#BlackManPledge: One Man’s Pursuit To Unite Black Men On His Mission To Protect Black Women At All Costs
The news and media cycle of the last year has left many Black women feeling lethargic, to say the least. There are constant reminders of our invisibility and disposability bombarding our screens, in addition to the harassment, vulnerability and threats to our lives we encounter on the streets, in our work settings, and in our relationships.
All of these feelings were brought to a head recently during the airing of the Surviving: R Kelly doc last week and the subsequent apathetic reactions of many men who still refuse to see the musician as the monster and predator he is.
But there were some men who shared in the outrage and horror of many Black women and girls across the country, and Ugo Nwasike, corporate associate at a law firm in NYC, is one of them.
He took to social media earlier today to declare his #BlackManPledge to protect, love and honor the Black woman. Now Ugo is hoping his transparency and fight will inspire other Black men to stand in solidarity with his mission.
MN spoke to Ugo about why he made the pledge, and what he hopes will come from men vowing to stand beside their female counterparts. Black men, you can join Ugo on his mission by uploading his pledge to your social media platforms with the hashtag: #BlackManPledge.
What inspired you to create the #BlackManPledge?
After watching the “Surviving R. Kelly” Docu-Series I was disgusted by his conduct and even more disgusted by the Black men I noticed on Twitter victim-blaming and defending or minimizing his actions. I realized that I, as a Black man who was raised by Black women, don’t do enough to actively support and empower Black women. I believe Black women possess more strength and resiliency than any other group on this planet. Given the fact that they’re constantly being demeaned, devalued and appropriated (by white and Black men alike), I wondered how many Black women Presidents and CEOs we’d have if this weren’t the case and they were given the respect they deserve. So, I felt moved 1) to show my support for you wonderful beings and let you all know that you’re not alone and 2) to distance myself completely from the category of “f-boy” who thinks R. Kelly’s conduct (and those like him) is anything less than completely despicable and unacceptable.
Why do you think it’s important for Black men to show this level of love and devotion to Black women during these times?
It’s important because since the beginning of time, Black women have proven to be the most compassionate, supportive, understanding and protective citizens of this Earth, especially when it comes to Black men. You care for us, you ride for us, and yet we stand by silently and let you get disrespected and devalued by society time and time again. Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. It breaks my heart to hear my sister talk about how alone she feels at times and how “n****** ain’t sh*t.” I think it’s time we change the narrative and show solidarity with the group of people who have always been loyal to us, to our people and to our union as brothers and sisters.
What do you hope to come from spreading this message on social media?
Honestly, I don’t know if I have any hopes or aspirations. I just felt I couldn’t be silent in light of stories like the ones I heard in “Surviving R. Kelly” and read about with Cyntoia Brown, Jazmine Barnes, Nia Wilson, Sandra Bland and too many more. I have so many little cousins who look up to me, and I pray one day God blesses me with daughters. Given the rate of innovation in technology, I have no doubt that they will easily be able to do a search on their dad and find everything I’ve ever publicly said or done. I want them to know that I’m on their side always and forever. And for my brothers out there, I think this is something we should all aspire to. At the end of the day, we will all be judged by the next generation, the way we, today, judge the generations that came before us. Let’s set the right example for our children for how we as a community are supposed to treat each other. I think this is one rather easy way we can all create lasting change.
Sometimes the idea of support can feel really lofty. What are some ways Black men can support Black women in small ways?
I’m starting by telling the Black women in my life that I love them and have their back no matter what. I also plan to speak out more when I hear or see micro-aggressions in the workplace or in the community in general, as we know it happens all too often. And at the very least, STOP CATCALLING. STOP REDUCING WOMEN TO THEIR BODY PARTS. STOP CHEATING. STOP CALLING YOUR GIRLFRIEND YOUR “BITCH.” STOP DISMISSING THEIR VIEWPOINTS. STOP TALKING OVER THEM. STOP THINKING ONLY ABOUT WHAT THE BLACK WOMEN IN YOUR LIFE CAN DO FOR YOU (AND YOUR GOALS) AND START THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THEM (AND THEIRS). THEN DO IT. I don’t think it’s that hard.
You can follow Ugo on Instagram @ugo_esq