"For Black Men" (2015) by Red
99 Farley Avenue Newark, NJ 07108
The Black Male Psyche has been subject to many forms of attack, manipulation, and struggles. Throughout time, one can argue that all peoples face hardship as a part of life. This is true; in addition, Black men specifically have endured characterizations that alter the Black man's image of himself. We've been conditioned to see ourselves and our brothers as brutes, savages, over-sexualized and unintelligent. We face depression, anxiety, and crutching diagnoses without understanding the importance of, having access to, or being taught to ask for, support. Most times, we suck it up, say "be a man" and push on, carrying loads of emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual baggage.
Time and time again, hip hop and the media repeatedly convey negative images of Black men fighting, dying, being shot, being arrested, being on trial, or being needy. As we endure and persevere through a system designed to keep us down, we sometimes fall short of responding to our myriad stressors in a positive, constructive manner. We do what we can and we are greater than we may be told, and we must keep our heads up, resist our self-destructive and homicidal inclinations that are egged on and arguably caused by the media we consume.
Growing up in Newark, NJ is hard enough dealing with poverty and so many easy roads that lead to negativity. There are traps designed for us to fail, to be incarcerated, and essentially work for little to nothing and return to an enslaved citizen status under the guise of being a "criminal." The gangster rhetoric doesn't help us, as we often play into the very traps designed to harm us. This one is for all the brothers that face demons in our minds and struggle with remaining positive in a world that seems unrelenting, unrewarding, and apathetic towards our suffering. Keep ya head up bra.