Is Beyonce's Black Is King a Great Representation of Black Manhood?

Well, that depends on who you ask--most of us were NOT Beyhive fans🐝, lol. On Thursday, we delved into our discussion of what I like to call The Black Male Matrix, which I define as this constraining set of categories or stereotypes that many Black men have to confront (e.g., thug/criminal, hypersexual, athlete, entertainer). 

For this month, I "assigned" Black is King and asked members to think about the ways that the film might disrupt such stereotypes and the way that the film affirms Black men. Yet, interestingly enough, we talked more about how it difficult it might have been to really hone in on positive Black male representation due to all of the opulence that was on display. Several women mentioned that the film seemed to represent over-excess/indulgence more than anything and that there was so much focus on wealth/royalty that Black men were basically de-centered in the film. The lone Beyhive fan (me personally, I go back and forth) thought that perhaps Beyonce and Jay-Z's excessiveness in certain scenes was a parody. Which could be possible, but at the same time, I thought that this is not anything new; in most of their videos together, excessiveness reigns supreme. Overall, I thought that this was an interesting topic to explore with regard to class and also gender and specifically as it relates to Black men. But, I also wondered why we might be more appreciative of royalty, kingship, queenship, wealth, etc. in Black Panther, but not in a film like Black is King? Is there something different about Black male representation being told from a Black male perspective (Ryan Coogler) than from a Black women's (Beyonce)? What does Black Panther do that Black is King could not? 

Ok, so you're probably wondering what does all of this have to do with Kofi Siriboe? Errythang! Thursday's class was all about Black male stereotypes and what works in confronting those stereotypes. Part of the solution is changing the visual culture around Black male imagery. So with that, here you go! What can be more positive than seeing Kofi Siriboe like this in your time line, lol?!!!

Here are some of the other highlights from Thursday's session: 

  • a word association activity with pics of Black men including Kofi. And as you can probably guess, all of the words for Kofi were positive!

  • definition of implicit bias

  • the uses and limitations of the Implicit Association Test

  • 20th C. and 21st C. Black male stereotypes that make up what I call "The Black Male Matrix"

  • what works in countering bias

As we closed, some of us talked about feeling the need to protect Black men even in the times we may not want to. This was a great segue into next month where the topic is, "Black Men Loving Black Women." For next time, we'll really be thinking more about: How do Black men show love to us? Do they protect us? In the meantime, pay attention to how Black men are talking about the Breonna Taylor case (or not). Also, look for any other instances of Black men showing love to Black women and be ready to share:)

What are your thoughts? Please feel free to share more below.

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