hollow now. Simply put and as noted above, for all the actions of race and cleanup men back in the day, it is clear that the select fuckboys have won – and it is hard to see how it can be anything other than a Fool’s Errand to attempt a “rescue” operation of da communitah today.

As noted in my previous column, “The Sadie Hawkins Dance For Adults”, we all know of downright antisocial and mean (to non-select guys, mind you; select fuckboys, for all the havoc they truly wreak in the lives of Black women, somehow always get a toothy-grinned, smiling pass…as the ladies bend over for them) Black women, who seem to delight in making the non-select guy’s life a Hades on Earth simply for existing – and then when you decline to put up with their abusive treatment, you’re demeaned as less of a Black man for not being able to “handle a strong Black woman”. Most of these Black women – even those who loudly claim to the contrary – are rarely in any kind of professional counseling therapy treatment for their select fuckboy withdrawl issues. Indeed, it is the unspoken stance – it could even be called a consensus – that the non-select bros are to act as a de facto therapist, emotional tampon, emotional dumping ground and emotional punching bag, all rolled into one(!).

When put together with all of the headaches, heartaches and real grief, again one is hardpressed to see what if any, is the upside for such a Black man? And when pressed on this matter, those who would attempt to cajole the non-select guy into such a role cannot offer a simple, straight-no chaser answer, either.

A damning indictment.

The truth is, that there is little to nothing to be gained for today’s non-select guy to be ANY Black woman’s cleanup man, let alone “da communitah’s” – not only because of the aforementioned, but also because they won’t appreciate it. The truth is, that the pride and prestige that came with a role in the past is a literal shadow of its former self – little more than a barren shell. Today, the role of the “race man/cleanup man” is to act as a living host for the parasites of da communitah – starting first and foremost with the select fuckboys, the Black women who are addickted to them (no typo) and more often than not, the kids they created together – to leech off of, draining the non-select guy’s finances, assets, human capital and even his very life. It is for this reason that perhaps one of my best known podcasts ever, “Why I Refuse To Be The Cleanup Man” has truly gone viral and remains a top-ranked podcast to this day – a powerful testament to just how richly it tapped into the zeitgeist of today.”

Tru dat. And, when seen in the context of the final lines of the above quote, one can now see how and why I “came out” in full-throated support of the SYSBM movement, on Wed, Dec 18, 2019. As a publicly acknowledged “founding father” of the Black Manosphere and more recently, dating coach/expert for the “Non-Select Guy”, I could no longer in good conscience continue to advise the Black men who depend on, listen and support me, to put up with all the crap so many – not all, mind you, but a heck of a lot – Black women foist unto them, often with either a blind eye by “da communitah” at large and in many cases, with its tacit approval(!). After four years of numerous attempts on my part to spark a real, meaningful conversation bearing on the all-important issues of dating and mating in contemporary Black American life with precious little to show for it but more recriminations on the part of “the loudest voices in the room” among Black women online, I finally and after much thought and consultation with several of my most trusted supporters, issued an “abandon ship” order.

The record should document that I do not regret doing so.

Black men – and by that, I mean the non-select guys – have just as much a right not to be victims of abuse, scorn, derision, shame and recrimination as any Black woman; that Black men have a right to “self-love”, too. It just happens to take a different form than we’re used to with Black women.

It takes the form of Black men leaving the building and heading off to greener pastures. And yes, that will involve other women (among other things), too.

Get over it.

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 Now, back to the article!

What is truly fascinating to me as 2019 drew to a close, was watching the sheer enormity of response on the part of Black social media in response to my aforementioned “coming out” in support of SYSBM; one of my closest supporters, a Black male social media content creator in his own right, had brought to my attention that since my statement of support, there had been over FIFTY – that’s right, count ’em, OVER FIFTY – livestreams, hangout chats, videos and podcasts made by our loyal opposition(!). As of this writing in early Jan 2020, that’s only been just over two weeks! And there is no sign of that trend abating anytime soon, as fierce debate and discussion continues among the usual suspects.

What all this has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to me, is that far from the supposedly “no accounts” that non-select guys are to Black women and by extension “da communitah”, in truth they are very important and for a very good reason: Because everyone knows that without them to keep Black American society afloat, the whole thing sinks. Black women in particular, are loathe to admit this, because to do so would be to admit to their base desires (read: Select Fuckboys) and, to admit to the fact that they need other guys (read: Non-Select Guys) to do “all the things your man won’t do” as R&B crooner Joe ironically put it – mentor the “chirrens” (which means, being a surrogate dad); being de facto bodyguards, up to and including bearing the very real threat of grievous bodily injury or even death; to support Black women financially, directly and indirectly (the latter being in the form of taxes for social spending for women, which has been proven to be more expensive than that for men) and so on. And to do all this, often without so much as a thank you, let alone getting any sex out of the deal.

But to actually be blamed for not wanting to signup to be thrown into that meat grinder, that is the very epitome of gaslighting – no wonder Black women complain about it so much! They’re projecting it on a colossal scale.

The enormous intensity of reaction on the part of Black women and some Black men to my statement in support of SYSBM, at the eleventh hour when it’s all over but the shouting and the non-select guys are on their way out the door, only reinforces in the most dramatic way imaginable, that everything I’ve been saying over nearly the past five years, was true.


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 Now, back to the article!

