“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”
-Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3
The recent news of famed movie director Antoine Fuqua having once again stepped out on his wife actress Lela Rochon in a series of “candid camera” style photos kissing the admittedly incredibly hot Nicole Murphy, have once again thrust (pardon the pun) an inconvenient truth – that Black America in general and Black men in particular, has a “creepin'” problem.
In other words, cheating. Tipping out. Infidelity.
Addressing the matter in one of my last live shows on YouTube recently (“Obsidian Radio The Livestream Show – ‘Is Interracial Marriage A Good Thing For Black America’ – Fri, Jul 26, 2019 FULL EIGHT HOUR SHOW), I was truly shocked and taken aback to hear the torrent of denial, excuses, rationalizations and justifications for Fuqua’s behavior from my largely Black male listening audience. Several callers and panelists into the show were defiant and adamant in their brazen defense of Fuqua’s actions – which, we now know, wasn’t a one-off; Fuqua has actually sired several children outside his marriage(!). And, according to his Wikipedia page, things get curiouser and curiouser – Lela Rochon seems to be in on the act:
“In March 2003, Antoine Fuqua and his wife, Lela Rochon, were sued for malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress because Antoine was stalking and harassing a woman, Tanya Evans, with whom Antoine was having an extramarital affair. Lela was also accused of harassing the young physical trainer. The woman sought to end the affair, but Antoine continued to pressure the young woman to be romantically involved with him. He also told her she might end up dead. When Antoine would not cease his pursuit of the young woman, she warned Antoine that she would tell his wife if he would not end his pursuit of her. Despite his ex mistress’ warning, Antoine continued to excessively call and stalk her, so she did, in fact, tell Lela about the extra marital affair between her and Antoine.
In retaliation, Antoine had the young lady arrested by claiming that she was stalking him. After the Los Angeles police department investigated and determined that Lela and Antoine were lying and had the women falsely jailed, Antoine’s ex mistress was released and won a financial settlement from Lela and Antoine. Lela and Antoine were both found to be guilty.
Lela contacted other women that Antoine was having sexual relationships with and pretended to be the young woman that she and her husband had falsely arrested. Lela pretended to be the other woman to cause dissension between Antoine and his extra marital affairs partners.”
Why does Black America in general and Black men in particular, abide so much creepin’ with nary a shrug? And what does this mean for today’s Black man out on the dating scene?
A LOOK BACK
More than a year ago, I attempted to address this topic on my daily podcast show (“Infidelity Much Higher In Black America, Study Shows” #ORadio), sharing the findings of a study published by the Institute for Family Studies called “Who Cheats More? The Demographics of Cheating in America”. Although the study covers a wide range of demographic data of who cheats in present-day America and why, what it has to say about Black men in particular was especially startling:
“In addition to gender and age, the infidelity rate also differs by a number of other demographic and social factors. For example, cheating is somewhat more common among black adults. Some 22% of ever-married blacks said that they cheated on their spouse, compared with 16% of whites and 13% of Hispanics. And among black men, the rate is highest: 28% reported that they ha
d sex with someone other than their spouse, compared with 20% of white men and 16% of Hispanic men.”
The reaction was fierce among Black men, my own core demographic and target audience – many openly questioned the study results and methodology; others claimed that “Black women do it, too!” as if to excuse cheating on the part of self-admitted Black male cheaters; and still other Black men brazenly stated that they saw nothing wrong with the practice. You might recall a recent column I did where I discussed what is known in psychological circles as the Dark Triad of behavorial traits – Psychopathy, Narcissism and Machiavellianism? With nearly an estimated 1 in 4 Black men admitting to cheating on their spouses, it’s fair to say that at least as many – and my podcast show, which reaches tens of thousands of people a day if not more – are indeed psychopaths. That would explain the shocking response on the part of a not insignificant portion of my Black male audience.
I followed up my previous podcast on the matter with another one (“Circling The Wagons Black Male Infidelity Revisited” #ORadio), making the case that if Black men either excuse, justify, rationalize or just remain silent on the matter, we would lose the moral high ground when addressing Black women on their own “fuckery” – including infidelity of their own. Again, my podcast was met with fierce resistance on the part of my Black male listeners.
WHITE MEN DO IT, TOO!
A popular excuse from many of my Black male listeners was to say that “White men do it, too!” – with the clear implication that they were somehow treated less harshly by society at large than Black men who cheat. In the moment and on the fly on a live on-air talk radio show, it sounds good; but a closer, clear-eyed examination of the facts says something else:
Bill Clinton, our nation’s 42nd President, ruined his legacy with his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky.
General David Petraeus, disgraced his military career by cheating with a subordinate.
Clinton-era Speaker of the House Next Gingrich was persona non grata in Conservative political circles for cheating on his wife – while she was on her deathbed, no less(!).
US Senator and Presidential hopeful John Edwards suffered a similar fate as Gingrich after news surfaced that not only was he also cheated on his terminally ill wife but sired a “lovechild” of his own – the only prominent White man I can think of who’s actions come anywhere near close to Fuqua’s in that regard.
US Congressman Anthony Weiner’s political career and marriage to Hillary Clinton presidential advisor Huma Abedin was ended and greatly strained respectively, for his sexting escapades with women much younger than himself.
And fellow New Yorker, former Governor Eliot Spitzer’s career came to an end for being a rank hypocrite about the use of campaign funds for personal use – in this case, on a high end escort.
