Billy Porter undeniably crushed the red carpet last night, making a statement that was both provocative and polarizing. He showed up to the 2019 Oscars wearing a tuxedo dress that showcased both masculine and feminine ideals. Despite the artistic integrity of his statement, I knew it wouldn’t be long before pseudo-intellectuals claiming to be conscious crusaders would start to throw stones and hide their hands behind their back. Regurgitating breastfed theories, about the emasculation of the black man as a tactic to destroy the black family.
My not-so conscious brothers and sisters like to think they are taking the high road by invoking this theory as a “get-out-of-jail-free” card to support homophobia. Unfortunately, what they are trying to pass off as a noble commitment to our community is actually internalized and bigoted oppression. As “woke” as our conscious brothers and sisters claim to be, they can quickly alienate a man of color because he does not subscribe to the ideals of masculinity that we have been taught is socially acceptable within our community.
If you are really interested in protecting the black family, there are newer and more exciting ways to consider men and women of color in all aspects of sexuality and gender expression. Reproduction is not hindered by a pronoun of choice or a tuxedo dress for that matter.
What is at the root of this oppression is the preservation of black masculinity and not the love of black men themselves. It is hypocritical and counter-productive to limit an individuals role and responsibilities in the community based on their sexuality and gender expression. No matter how you want to dress it up, you are perpetuating alienation and degradation within the same community that you claim to be protecting and uplifting. If our goal is to truly thrive as people, we have to start finding ways to see ourselves outside of the templates that have failed us for so long, this includes the heteronormative family structure. If black lives really matter to you, we should be learning how to step together as brothers and sisters celebrating our unique diversity as a contribution to our culture and community.
My gift is my word and this word is for you.