Illuminating & Informative Book Review on Black Masculinity

Semi off topic for this photo-focused blog, I know, but this article (“It’s a Man’s World: The Politics of Black Masculinity” by Lavelle Porter) is so on-point that it’s keeping me awake at 2:37am and beyond.

Porter discusses the following books:
1. Our Living Manhood: Literature, Black Power and Masculine Ideology by Rolland Murray (U. of Pennsylvania Press, 2007, 168 pages)

2. Once You Go Black: Choice, Desire and the Black American Intellectual by Robert F. Reid-Pharr (New York U. Press, 2007, 208 pages)

3. Manning the Race: Reforming Black Men in the Jim Crow Era by Marlon B. Ross (New York University Press, 2004, 498 pages)

The piece is also speckled with historical insights on black manhood from famous Black American men like W.E.B. DuBois, Alain Locke, James Baldwin and some feminine/ist views from the likes of Michele Wallace.

A couple of salient points from the author that struck me:

“…one can see how hip-hop’s defiant posture evolved out of blaxploitation era film by way of the black power movement, and thus we end up with a popular cultural art-form that is almost all style and emptied of much of its political substance. Perhaps my favorite representation of this phenomenon was Public Enemy’s quick-stepping drill team which adopted the look of the Panthers (sunglasses and berets) and the intimidating pose of the Nation’s Fruit of Islam, but with none of the actual self-defense skills and training. They are clearly trained dancers on stage for show.”

“…it seems no black achievement is considered legitimate unless it is carried out by heterosexual black men.”

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