The above shortlist is but a taste of the many prominent and powerful White men who have indeed been brought low as a result of their perfidy. Indeed, contrary to the notions of some Black men who want to play the Race Card, the facts bear out that Black men rarely are held up to such high standards and bear few if any real and lasting costs for their actions along these lines. The fact that you, dear reader will respond with Bill Cosby and R. Kelly, only proves my point: they are the exceptions that prove the Black Male Rule.
WELL, LELA DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH IT!
While quite a few Black men were busy playing the Race Card and claiming Black men to being special victims, another cohort of Black men casually and cooly observed, that, “Well, Lela seems to be OK with it – after all, why hasn’t she come forward or said anything?”. And, one would have to admit, that to date, Ms. Rochon has been silent. It’s still early on in the latest affair of her hubbie, but if history is anything to go by, chances are high that she will go along to get along this time, too.
Indeed and as the IFS study bears out, Black America in general has a higher incidence of cheating for both Black men and women – and while the study doesn’t explicity state it, it is my own personal view that Black America is just more accepting of cheating than the rest of the country. Bill Cosby’s long suffering wife Camille and rapper/actor T.I.’s wife Tiny, immediately come to mind in the face of their hubbies’ flagrant escapades over many years. So, the observations on the part of the Black Male Apologists, would seem to have merit.
However, even if true, it does not excuse Black men like Fuqua’s behavior or actions – just because someone else turns a blind eye to it.
It might be interesting at this time to ask, what’s a self-described confirmed bachelor and hedonist doing discussing marital infidelity in a weekly column devoted to dating and mating for today’s Black man? It is definitely counterintuitive to be sure – but help, insight and enlightment often comes from unlikely places.
You see, what Fuqua’s actions and the actions of so many Black men in this instance, all comes down to personal choices – and choices, always have consequences. As the term clearly signifies, “confirmed bachelor” is a choice – and so is the term “cheater”. Every Black man reading this column, can choose to either.
Nothing scientific, but from all my years of being a fly on the wall at the umpteen speed dating events, seminars and symposiums, listening in on Black women’s conversations online and off, etc., the single biggest concern they have is a Black man cheating on them – whether married or not. It is a common theme in films, books and other forms of entertainment geared for Black women, in fact.
It is also a fact that cheating, be it marital or nonmarital, erodes the overall trust of a society – in this case, Black American society – with ruinous results. Black men must take the lead in stemming the tide of cheating in Black America today – and since most Black people, Black men and women both, get married less today than at any other time since the late 19th century(!), why shouldn’t single Black men like me speak on it? After all, as the IFS study clearly indicates, 4 out of every five Black men DO NOT CHEAT. But, we still remain silent when our bros do.
And that’s gotta stop.
A MAN’S GOTTA HAVE A CODE
As I am a newly minted dating coach for today’s Black men and inasmuch as my way of doing things is based and patterned on me, my view is simple: No Black man in my dojo is a cheater, because I am not now nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be a cheater. If you are a Black man with any degree of interest in my work and approach, you must know this right now. Many Black men justify their cheating and/or that of other Black men, because Black women supposedly “can’t handle the truth” – Bullshit. The truth is, that those Black men who feel this way lie and cheat because THEY CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH – the truth about themselves. Every Black man knows exactly what he wants with a woman within seconds of seeing her for the first time – whether he just wants to bang her, have her as a “friend with benefits”, have her as a long term relationship or even have her as a wife. The truth is, that so many Black men are so fearful of losing a Black woman to another man, so shot through with a Scarcity Mindset, that they are willing to lie and cheat to keep her, while stepping out with other women. I find the practice, behavior and actions, along with the mindset that drives it, to be repugnant and it has no place in my life on any level. I have severed longstanding ties to Black men in my circle who I have known for a fact are cheaters.
And if I find out any Black men associated with me today are the same, they will suffer the same fate.
Many Black men attempt to argue (read: yet another BS excuse) that because we chafe under “the White Man’s rules” – meaning monogamy – that Black men HAVE to cheat in order to get by. RUBBISH. There is absolutely nothing in the least wrong with a Black man wanting sexual variety – it is not illegal nor is it immoral – PROVIDED A BLACK MAN SAYS THIS AT THE OUTSET OF ANY RELATIONSHIP WITH A WOMAN. Just as you as a Black man have a right to your lifestyle choices, so too do women – and you must be willing to accept the fact that there will be some women who will not accept your chosen lifestyle and will want a man with a lifestyle closer to her own. She is perfectly within her right to feel this way, just as you are. I have been in both monogamous and polyamorous relationships with Black women and in both cases, the Black women in question knew right from the rip who and what I was about and they just so happened to accept it. On the other hand, just as many Black women, upon finding who and what I was about, flatly rejected my proposal. So be it – that’s life!
Here in my dojo, we don’t make apologies and excuses for who and what we are – we embrace it and the whole of life, the good and the bad, fully. The more you do so, the more you will find that even those Black women who don’t agree, will respect you for your honesty and character. Hard to believe when it comes to Black women I know, but true. I’ve seen it firsthand.
And so will you.
Whatever life path you choose – married, single, monogamous, non-mongamous, etc. – BE A MAN ABOUT IT.
And God knows we need more of that in Black America these days.
Now adjourn your asses…
Mumia Obsidian Ali is a citizen journalist, podcaster, talk radio show host and newly minted dating coach. 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.