With what can only be rightly seen as a full-on mass exodus of Black men from Black women and “da communitah” now fully underway, it is useful for those of us who support the right of Black men to self-love, too, to address the many objections and arguments against the SYSBM Option. In that my daily bread is earned by keeping a fairly close ear to the Black social media ground in this regard, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to respond and give my take in response to these objections. They are as follows:

1. Black men only want “Bottom Shelf Beckys”: This canard has been around for quite some time, so it is no surprise that it would be trotted out here; the idea that, when Black men “jump the fence” they are more often than not, slumming it.

First, let’s consider the fact that when Black men “go SYSBM”, they are more often than not heading to locales with sizable Black populations. Brazil, for example, boasts the most people of African descent in the western hemisphere, second only to Africa itself(!). Dominican Republic, another popular destination spot for SYSBMers, has a 14% Black population out of a total national population of just under 11 million, with another 70% of that being of mixed ancestry. Colombia, also a hot spot for the SYSBM crowd, has a Black population of nearly 10 percent (which also includes mixed race), out of a national total of some 48 million. And Puerto Rico, while part of the United States as an unofficial “51st state”, is no stranger to the SYSBM contingent, nor is it sparse when it comes to Blacks; with 12.4 percent Black population and another 3.3 percent being mixed race out of a population total of 3 million, Black men seeking a better life overall and in particular in the love department have a clear preference for locales that offer quite a few ladies of African ancestry to choose from. This fact has been documented seven ways to Sunday, including the well known and regarded documentary, “Frustrated: Black American Men in Brazil”.

But, since there are in fact Black men who are with non-Black and in particular White women, let me directly address the matter in the most blunt terms: YES, if the choice comes down to a “Becky” who is pleasingly plump/a baby mama/some other “flaw” but is also pleasing to her man on one hand and a “Rasputina”/baby mama/some other flaw type Black woman who is Hell on wheels on the other, the choice is obvious who today’s Black man is going with. What fascinates me to no end is that the Black women who carp on this point simply refuse to grok that Black men want pleasant women to deal with and honestly think that a Black man is obligated to put up with them no matter what, simply because they’re Black.

As I said above, get over it.

2. Black men who travel abroad are only doing so to “trick”: Ahhh, my personal favorite. Despite the fact that most Black men today are desirous of marriage or LTRs, we are still stuck with this bromide. Alright then, how about this: what does it say when you have a significant and growing number of Black men, who are willing to pay for plane flights and travel some 6K miles away, for a blowjob and a smile? Detractors would object by saying that they can merely procure those same sexual services from homegrown Black women for much less hassle and cost – but what they conveniently leave out is the “smile” part in my statement. Simply put, Black men are willing to leave home and go very far for a smile – which brings me to the next bogus objection:

That, well, these foreign ladies are merely “faking it” – to which I respond by saying, that’s rich, coming from a group of women who are known for their lack of authenticity – shall we start with the hair, anyone? Black women here in the States are every bit a fraud as any lady overseas, they just mad that the latter is a lot better at pulling it off than they are. Like I said, get over it. Black men are willing to pay for a good performance.

Now how about that?

3. Black men who travel to third world countries so they can take advantage of poor young girls who are being trafficked in the sex slave and are therefore PEDOPHILES: LOL, this is right out of the “Logical Fallacies, 101 Playbook” – “Appeal to Fear” section. There is no data bearing on Black men in any numbers traveling to locales so they can have sex with underaged minors and in fact the only famous case along these lines in the past year happened here stateside. You might have heard of the perp – his name is R. Kelly – whom Black women supported with their purses FOR DECADES.


Moving right along…

4. Black men are colorstruck and will do anything to get a non-Black and especially a White woman – regardless as to what they look like, act like or what they’ve done, things that they would crucify a Black woman for – like being a Baby Mama, among other things: See Objection #1 above. And to put a finer point on what I said, again allow me to emphasize the fact that the Black women who bring this point never once, mention the importance of being pleasant, smiling and, gasp!–being submissive. Talk about entitlement! Whew!

5. These loser, beta male, non-select Black men are simply not man enough to handle strong, independent, don’t need no man, ADOS Black women!: LMAO! These broads are running scared, ain’t they?

6. They’re the Black male version of Christelyn Karazin and her “Pink Pill” movement!: This is the latest wrinkle to come from the loyal opposition and I nearly fell out of my chair when I first heard it last week. You have gotta be kidding me, but what the heck, I’m here for the shits and giggles. First, Karazin hasn’t shown any demonstrable results with her “Pink Pill” – quick, how many Black women has she been able to get married off to “Brad” over the past decade she’s been doing this? I personally know, off the top of my head, several married couples and have access to a private Facebook group that specializes in Black men going the SYSBM route, getting married to (more often than not, Black) women from abroad and are doing well. Can Karazin say the same? Second: unlike the Pink Pill – which, let’s face it, is Charm School for Black Women who want Brad, as I noted above, Black men who go SYSBM usually want a Black woman – just not an American one. This isn’t always true, but it certainly is true a heck of a lot more than is the case with the Karazin crowd, who are holding out for their mythical Seth. Good luck with that.

I could go on, but by now you see my point – and for my guys reading along, whether you’re of the SYSBM persuasion or not, by all means feel free to use the above points as refutation anytime you encounter these objections in your travels. One of the things we brothers have to get a lot better with is our ability to “clap back” with the utmost quickness and precision.

In summary, the SYSBM movement and its focus on self-love, happiness and living your best life, is here to stay.

Hope you have a plan for your retirement, ladies!

Now adjourn your asses…


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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